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Is AP Spanish Language Hard? Is AP Spanish Language Worth Taking?

4 min readnovember 18, 2020

sander-o

Sander Owens


AP Spanish Language 🇪🇸

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Image Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons. On the cerca about taking AP Spanish Language? This guide will help you decide if it is right for you!

Welcome 👋

You're probably thinking about taking AP Spanish Language and Culture, but have some reservations because you're not sure about what exactly it will entail. Don't worry! This guide will hopefully help provide you with some of the information that will help you decide whether AP Spanish Language and Culture is the right fit for you!

What to Expect 🤔

AP Spanish Language and Culture focuses primarily on developing your ability to communicate with others in Spanish, meaning that grammar is less of a focus.
Generally, AP Spanish is the fourth or fifth level of Spanish at a high school, which means you will have covered most grammatical elements. Most of the language learning will also focus on communication—developing writing and rhetorical skills, advanced sentence structure, and increased reading and speaking ability.
If you are a native or immersion speaker, you will have a head start with the language, but you might still have to learn a considerable amount about the exam components. If you are a native speaker who has experience with a particular culture, then you are set for cultural comparisons and other similar tasks.
Don't worry if you're not a native speaker or don't consider yourself fluent! The AP Spanish Language exam is designed to be conquerable by anyone who has a command of the language, regardless of background

Pass Rates 📊

Score2019 Rate (%)2020 Rate (%)
525.230.5
434.236.4
32623.1
29.58.8
11.81.2

Data Courtesy of College Board Website and @AP_Trevor on Twitter

As you can see from the score chart, over 90% of students who take this exam pass, and over a quarter achieve a 5. This is definitely a doable exam, even if an exam in a second language seems daunting.

Pros and Cons ⚖️

Pros ✅

  • Doesn't have a heavy grammar focus
  • Doesn't emphasize any one language skill
  • Achievable for both native and non-native speakers
  • Not necessarily a lot of information to memorize for the test

Cons ❌

  • Requires proficiency in all forms of communication
  • Requires learning considerable culture knowledge
  • Has many different components to learn the format of
  • Can be a lot of material if finishing the normal leveled curriculum

Workload 💪

In general, AP Spanish Language courses have two components to classwork: developing exam skills and learning about the culture. This is probably similar, to some extent, to what you may have experienced in previous Spanish language courses, with grammar and culture components. However, the grammar work may now be more focused, as mentioned earlier, on developing skills useful for the various written and spoken portions of the exam.
In addition to developing rhetorical skills, learning about various cultural themes is critical to the course; the College Board outlines six units about the context of Spanish-speaking cultures, as those will be the focuses of the exam questions and prompts.
This translates, generally, to a hefty amount of in classwork. With all AP courses and especially language courses, the work largely depends on the teacher and school, so be sure to ask around to see what the workload is like!

Similar AP Courses/Helpful Knowledge 💬

Other courses that work well with AP Spanish Language are its companion course, AP Spanish Literature, which is much more advanced.
Other than that, no other AP courses synergize particularly well with AP Spanish Language. However, if you are at all familiar with any other so-called Romance languages, such as French, Portuguese, Italian, or even Latin, you will likely have some of the foundations necessary to do well in this course.

Is AP Spanish Language Worth It? 👩‍⚖️

In short, there are a few reasons why this course could be worth it for you:
  • Knowledge/Interest 🧠: If you enjoy the Spanish language, this course is a great way for you to transition into actually using Spanish in a more real-world context, by learning how to use it in correspondence, essays, conversation, and presentation.
  • Credit 🎓: This course could fulfill the foreign language requirement if your prospective college has that requirement — so definitely look into it if you are looking to not take a language class in college or want to place into a higher-level course to continue studying Spanish as a major or minor.
  • Demonstrating Proficiency 🧗: In many cases, the AP exam can be used to show that you have a mastery of the Spanish language. So, if you want something tangible to demonstrate that you have a command of the language, whether you are native or learning it, this could be the class for you!
We hope this guide has helped answer your question, and that you can make the best decision for you about whether to take AP Spanish Language. You got this 🎉
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