AP® English Literature
How to approach ap® english literature free-response questions.
- The Albert Team
- Last Updated On: February 28, 2023
What We Review
What is the Format of AP® English Literature?
What content is covered in the free-response section of ap® english literature.
Return to the Table of Contents
How to Prepare for AP® English Literature Free-Response
Practice Makes Perfect
Focus on critical reading, utilize your syllabus, take notes as you read, carefully consider principal ideas, explore the context, read out loud, reread when necessary, consult your dictionary, thesaurus or encyclopedia, write, review, and rewrite regularly, how to answer ap® english literature free-response questions.
Understand the Subject Matter
Outline your essay, write clearly and eloquently, what are ap® english literature free-response questions like.
How Can I practice AP® English Literature Free-Response?
Looking for ap® english literature practice, interested in a school license, 2 thoughts on “how to approach ap® english literature free-response questions”.
Are you expected to have read the actual work previously for free response question #1 and #2? (For instance, would the test writers expect you have read Thomas Hardy’s The Mayor of Casterbridge (1886) for 2016 essay?)
Can you still pull out score 5, even if you haven’t read the work before and write your response solely based on the given passage?
Hi Jen, you would not have had to have read the passage before. You’d be expected to be able to interpret from the passage provided — this is how they assess you on your analysis skills.
Comments are closed.
AP® Score Calculators
Simulate how different MCQ and FRQ scores translate into AP® scores
AP® Review Guides
The ultimate review guides for AP® subjects to help you plan and structure your prep.
Core Subject Review Guides
Review the most important topics in Physics and Algebra 1 .
SAT® Score Calculator
See how scores on each section impacts your overall SAT® score
ACT® Score Calculator
See how scores on each section impacts your overall ACT® score
Grammar Review Hub
Comprehensive review of grammar skills
Download updated posters summarizing the main topics and structure for each AP® exam.
Interested in a school license?
Bring Albert to your school and empower all teachers with the world's best question bank for: ➜ SAT® & ACT® ➜ AP® ➜ ELA, Math, Science, & Social Studies aligned to state standards ➜ State assessments Options for teachers, schools, and districts.
The 2022 AP® Lit FRQ Questions Were Just Released: Now what?
Part 1 of 4
Written by Heather Garcia
In this four-part article, Michelle Lindsey and I will walk you through why the released FRQ questions for AP Lit are so valuable for classroom instruction, and we will explore each of the three released essays in a separate article. Our hope is that you will be able to use this four-part series as you begin thinking about planning for your AP Lit course for next year.
Looking for helpful AP English Literature resources? Check out our Summer Writing Workshops and our AP Teacher Courses .
Why are we excited? AP Lit teachers impatiently wait for the release of the essay questions that our students were asked to respond to on the AP Lit exam, and thankfully College Board doesn’t make us wait but a few days. This is good news because as soon as those prompts are released, we can discuss them with our students, and our students can discuss them with us. It creates a celebratory atmosphere in the room as the year quickly spirals to an end once the exam is over. If you haven’t seen the prompts yet, you can find them here .
Why are these past Free Response Questions valuable?
- They provide us a glimpse into the mind of College Board so we can prepare appropriately for the exam each year.
- When we use these past questions in our lesson plans, they help students familiarize themselves with College Board’s style of questioning, which creates comfort heading into the test in May.
- They expose students to a broad spectrum of literary excerpts and poems that they may not have read otherwise.
- It gives classes a common reading experience and reference points throughout the year so students can say “Hey, this poem is like the one about the Juggler from College Board”, and then a conversation can ensue.
- College Board will eventually release a sample high, mid, and low scoring essay for us to use in our classrooms with our students, which allows students to apply the rubric and determine what College Board is looking for from students.
How can I incorporate them into my course next year?
- Use the released prompts as weekly practice: You can rotate prompts out week by week or coordinate them to the units you are teaching according to the Course Exam Description provided by College Board.
- Model your own prompts after College Board’s: If you want to use the content you were planning to teach anyway, say a particular poem that you love or an excerpt from a novel or play you are already reading, you can use the 2022 prompts as models as you create your own College Board-like prompts.
- Incorporate them after each novel or play you read: The released Literary Argument prompts (question 3) can be used as discussion prompts, journal prompts, or timed essay prompts for novels or plays that you are already reading in class.
- Encourage students to analyze the released student samples: Since College Board releases a high, mid, and low scoring essay for each essay prompt, those are great examples to offer students. Students can “peer score” them on the rubric or they can analyze them with partners to determine what works and what might need improvement to raise the score.
While this is not an exhaustive list of the ways you can use College Board’s released prompts, it is a place to get started, especially if you haven’t been using these released prompts in the past.
Keep reading for more on each released question!
2022 AP Lit FRQ 1: “Shaving” by Richard Blanco
Part 2 of 4
Written by Michelle Lindsey
Here is the order of confidence my student feel about their essays: Question 3 takes the lead, Question 1 is a close second, and then Question 2 might be miles and miles and miles away from both of them. To ease some of my anxiety, my students convinced me they did a solid job on this Question 1 prompt. They said they went through our writing process, annotated the poem, planned their essay, and dazzled the College Board.
I always tell my kids to read the poem first to gain some context about what it’s about. This poem, luckily, was pretty transparent. It’s about a guy thinking about the act of shaving, then thinking about when he’s actually shaving, and linking it all to his late father. It was accessible, which we all appreciate. What my students struggled to find was the complexity , which is unfortunate considering it’s worded right there in the prompt- therefore, it has to be there somewhere.
Here is the prompt for Question 1:
The Prompt : In Richard Blanco’s poem “Shaving”, published in 1998, the speaker writes about the act of shaving. Read the poem carefully. Then, in a well-written essay, analyze how Blanco uses literary elements and techniques to develop the speaker’s complex associations with the ritual of shaving.
I asked my students if they broke down the prompt into questions, and they promised they did. If they actually did the work, their questions may have looked like this:
- What are the associations with the ritual of shaving?
- What is complex about those associations?
- How do we know? (can be answered in their body paragraphs)
- Why do we care? (something I make them add to encourage them to talk about the theme as a common reading)
Once they have the questions isolated, they can begin to hunt down the information they need within the poem.
