AP English Language vs. Literature: Which is Right for You?

How to choose between AP language and AP Literature 

What’s the difference? 

After years of reading all those Jane Austen and JK Rowling books, you finally get into high school and opt for an AP English class and that’s where you come across one of those Sophie’s choice like situations but here you have to choose between AP literature and AP Language and what exactly is the difference between AP language and literature first of all  (yeah I know there’s a composition as well to both the titles but let’s keep it simple).  

Before answering which one is easier to pass, let’s have a look at what we’re dealing with. So apart from the exam pattern nothing much is similar when it comes to both the courses.

AP languages deal with a broader scheme of things compared to AP literature which mostly deals with analyzing poems and Other literature. AP language focuses more on deconstructing arguments and rhetorical strategies in  mostly everything including memoirs, essays, satire, comics, journalism, and even photography but that is not all the differences between AP language and literature

So I guess you have an idea of where I am going with this, but even though it may seem like AP literature is narrow compared to AP language but it certainly has more depth as it’s not just about superficially looking at many things.

But because AP language is more spread out, so what you learn is broadly applicable to not only what you learn in humanities but also to social sciences as well, and not just that but AP language will also help you in natural sciences and engineering as well because learning to break down arguments and read non-fiction texts will likely be more helpful in your chosen field along with the writing skills you will acquire which are highly helpful in every field.

AP literature requires you to read a lot, as the final prompt has been found to be especially challenging, As the AP Literature test doesn’t give you any relevant quotes or summaries, which means you must be familiar with at least a few books so as to write about them without having the books with you when you take the exam. 

So which one is harder! 

And the answer to that question is….  

None or Both! Even though there are differences between  AP language and literature, both are popular exams among students with over 535K and 334K students respectively appearing for each of the exams in 2020 alone but it doesn’t mean that they’re easier to score. 

In the  difference between AP language and literature, data suggests a different story altogether. With a pass rate of  60% and 62% for AP literature and AP language respectively, the pass rates aren’t too high, and more often students get grades lower than 5 suggesting that scoring isn’t easy either. 

So yes, certainly both these APs do take a lot of effort to score better than other averages but it certainly has been a popular choice. 

Also Read: Why Tychr is the Best IB Tutor Online?

Now, which one should you choose? 

I am going to answer this with another question.

What do you want to major in? AP Language certainly has a broader scope and is directly applicable to various college majors but if you are interested in arts and humanities perhaps AP literature is the one for you. 

If you still aren’t sure let’s ask yourself if you enjoy reading The Great Gatsby and other fictions you might as well love the AP literature course, sure you won’t be doing a lot of your writing, but it will surely help you make a better writer but if you’re just interested enough to read it for the class and tend to complete assignments you might well stick with AP Language and if you want to pursue an engineering degree afterward it might be the better option for you as you won’t be overloaded with tons of reading and will have enough time to focus on other challenging courses but if possible, you might end up taking both the courses as some schools tend to offer both AP courses at different levels. 

So given the differences between AP Language and Literature, what are you choosing?

Further Reading:

College Board

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