• AP English Language and Composition Exam Sample Essay Questions

August 1, 2021

After an hour of answering multiple-choice questions , you’ll have two hours to write three essays : 

  • A synthesis essay in which you use sources to argue your point of view on a given issue. 
  • An analytical essay that examines, interprets, and explains the meaning and structure of prose passage. 
  • An argumentative essay that supports, refutes, or qualifies an opinion expressed in a statement or brief passage. 

Before you’re given the signal to begin writing your essays, you’ll have 15 minutes to read the questions and the sources for the synthesis essay. However, you don’t have to spend the whole time reading. During those 15 minutes you can plan your essay, underline noteworthy ideas, formulate a tentative thesis, or prepare a brief outline. You might even glance at the other essay questions. Essentially, the time is yours to fill as you wish but with one exception: you may not start writing your essay. That begins only after the proctor gives you the green light. 

Write the essays in any order. The choice is yours. The suggested writing time for each essay is 40 minutes.

Sample Essay Questions

The following sample essay questions have been taken from previous AP English Language and Composition exams.

2014 AP English Language and Composition Essay Questions

  • In recent years college graduates in great numbers have failed to find jobs for which their education has prepared them. As a result, many people, including high school students and their parents, question whether a college degree is worth the expense required to attain one. Others, however, argue that a college education is not meant solely to prepare students for a job or career. After reading six sources related to this issue, write an essay that discusses whether a college education is worth the cost. Synthesize information from at least three of the sources into your essay. 
  • In 1780, Abigail Adams wrote a letter of advice to her son John Quincy Adams, then traveling in Europe with his father, John Adams, the future second president of the United States. Read the letter carefully. Then, write an essay that analyzes the rhetorical strategies that Mrs. Adams uses to advise the young man. 
  • Research by experts in education reveals that the creativity of children from kindergarten through sixth grade has suffered in recent years. A decline in creativity is alarming, especially when present and future world problems related to climate, economics, war and peace, and much more will require increasingly creative solutions. One proposal to reverse the decline in creativity is to actively teach creative thinking in school. Opinion is divided on whether this approach is worthwhile. State your view on this issue by writing to your school board. Explain what you mean by creativity and argue for or against starting a course in creativity.

2015 AP English Language and Composition Essay Questions

  • Many schools, colleges, and universities have instituted honor codes meant to discourage such practices as cheating, stealing, and plagiarizing. Students violating established codes are subject to a variety of punishments. After reading six sources related to the issue of honor codes, compose an essay that supports your position on whether your school should establish, maintain, revise, or eliminate an honor code or honor system. Your argument should incorporate ideas, quotations, paraphrases, or summaries found in at least three of the six sources that accompany this question. 
  • To commemorate the tenth anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King’s assassination, labor union organizer and civil rights leader Cesar Chavez wrote an article that discusses nonviolent resistance as a means to achieve certain social goals. After reading Chavez’s words, write an essay that analyzes the rhetorical choices he uses to develop his argument. 
  • Friendly phrases such as “How’s it going?” and “Nice to meet you” are known as polite speech and are usually not taken literally. In an essay, develop your position on the value or function of polite speech in a culture or community with which you are familiar. To support your argument, use evidence drawn from your reading, experience, or observation.

2016 AP English Language and Composition Essay Questions

  • With the spread of globalization in recent decades, English has become the primary language for communicating in international finance, science, and politics. As the use of English has spread, foreign language learning in English-speaking countries has declined, making the use of only one language—English—the norm. Carefully read the six sources accompanying this question and then write an essay that takes a position on the claim that people who speak only English and no other language are at a disadvantage in today’s world. In your discussion, synthesize appropriate quotations, ideas, paraphrases, or summaries found in at least three of the sources. 
  • In 2004, upon the death of former president Ronald Reagan, the ex–prime minister of Great Britain, Margaret Thatcher, who had worked closely with Reagan, delivered a eulogy to the American people honoring her former colleague and friend. Read the eulogy carefully, and then write an essay that analyzes the rhetoric Thatcher used to convey her thoughts and feelings. 
  • Back in the nineteenth century, the Irish author Oscar Wilde noted that “Disobedience, in the eyes of anyone who has read history, is man’s original virtue. It is through disobedience that progress has been made, through disobedience and through rebellion.” In an essay, argue your position on Wilde’s claim that disobedience and rebellion promote progress. Support your views with evidence drawn from your reading, studies, experience, or observation.

