AP English Literature (AP Lit) Score Calculator

January 14, 2024

AP lit score calculator literature

Wondering how you’ll score on the AP Lit exam? You’ve come to the right place. With our AP Lit Score Calculator, you can start preparing for the AP Lit exam so that you’re ready and confident ahead of the big day. Our AP Lit Score Calculator allows you to review your score from each section of the AP Lit exam across multiple-choice, poetry analysis, prose fiction analysis and literary argument questions. Although the AP Lit exam isn’t known to be as difficult as the AP Lang exam (AP Lit vs AP Lang, anyone?), there’s still a significant portion of literary analysis you’ll be expected to complete within a short amount of time.

Unlike the AP Chemistry or AP Macroeconomics exams, it can seem arbitrary to measure just how exactly you’ll be graded on your understanding of college-level English literature. Where does the grading even begin? Is it syntax form or the depth and delivery of literary analysis? But you might be surprised to see that there are specific, rubric-based methodologies the AP Lit exam is graded on. According to the College Board, the AP Lit FRQ portion will be graded analytically, instead of holistically like in previous years. Lastly, through our interactive AP Lit Score Calculator, you’ll have the right tool to prepare in advance for every carefully-graded section of the AP Lit exam.

AP Lit Score Calculator

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MCQ Score:
FRQ Score:
Total Composite Score:
/130
Predicted AP® Score:

AP Lit Exam Layout

The AP English Literature and Composition Exam runs for 3 hours and 55 minutes. It consists of two sections – 55 multiple-choice questions and 3 free-response questions. The first section, containing multiple-choice questions, lasts for 60 minutes and amounts to 45% of the exam’s overall score. The second section, with the free-response questions, lasts for two hours. It makes up 55% of the rest of the exam. By using our AP Lit Score Calculator, you’ll be able to go over which section of the AP Lit exam you might want to spend some more time focusing on.

As you guessed, what you covered in your AP Lit class will be thoroughly covered in the exam. Expect to see exam questions that examine the following six core areas: Character, Setting, Structure, Narration, Figurative Language and Literary Argumentation.

AP Literature Score Calculator (Continued)

You’ll also be tested on the nine units of your AP Lit class material, spread across three groups. Can’t remember what they are? Look no further – they are: Short Fiction, Poetry and Longer Fiction or Drama. Short Fiction consists of Units 1, 4 and 7, weighing roughly anywhere between 42-49% of the exam. Poetry consists of Units 2, 5 and 8, weighing from 36-45% of the exam. Longer Fiction or Drama takes the remaining Units 3, 6 and 9, and weighs about 15-18% of the exam.

Seeing that the Short Fiction units make up the majority of the exam, why not brush up on your AP Lit books or AP Lit reading lists? How exactly was imperialism conveyed in Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness? What was Rakolnikov’s greatest dilemma in Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment? Be sure to focus on your understanding of contemporary English literature or English literature from the 20th century. The AP Lit exam includes a smaller amount of English literature texts that were published before the 20th century.

Section 1: AP Lit Multiple-Choice Questions

Throughout the 55 multiple-choice questions, you’ll come across what the College Board calls “skill categories” in AP Lit. The skill categories are as follows:

1: Explain the function of character (16–20%)
2: Explain the function of setting (3–6%)
3: Explain the function of plot and structure (16–20%)
4: Explain the function of the narrator or speaker (21–26%)
5: Explain the function of word choice, imagery, and symbols (10–13%)
6: Explain the function of comparison (10–13%)
7: Develop textually substantiated arguments about interpretations of part or all of a text (10–13%)

AP Lit Score Calculator (Continued)

Each section and multiple-choice question of the AP Lit exam begins with a text of prose fiction or poetry. Here is an example of an AP Lit multiple-choice question that follows an excerpt of fiction published in 1853:

The function of the adjectives “picturesque” (line 7), “quaint” (line 12), and “amusing” (line 17) is primarily to:
(A) introduce a sense of the town’s fanciful residential design
(B) inject comedy into the description of the town
(C) discredit the historical relevance of the town
(D) define the character of the town’s leading families
(E) call the supposed modernity of the town into question

Why not try a few practice tests using our AP Lit Score Calculator? You’ll then see if you’re ready for 55 of these multiple-choice questions.

AP Literature Score Calculator (Continued)

Section 2: AP Lit FRQ

For each AP Lit FRQ, it is recommended that you spend about 40 minutes on each question. This will ensure that you don’t run out of time and can provide a compelling and thorough answer. As you prepare for the AP Lit FRQs using our AP Lit Score Calculator, you’ll find that the most frequently used verbs are: analyze, choose and read.

