AP Literature Exam Study Guide


The AP English Litearture Exam is on Thursday, May 8. Scores will be posted online in July.

We will be having a Mandatory Study Session on Saturday, May 3rd from 8:00am – 12:00pm.

The test itself is three hours.

  • Multiple Choice: 60 minutes on 4-5 reading passages – Counts as 45% of the final score
  • Essay: 120 minutes for three essay questions, includes poetry analysis, prose analysis and “Open Question” – Counts as 55% of the final score
  • No points are deducted for wrong answers, so students are encouraged to answer all multiple-choice answers. Use process of elimination to get rid of wrong answer choices.

Released Test Questions:

Helpful Study Resources:

Essay Questions (Free Response Section):

  • Literary Analysis (Poetry, 40 minutes)
  • Literary Analysis (Prose, 40 minutes writing)
  • Literary Analysis (“Open Question,” 40 minutes)

Possible Texts for “Open Question”:


AP Literature Short Stories


Have each section’s reading completed by the due dates marked in parentheses. Expect quizzes, discussions and writing assignments.


  1. W.G.: The World’s Greatest Short Stories (Ed. J. Daley)
  2. Perrine’s: Perrine’s Literature: Structure, Sound and Sense (Eds. T. Arp & G. Johnson)

A. Nineteenth Century American Literature: The Gothic and Romanticism (Thurs. 3/27)

  • Nathaniel Hawthorne, “Young Goodman Brown” (Perrine’s, 299-310) – U.S.
  • Edgar Allen Poe, “The Cask of the Amontillado” (Perrine’s, 611-616) – U.S.
  • Herman Melville, “Bartleby the Scrivener” (WG, 1-30 or Perrine’s, 579-610) – U.S.

B. The Golden Age of Russian Literature: Exploring Morality (Tuesday, 4/1)

  • Leo Tolstoy, “The Death of Ivan Ilyich” (WG, 38-84) – Russia
  • Anton Chekhov, “The Lady with the Toy Dog” (WG, 136-149) – Russia

C. Women In Literature: Notions of Feminism, Race and Sexuality (Thursday, 4/3)

  • Charlotte Perkins Gilman, “The Yellow Wallpaper” (WG, 113-126) – U.S.
  • Virginia Woolf, “The Mark on the Wall” (WG, 192-197) – England
  • Zora Neal Hurston, “The Gilded Six-Bits” (Perrine’s, 564-574) – U.S.
  • Alice Walker, “Everyday Use” (Perrine’s, 166-174) – U.S.
  • Toni Cade Bambara, “The Lesson” (Perrine’s, 195-201) – U.S.

D. Modernist Literature: Breaking with Tradition (Tuesday, 4/8)

  • D. H. Lawrence, “Prussian” (WG, 162-179) – England
  • James Joyce, “Araby” (WG, 180-184) – Ireland
  • Franz Kafka, “A Hunger Artist” (WG, 198-205) – Czechoslovakia
  • Ernest Hemingway, “A Clean, Well-Lighted Place” (WG, 222-225) – U.S.
  • Ernest Hemingway, “Hills Like White Elephants” (Perrine’s, 268-272) – U.S.
  • F. Scott Fitzgerald, “A New Leaf” (Perrine’s, 420-433) – U.S.

E. Contemporary Literature: Postmodernism and Post-colonialism (Thursday, 4/10)

  • Chinua Achebe, “Civil Peace” (Perrine’s, 511-515) – Nigeria
  • John Updike, “A & P” (WG, 230 and Perrine’s, 619-624) – U.S.
  • Gabriel García Márquez, “A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings” (Perrine’s, 327-332) – Columbia
  • Ha Jin, “A Contract” (Perrine’s, 575-578) – U.S.
  • Joyce Carol Oates, “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” (Perrine’s, 311-326) – U.S.
  • Jorge Luis Borges, “Borges and I” (WG, 236) – Argentina