A class and ultimately an exam given by the College Board to high school seniors throughout the world. As opposed to its close relative, AP Language, AP Lit focuses more on the overall structures, styles, and themes found in the English language's large literary body of work.
Previous to taking the test, the College Board recommends that students expose themselves to a wide range of literature. This includes works from various genres and periods that exhibit literary merit. The College Board discourages a focus on reading popular, but "shallow" novels such as detective and romance fiction. Students on the test will read complex passages with the expectation of pulling meaning out of it. A student must figure out the author's intentions and explain them.
A student must be able to spot and interpret imagery, symbolism, and tone--all those encompassing traits that pervade great literature. An understanding of how these traits influence the reader is key to nailing the exam.
The exam tests an understanding of literature ranging from the sixteenth century to the twentieth. However, novels are not the only things covered. Poetry makes up a major part of the exam, both in understanding and explaining it.
The actual exam takes a total of three hours: A one hour multiple choice section with four or five passages for a total of 70-some questions and a two hour essay portion. The essay portion is complex: one of the passages is straight prose where the student must analyze it and answer a general question. The second passage is usually a poem. The third is unlike anything else on any other AP exam. A question is asked and the student must pick a book he has read before and apply it to the question. While a list of sample books is given, it is up to the student to understand the book and quickly write an essay on it.
What novels you read depends on the teacher, but here's an example:
It's a great class to ease the transition between high school and college. Plus, many colleges accept a score of 3 and higher for class credit.