AP English Language Exam Refresher Review

We’re coming up on crunch time for the AP exams, and the AP English exams in language and literature are outliers. They are 100% skill based, so review doesn’t look like cramming terms, memorizing formulas, or staying up all night with a study group. It’s more of a refresher on what to expect, how to budget time, and how to strategize and plan.

In just three short hours, a teenager is asked to demonstrate a collegiate-level set of reading, writing, and analysis skills. For the AP Language exam, they’re usually asked do that at 8:00 am, a full two hours before the adolescent brain is ready to work.

Students are worried about “passing,” a concept that does not exist in the world of College Board, and they are hoping especially to score well enough to earn college credit and take out maybe $1000 less in loans.

Parents and principals are breathing down necks. No pressure.

And Now a Word About Your Worth

TO THE TEACHERS: Your value as an educator, as a human, will neither rise nor fall based on your students’ performance on this exam. You are enough.

TO THE STUDENTS: Your value as a student, as a human, will neither rise nor fall based on your performance on this exam. You are enough.

Ok, we got that out of the way.

Now let’s talk refresher review. There are four pieces to review and practice (skills, remember, not memorization): Multiple choice strategies for close reading, documentation, and composition; synthesis; rhetorical analysis, and argument. Four pieces–not 187 obscure terms like anaphora and polysyndeton or all the logical fallacies. Skills alone. Now some of those skills will require some review of processes. For example, How does parenthetical citation work for Question 1 of the Free Response section? What’s the best way to write an open thesis that has some teeth and lends itself to strong commentary?

Here are eleven blog posts I’ve written to help both teachers and students prep for the exam. Get to reading, make a plan, refresh your skill set, practice, and let it go.

AP English Language Multiple Choice (Part I of the Exam)

How to Explain Question Stems to Students

How to Practice AP Lang Multiple Choice Remotely

How to Outsmart the AP Language Multiple Choice Distractors

5 Tips for AP Lang Multiple Choice Prep

How to Make AP Lang Multiple Choice Prep Less Like Torture

AP Language Free Response (Part II of the Exam)

Rhetorical Analysis Review Tips

AP Language Synthesis Review Tips

The Big Picture of AP Lang Argumentation Review

General Tips for the AP Lang Exam

5 AP Lang Exam Review Ideas

Exam Day Strategies for AP Lang

Why Changes to the AP English Language Exam Are Good for Students

Would you like a free resource to help you review for the multiple choice section of the exam? Grab it here.


I’m a recovering high school English teacher and curriculum specialist with a passion for helping teachers leave school at school. I create engaging, rigorous curriculum resources for secondary ELA professionals, and I facilitate workshops to help those teachers implement the materials effectively.