AP English Language and Composition AB

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Course Description

This course helps students prepare to take the Advanced Placement Language and Composition Exam ™ administered by the College Board. The first semester focuses on the concepts and skills needed to analyze argumentative texts and to build solid arguments—starting with the choices that experienced authors make when they write to persuade an audience. Students learn and apply best practices for constructing, revising, and refining their own arguments. Writing assignments in semester A include rhetorical analyses of straightforward written arguments as well as satirical texts and visual approaches to persuasion. Students will be asked to develop several formal argumentative essays and also to practice new skills by writing less formal journal entries throughout the semester. The pace and level of work required by this course is similar to that required in a college-level composition course, so students should be prepared to work independently and to complete all assignments in a way that makes good use of their time.

The second semester of AP English Language and Composition focuses on writing tasks that require synthesis and documentation. Students will analyze many examples of synthesis essays and apply what they learn as they create their own texts based on multiple sources. They will also take a closer look at the use of visual and multi-modal or multimedia evidence when used as support for an argument, and they’ll consider how to incorporate these unique approaches into their own attempts at persuasion. Semester B will ask students to work toward improving and refining the style with which they deliver arguments, including the use of rhetorical devices, varied syntax, and grammatical concepts essential to academic discourse. Writing assignments in semester B include the analysis and construction of multimedia arguments, studies in style, and research-based projects that require the synthesis of information and ideas. As in semester A, the pace and level of work required by this course is advanced and substantial, so students should be prepared to work independently and thoroughly on all assignments.

Course Requirements

Grade Level

9 – 12


2 Semesters

Credit Value



Successful completion of ELA 11 and a teacher’s recommendation

Semester A

Major Concepts:

  • argumentative essays
  • rhetorical situation
  • persuasive appeals
  • counterargument
  • types of arguments
  • methods of building an argument
  • logical fallacies
  • rhetorical analysis

Semester B

Major Concepts:

  • visual arguments
  • visual support for arguments
  • academic discourse
  • rhetorical devices
  • elements of style
  • synthesis essay
  • research and documentation