AP English Language and Composition

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AP Language and Composition students read many novels throughout the year.

Iona Brooks, Staff Writer

Each year, students face the daunting task of selecting their classes for the next school year. While there are opportunities for schedule changes, it is important to choose classes that align with your goals and challenge you. AP English Language and Composition offers the opportunity for students to improve their analytic and argumentative writing skills, rhetorical analysis, and understand the decisions writers make and how that impacts the final piece. That may sound complex, but at its core, AP Lang is a class designed to teach students about how the language and structure of writing impacts the piece as a whole. AP English Language and AP English Literature teacher, Gabriella Sweezey, said that the class is definitely challenging but rewarding for motivated students. 

“It deals with a lot of non-fiction writing as well so we read a lot of speeches, articles, and letters so a really wide variety of writing. It’s not necessarily all novel based, it’s a lot of nonfiction as well and looking at how people compose arguments and their writing and their writing style affects the message that they’re trying to convey. It strengthens your writing and reading skills and really opens your mind to new ideas and opinions and how people convey their ideas which can be really powerful for all aspects of your life. It also can be really helpful for SAT and PSAT skills. We work on a lot of similar types of things for the SAT and PSAT,” said Sweezey.

The AP Lang course is most closely compared to a college level introductory English course. This course counts as one of the four English credits each Florida high school student needs to graduate and provides a challenging alternative to a standard or honors English class, particularly for students who are strong writers with solid reading comprehension skills. The exam consists of 45 multiple choice questions based on analyzing non-fiction texts, and three essay questions focusing on synthesis (similar to a Document Based Question), rhetorical analysis, and argumentation. The exam and course are challenging, but students who are developmentally prepared have a great shot at college credit fulfilling the ENC 1101 course in college. College counselor, Allison Tate, said there are a variety of reasons why students should take AP lang.  

“There’s several reasons to take AP Lang, if AP Lang is a class that you are recommended for, and if your PSAT scores support it. AP Lang is the harder of the two AP English classes. It’s also the more important of the two AP English classes because it is the one that teaches you the actual language and grammar and analytical skills that you need to survive college classes. You have to communicate for the rest of your life and in any job, so it’s important to be able to write, and to read, and to analyze,” said Tate. 

Overall, AP Lang is a fun and informative class covering all the basics to be successful in college English classes. The class centers largely on reading a number of books hand-picked by Mrs. Sweezey, with an emphasis on discussion, analysis, and student-led learning. AP Lang does have a significant amount of reading that is necessary to complete in order to be successful in the class, but Mrs. Sweezey understands the time commitment that reading takes so the remainder of the homework load is fairly light. Former student Siraj Virji said the class was informative but still challenging. 

“Though I did most of the year online, I still really enjoyed the class and the discussions we had. I would absolutely recommend the class but for all students going into AP Lang, they should know that there is a lot of reading and they need to be willing to put in the work to practice their essay writing,” said Virji.

AP Lang is highly recommended for any student looking to improve their English writing and comprehension skills or challenge themselves with a college level course. Mrs. Sweezey gave advice to students considering AP Lang.  

“If you’re interested in taking AP Lang, the best advice is always just to read more, and that doesn’t just mean books. It can be articles online, or blog posts, whatever you feel like reading but the more you read, the more you know, and the better you will be able to both read and write critically,” said Sweezey.