In stanza 1, our author compares the growth of his beard to silent, misty, blurry things . He uses a simile to compare the growth of his beard to the ocean steam and spiderwebs in the mornings. We can see this. We can visualize the foggy clouds lifting off water or the puffy, yet obscure spiderwebs that cling to wet grass in the mornings. We don’t see these things forming, the formation is silent much like the rose replenishing itself with water from the vase. These are soft similes comparing the mystery of stubble growth to the passing of his father, which ironically came up quite suddenly within the poem and apparently it crept up on the author in real life too.
Looking at the two ideas paired together, the mysterious growth of beard hair, which is symbolic of manhood, and his father’s life passing them by, readers can begin to see the association between the act of shaving and something our narrator missed out on with his father.
Stanza 2 shifts to when he is actually shaving. So, now we have manhood and our narrator navigating something he was never shown how to do. He catches glimpses of his father literally and figuratively with the memory of the father shaving and his “legacy of black whispers” on his own face. This stanza doesn’t have the soft imagery as the first one. The diction is harsher with words like “masquerade”, “blade”, “dead pieces”, and “black seeds”. Readers gain a little more insight into the emotion behind the poem in stanza 2 and the idea that the association between shaving and his father might not be a pleasant one as we learn the father “never taught me how to shave.”
Stanza 3 has a bit of an epiphany but not an entirely happy one as he talks about how quickly everything can vanish. One morning he wakes up with a beard that, however long it took to form, can be easily erased with the swipe of his blade. Obviously, this connects with the unpredicted passing of his father.
Once my students navigate their way through the poem, they’re supposed to go back and answer those questions they formed from the prompt:
- What are the associations with the ritual of shaving? A: Our narrator associates the ritual of shaving with the passing of time and life (and his father).
- What is complex about those associations? A: Although he begins the poem in a calm manner, it is evident that our narrator (or author) still has unresolved grief he is still managing.
- How do we know? A: Stanza one has the calm similes and imagery- yet slight undertones of the unknown and stanzas 2 and 3 have the tone shift (but I would save these ideas for my body paragraphs).
- Why do we care? A: We care because life is a cycle, like shaving, life grows and is then cut off and more life grows after that.
Here is what my thesis might look like:
Blanco associates the ritual of shaving with the passing of time and life. He recognizes there is a beauty in the growing of life, symbolized by the beard, but also grief towards that life-ending in order to remind readers that life itself is cyclic.
I would follow up my introduction with a paragraph about stanza 1 and the calm atmosphere and then my next body paragraph would be about the grief evidenced in stanzas 2 and 3. I would probably only have two body paragraphs because I let the answers to the questions from the prompt drive my essays.
This isn’t perfect. After these questions were released, I also heard about ten different interpretations from my kiddos. I embrace their diverse thinking and as long as they can write their ideas with conviction and solid evidence, they’ll be ok.
The 2022 AP Lit FRQ 2: Examining Linda Hogan’s People of the Whale
Part 3 of 4
Those few days between students testing and when the AP Literature FRQ questions are released seem infinite. I can’t be the only one checking the website obsessively just hoping they will drop those little gems a bit early – right? (Right?)
Now that they are public, they are open to scrutiny, and for question two, there was a lot to analyze.
For context, or for those of you who haven’t read the prompt yet, here is what College Board was asking the students for question two, the Prose Analysis Essay in 2022.
The following excerpt is from Linda Hogan’s novel People of the Whale, published in 2008. In this passage, the narrator described two events that occur in a community: an infant’s birth shortly followed by an octopus’s walking out of the sea. Read the passage carefully. Then, in a well-written essay, analyze how the author uses literary elements and techniques to develop a complex characterization of the community. In your response you should do the following: ● Respond to the prompt with a thesis that presents a defensible interpretation. ● Select and use evidence to support your line of reasoning. ● Explain how the evidence supports your line of reasoning. ● Use appropriate grammar and punctuation in communicating your argument.
After looking at this prompt, there is a lot to unpack before moving into analyzing the passage.
Here are the questions I know I need to answer as I read the passage, based on the above prompt:
- How would I define this community and how it is characterized?
- Why or how is it complex?
- What literary elements or techniques are being employed to create this characterization?
These questions can lead to a rough outline of the essay to write, but first, we need to really examine the excerpt provided from People of the Whale . Students may choose to do this in chunks, taking one paragraph at a time and really examining it through the lens of the questions above. Or, they may read the passage as a whole first to get an overall gist of what the excerpt is about and then go back and look deeper at each of the paragraphs.
Regardless of the approach they take, this excerpt is one of the longer ones that College Board has put out in recent years, and there is a lot of depth within the excerpt to pull from as students write.
After reading through the Prose Analysis Essay Excerpt , we can answer the questions above. This is how I would respond to them, but keep in mind, that students may respond differently, as might you. That is okay. That, in fact, is to be celebrated because the readers from College Board do not expect (or desire) to read essays that are carbon copies of one another.
Here is how I would approach these questions:
- This community is closely connected and ruled by a combination of fear, superstition, and religion that clouds their perceptions of reality as they treat the octopus as a deity that consumed and enriches their lives despite their poverty.
- The complexity arises because the people of the town do not all respond the same way to the octopus residing in the cave- causing tension and unrest amongst the community and many ultimately ended up worshiping the octopus out of fear or devotion.
- Characterization of the community occurs through the use of mounting tension within the narrative, through the use of personification of the octopus, and through the various reactions of the townsfolk (selection of detail).
My thesis statement for this prompt might look like this:
This community is characterized primarily by its reaction to the octopus, which they treat as a deity to both pray to and fear, emphasizing their desperation and also their faith in forces beyond themselves.
In the chart below you will see the lines that I would pull for evidence if I were writing this essay and how I would connect them to my thesis.
There are SO many ways to approach this excerpt, and hopefully, students were able to take the time to explore them as they were writing their essays, but even if time didn’t permit them to explore the passage as thoroughly as they might have hoped, there is no doubt that this Prose Analysis Essay question is rich in detail and provided many opportunities for interpretation and analysis.
2022 AP Lit FRQ 3: Accepting or Rejecting Hierarchical Structure
Part 4 of 4
With AP Literature testing finally over and the College Board finally releasing the Free Response Questions, it’s time to talk about Question 3.
