Is AP English Language hard? Is AP English Language worth taking?

4 min readdecember 17, 2021

AP English Language ✍🏽

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AP Lang, often students' first AP English course, is one of the most taken AP courses. The course and exam teach argumentation, rhetoric, and analysis of texts.
Personally, I thought AP Lang was a fantastic course. It not only helped me learn how to write more effectively, but it also developed my skills of analysis that aided me in other courses, like US History and Government. Many people at my school ask me whether it's incredibly difficult or worth it—let's take a look 🔍

How difficult is AP Lang?

We'll start with the numbers (yes, atypical for an English class):

Lang Pass/Fail Rate


While 2018 and 2019 saw a 57.4% and 55.1% pass rate respectively, 2020 had a 62% pass rate, likely because the test was just writing a rhetorical analysis essay. This does, however, demonstrate that the exam is not extremely difficult, especially given the lack of memorization needed for the course. Yet, the workload in the course more than makes up for that! 👷

Workload 💪🏽

It really does depend teacher to teacher on your workload, but generally speaking, AP Lang requires substantial reading and writing assignments both in and out of the classroom. Making sure that you're balancing your time effectively between AP Lang and other courses is crucial for your success and mental health ⚖️

You might get stressed out while taking Lang—don't worry, you'll get through it! Image from Pixabay.

You'll need to be a motivated student to take this course! Some AP Lang teachers require lengthy chapter readings, while others may make you write research papers to help you learn how to build an argument. Let's take a look at what some AP Lang students have to say about their experience in the course.

Student Input

One former AP Lang student brings up a great point about studying in this course:
"Lang is difficult, like every AP course out there, but it is different than the AP histories, languages, and social sciences. You can’t necessarily 'study' for Lang. You just have to practice a lot and let your teacher grade your practice essays. I, personally, got one B in the class because I’m not an English person per se, and the APEXs are the hardest in the class. Lang requires you to write eloquent essays in a short amount of time, so I will say it has a 7/10 scale on difficulty." —Diane Fakinlede
Similarly, another Lang student concurs about how it varies from student to student:
"It really depends on the person and their skillset. In my opinion, if you have a strong understanding of essay writing and are ready to work for your grade, then you can do it." —Lipi Buch
While Lang's "difficulty" may often vary based on your teacher's rigor, the exam itself and its (practically existent) requirement of practice make it a pretty difficult course. So is AP Lang worth taking?

Is AP Lang worth taking? 🤔

The short answer: absolutely! Even Trevor Packer, the Vice President of Advanced Placement, said on Twitter in 2018 that the skills and knowledge tested on the AP Lang exam have "a very strong relationship to overall college success."
This is because AP Lang quite literally gives you the skillset to succeed in so many careers—you'll learn how to critically analyze issues, create and respond to arguments, and incorporate evidence in your rhetoric (the foundation of research) 🗣️
AP Lang not only helps you with other standardized tests and courses (like the SAT rhetorical analysis essay), but it also assists you professionally in the future. You'll have a leg up on peers who have never incorporated evidence in their analysis when writing research papers, and you'll be able to create a convincing argument to persuade people to take your position!
Moreover, getting a high enough score on the Lang exam can get you out of some general education courses. Some schools require a writing and argumentation course that you can skip as a result of your AP Lang credit. At other schools, you can receive elective credit for AP Lang.
This course can also help you determine if you're interested in majoring in a field like communications, or even English. AP Lang often includes passages from political speeches—consequently, you could even pursue political communication in higher education.
Don't just hear it from me though—other students unanimously agree that AP Lang is worth it!

Student Input

"Yes, it teaches you critical thinking skills to build an argument, analyze text, and put your thoughts into words, all important things for adult life and navigating through self-reflection and conflict." —Avery Nelson
"Lang is 100% worth it. It forces you to become more efficient and concise with your writing, which will help you in pretty much anything involving writing in the future, which you have to do." —Amrita Arora
"Lang is so worth it. If you do well, you’ll be able to get college credit, which most colleges will accept, and it even helped me prepare for the SAT since I took lang my sophomore year and the SAT in junior year. I’ve become a much better writer through this class, and I would recommend everyone to take it, as written skills are needed for everyone in the future!" —Muni Bondu


While many may complain about the difficulty of the workload throughout the year, AP Lang is very rewarding for students who complete the course. You'll find that this course will help you out beyond high school. So we vote yes!

Browse Study Guides By Unit
🧠Exam Skills
📑Exam Review - Synthesis Essay
📝Exam Review - Rhetorical Analysis Essay
💬Exam Review - Argument Essay
🧐 Multiple Choice Questions
📆Big Reviews: Finals & Exam Prep
🔚Unit 4 – How writers develop arguments, intros, & conclusions
🎀Unit 5 – How a writer brings all parts of an argument together
👥Unit 6 – Position, Perspective, & Bias
🥊Unit 7 – Successful & Unsuccessful Arguments
😎Unit 8 – Stylistic Choices
😈Unit 9 – Developing a Complex Argument

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