AP English Literature & Composition Free Response Section Three essays Two hours (about 40 minutes each) Two are “close reading” One on a prose passage One on poetry One is “open” Topic given Student chooses a work from a list or “of comparable literary merit” Essay Questions Each question has an introductory blurb that helps set context for the question. These blurbs offer important information that can help the student succeed. It is important to analyze the question, mark up the given text, and write a plan before beginning to write the essay. The Close Reading Questions The first two questions are usually close reading questions, one on prose and one on poetry. All close reading questions require students to (1) identify devices and techniques of language, and (2) explain their effect. Close Reading Questions (cont.) Sometimes, wording on the close reading questions is broad, without identifying specific literary or rhetorical techniques the student might discuss. Instead of a list of specific techniques, directions may include a phrase as general as "resources of language" or "elements of argument." The Open Question The open question on the literature exam requires recollection and analysis of a literary work, and, like the close reading questions, asks students to balance two elements: (1) identification of a specific idea (e.g., moral ambiguity) or technique (e.g., social protest, minor characters) in one literary work, and (2) explanation of how that idea or technique contributes to the meaning of the work as a whole. The Open Question (cont.) Students are instructed to select one of the works on a list or "another novel or play of comparable literary merit.“ Short stories and poetry are too short. Films and television are unsuitable. Most popular fiction lacks the necessary depth.