AP English Literature Exam Information

Learn What Score You'll Need and What Course Credit You'll Receive

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AP English Literature is one of the most popular Advanced Placement courses. The exam covers important literary works from a range of genres, periods and cultures.

The test has a one-hour multiple-choice section and a two-hour free-response writing section. In 2017, 404,137 students took the exam and earned a mean score of 2.69. Many colleges and universities have a composition and/or literature requirement, so a high score on the AP English Literature exam will often fulfill one of these requirements.

The chart below provides some representative data from a variety of colleges and universities. This information is meant to provide a general overview of the scoring and placement information related to the AP English Literature exam. For schools not listed below, you'll need to look on the college's website or contact the appropriate Registrar's office to get AP placement information.

The distribution of scores for the AP English Literature exam is as follows (2017 test administration):

  • 5 - 6.8%
  • 4 - 16.1%
  • 3 - 29.7%
  • 2 - 33.9%
  • 1 - 13.5%

Keep in mind that another benefit to the successful completion of an AP Literature course is that it helps demonstrate your college readiness in a core subject area.

Most of the country's highly selective colleges and universities have holistic admissions, and the admissions officers look not just at your GPA, but how challenging your course work is. Colleges would much rather see you successfully complete a challenging college preparatory class in English than an easy English elective.

AP Literature shows that you are taking the most advanced course possible in literature.

For more information on AP classes and exams, check out these articles:

To learn more specific information about the AP English Literature exam, be sure to visit the official College Board website.

AP English Literature Scores and Placement
CollegeScore NeededPlacement Credit
Hamilton College4 or 5Placement into some 200-level courses; 2 credits for score of 5 and B- or higher in a 200-level course
Grinnell College5ENG 120
LSU3, 4 or 5ENGL 1001 (3 credits) for a 3; ENGL 1001 and 2025 or 2027 or 2029 or 2123 (6 credits) for a 4; ENGL 1001, 2025 or 2027 or 2029 or 2123, and 2000 (9 credits) for a 5
Mississippi State University3, 4 or 5EN 1103 (3 credits) for a 3; EN 1103 and 1113 (6 credits) for a 4 or 5
Notre Dame4 or 5First Year Composition 13100 (3 credits)
Reed College4 or 51 credit; no placement
Stanford University-No credit for AP English Literature
Truman State University3, 4 or 5ENG 111 Introduction to the Short Story (3 credits)
UCLA (School of Letters and Science)3, 4 or 58 credits and entry writing requirement for a 3; 8 credits, entry writing requirement and English Comp Writing I requirement for a 4 or 5
Yale University52 credits; ENGL 114a or b, 115a or b, 116b, 117b