Is AP Spanish Literature Hard? Is AP Spanish Literature Worth Taking?

5 min readnovember 18, 2020

Akhilesh Shivaramakrishnan

Akhilesh Shivaramakrishnan

AP Spanish Literature 💃🏽

24 resources
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Is AP Spanish Lit Hard? Is AP Spanish Lit Worth Taking?

An Overview

You've probably heard a little bit about this class from other students and wondered: should I take it? We'll make sure you can make the right decision after reading this blog 🎉

💃 All About Spanish Lit

First and foremost: you should have a strong command of the Spanish language ✍ to take this course. This likely means you have taken at least 3 years of high school Spanish prior to this class 🏫
If you are a native Spanish speaker, however, the pathway to taking AP Spanish Literature may vary, and you should check with the teacher at your school 👩‍🏫
This course has a heavy focus on authentic Spanish literature. The course is generally taught entirely in Spanish, and you'll read 38 pieces of original literature from various authors, time periods, and cultures 📚

🎒 Spanish Lit Curriculum

Now that you have some background, let's see what the AP Spanish Literature & Culture course looks like!

📑 Units

Here's a breakdown of the units you will be studying in the course. As mentioned earlier, the course focuses on the 38 core pieces of literature that you are required to read during the year. These texts are organized chronologically across these 8 units:
  • Unit 1: La época medieval
  • Unit 2: El siglo XVI
  • Unit 3: El siglo XVII
  • Unit 4: La literatura romántica, realista y naturalista
  • Unit 5: La generación del 98 y el Modernismo
  • Unit 6: Teatro y poesía del siglo XX
  • Unit 7: El Boom latinoamericano
  • Unit 8: Escritores contemporáneos de Estados Unidos y España

🤔 Skills and Themes

Each unit contains these 6 skills that you'll develop throughout the course:
  • 💬 Analysis
  • 💃 Cultural Context and Connections
  • 📚 Comparing Literary Texts
  • 🖼 Comparing Texts and Art
  • 💬 Argumentation
  • 🔤 Language and Conventions
  • 📔 Literary Discussions and Presentations
Finally, 6 themes help students make connections between texts, time periods, and genres. Here they are:
  • 🌐 Las sociedades en contacto
  • 👦 La construcción del género
  • ⌚ El tiempo y el espacio
  • 📚 La creación literaria
  • 💕 Las relaciones interpersonales
  • 🤔 La dualidad de ser
Each of these themes has guiding questions that you can use to help you assess whether you are ready for the course 🥇
Since these are all in Spanish, the descriptions of the curriculum can indicate whether you are ready for the level of Spanish language utilized in the course!
You can see all of this information on the Course/Exam Description 🎉

Is this you as you read for Spanish Lit? Image from Pixabay.

📚 How hard is Spanish Lit?

The million-dollar question: how hard is the class? Spanish Lit is generally regarded as one of the more difficult AP courses, especially because it is often taught solely in Spanish ****🔊
Although there are a variety of different opinions on the workload for this course, there were some key elements that stood out in student comments. Most agreed that the course was difficult because of the focus on literature 📚 and related assignments were time-consuming ⌛, but interesting.
Because of its emphasis on literature, students may find it difficult to keep up with everything.
"AP Spanish Lit was pretty difficult because you have to not only know the plots and dates of important literature, but also write about it in Spanish"—Brandon W.
Additionally, students stated that they often had to write 📝 a variety of essays about the pieces of literature they studied in the course, which often took a lot of time.
"When writing the essays, I would be going back to my notes and researching more information, such as historical context and the biography of the author. I would spend around six hours a week (depending on how many works we read that week)."—Isabella D.
If you think you are ready for an advanced Spanish course, but feel you may not be able to tackle literature yet, don't worry! Spanish is the only language (other than English) for which College Board offers TWO AP courses 📖
Many students take AP Spanish Lang before taking AP Spanish Lit, so you might want to ask if your school offers that course 🏫
Spanish Lit is definitely a challenging course! However, if you are well-prepared and have done well in Spanish courses in the past, this should be a great fit for you 🎉

The beautiful streets of Barcelona, Spain! A great way to get better at Spanish is to immerse yourself in the culture, and traveling to a Spanish-speaking country is a great way to do that! Image from Pixabay.

📈Breaking Down the Numbers and Receiving Credit

If you're a stats person, this section is for you! Let's look at the score distributions released from College Board for the 2019 exam.
Overall Pass Rate: 71.9%
  • 5: 9.1%
  • 4: 24.4%
  • 3: 38.4%
  • 2: 21.9%
  • 1: 6.2%
This rate is actually a lot higher than the rates of other AP classes. This doesn't necessarily mean it's easier, though 💭
Most foreign language AP courses have higher pass rates because many students who take it are native speakers 🔉
You might want to see what your school's pass rate is! This might help judge how well students that have taken the course with your specific teacher have done.
Around 1500 schools accept AP Spanish Literature and Culture exam scores for some sort of credit. If you're conflicted about whether you should take the class, see if the universities you are interested in will accept the exam for credit! You can use the College Board's search feature to figure that out 🎓

To Take or Not to Take?

If you end up taking AP Spanish Literature, keep in mind that Fiveable always has your back! We have a bank of resources that will get you through AP Spanish Lit, and we'll help you as you navigate the class. We'll make sure that YOU can get ready for the AP exam!
If you decide not to take the class, though, that's okay too. If you don't feel as comfortable with your Spanish skills yet, don't worry 🤗
You might want to take more Spanish courses and take Spanish Lit closer to the end of your high school career 🏫 We'll support you no matter what decision you make, and we'll help you in any other class you might be taking 🙂
We wish you the best—good luck!
Browse Study Guides By Unit
🏇Unit 1 – La época medieval
🛳Unit 2 – El siglo XVI
🖌Unit 3 – El siglo XVII
🎨Unit 4 – La literatura romántica, realista y naturalista
🤺Unit 5 – La Generación del 98 y el Modernismo
🎭Unit 6 – Teatro y poesía del siglo XX
🌎Unit 7 – El Boom latinoamericano
🗣Unit 8 – Escritores contemporáneos de Estados Unidos, y España

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