Fortunately for my kids, we had a class discussion recapping the novels we read throughout the year. We read Homegoing , The Nightingale , Clap When You Land, Twelfth Night, and then the kids had group novels they read. Some groups chose Fahrenheit 451, A Thousand White Women, and The Great Alone. Throughout the discussion, we recapped themes, major characters and their complexities, and powerful quotes. We ended by talking about common themes all the novels shared and we just so happen to talk about how all our novels challenge societal norms, political power, etc. So, it was perfect. But I know we got lucky with that prompt and not everyone was in our boat.
Of course, once the test was released, upon student request, I dissected the Question 3 prompt, and how I would have tackled this prompt.
The Prompt: Many works of literature feature characters who accept or reject a hierarchical structure. This hierarchy may be social, economic, political, or familial, or it may apply to some other kind of structure. Either from your own reading or from the list below, choose a work of fiction in which a character responds to a hierarchy in some significant way. Then, in a well written essay, analyze how that character’s response to the hierarchy contributes to an interpretation of the work as a whole period do not merely summarize the plot.
Let’s start by breaking down this prompt into the sub-questions nested within:
- What is the hierarchy within the novel?
- Which character has a response to it?
- How does that character respond?
- What is the interpretation of the work as a whole?
- What makes that response significant regarding that interpretation?
There are various ways this prompt can be broken down, but these seem like the main gist of the prompt. I love this prompt, by the way.
Before students can begin answering these questions, they may have needed to look at the context the College Board gave them about the types of hierarchies in order to decide which novel to choose.
I provided some examples of the different hierarchies in the chart below. This is not an exhaustive list, but it certainly can be a good starting point if you plan on using this prompt next year as practice. I also explored these ideas with my favorite novel from this year.
After determining how these hierarchies exist within some of our novels, we could use these ideas to answer the questions nested within the prompt. Again, The Nightingale was my favorite novel of the year so I will use that one.
- What is the hierarchy within the novel? A: Familial hierarchy and political hierarchy play the largest roles. I would mention both hierarchies to bring in some complexity
- Which character has a response to it? A: Although both sisters respond to both hierarchies, Isabelle would be my focus because she feels she is at the very bottom of both hierarchies and has the largest character arch.
- How does that character respond? A: She responds with rebellion, anger, and recklessness
- What is the interpretation of the work as a whole? A: The entire novel focuses on fighting against injustice- in all different forms.
- What makes that response significant regarding that interpretation? A: Isabelle is sick of feeling inferior to her sister and feeling disposable by the Nazis, so she decides to do something about it. She shows readers that a single person can truly make a big difference.
My thesis would look something like this: Isabelle fights desperately to get out of the bottom of the familial hierarchy with her sister and the political one with the Nazi regime. Her rebellion against the injustice she faces and sees others facing is lifesaving, and life-changing, despite both hierarchies telling her she is invaluable and could never make a difference.
I would then spend a body paragraph defending how Vianne made her feel like a burden and an outcast within her own family. I would include all sorts of specific examples of moments when Vianne causes Isabelle to feel invaluable. I would then argue how her rebellion saved her own life, not in a literal way, but in an emotional sense as she gained self-worth. That drive to prove her worth and ability to make a difference would lead me to the next paragraph.
My next body paragraph would focus on the political hierarchy and how the Nazis constantly made her, and the people in her community, feel disposable and worthless. There are numerous examples of this as well that I would include. I would then link that disposable feeling to her rebellion and all the airmen she saved as she took on the persona of “The Nightingale”, truly making a massive difference in the lives of not only the airmen and their families, but causing some serious turmoil within the Nazi regime.
Is this essay perfect? Probably not. But this essay is accessible and when I showed this essay structure to my students after their exam (and after it was legal), they weren’t afraid that their essays were too far from the mark. They felt confident they were on the right track. And, when I show this essay idea to my class next year, they won’t be intimidated by the tasks within the prompt.
And there you have it. The breakdown of every free-response question on the 2022 AP English Literature Exam. We hope this was helpful.
Heather Garcia is an English teacher at Charlotte High School, Florida, where she teaches AP ® English Literature and AP ® English Language. She is a professional development leader in her district, running annual new-teacher trainings and is now the Curriculum and Instructional Specialist for her district for grades 6-12. After 16 years of hands-on experience, Heather has developed a series of strategies to help her students navigate challenging texts. Her favorite book is the Steinbeck classic, East of Eden .
Michelle Lindsey has been a high school teacher in Florida for nine years, and currently teaches AP® Capstone as well as literature and writing courses.
Please read Marco Learning’s Terms and Conditions, click to agree, and submit to continue to your content.
Please read Marco Learning’s Terms and Conditions, click to agree, and submit at the bottom of the window.
Last Modified: 1/24/2023
Accessing the Website and Account Security
We reserve the right to withdraw or amend this Website, and any service or material we provide on the Website, in our sole discretion without notice. We will not be liable if for any reason all or any part of the Website is unavailable at any time or for any period. From time to time, we may restrict access to some parts of the Website, or the entire Website, to users, including registered users.
If you choose, or are provided with, a user name, password, or any other piece of information as part of our security procedures, you must treat such information as confidential, and you must not disclose it to any other person or entity. You also acknowledge that your account is personal to you and agree not to provide any other person with access to this Website or portions of it using your user name, password, or other security information. You agree to notify us immediately of any unauthorized access to or use of your user name or password or any other breach of security. You also agree to ensure that you exit from your account at the end of each session. You should use particular caution when accessing your account from a public or shared computer so that others are not able to view or record your password or other personal information.
Intellectual Property Rights
The Website and its entire contents, features, and functionality (including but not limited to all information, software, text, displays, images, graphics, video, other visuals, and audio, and the design, selection, and arrangement thereof) are owned by the Company, its licensors, or other providers of such material and are protected by United States and international copyright, trademark, patent, trade secret, and other intellectual property or proprietary rights laws. Your use of the Website does not grant to you ownership of any content, software, code, date or materials you may access on the Website.
- Your computer may temporarily store copies of such materials in RAM incidental to your accessing and viewing those materials.
- You may store files that are automatically cached by your Web browser for display enhancement purposes.
- You may print or download one copy of a reasonable number of pages of the Website for your own personal, non-commercial use and not for further reproduction, publication, or distribution.
