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AP® Language & Composition A & B

Course Length:

Two one-semester courses (students must independently register for each semester)

Course Description:

This course is a demanding, college-level class that prepares students for the AP* English Language and Composition exam in May. Students focus on becoming skilled readers of prose written from different time periods and rhetorical contexts, as well as becoming skilled writers who compose for a variety of purposes. Emphasis is on expository, analytical and argumentative writing that forms the basis of academic and professional communications, as well as the personal and reflective writing that fosters the ability to write in any context. Students should check with their intended college to see which AP* English exams may exempt them from freshmen English composition requirements. For a more extensive course description visit:

AP courses have challenging time demands. Students taking AP courses should be able to dedicate significant time to reading and studying each week. It is not recommended that students take this course as a supplement to a regular core course but in replacement of it.


Advanced Placement courses are open to all students, but students should be prepared for college-level work and have strong writing and analytical skills. Generally speaking, students below Junior or Senior level do not have the writing background to be successful in this course.

Comprehensive Course Guide:

Required Materials:

    • The AP Language & Composition website
    • The AP Language & Composition Course Description
    • Access to a computer with word processing and presentation software
    • It is recommended that students purchase a test preparation book to work on independently. Speak to your instructor about which test prep book might be most appropriate.
    • Students will need to obtain the following texts, either from a library or a bookseller:
      • Segment One (Fall)
        • Civil War Edition: Choose one of the following:
          • Zen in the Art of Writing by Ray Bradbury
          • On Writing Well by William Zinsser
      • Segment Two (Spring)
        • Contemporary Edition: See the lesson entitled The Memoir for an overview of text choices and choose one of the following:
          • **Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass by Frederick Douglass
          • *A Work in Progress: A Memoir by Connor Franta
          • The Reason I Jump: The Inner Voice of a Thirteen-Year-Old Boy with Autism by Naoki Higashida
          • *The Color of Water: A Black Man’s Tribute to His White Mother by James McBride
          • *The Glass Castle: A Memoir by Jeannette Walls
          • *I am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban by Malala Yousafza
          • *I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
          • Dust Tracks on a Road by Zora Neale Hurston
          • ***Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl by Harriet Jacobs
          • **The Story of My Life by Helen Keller
        • Student Edition: See the Checklist lesson for an overview of text choices and choose one of the following:
          • Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard
          • *Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America by Barbara Ehrenreich
          • Mountains Beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, A Man Who Would Cure the World by Tracy Kidder
          • *The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America by Erik Larson
          • **Up from Slavery: An Autobiography by Booker T. Washington
          • Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer
          • The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
          • Warmth of Other Suns by Isabell Wilkerson
          • Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee by Dee Brown
          • The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown

* All works have rhetorical merit for the AP English student; texts marked with asterisks deal with mature subject matter or contain adult language or situations. If this is a concern for you or your family, please choose a different text from the list.

** This text can be read online.

Specific Technical/Software Requirements in Addition to General Requirements:

Please review the general original credit software requirements at

Course Availability (subject to resource and teacher availability):

Fall: A semester available
Spring: B semester available
Course is not available to join at semester without permission from MTDA Curriculum Director and Instructor.
Summer: Not available

Lead Teacher:

Jenna Clark, Helena High School,