AP® English Literature and Composition
The AP® English Literature and Composition exam consists of two sections: multiple-choice questions (MCQs) and free-response questions (FRQs). In this guide, we will focus on the first section, composed of MCQs and its format, and share some tips to score well on the exam. In addition, we have included some sample multiple-choice questions (MCQs) from previous AP English Language and Composition tests to help you prepare for this section.
Format of AP English Literature MCQ section
A frequently asked question is, “How many MCQs are on the AP Lit exam? ” On the AP Lit exam, there are 55 multiple-choice questions and just 60 minutes to complete this section of the test, which counts for 45% of the exam score. Each question has the same weight and covers seven of the nine-course units. The table below is a summary of how each skill is weighted in this section.
|Function of character
|Function of setting
|Function of plot and structure
|Function of narrator or speaker
|Function of word choice, imagery, and symbols
|Function of comparison
|Arguments about interpretations of a text
How to Approach AP English Literature and Composition Multiple-Choice Questions
For many students, the MCQ might be the most difficult section of the test because it requires considering five answer choices and answering 55 questions within an hour. Understanding the options and selecting the correct answers in that amount of time can be challenging. Here are some tips to help you prepare for the difficulty of the readings and work quickly.
AP English Literature Multiple-Choice Examples
The following examples of AP English Literature multiple-choice practice questions from the UWorld QBank illustrate the different kinds of questions you may see.
To me, like hauntings of a vagrant breath
From some far forest which I once have known,
The perfume of this flower of verse is blown.
Tho’ seemingly soul-blossoms faint to death,
Naught that with joy she bears e’er withereth.
So, tho’ the pregnant years have come and flown,
Lives come and gone and altered like mine own,
This poem comes to me a shibboleth*:
Brings sound of past communings to my ear,
Turns round the tide of time and bears me back
Along an old and long untraversed way;
Makes me forget this is a later year,
Makes me tread o’er a reminiscent track,
Half sad, half glad, to one forgotten day!
MCQ Example 1
Lines 1-5 (“To…withereth”) function primarily to
- exaggerate the unremarkable nature of the occasion
- narrate an anecdote from an earlier time
- establish the audience and point of view of the poem
- include an aside by the poem’s speaker
- create a vivid image in the poem
Correct Answer: E
How can I Practice AP English Literature Multiple-Choice Questions?
One of the best ways to improve your MCQ score is to practice answering lots of questions. By doing so, you will become familiar with the information typically asked for and the language used. At first, practice answering the questions at your own pace so you can think carefully about the answers. After you have developed your confidence and skill, it is wise to practice answering the questions at a pace similar to what you will experience on the exam: about a minute per question.
The UWorld AP English Lit question bank is an excellent source of practice MCQs. It contains over 600 questions that are very similar to the ones found on the actual exam. UWorld provides explanations to help you understand why the right and wrong answers are wrong. Knowing how to determine where you may have made a mistake in choosing an answer helps you avoid that mistake in the future. Additionally, the UWorld AP Lit question bank gives you the option to practice by taking both timed and untimed tests.
There are 55 MCQs on the AP Lit exam and three Free-Response questions. The MCQ section is worth 45% of the score, and the FRQ is worth 55% of the score.
An automated computer system grades the multiple-choice questions. The multiple-choice section is calculated similarly to previous AP multiple-choice sections in terms of how the raw score: you receive a point for each question you answer correctly, and there is no penalty for incorrect answers or the questions you leave blank.
The MCQ section of the AP English Lit exam consists of 55 questions to complete in one hour.
The College Board does not typically make their MCQ from past exams available publicly. That is why a resource like UWorld is the best way to practice for that section of the exam.