- If we provide desktop, mobile, or other applications for download, you may download a single copy to your computer or mobile device solely for your own personal, non-commercial use, provided you agree to be bound by our end user license agreement for such applications.
- If we provide social media features with certain content, you may take such actions as are enabled by such features.
You must not:
- Modify copies of any materials from this site.
- Use any illustrations, photographs, video or audio sequences, or any graphics separately from the accompanying text.
- Delete or alter any copyright, trademark, or other proprietary rights notices from copies of materials from this site.
You must not access or use for any commercial purposes any part of the Website or any services or materials available through the Website.
If you wish to make any use of material on the Website other than that set out in this section, please contact us
Trademarks, logos, service marks, trade names, and all related names, logos, product and service names, designs, and slogans are trademarks of the Company or its affiliates or licensors (collectively, the “ Trademarks ”). You must not use such Trademarks without the prior written permission of the Company. All other names, logos, product and service names, designs, and slogans on this Website are the trademarks of their respective owners.
- In any way that violates any applicable federal, state, local, or international law or regulation (including, without limitation, any laws regarding the export of data or software to and from the US or other countries).
- For the purpose of exploiting, harming, or attempting to exploit or harm minors in any way by exposing them to inappropriate content, asking for personally identifiable information, or otherwise.
- To transmit, or procure the sending of, any advertising or promotional material, including any “junk mail”, “chain letter”, “spam”, or any other similar solicitation.
- To impersonate or attempt to impersonate the Company, a Company employee, another user, or any other person or entity (including, without limitation, by using email addresses or screen names associated with any of the foregoing).
- To engage in any other conduct that restricts or inhibits anyone’s use or enjoyment of the Website, or which, as determined by us, may harm the Company or users of the Website or expose them to liability.
Additionally, you agree not to:
- Use the Website in any manner that could disable, overburden, damage, or impair the site or interfere with any other party’s use of the Website, including their ability to engage in real time activities through the Website.
- Use any robot, spider, or other automatic device, process, or means to access the Website for any purpose, including monitoring or copying any of the material on the Website.
- Use any manual process to monitor or copy any of the material on the Website or for any other unauthorized purpose without our prior written consent.
- Use any device, software, or routine that interferes with the proper working of the Website.
- Introduce any viruses, Trojan horses, worms, logic bombs, or other material that is malicious or technologically harmful.
- Attempt to gain unauthorized access to, interfere with, damage, or disrupt any parts of the Website, the server on which the Website is stored, or any server, computer, or database connected to the Website.
- Attack the Website via a denial-of-service attack or a distributed denial-of-service attack.
- Otherwise attempt to interfere with the proper working of the Website.
If you use, or assist another person in using the Website in any unauthorized way, you agree that you will pay us an additional $50 per hour for any time we spend to investigate and correct such use, plus any third party costs of investigation we incur (with a minimum $300 charge). You agree that we may charge any credit card number provided for your account for such amounts. You further agree that you will not dispute such a charge and that we retain the right to collect any additional actual costs.
The Website may contain message boards, chat rooms, personal web pages or profiles, forums, bulletin boards, and other interactive features (collectively, “ Interactive Services “) that allow users to post, submit, publish, display, or transmit to other users or other persons (hereinafter, “ post “) content or materials (collectively, “ User Contributions “) on or through the Website.
Any User Contribution you post to the site will be considered non-confidential and non-proprietary. By providing any User Contribution on the Website, you grant us and our affiliates and service providers, and each of their and our respective licensees, successors, and assigns the right to use, reproduce, modify, perform, display, distribute, and otherwise disclose to third parties any such material for any purpose.
You represent and warrant that:
- You own or control all rights in and to the User Contributions and have the right to grant the license granted above to us and our affiliates and service providers, and each of their and our respective licensees, successors, and assigns.
You understand and acknowledge that you are responsible for any User Contributions you submit or contribute, and you, not the Company, have full responsibility for such content, including its legality, reliability, accuracy, and appropriateness.
For any academic source materials such as textbooks and workbooks which you submit to us in connection with our online tutoring services, you represent and warrant that you are entitled to upload such materials under the “fair use” doctrine of copyright law. In addition, if you request that our system display a representation of a page or problem from a textbook or workbook, you represent and warrant that you are in proper legal possession of such textbook or workbook and that your instruction to our system to display a page or problem from your textbook or workbook is made for the sole purpose of facilitating your tutoring session, as “fair use” under copyright law.
We are not responsible or liable to any third party for the content or accuracy of any User Contributions posted by you or any other user of the Website.
Monitoring and Enforcement: Termination
We have the right to:
- Remove or refuse to post any User Contributions for any or no reason in our sole discretion.
- Disclose your identity or other information about you to any third party who claims that material posted by you violates their rights, including their intellectual property rights or their right to privacy.
- Take appropriate legal action, including without limitation, referral to law enforcement, for any illegal or unauthorized use of the Website.
Without limiting the foregoing, we have the right to cooperate fully with any law enforcement authorities or court order requesting or directing us to disclose the identity or other information of anyone posting any materials on or through the Website. YOU WAIVE AND HOLD HARMLESS THE COMPANY AND ITS AFFILIATES, LICENSEES, AND SERVICE PROVIDERS FROM ANY CLAIMS RESULTING FROM ANY ACTION TAKEN BY ANY OF THE FOREGOING PARTIES DURING, OR TAKEN AS A CONSEQUENCE OF, INVESTIGATIONS BY EITHER SUCH PARTIES OR LAW ENFORCEMENT AUTHORITIES.
However, we do not undertake to review material before it is posted on the Website, and cannot ensure prompt removal of objectionable material after it has been posted. Accordingly, we assume no liability for any action or inaction regarding transmissions, communications, or content provided by any user or third party. We have no liability or responsibility to anyone for performance or nonperformance of the activities described in this section.
These content standards apply to any and all User Contributions and use of Interactive Services. User Contributions must in their entirety comply with all applicable federal, state, local, and international laws and regulations. Without limiting the foregoing, User Contributions must not:
- Contain any material that is defamatory, obscene, indecent, abusive, offensive, harassing, violent, hateful, inflammatory, or otherwise objectionable.
- Promote sexually explicit or pornographic material, violence, or discrimination based on race, sex, religion, nationality, disability, sexual orientation, or age.
