The Inadequacy of AP English Literature and Composition Exams as Substitutes for College Writing Courses

Student Author(s)

Allyson Hoffman

Faculty Mentor(s)

Dr. Ernest Cole; Dr. Peter Schakel

Document Type


Event Date



While the College Board promotes the benefits of taking Advanced Placement (AP) exams, it neglects to inform students that the AP English Literature and Composition exam does not reflect a typical college writing class assessment. The goal of this research project is to demonstrate the need for student enrollment in a college writing course and the consequences of exemption after passing the AP English Literature and Composition Exam. Even if students pass the AP test, they likely have not fully mastered writing skills that would warrant an exemption from a college writing class. Unfortunately, college students are usually required to take only one college writing course, which can be substituted with AP credit. After analyzing studies conducted by the College Board and other institutions, it is obvious that students who take more writing courses will have better writing skills. I argue that all college students, regardless of their intended major, should take two college writing courses and that only one of these courses may be substituted with an AP English Literature and Composition Exam score of 4 or 5. The second writing course will be departmentally oriented and give students the opportunity to improve their writing skills in the discipline they are pursuing. By taking an additional writing course, students will improve their writing skills and be more fully prepared for further academic and occupational tasks.

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