Should I Take: AP English Literature and Composition?


Madeline Saunders

Have you ever felt that your lit and comp class is going too slow? Do you knock out those essay questions with ease? Are you up for a challenge that will allow you to explore the world of literature like you’ve never seen before? Take AP English Literature and Composition! You’ll be reading literary works from several genres and periods while learning to criticize, experience, interpret, and evaluate them. The reading helps prepare you for college-level classes, while essay writing addresses the critical analysis of literature, including expository, argumentative, and analytical essays. You also do creative writing, such as freewriting or response and reaction papers.

Passing the National Exam in May can net you a total of four college credits, which can possibly waive your literature requirements in college and allow you to make room for other classes.

Taking AP Lit can lead to 82 possible career areas in journalism, philosophy, and history, and 23 college majors including American studies and studio arts. “I have to take an AP class to major in art?”  Well, no, but it can help. AP Lit is an Advanced Placement class, which weighs your grade one point higher (e.g., a C in an AP class is weighed as a B on your transcript) and prepares you for college classes while challenging you and your mind. Passing the National Exam in May can net you a total of four college credits, which can possibly waive your literature requirements in college and allow you to make room for other classes.

“I was pretty worried,” said Naomi Grant, a senior taking AP Lit, “because all I’ve taken [so far] are normal classes, and I usually did not do well particularly in lit and comp classes, grade-wise. And now I’m taking AP Lit and AP Econ this year! And they’re a lot easier than I thought they would be.

“Now, actually, I have all A’s. It’s going pretty well.”

Senior Carissa Wight explained why she chose to take the class. “I’d rather be challenged in a hard class than be super bored in an ‘easy A’ class.”

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AP Lit students work on a philosophy presentation. From left to right: Jennifer Jasso, Ryan Nguyen, Justin Perez.

“[The books are] kinda boring sometimes,” said Justin Perez, a senior, on his opinion about the class. “Yeah, that’s probably the worst part [about this class], the writing isn’t too bad… It’s not super systematic, you know. You don’t just go about doing ‘your things,’ there’s more discussion than I would’ve expected, which is, I think, better than just sitting in the classroom doing the same thing every day.”

“[T]here’s more discussion than I would’ve expected, which is, I think, better than just sitting in the classroom doing the same thing every day.”

All three students agree: this class is not necessarily for those who despise reading. Wight got straight to the point: “If you don’t like reading and you’re not willing to read, don’t take this class.” Perez suggests not taking this class “if you have never read any book for school, ever.” However, if you like a challenge, Perez and Wight definitely recommend AP Lit.

“I would place [this class] at a medium,” said Perez. “It’s a little challenging sometimes, but it’s not too hard if you put in the work.”

“I thought I’d just be the dumb kid in class or something, but I’m not.”

“I think that it’s a good idea,” Grant said when asked what advice she would give to people considering AP Lit as their first AP class. “It helps you become more confident in your abilities, and it’s not like [good students] are just [inherently] born with knowledge and they’re smart. Everyone’s smart. You get the assignments and you learn in the class. You [gain] knowledge, you’re not just going to be born smarter than everyone else… I thought I’d just be the dumb kid in class or something, but I’m not.”

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