- Infringe any patent, trademark, trade secret, copyright, or other intellectual property or other rights of any other person.
- Be likely to deceive any person.
- Promote any illegal activity, or advocate, promote, or assist any unlawful act.
- Cause annoyance, inconvenience, or needless anxiety or be likely to upset, embarrass, alarm, or annoy any other person.
- Impersonate any person, or misrepresent your identity or affiliation with any person or organization.
- Involve commercial activities or sales, such as contests, sweepstakes, and other sales promotions, barter, or advertising.
- Give the impression that they emanate from or are endorsed by us or any other person or entity, if this is not the case.
(collectively, the “ Content Standards ”)
If you believe that any User Contributions violate your copyright, please contact us and provide the following information:
- An electronic or physical signature of the person authorized to act on behalf of the owner of the copyright interest;
- A description of the copyrighted work that you claim has been infringed;
- A description of where the material you claim is infringing is located on the website (and such description must reasonably sufficient to enable us to find the alleged infringing material);
- Your address, telephone number and email address;
- A written statement by you that you have a good faith belief that the disputed use is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent, or the law; and
- A statement by you, made under the penalty of perjury, that the above information in your notice is accurate and that you are the copyright owner or authorized to act on the copyright owner’s behalf.
We may terminate the accounts of any infringers.
Reliance on Information Posted
From time to time, we may make third party opinions, advice, statements, offers, or other third party information or content available on the Website or from tutors under tutoring services (collectively, “Third Party Content”). All Third Party Content is the responsibility of the respective authors thereof and should not necessarily be relied upon. Such third party authors are solely responsible for such content. WE DO NOT (I) GUARANTEE THE ACCURACY, COMPLETENESS OR USEFULNESS OF ANY THIRD PARTY CONTENT ON THE SITE OR ANY VERIFICATION SERVICES DONE ON OUR TUTORS OR INSTRUCTORS, OR (II) ADOPT, ENDORSE OR ACCEPT RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE ACCURACY OR RELIABILITY OF ANY OPINION, ADVICE, OR STATEMENT MADE BY ANY TUTOR OR INSTRUCTOR OR ANY PARTY THAT APPEARS ON THE WEBSITE. UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES WILL WE BE RESPONSBILE OR LIABLE FOR ANY LOSS OR DAMAGE RESULTING FROM YOUR RELIANCE ON INFORMATION OR OTHER CONENT POSTED ON OR AVAILBLE FROM THE WEBSITE.
Changes to the Website
We may update the content on this Website from time to time, but its content is not necessarily complete or up-to-date. Any of the material on the Website may be out of date at any given time, and we are under no obligation to update such material.
Information About You and Your Visits to the Website
Online Purchases and Other Terms and Conditions
Linking to the Website and Social Media Features
You may link to our homepage, provided you do so in a way that is fair and legal and does not damage our reputation or take advantage of it, but you must not establish a link in such a way as to suggest any form of association, approval, or endorsement on our part without our express written consent.
This Website may provide certain social media features that enable you to:
- Link from your own or certain third-party websites to certain content on this Website.
- Send emails or other communications with certain content, or links to certain content, on this Website.
- Cause limited portions of content on this Website to be displayed or appear to be displayed on your own or certain third-party websites.
You may use these features solely as they are provided by us, and solely with respect to the content they are displayed with and otherwise in accordance with any additional terms and conditions we provide with respect to such features. Subject to the foregoing, you must not:
- Establish a link from any website that is not owned by you.
- Cause the Website or portions of it to be displayed on, or appear to be displayed by, any other site, for example, framing, deep linking, or in-line linking.
- Link to any part of the Website other than the homepage.
You agree to cooperate with us in causing any unauthorized framing or linking immediately to stop. We reserve the right to withdraw linking permission without notice.
We may disable all or any social media features and any links at any time without notice in our discretion.
Links from the Website
If the Website contains links to other sites and resources provided by third parties (“ Linked Sites ”), these links are provided for your convenience only. This includes links contained in advertisements, including banner advertisements and sponsored links. You acknowledge and agree that we have no control over the contents, products, services, advertising or other materials which may be provided by or through those Linked sites or resources, and accept no responsibility for them or for any loss or damage that may arise from your use of them. If you decide to access any of the third-party websites linked to this Website, you do so entirely at your own risk and subject to the terms and conditions of use for such websites.
You agree that if you include a link from any other website to the Website, such link will open in a new browser window and will link to the full version of an HTML formatted page of this Website. You are not permitted to link directly to any image hosted on the Website or our products or services, such as using an “in-line” linking method to cause the image hosted by us to be displayed on another website. You agree not to download or use images hosted on this Website or another website, for any purpose, including, without limitation, posting such images on another website. You agree not to link from any other website to this Website in any manner such that the Website, or any page of the Website, is “framed,” surrounded or obfuscated by any third party content, materials or branding. We reserve all of our rights under the law to insist that any link to the Website be discontinued, and to revoke your right to link to the Website from any other website at any time upon written notice to you.
The owner of the Website is based in the state of New Jersey in the United States. We provide this Website for use only by persons located in the United States. We make no claims that the Website or any of its content is accessible or appropriate outside of the United States. Access to the Website may not be legal by certain persons or in certain countries. If you access the Website from outside the United States, you do so on your own initiative and are responsible for compliance with local laws.
Disclaimer of Warranties
You understand that we cannot and do not guarantee or warrant that files available for downloading from the internet or the Website will be free of viruses or other destructive code. You are responsible for implementing sufficient procedures and checkpoints to satisfy your particular requirements for anti-virus protection and accuracy of data input and output, and for maintaining a means external to our site for any reconstruction of any lost data. TO THE FULLEST EXTENT PROVIDED BY LAW, WE WILL NOT BE LIABLE FOR ANY LOSS OR DAMAGE CAUSED BY A DISTRIBUTED DENIAL-OF-SERVICE ATTACK, VIRUSES, OR OTHER TECHNOLOGICALLY HARMFUL MATERIAL THAT MAY INFECT YOUR COMPUTER EQUIPMENT, COMPUTER PROGRAMS, DATA, OR OTHER PROPRIETARY MATERIAL DUE TO YOUR USE OF THE WEBSITE OR ANY SERVICES OR ITEMS OBTAINED THROUGH THE WEBSITE OR TO YOUR DOWNLOADING OF ANY MATERIAL POSTED ON IT, OR ON ANY WEBSITE LINKED TO IT.