The three AP Lit FRQs are as follows:
Question 1: Poetry Analysis (6 points), Question 2: Prose Fiction Analysis (6 points), Question 3: Literary Argument (6 points)

AP Lit FRQ, Question 1: In the Poetry Analysis question, there will be a passage from a poem ranging from 100 to 300 words. When assessing the AP Lit rubric, you’ll be scored on the following. 1) How well you respond to the prompt through a thesis that interprets and establishes a line of reasoning. 2) Select and use evidence to create and support your reasoning; explain the relationship of your cited evidence and original thesis; utilize fitting grammar and punctuation to form a coherent and well-supported argument.

AP Lit Exam Score Calculator (Continued)

An example of a Poetry Analysis AP Lit FRQ is:

“In the following poem ‘Plants’ by Olive Senior (published in 2005), the speaker portrays the relationships among plant life and the implied audience. Read the poem carefully. Then, in a well-written essay, analyze how Senior uses poetic elements and techniques to develop those complex relationships.”

As College Board delineates, you’ll find the following italicized parts to be consistent throughout every Poetry Analysis essay question:

In the following poem [or excerpt from poem] by [author, date of publication], the speaker [comment on what is being addressed in the poem]. Read the poem carefully. Then, in a well-written essay, analyze how [author] uses [poetic or literary] elements and techniques to [convey/portray/develop a thematic, topical, or structural aspect of the poem that is complex and specific to the passage of the poem provided].

AP Literature Score Calculator (Continued)

AP Lit FRQ, Question 2: In the Prose Fiction Analysis question, you’ll find that this FRQ presents you with a passage of prose fiction ranging from 500 to 700 words. Referring back to the official AP Lit rubric, you’ll be graded based on how you: respond to the prompt through a thesis that interprets and establishes a line of reasoning; select and use evidence to create and support your reasoning; explain the relationship of your cited evidence and original thesis; utilize fitting grammar and punctuation to form a coherent and well-supported argument.

Expect to find a question like this one, which appeared previously in an AP Lit exam:

“The following excerpt is from an 1852 novel by Nathaniel Hawthorne. In this passage, two characters who have been living on the Blithedale farm—a community designed to promote an ideal of equality achieved through communal rural living—are about to part ways. Read the passage carefully. Then, in a well-written essay, analyze how Hawthorne uses literary elements and techniques to portray the narrator’s complex attitude towards Zenobia.”

AP Lit Score Calculator (Continued)

Like in the Poetry Analysis FRQ, a similar prompt template is used. The italicized text changes with each passage used:

The following excerpt is from [text and author, date of publication]. In this passage, [comment on what is being addressed in the passage]. Read the passage carefully. Then, in a well-written essay, analyze how [author] uses literary elements and techniques to [convey/portray/develop a thematic, topical, or structural aspect of the passage that is complex and specific to the passage provided].

AP Lit FRQ, Question 3: In the Literary Argument question, you’ll be presented with a literary concept or idea, alongside a list of 40 works of literature. You are to choose a work of fiction from the list, or from your own reading, then analyze how the concept/idea in the question shapes your interpretation of the selected work. As we’ve seen in the previous two AP Lit FRQs, the same rubric applies here also: respond to the prompt through a thesis that interprets and establishes a line of reasoning; select and use evidence to create and support your reasoning; explain the relationship of your cited evidence and original thesis; utilize fitting grammar and punctuation to form a coherent and well-supported argument.

AP Literature Score Calculator (Continued)

The Literary Argument AP Lit FRQ can be tough to imagine on your own, so take a look at this sample question:

“Many works of literature feature characters who have been given a literal or figurative gift. The gift may be an object, or it may be a quality such as uncommon beauty, significant social position, great mental or imaginative faculties, or extraordinary physical powers. Yet this gift is often also a burden or a handicap. Either from your own reading or from the list below, choose a work of fiction in which a character has been given a gift that is both an advantage and a problem. Then, in a well-written essay, analyze how the gift and its complex nature contribute to an interpretation of the work as a whole. Do not merely summarize the plot.”

A great way to prepare for this complex question is to familiarize yourself with the format of the prompt. Why not try inserting your own ideas into the italicized texts below?

[Lead that introduces some concept or idea that students will be asked to apply to a text of their choosing.] Either from your own reading or from the list below, choose a work of fiction in which [some aspect of the lead is addressed]. Then, in a well-written essay, analyze how [that same aspect of the lead] contributes to an interpretation of the work as a whole. Do not merely summarize the plot.

How can I get a 5 on the AP Lit exam?

It’s a question you’ve probably asked yourself for all of your other AP exams. Or one that you’re considering if you are just starting to figure out your AP class schedule. The best answer is to familiarize yourself with the AP Lit exam format, the AP Lit rubric and, especially, know how to analyze each book on those extensive AP Lit reading lists.

We strongly encourage you to utilize our AP Lit Score Calculator. Take the time you need to go through as many practice tests as you can. And if you’ve read this far, you already understand what each section of the AP Lit exam entails. Additionally, you now grasp what will be expected of you. So why not take it another step further with our AP Lit Score Calculator?

Additional Resources

In conclusion, we also wanted to suggest checking out some of our other useful calculators such as:


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