English Ap Essay Topics

What is AP English?

AP English is a rigorous college-level course that is divided into two different classes: AP English Language and Composition; AP English Literature and Composition. The Language course deals with rhetoric while the Literature course focuses on literature analysis. Both exams require knowledge on how to write a synthesis essay, AP English format integrated.

Table Of Contents

2017 Language and Composition Exam

During the exam, you are required to answer write three essays: two of them analyze a piece of literature (an excerpt from a short story, a poem, or a narrative essay) and one answers a free response prompt on a piece of merit-based literature that you’ve read prior to the exam. Your exam is divided into portions. There will most likely be:

  • 10-20 questions on Modern (20th century) poetry/prose.
  • 10-20 questions on Victorian or Romantic poetry/prose.
  • 5-10 questions on 17th-century Elizabethan poetry/prose.

You are not likely to see much Contemporary (beyond 20th century) or Middle English (450-1600), so do not waste your time practicing those poems.

AP English Literature Essay

To some, the AP English analysis essay is harder than the free response essay. To approach this type of writing, EssayPro team have selected several steps you could take to prepare.

  • Learn to read and comprehend poetry/prose quickly. Practice by reading a lot of different poems from different time periods.
  • Read the prompt before reading the poem/prose and right before writing. Annotate the prompt. Look for keywords and themes. Make sure you understand the question completely.
  • Annotate the passage/poem as you go. Pay close attention to the keywords and main themes given to you in the prompt.

Remember: practice makes perfect. Here are a couple of AP English Literature essay prompts for you to practice.

Question 1

This question states that you need to analyze how the speaker uses symbolism through such devices as form, diction, and imagery. In your English class, you probably learned that symbolism is when a writer takes a symbol and attaches a secondary meaning to it. Symbols can be metaphors or metaphysical conceits. In this case, the Flea resembles something that isn’t exactly a Flea. Your interpretation should be accurate and supported by evidence. You don’t want to list rhetorical devices. Instead, you want to analyze the essay and make sure your claim is supported.

Question 2

This question asks you to analyze the way structure contributes to the meaning of the poem. The structure of the poem is a villanelle. From here on, you have to develop a unique interpretation of how the structure contributes to the meaning. Here, you can focus on repetition and elaborate on how it contributes to meaning. While writing essays like this, instead of quoting the whole line in your custom essay, just write the line number when referring to a specific point in the poem.

Question 3

Most people say that the hardest part of an AP English exam is the free response section. This specific prompt asks you to explain why a character’s moral ambiguity contributes to the novel’s theme. After picking a novel and a character (a benefit of the free response essay is that you have the freedom to choose whatever novel and character you want), you have to demonstrate how their moral ambiguity contributes largely to the plot of the story. The little note at the end of the prompt about avoiding plot summary is very important. Do not summarize events of the novel. This will hinder your score and take points off your paper.

AP English Language and Composition Essay

What Does That Mean?

This course has an exam that is divided into four parts: multiple choice portion and three essays argumentative, persuasive essay, and synthesis). Essentially, an AP English argument essay is exactly like a basic argument paper that you’ve written in high school but with a twist: you have to equip it with perfect grammar and have a well-structured claim. In gist, AP Language and Composition is an extremely rigorous course that requires you to write essays that demonstrate primal ability to analyze works of literature. Perfect grammar and structure on an exam like this will not award you maximum points or a 5 on the exam.

How to deal with the Prompt

Prompts in AP English Language aren’t the same as in AP English Literature. Prompt consists of an article that you have to synthesize. On occasion, an AP English Literature exam will have a designated prompt, but the objective of the course is to allow you to build analytical pieces. The most important thing you can do to prepare for your AP English synthesis essay is to learn the format of and analyze/dissect many AP English essay prompts (pieces of writing, that is) as you can before taking the exam.

Rubric and Tips

An AP English essay rubric can be divided into three parts: a high scoring essay, a mid-range essay, and a low-scoring essay.

  • High Range Essay
  • High range Essay (8-9 points)
  • Effectively develops a position on the assigned topic.
  • Demonstrates full understanding of the sources or text.
  • Correctly synthesizes sources and develops a position. The writer drives the argument, not the sources.
  • The writer’s argument is convincing.
  • The writer does not make general assertions and cites specific evidence for each one of his points.
  • The writer’s evidence effectively answers the “so what?” question.
  • The essay is clear, well-organized, and coherent. It is a stand alone piece rather than an exam response.
  • Contains very few grammatical and spelling errors or flaws, if any.