YOUR USE OF THE WEBSITE, ITS CONTENT, AND ANY SERVICES OR ITEMS OBTAINED THROUGH THE WEBSITE IS AT YOUR OWN RISK. THE WEBSITE, ITS CONTENT, AND ANY SERVICES OR ITEMS OBTAINED THROUGH THE WEBSITE ARE PROVIDED ON AN “AS IS” AND “AS AVAILABLE” BASIS, WITHOUT ANY WARRANTIES OF ANY KIND, EITHER EXPRESS OR IMPLIED. NEITHER THE COMPANY NOR ANY PERSON ASSOCIATED WITH THE COMPANY MAKES ANY WARRANTY OR REPRESENTATION WITH RESPECT TO THE COMPLETENESS, SECURITY, RELIABILITY, QUALITY, ACCURACY, OR AVAILABILITY OF THE WEBSITE. WITHOUT LIMITING THE FOREGOING, NEITHER THE COMPANY NOR ANYONE ASSOCIATED WITH THE COMPANY REPRESENTS OR WARRANTS THAT THE WEBSITE, ITS CONTENT, OR ANY SERVICES OR ITEMS OBTAINED THROUGH THE WEBSITE WILL BE ACCURATE, RELIABLE, ERROR-FREE, OR UNINTERRUPTED, THAT DEFECTS WILL BE CORRECTED, THAT OUR SITE OR THE SERVER THAT MAKES IT AVAILABLE ARE FREE OF VIRUSES OR OTHER HARMFUL COMPONENTS, OR THAT THE WEBSITE OR ANY SERVICES OR ITEMS OBTAINED THROUGH THE WEBSITE WILL OTHERWISE MEET YOUR NEEDS OR EXPECTATIONS.
TO THE FULLEST EXTENT PROVIDED BY LAW, THE COMPANY HEREBY DISCLAIMS ALL WARRANTIES OF ANY KIND, WHETHER EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, STATUTORY, OR OTHERWISE, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO ANY WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY, NON-INFRINGEMENT, AND FITNESS FOR PARTICULAR PURPOSE.
THE FOREGOING DOES NOT AFFECT ANY WARRANTIES THAT CANNOT BE EXCLUDED OR LIMITED UNDER APPLICABLE LAW.
Limitation on Liability
TO THE FULLEST EXTENT PROVIDED BY LAW, IN NO EVENT WILL THE COMPANY, ITS AFFILIATES, OR THEIR LICENSORS, SERVICE PROVIDERS, EMPLOYEES, AGENTS, OFFICERS, OR DIRECTORS BE LIABLE FOR DAMAGES OF ANY KIND, UNDER ANY LEGAL THEORY, ARISING OUT OF OR IN CONNECTION WITH YOUR USE, OR INABILITY TO USE, THE WEBSITE, ANY WEBSITES LINKED TO IT, ANY CONTENT ON THE WEBSITE OR SUCH OTHER WEBSITES, INCLUDING ANY DIRECT, INDIRECT, SPECIAL, INCIDENTAL, CONSEQUENTIAL, OR PUNITIVE DAMAGES, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO, PERSONAL INJURY, PAIN AND SUFFERING, EMOTIONAL DISTRESS, LOSS OF REVENUE, LOSS OF PROFITS, LOSS OF BUSINESS OR ANTICIPATED SAVINGS, LOSS OF USE, LOSS OF GOODWILL, LOSS OF DATA, AND WHETHER CAUSED BY TORT (INCLUDING NEGLIGENCE), BREACH OF CONTRACT, OR OTHERWISE, EVEN IF FORESEEABLE.
THE FOREGOING DOES NOT AFFECT ANY LIABILITY THAT CANNOT BE EXCLUDED OR LIMITED UNDER APPLICABLE LAW.
Governing Law and Jurisdiction
Any proceeding to enforce this arbitration provision, including any proceeding to confirm, modify, or vacate an arbitration award, may be commenced in any court of competent jurisdiction. In the event that this arbitration provision is for any reason held to be unenforceable, any litigation against Company must be commenced only in the federal or state courts located in Monmouth County, New Jersey. You hereby irrevocably consent to the jurisdiction of those courts for such purposes.
Limitation on Time to File Claims
Waiver and Severability
Communications and Miscellaneous
If you provide us your email address, you agree and consent to receive email messages from us. These emails may be transaction or relationship communications relating to the products or services we offer, such as administrative notices and service announcements or changes, or emails containing commercial offers, promotions or special offers from us.
Your Comments and Concerns
This website is operated by Marco Learning LLC, a New Jersey limited liability company with an address of 113 Monmouth Road, Suite 1, Wrightstown, New Jersey 08562.
Please contact us for all other feedback, comments, requests for technical support, and other communications relating to the Website.
Teaching Students to Master the AP® Lit FRQ
- September 6, 2023
- AP Literature , Writing
We all want our students to do well on the AP® exams. And helping them to do well on the AP® Lit essay also known as the AP® Lit FRQ is paramount to that achievement.
As an AP® teacher for almost 20 years, I feel like the AP® literature essay is an area where we as teachers can see the most growth throughout the school year. If we target skills like writing a complex thesis along with really helping students to understand the anatomy of the prompt, they can truly get better. And when they get better, they score higher on the rubric.
What is the Anatomy of the AP® Lit Essay Prompts?
The Anatomy of the Prompt is just like the anatomy of the body which consists of structure and internal workings. We teach students to understand the anatomy of the AP® Lit Essay by helping them to understand what to expect with each essay question.
Why you should directly teach the AP® Lit FRQ
Each of the AP® Lit FRQs has a predictable structure. This is even more true since the College Board came out with their stable prompt wording in 2019. So the more we can help our students understand about how each FRQ is structured, the better they will be able to respond.
What students need to know about the AP® Lit FRQ
Students need to know three distinct parts of the AP® Lit FRQs. Once they do, they can use them to their advantage in their writing.
The first is the background sentence. Whether it is the AP® Lit poetry prompt, the AP® Lit prose prompt or the AP® Lit literary argument, all the essays will give a sentence of context. In the poetry essay and the prose essay, this will be a sentence that includes the title, author and date along with the briefest of summaries. For the literary argument it will be the topic or theme of the prompt. This often comes in the form of a quotation.
