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A redesigned AP Spanish Language and Culture course and exam launched in fall 2013. The new course is comparable to fourth semester (or the equivalent) college courses in Spanish. This revision to the course and exam is a reflection of our commitment to continually enhance AP’s alignment with current best practices in college-level learning. Learn more about the AP course and exam redesign.

How were the new course and exam created and validated?

The new Spanish Language and Culture course and exam were developed by a committee of college Spanish faculty and AP teachers, using the Standards for Foreign Language Learning: Preparing for the 21st Century as a foundation. The curriculum also incorporates the results of a study of nearly 250 parallel college course curricula.

What are the goals of the new course and exam?

  • Align with national standards. The revisions integrate the instructional goals — communications, cultures, connections, comparisons and communities — outlined in the Standards for Foreign Language Learning: Preparing for the 21st Century.
  • Focus on communication. Students demonstrate proficiency in the three modes of communication: interpersonal, interpretive and presentational.
  • Encourage cultural awareness. Students develop an awareness and appreciation of aspects of Spanish-speaking cultures, including products (tools, books, music, laws, conventions and institutions); practices (patterns of social interactions); and perspectives (values, attitudes and assumptions).
  • Incorporate a thematic approach. A thematic structure enables students to study a variety of concepts in meaningful and engaging contexts. Students are motivated to explore the various themes through essential questions that drive inquiry and curiosity.
  • Provide clear learning objectives. The learning objectives describe the knowledge and skills students need to achieve college-level language proficiency.

What is covered by the new course and exam?

Review the full course and exam description.


The AP Spanish Language and Culture course takes a holistic approach to language proficiency and recognizes the complex interrelatedness of comprehension and comprehensibility, vocabulary usage, language control, communication strategies and cultural awareness. Students learn language structures in context and use them to convey meaning. The course strives to promote fluency and accuracy and to engage students in an exploration of culture in both contemporary and historical contexts. In order to best facilitate the study of language and culture, the course is taught in Spanish.

The course is structured around six themes, which create a meaningful context from which to explore a variety of language concepts:

Language Thematic


The course’s six learning objectives are built upon the three modes of communication (interpersonal, interpretive and presentational):

  1. The student engages in spoken interpersonal communications.
  2. The student engages in written interpersonal communications.
  3. The student synthesizes information from a variety of authentic audio, visual, and audiovisual resources.
  4. The student synthesizes information from a variety of authentic written and print resources.
  5. The student plans, produces, and presents spoken presentational communications.
  6. The student plans and produces written presentational communications.


To see the exam format and sample exam questions, visit the exam information page on AP Central.