2017 AP English Language and Composition Essay Questions

  • The growth of the Internet has, among other things, changed what and how people read and in so doing has generated controversy about the need for and future of traditional public libraries. Some observers question the relevance of today’s libraries, while others see opportunities for libraries to grow and thrive in new ways. After reading six sources related to the future of libraries, write an essay that discusses your position on the future role, if any, of public libraries. As you develop your argument, be sure to incorporate, or synthesize, material from at least three of the sources that accompany this assignment. Whether you quote directly from a source or put its ideas into your own words, clearly identify each source you use either in the text of your essay or in a footnote. 
  • At the beginning of a speech to the Women’s National Press Club in 1960, the American journalist and politician Clare Booth Luce expressed her objections to a tendency of the press corps to give readers sensationalist stories rather than maintain journalistic integrity by writing serious, consequential news stories. After carefully reading her opening remarks, write an essay that analyzes the rhetorical strategies Luce used to prepare the audience for the disapproval that was central to the remainder of her speech. 
  • In Empire of Illusion, the author Chris Hedges, referring to the world of politics and the consumer culture, argues that “the most essential skill . . . is artifice.” That is, as Hedges explains, successful politicians “no longer need to be competent, sincere, or honest. They need only to appear to have these qualities.” In other words, deception succeeds. After reading a short passage that develops Hedges’s views, write an essay stating your opinion on the issue. Use appropriate, specific evidence to develop and illustrate your position.

2018 AP English Language and Composition Essay Questions

  • The power of a government to confiscate people’s private property for public use is known as eminent domain. Although eminent domain is centuries old, it remains a contentious issue throughout the world. Read the six sources on the following pages. Then, using at least three of the sources, write a coherent essay that supports, opposes, or qualifies the principle that the govern- mental right of eminent domain is useful and productive. When quoting, paraphrasing, or summarizing material, be sure to identify each source in parentheses either with its letter (A, B, C, etc.) or with a description. 
  • In 1997, U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright delivered the commencement address at Mount Holyoke College, a women’s college in Massachusetts. After reading a given excerpt from the speech, write a well-developed essay that identifies and analyzes the rhetorical choices Albright made to help convey her message to the audience. 
  • In her book Gift from the Sea, the author and aviator Anne Morrow Lindbergh (1906– 2001) reflects on how people make choices: “We tend not to choose the unknown which might be a shock or a disappointment or simply a little difficult to cope with. And yet it is the unknown with all its disappointments and surprises that is the most enriching.” After carefully considering Lindbergh’s position on choosing the unknown, write an essay that develops your own view on the value of exploring the unknown. Support your position with appropriate and specific evidence.

2019 AP English Language and Composition Essay Questions

  • Our society’s increasing demand for energy has drawn attention of governments and consumers to large-scale wind power and away from traditional materials, such as coal, oil, and natural gas. Yet, the creation of large commercial wind farms has created controversy for a variety of reasons. Carefully read the following six sources, including the introduction to each one, and then write an essay that develops your position on the most important factors that an individual or agency should take into account when determining whether to establish a wind farm. As you develop your position, synthesize material from at least three of the sources. 
  • In 1930 Mohandas “Mahatma” Gandhi led a nonviolent march in India protesting Britain’s colonial monopoly on the taxation of salt. The Salt March, as it was called, triggered a civil disobedience movement that won India independence from Britain in 1947. Just prior to the march Gandhi had written to Viceroy Lord Irwin, who represented the British crown in India. The passage that follows is the conclusion of that letter. Read it carefully and then write an essay that analyzes the rhetorical choices Gandhi made to present his case to Lord Irwin.
  • The term “overrated” is commonly used to diminish concepts, geographic places, roles, books, movies, etc., that the speaker thinks fail to live up to their reputation. Choose something that in your judgment is overrated and then write a well-developed essay explaining your views. Use appropriate evidence from your reading, experience, or observation to support your argument.

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Eminent Domain Essay example

Eminent domain paper.

The cities and states that use eminent domain to acquire land in order to keep

Essay On Eminent Domain

If there is no other way to handle the situation, then the legal owners should be compensated monetarily for the loss of the physical property and any loss of revenue. On the Other hand, those in the judicial system claiming that eminent domain aids in the capture and conviction of criminals who could be a danger to society. They state that in many instances imposing eminent domain gives them the right to search and seize property, thus gathering evidence to convict criminals and placing the property out of their reach for future use. In conclusion, the topic of eminent domain is one that people have strong feelings about because it has long term effects on those involved. There can be many emotions involved since it involves money and

Arguments Against Eminent Domain

America's government system is powerful. One way the government flexes their muscles is through eminent domain. Eminent domain is the government's power to seize land from one and give it over to another. Most times, eminent domain is used to improve the city. There are a lot of tensions between whether eminent domain is morally right or even constitutional.

American Government Essay example

Each type of government holds different views as to the role the leaders and citizens should perform in their country .Different types of government include, oligarchy where the government is run by the best leaders, Tyranny, where they believe those in power should have complete control over its people. In the United States of America, we believe in democracy, rule by the majority. The main problem with our type of government is maintaining it. Our government and its citizens have lost sight of their roles and responsibilities, in government.