The second is the task. Students need to be able to identify what exactly the AP® Lit FRQs are actually telling them to do. The prompt always asks them to analyze. Students need to be prepared to do true analysis as opposed to merely summarizing the text.
Finally, students need to understand the concept of complexity and the meaning of the work as a whole. Both are challenging ideas. As a result, we need to explicitly teach them.
How do I set my students up for success on the AP® Lit Essay?
I teach them the Anatomy of the Prompt . I use anchor charts that outline what they can expect with each AP® Lit Essay Prompt. The anchor charts point out what they can glean from the background sentence and how it might be useful. Additionally, we dive deep into the idea of complexity and focus on concepts that are complex. Finally we focus on how they can address the meaning of the work as a whole.
If you are looking for more on writing for the AP® Lit FRQs, you might want to start with the thesis. The thesis will be the foundation of getting your students to write about the complexity of the text. You can read more about that here.
Mastering the AP® Lit Thesis
What is Good Writing? A College Professor Weighs In (A Better Way to Teach)
5 Proven Methods for Developing Ideas in Writing (An ELA Experience)
8 Things to Know for the AP® Literature Exam (Much Ado About Teaching)
Shop This Post
The Anatomy of the Prompt Bundle : Ready to use anchor charts and practice passages.
more from the blog
Line of Reasoning: 3 Activities for AP® Literature
One of the essential skills that our AP® English students need is to develop a line of reasoning. But the truth is that students struggle
Teaching How to Embed a Quote through Double Entry Journals
Even if this is your first year, if you have assigned any sort of evidence based response, I know you have seen this. It is
Teaching Theme: 3 Activities to Help Students Identify Theme in Literature
I find that teaching theme is one of the most challenging tasks I do during the year. Theme in literature is a very abstract idea
Leave a Reply Cancel reply
Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *
Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.
Hi, I'm Jeanmarie!
I help AP Literature and High School English teachers create engaging classrooms so that students will be prepared college and beyond.
Learn more about me and how I can help you here
Your free guide to planning a full year of AP Literature
AP® is a trademark registered by the College Board, which is not affiliated with, and does not endorse, this product.
It’s All Happening Online —Useful Links
AP Central & YouTube -- Finding your way around the Advanced Placement website can be tricky. Direct links listed below (with some of those acronyms defined).
- AP Language Home Page -- Classroom Resources
- AP Language Exam -- CED (Course and Exam Description), 2021 FRQ (Free Response Questions), and Past Exam FRQs (from 1999).
- AP Literature Home Page -- Classroom Resources
- AP Literature Exam -- CED (Course and Exam Description), 2021 FRQ (Free Response Questions), and Past Exam FRQs (from 1999).
- AP Teacher Community (Skip Nicholson) -- Join the AP English community, a combined group for Language & Literature. New version of the old ListServ .
- AP Language YouTube Channel (Live Review) -- 11 videos
- AP Literature YouTube Channel (Live Review) -- 10 videos
AP English FaceBook Groups
- A P Language and Composition Teachers (Kristy Seidel)
- A P Literature and Composition (Brian Sztabnik)
- A P Literature and Composition Teachers (Michael Yeakey & Heather Davide Carlotz)
Teacher Sites -- Where have all the teachers gone? On sabbatical, into administration, to commercial sites, to retirement. So sorry.
- Tim Freitas’ The Garden of English : Delightful, often surprising viewpoint. Sense of humor meets excellence. Love all the videos, handouts and posters.
- Susa n Barber’s and Brian Sztabnik’s Much Ado About Teachin g : The reincarnation of AP LIT Help. These gifted inspiring teachers have mastered the ability to explain everything AP clearly. Articles, videos, handouts are amazing.
- Beth Hall’s Coach Hall Writes offersmany free AP Language materials with links to Teachers Pay Teachers materials. Subscribe to her YouTube channel for excellent, focused videos.
- Brian Tolentino shares dozens of short videos on his YouTube Channel, Tolentino Teaching . SAT Vocabulary and Rhetorical Terms are especially helpful.
- Kristian Kuhn’s home page shares some excellent assignments. Teachers Teaching Writing , his YouTube channel has dozens of clever, useful videos for AP Literature.
- Susan Barber’s Teach with Class site offers Teacher Resources.
- Jerry Brown’ s website has buried treasure, well worth seeking.
- Don Pogebra’s Quixotic Pedagogue : Gorgeous website with generous materials. Retired.
- Ronnie Campagna’s DropBox is a wealth of materials. Please download; do not delete or move.
- Dawn Hogue’s Online English Resources provides a Teacher’s Toolbox and other online resources for AP and regular classes.
- M sEffie’s LifeSavers : Several ways to get there – Google “mseffie” [first hit], use the short domain router (mseffie.com). Mine. What can I say? Such a nerd!
- Brian Tolentino Teaching includes 35 term specific videos
- Dictionary of Literary Terms (Joel Littauer)
- Literary History
- Literary Terms and Definitions (Kip Wheeler)
- Handbook of Rhetorical Devices (Robert Harris)
- Oregon State Guide to English Literary Terms -- videos for more than 60 terms
- Poetic Terms (Robert Shubinsky)
- Elements of Style
- Guide to Grammar and Writing
- Purdue OWL (Online Writing Lab )
Literary Theory and Criticism
- Literary Resources on the Net (Jack Lynch)
- Literary Theory and Criticism (Brigham Young University)
- Guide to Critical Theory (Dino Felluga)
- Introduction to Modern Literary Theory (Kristi Siegel)
Miscellaneous Resources -- $ Resource Requiring Payment
- TeachIt is a United Kingdom site (for their teachers) whose worksheets approach texts in a different way than we do. Though designed for their “regular” classes, the emphasis is usually on the kind of analysis we do in Advanced Placement classes. PDF files are free to download if you register.
- Thought.Co Writing is the old About.com and offers a disorganized but intriguing mess of articles on language, literature, art, and more -- tips on grammar, sample paragraphs of every mode, suggestted topic lists, critical analyses, passages by well-known authors focusing on specific stylistic traits, and so on. The short introductions analyze each piece and help focus discussion.
- TED Ed: Lessons Worth Sharing -- Based upon the regular TED Talks and a library of original animated videos, TedEd provides a platform for teachers to share lessons based on the videos.