Note: 8-9 essays are an extremely rare. A strong ‘7’ paper can jump to an 8-9 if the writing style is outstanding.

Middle-Range Essay (5-7)

  • Adequately develops a position on the assigned topic.
  • Demonstrates sufficient understanding of the ideas developed in sources
  • Sufficiently summarizes the sources and assumes some control of the argument. ‘5’ essays are less focused than ‘6’ and ‘7’.
  • The writer's argument is sufficient but less developed.
  • Writer successfully synthesizes the sources and cites them.
  • The writer answers the “So what?” question but may use generalizations or assertions of universal truth. The writer cites own experience and specific evidence.
  • The essay is clear and well organized. ‘5’ essays less so.
  • Contains few minor errors of grammar or syntax.

Note: A ‘7’ is awarded to papers of very sophisticated writing. A ‘5’ designates a 3 on the AP exam; these essays use generalizations and have limited control of the claim and argument. ‘5’ essays often lose focus and digress.

Low-Range Essays (1-4)

  • Inadequately develops a position on the assigned topic.
  • The author misunderstands and simplifies the ideas developed in the sources.
  • Over-summarizes the sources, lets the sources drive the argument.
  • The writer has weak control of organization and syntax. The essay contains numerous grammatical/spelling errors.
  • A writer does not cite the sources correctly, skips a citation, or cites fewer than the required minimum of the sources.
  • Notes: ‘4’ or ‘3’ essays do assert an argument but do not sufficiently develop it.
  • A ‘2’ essay does not develop an argument.
  • A 1-2 essay has severe writing errors and does not assert a claim.
  • As long as you don’t draw a picture on your exam paper, write a bullet point list, or compose a narrative about your dog, you will get above a 3 on this essay.

How to Approach the Format

The AP English essay format is similar to the format of any other essay. Your introductory paragraph should have a thesis and demonstrate your argument clearly. Your body should illustrate points that back your argument up and your conclusion should summarize your essay. A significant difference is the three components of an AP English Language and Composition synthesis essay that absolutely must be present.

  • Argument: a central claim with specific supporting evidence.
  • AP English Language synthesis essay focuses on the analysis of multiple perspectives.
  • Rhetorical Analysis: definition of the author and his intentions. Purpose audience and claim are all parts of the assignment.

Read more: How to Write a Rhetorical Analysis Essay


Essay Writing Advice From Our Professional Team

Pure Essays, fromEssayPro

The #1 tip I can give you to being a star student in your AP English class and ace the exam is to read read read! If your teacher assigned you summer reading to do before taking the course, then you absolutely must do it. I know, summer feels like the time to party and spend time with friends, but if you want to embark on a course like AP English, then you absolutely must do all the prior reading. If your teacher hasn’t assigned you any summer reading, then find a suggested list of AP English books that will help you on the exam. There are some great classics in there and that way you can be choosy and pick 3-5 novels that you will enjoy. If you’re taking summer classes or do not have a time to work, then I suggest you read at least 5 pages every night before going to sleep. Keep a reading diary to remind you of your initial reflections on the reading. Nearing the exam, reread your notes for the novels and skim through book summaries. If you do all of this prior to the exam, you will have nothing to worry about.

Proofread Your Essay

Check and double check your paper. Read again and again. When you are writing an English essay, you have no opportunity to check your paper by another person. Be your reader. Find out the flaws, grammatical and spelling mistakes. Correct all the errors and submit the paper. You can hire the best essay writing service and receive an original custom essay written by experienced writers.

The Advanced Placement essay exam is one of the best ways to check the English proficiency of the particular student. If you master some of the experts AP English essay prompts, you will succeed with your task. Having some powerful AP English essay examples on hands may help to write a winning personal statement – these challenges have a lot in common.


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How to Write AP English Essay Prompts: Know the Challenge in Face!

One of the most important AP English language essay prompts is the definition of this special task: A challenging college course made of 2 separate courses to train reading, comprehension, writing, and creativity:

  1. Language and Composition
  2. English Literature and Composition

Rhetoric and literature analysis are two components the student need to succeed in a further essay writing career. A synthesis essay is at the heart of the course’s exam. This essay is a written discussion that draws on a single/multiple sources (s) such as scholarly articles, essays, textbooks, magazines, newspapers, documentaries, websites, etc.