Essay On Housing Discrimination

Many of the housing uses zoning power delegated by government officials to assure that certain races such as blacks don’t move into their neighborhood. Zoning power is regulating the use of land by state governments and local governments to exercise authority over privately owned real

Eminent Domain Should Be Used For The Good Of Mankind Essay

Imagine getting a visitor at your front door, and the visitor offers you a very generous amount of money for them to take you property for public use. For some people it is the property they grew up on, and for others it is the property that has been passed down through family generations. That is what happens when private property owners experience eminent domain. Eminent domain can be a wonderful thing for big companies and powerful leaders. On the other hand, people lose their homes, or perhaps their farmland. Those who offer eminent domain often have big plans that can benefit a community, but the huge loss here is people losing their homes. Most companies will only enforce eminent domain if they have no other choice. Other companies do it purely for themselves. Eminent domain should be used for the good of mankind, because it has the power to put some good places in this world if done correctly.

Case Study Of Legal Facts: Kelo V. City Of New London

Kelo v. City of New London 545 U.S. 469 (2005) the U.S. Supreme Court answered “yes” to the question of whether or not taking land for the sole purpose of economic improvement would fall into the realm of public use requirement set forth in the Fifth Amendment’s Takings Clause.

Kelo V. City of New England Ap Gov

   To save their homes from becoming open land, the nine petitioners sued New London and Pfizter Inc., to whom New London has given eminent domain power. The petitioners argue that what incorporation is doing, and what the government of the state has allowed violates their fifth amendment rights. Petitioners are not arguing about the fact of a new

What Is Eminent Domain

The seizure of private property by the government with compensation to the owner is known as eminent domain. The compensation that the owners receive is supposed to be fair market value. Eminent domain includes forcing citizens to sell their property for the use of private commercial development. Eminent domain comes from a moralistic culture. Those who are liberal are concerned with the greater good of the public. Liberals believe that eminent domain should be allowed, so long as those who are losing their property are compensated. Liberals believe it is okay if it is for the benefit of the public. However, conservatives are also concerned with the public. They are opposed to seizure of private property to achieve a public goal. Conservatives believe it is not right to force people to sell their property in most cases.

Eminent Domain Essay

Eminent domain is the inherent power of the government to take over a citizen's property for public use without the owner's consent. Initially, this public policy originated in the Middle Ages throughout the world. It became part of the British common law before reaching the United States where it was then illustrated in the US Constitution in 1791 (Britannica: eminent domain). The Fifth Amendment granted the federal government the right

Kelo ET, 545 US

The Kelo ET. AL. v. City of New London ET. AL., 545 U.S. 469 (2005) challenged every citizen’s idea of how far the government could go in determining what is considered the public good with regard to taking private property (Land) and giving it to a developer, using the “Taking Clause” of the fifth amendment of the US Constitution. In 1997, Susette Kelo bought a house in New London Connecticut overlooking the Thames river and view of the Atlantic Ocean coast line. But in 1998, the Phizer Corporation decided that they were going to build a research facility, which Ms. Kelo’s property was part, in New London. Phizer briefed and received city council approval on their plans for the facility and the land required, then they came together to take

Power Of Eminent Domain: Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad V. Chicago

The power of eminent domain was originally solely exclusive to the federal government. The ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment extended this power to the states, but Supreme Court decisions in the 1870s “refused to extend the just compensation requirement of the Fifth Amendment to the states under the Fourteenth Amendment,” and consequently, abuse of the power was common (Jost). Twenty eight years after the ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment, the “just compensation” clause was applied to the states by Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad v. Chicago, in which the Bill of Rights was declared to also apply to the actions of state governments in an attempt to stop the series of uncompensated takings and other abuses. These abuses continue

Nebraska Eminent Domain Used for the Acquisition of the Keystone Pipeline

  • 4 Works Cited

The concept of eminent domain is the condemnation of property for the public’s well being or good for private use is not the original intention and should not be used in this way. Private corporations and individuals are using the initial purpose was for the acquisition of land for the building of railroads and highways. The use of eminent domain has changed over the years by law, government and legal interpretations. These changes have allowed private interest groups to petition the state and local governments for eminent domain to be declared on property where the owners refuse to sell. Each states position on eminent domain is decided by the legislature and the voters of the state for use by private corporations and individuals.

Kelo Vs New London

In the case of Kelo v. New London (2005), it was ruled that New London city can possess private property through eminent domain for employment creation and increase tax revenues. But in the United States of America, there is a limit to this law in the Fifth Amendment, where it states that private estates shall not be seized for public use, without adequate compensation. The seizing of private property is a frequent activity performed by the authorities when they want to use it for the growth and development of the community and will always win provided they can prove the benefits to the community. I understand Martin would be distraught on realizing these facts about eminent domain but the bible says, “the Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” (Psalm 34:18, ESV). Therefore, I will advise Martin to forfeit the property and negotiate with the city authorities

Eminent Domain

These days there have been many issues surrounding the topic of private property and eminent domain. I feel that eminent domain is a good way to keep the needs of the community and each person’s individual property rights balanced. Even though I believe individual property rights are more important that the needs of the community, I also believe the government sometimes has to take that property away for the better good of the community. At the same time I also understand how people feel when they talk about “NIMBY” (not in my back yard), and also about their personal needs.

Related Topics

  • Kelo v. City of New London
  • Eminent domain
  • Private property
  • Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution


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