- CrackAP.com -- provides free access to 50+ practice multiple-choice exams on various passages, many of them from previous AP exams. A very awkward confusing site, but students get immediate assessment and explanations. Just IGNORE all the pop-ups & exterior clicks. AP Language Practices . AP Literature Practices .
- PrepScholar -- One-stop location for every AP Literature Practice Test available, free & official, including many older ones not available at AP Central. AP Language . AP Literature .
- $ Applied Practice -- Resource Guides for more than 100 titles. Each includes AP style multiple-choice and free response questions withy answers. With explanations of answers. Other stuff available, too.
- $ Prestwick House -- Reasonably priced packages include Activity Packs , Response Journals , Literature Teaching Units , AP Teaching Units , and Multiple Critical Perspectives , Response Journals , and Activity Packs . Samples available to download to check them out. (Free Crossword Puzzles and free Posters .)
Links to My Pages with Handouts & URLs for Specific Major Works
“The Lady of Shalott” by Alfred, Lord Tennyson
Macbeth by William Shakespeare
You may find other useful materials at Assignments , Handouts OR Yummy Bytes .
If you download or print anything from this site, please consider making at least a $10.00 donation through PayPal. I can maintain and expand this website only with your help.
Browse By Unit
How Can I Be Prepared for the AP Spanish Literature FRQ?
5 min read • september 30, 2021
Hey Spanish Literature students! This blog's all about making you an expert on the free-response section of the AP Spanish Lit exam, which makes up 50% of your score. Are you ready? We are! Let's get started! 🎉
A view of Southern Spain - a wonderful travel spot where you can improve your Spanish! Image labeled for reuse.
Let's go over a few general details about the free-response section:
There are 4 free-response questions on the AP Spanish Literature & Culture exam 📝
FRQ 1 — Short Answer: Text Explanation (7.5% of exam) ✍
FRQ 2 — Short Answer: Text and Art Comparison (7.5% of exam) 🎨
FRQ 3 — Essay: Analysis of a Single Text (17.5% of exam) 📜
FRQ 4 — Essay: Text Comparison (17.5% of exam) 🗯
You have 100 minutes to answer them 🕐
You can split up your time however you choose. College Board suggests this timeline:
15 minutes for FRQ 1 — Short Answer: Text Explanation ✍
15 minutes for FRQ 2 — Short Answer: Text and Art Comparison 🎨
35 minutes for FRQ 3 — Essay: Analysis of a Single Text 📜
35 minutes for FRQ 4 — Essay: Text Comparison 🗯
The other 50% is the multiple-choice section (65 questions).
Skills Assessed on the FRQ Section
College Board has 6 "practices" (skills) that it uses to assess students on the FRQ section of the AP exam. Here they are, with a short description of each:
🤔 Skill 1 Analysis - analyzing and interpreting authentic literary and audio sources
tested on all FRQs 1, 2, 3, 4
🗺 Skill 2 Cultural Context and Connections - making connections between a literary text and a non-literary text or an aspect of culture
tested on FRQs 1, 2, 3
📚 Skill 3 Comparing Literary Texts - making connections between multiple literary texts
tested on FRQ 4
🎨 Skill 4 Comparing Texts and Art - making connections between literary texts and artistic representations while analyzing themes in both
tested on FRQ 2
💬 Skill 5 Argumentation - creating a thesis, organizing information coherently, and supporting main points with evidence
tested on FRQs 1, 2, 3, 4
🔤 Skill 6 Language and Conventions - using appropriate vocabulary and terminology, using a variety of grammatical structures, observing writing conventions
— Taken from the College Board's Course/Exam Description for AP Spanish Literature 🎉
Breaking Down Each FRQ
Frq 1 — short answer: text explanation.
In this FRQ, you'll have to read an excerpt from a text on the required reading list. Based on this excerpt, you must identify the author and period of the text as well as explain thematic development in the text 🤔
Let's see exactly what College Board wants in your response to achieve the highest scores on the rubric 📃
FRQ 1's points come from content and language usage; below are the criteria for earning the highest score on each section. The question for which the rubric was developed is also included.
Taken from AP Spanish Literature and Culture 2018 Scoring Guidelines
FRQ 2 — Short Answer: Text and Art Comparison
In this FRQ, you'll compare the representation of a theme in a literary text and work of art. You'll also need to connect the theme to a broader context 🖼
Just like FRQ 1, you earn points for content and language usage. Let's go through the scoring guidelines ✍
FRQ 3 — Essay: Analysis of a Single Text
Unlike the last two, this FRQ is an essay, which means you should be spending around 30-35 minutes writing this response ⏰
In this question, the prompt will have an excerpt from one of your required readings. You will then have to write an essay about how that text represents a literary movement, period, genre, or technique, and discuss its cultural context 🗯
You will have to use evidence including detailed textual analysis and discuss rhetorical, stylistic, and structural features of the text 📃
Here is what you need to do to get the highest scores on the rubric with the 2018 FRQ:
FRQ 4 — Essay: Text Comparison
The last free response question asks you to analyze 2 excerpts that link to each other through a common theme. One excerpt will be from a required text, whereas the other will be from a non-required text.
Your essay will then compare the representation of the theme in the two texts. You need to provide sufficient textual support and analyze authorial choices in both texts 📚
Here's what you needed to do to get the highest score for this FRQ on the 2018 exam: 💪
Some General Tips
Here are a few things you should keep in mind as you are practicing for the FRQ:
📚 Make sure you read all your required texts! You may not earn very many points on the exam if you have not read each one of the 38 required pieces of literature.
🔤 Focus on language usage! Language usage is about 1/2 of the points on most of these FRQs. This means that if you have good grammar and incorporate appropriate vocabulary, you're well on your way to passing the exam! Don't forget your accent marks 😉
✍ Practice writing before the exam. 100 minutes is a long time to write, especially if you are not writing in your first language! Make sure you get in some full-length tests before the exam so you're used to the structure.
We hope you learned some more about the FRQ section on the AP Spanish Literature exam! We have a huge collection of resources to support you on our website, app.fiveable.me . 😲
Remember that Fiveable always has your back — good luck! 🎉
<< Hide Menu
© 2023 Fiveable Inc. All rights reserved.