AP English Language Essay Prompts & Grading Rubric

The exam essay prompts are different for both courses. An essay prompt refers to the specific topical article a student has to analyze and synthesize in order to come up with analytical pieces as one whole. It is important to remember the essay structure and essay grading rubric to succeed.

A student can either develop a high-scoring essay, a mid-range essay, or a complete failure essay (low-scoring piece). This article focuses on the winning exam scenario. The rubric will look this way in case you are interested in hitting the highest score (8-9 points):

  • Effectively stated point of view
  • Relevant exam essay content
  • Complete understanding of the offered AP English essay prompts
  • Well-developed position towards the topic discussed in the given prompt(s)
  • Instead of driving the sources, the essay focuses on the claim
  • The main essay idea sounds persuasive & meaningful
  • Only specific evidence for every mentioned idea is present
  • “So what?” question is the clue to an essay
  • A coherent and concise essay content
  • Does not have any grammar, spelling, punctuation, or formatting mistakes

Keep in touch with the process with the help of special learning mobile phone apps. Download some helpful writing apps to get ready!

AP English Essay Examples of 1st Part Questions

The 1st group of examples includes those associated with the Language & Composition part. Be ready to work on 3 essays. A couple of pieces should evaluate the offered literary text. A student will need to read the attached poem, narration, mini story, or essay by a famous American author to succeed. One more assignment requires responding to a given prompt the writer had to observe before the exam. A student will face:

  • Up to 20 questions on the contemporary literature
  • Up to 20 questions on Victorian/Romantic literature
  • No more than 10 questions related to XVII-century Elizabethan epoch in art

If the teachers make it possible, try to add a bit of fun to your responses. Discover some of the great ways to save a day thanks to humor.

Expert Advice:

“I work in the admissions team that grades the AP English exam essays several years, and I can say there is no need to focus on the contemporary literature. The college boards do not consider most of the XX century authors. A student may cover just the most popular and top-rated pieces from the Middle English period – those authors are not regular guests in AP exams.”

Lola Brendon, an AP English course teacher and expert online writer at JustDoMyHomework

Practice AP English Exam Essay Example

It is time to move to the Literature part of the examination, and have a look at other AP English exam essay examples of prompts. To get ready, experts recommend taking the time-tested steps:

  1. Find numerous poems and proses to train the reading & comprehension skills. Try to read and analyze them in mind ASAP. Mind that it is important to select the literary pieces from many various epochs as required by the exam’s instructions.
  2. Train a lot by reading a prompt a few minutes before moving to the offered piece and before getting to write. Annotate it. Many students benefit from searching for the particular keywords & key phrases – they are helpful during the writing process.
  3. Annotate the passage by keeping in mind the chosen keys and major themes.

AP English Language and Composition Exam Essay Prompts

It is important to practice different AP English language exams, and composition essay prompts before joining the examination. One of the good examples might be a famous poem by Robert Frost:

Nature's first green is gold
Her hardest hue to hold
Her early leaf's a flower
But only so an hour
Then leaf subsides to leaf,
So Eden sank to grief
So dawn goes down to day
Nothing gold can stay.


After reading & analyzing this piece, think about the answers to multiple-choice questions.

  1. A rhyme in the given literary piece is present to:
  • Allow easier reading
  • Taking part in a literary convention
  • Expanding a simile
  • Developing imagery
  1. Eden in the line number 6 stands for:
  • The mourning
  • Religious aspect of the author
  • Woman with the same name
  • Judeo-Christian approach
  1. Under ‘Nothing gold…,” what do you understand?
  • Wealth is transient
  • People are evil by their nature
  • Gold tarnishes without special efforts
  • Things that are good will remain this way
  1. Pick a sentence, which reflects the essence of the mood in the offered text?
  • The underlying mood is exciting & fun
  • The mood is outraged/emotional
  • The mood is romantic & calm
  • The mood is melancholic/depressive

The prompt may be given as the one, which requires a broad response. Some students believe such instructions are more complicated.

Think about how the structure of a particular literary piece adds up to the essence of the topic. Pretend the offered structure is villanelle and try to come up with the original explanation of its reflection of the work. Cover such aspects as repetitiveness. Do not forget to include the poem’s line numbers that prove your point.


That is everything an average student needs to know about AP English exam essay prompts. To succeed, we recommend getting extra essay help. No parent or classmate will be able to prepare you better than a professional online essay writing service full of certified writers. Order a custom essay from the native-speaking English team now!

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