AP Literature survival guide


As the juniors begin their senior year, one class might already have them stressed out: AP Literature. I am here to assure them that everything will be alright. As an AP Literature survivor, here are my top four tips to thrive in AP Literature.

  • Read at least two books for each essay. 

To quote Stephen King, “If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.”

Reading five novels may seem daunting at first; however, I promise it is not as bad as it seems. Students will be required to read five books over the course of the year. On the AP exam itself, students will have to write an essay on one of the books they read over the course of the year. The essay will be over a certain topic, so not every book will suffice; therefore, I recommend reading two books for every essay to see which one you can properly utilize. Although that will be 10 books in total, the likelihood of one of the books that the student read appearing on the test will increase. 

  • Read books that you wouldn’t normally read. 

Reading books that are out of your comfort zone is the best way to grow as a reader. I know that sounds cheesy, but I read books I never even knew existed and was blown away by how much I actually enjoyed the material. If students read books they would not typically pick up, they are challenging themselves as readers, which will better prepare them for the AP exam. Also, this is a goal the College Board hopes to achieve in making students better readers. 

  • Re-read books and other reading materials. 

Although it might sound daunting, re-reading is a beneficial aspect of reading. If a student re-reads, they might catch on subtle foreshadowing or details one might glance over during a first read. Re-reading helps students catch nuances in the material that will enhance the quality of their essay. 

  • Start studying the AP Exam material early.

Familiarizing students with the essays required of them is a great way to prepare for the AP test. Understanding the groundwork for the three essays will allow students to focus on the topic of the essay rather than the way to write the essay. 


Longtime teacher of AP Literature Mr. Wszolek challenges students to enhance their abilities, not only for the AP test but for life. 

“No matter how good a reader or writer you might already be, you can always get better,” Wszolek said. 

AP Literature is a rewarding class that allows students to hone their skills, and I hope my advice will prepare them for the class and their future.

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