Success doesn't come from knowing the words in a bunch of passages.
To succeed in both of these tasks, you need to know something about rhetoric, such as how an author's choice of details contributes to the meaning of the passage or what ways the structure of a passage relates to its content.
You will need to be familiar with many of the rhetorical devices that you've studied in English classes.
The exam takes three hours and fifteen minutes.
For the first 60 minutes, you'll read a few nonfiction passages and answer 10 multiple-choice questions about each one.
You can respond to three questions during the remaining time.
A statement about an issue of concern in today's world is the prompt for the first essay question.
There are several published documents related to the issue, each less than a page long.
A photo, chart, map, cartoon, or other visual presentation related to the issue is one source.
Fifteen minutes is all it takes to read the sources.
You are expected to write an essay that takes a position on the issue and incorporates at least three of the sources into your discussion.
The name of the synthesis essay is AP terminology.
A second question consists of a prose passage about a page long and an assignment to write an analysis essay that discusses the rhetorical strategies used by the author of the passage.
The third question requires a persuasive essay.
There is a brief passage that expresses an opinion.
Your essay must support, refute, or qualify the author's opinion.
Anything that the author of a passage has done to convey meaning or create an effect can be asked multiple-choice questions.
You may be asked about why the passage has been structured in a certain way, the purpose of a particular word or phrase, the function of a certain paragraph, or how a specific idea contributes to the development of the passage as a whole.
If a question gives you trouble, skip it for the time being and return to it later.
To answer some questions, you need a sense of sentences, including how sentences function in a passage, and how sentences of different lengths, structure, and type relate to tone and meaning.
You need to be aware of the uses of subordination, coordination, periodic and loose sentences and parenthetical ideas.
You may be asked about word order, tone, diction, transitions, repetition, parallelism, and use of allusion, antithesis, and figurative language, as well as metaphors, allusions, similes, hyperbole, and irony.
Some of the questions will ask you about the meaning, purpose, or effect of the citations, and at least one of the passages will include footnotes.
If you don't have a good grasp of any of these topics, you should look them up while you prepare for the exam.
They're all explained in the book.
The progress of each passage usually coincides with the order of multiple-choice questions.
The questions are not presented in order of difficulty.
Most questions are related to rhetoric.
A catch-all term, rhetoric refers to the techniques and strategies an author uses to compose a passage.
The term mood refers to the feelings that a poem or prose piece arouses in the reader.
Tone refers to the author's or speaker's feelings about the subject.
The question won't stump anyone who's not familiar with footnoting.
The systems of documentation all cite titles, authors, dates, and publishers.
A complete footnote tells you where to find the information.
It may tell you where the material came from, whether it was translated or not, and a lot more.
If you've ever worked on a research paper or project in school, you've probably written footnotes and prepared a bibliographies.
The AP exam won't give you special citations.
It will serve up samples that a college freshman would be expected to know.
To answer this question, you need to know sentence terminology.
The book's review of sentence types will help you do that.
It's a good idea to brush up on the terminology.
Only choices A, C, and E relate to grammar.
The others are rhetorical.
The nature of each choice doesn't matter as much as your ability to identify examples of usage and rhetoric when you see them.
There are a lot of questions that are in some way to rhetoric.
Only a few of the many types on the exam are represented by the foregoing questions.
There are other kinds that have appeared on recent exams in the following list.
Pick the rhetorical strategy or device used in the section.
Determine how unity is achieved in all or part of the passage.
Name the author's implied or stated purpose, or the purpose of particular images, diction, organization, sentence structure, or other styles.
The questions will lead you to specific lines of the passage.
You need to read the lines and respond to the questions.
There are some questions that require more than that.
Broad issues that can't be addressed without a full understanding of the context in which the lines appear are raised by some.
You must read at least the two or three lines that precede the lines designated by the question and the two or three lines that follow.
For multiple-choice questions, AP test writers usually choose passages from the 17th and 21st centuries, although they might occasionally include a passage from ancient Greece or Rome.
They try to balance genre, time period, and individual style in each exam.
Nonfiction is composed by essayists, historians, journalists, diarists, autobiographers, political writers, philosophers, and critics.
Simple passages that leave little room for interpretation and passages that are comprehensible only to those with high IQs will not be found.
Authors and titles of the passages are not given, although the source of each passage is briefly identified: a nineteenth-century memoir, a twentieth-century book, or a contemporary journalist's diary.
If you've taken an AP English class, you'll probably be able to answer most of the questions.
A strong reading background, both in school and on your own, as well as practice in close textual analysis, will serve you well.
By this time in your school career, you've probably taken a lot of tests like the SATs orACTs for which you've read passages like those on the AP English exam and answered multiple-choice questions.
You've developed certain test taking techniques and have observed that there is no technique that serves everyone equally.
What works for others may not work for you.
It's important to know which techniques help you.
Try the alternatives described below to prepare for the exam.
As you go through the exercises and practice tests in the book, experiment with each one.
Gradually, you'll discover which techniques you can rely on.
Ignore the others if you lean on them.
From the beginning to the end, pencil in hand, read everything.
On this test, you will be asked questions about the language and rhetoric of the passage.
Make a note of the vivid images and figures of speech.
Try to understand the tone of the passage.
Any words, phrases, or ideas that clearly illustrate or contribute to the tone should be marked.
Look at how the passage is organized.
Refer to the passage as necessary to find or check your answers.
If you want to get the general idea of the passage, read faster.
A quick read-through will show the answers to the questions.
Make a mental note of any strange words.
Don't dawdler if you want to get an impression of the content and writing style of the passage.
Refer to the passage as you answer the questions.
Whatever you do, don't even think of answering the questions without thoroughly reading the passage and footnotes from start to finish, including the blurb that tells you the origin of the passage.
Skim the passage for a general impression, then go back and read it more thoroughly, using your pencil to mark the passage and take notes.
You can pick out features of language and rhetoric from two readings, one fast and one slow.
You'll be able to focus on the features that contribute to the overall meaning and effect of the passage if you know what the passage is about from the first reading.
Refer to the passage to check your answers after the second reading.
Don't look at the answer choices.
If you can't remember 10 or 12 questions about material you haven't read, go through the questions quickly and become familiar with the kinds of information you are expected to draw out of the passage.
You can read the passage more carefully when you know the questions.
Some students read one question, then look for the answer in the passage before moving on to the next question.
They are far from finishing because time has run out.
The chances of grasping the overall point of the passage are reduced by a fragmented approach.
Strong readers analyze what they read word by word, sentence by sentence, and paragraph by paragraph.
Good authors leave nothing to chance, not the words, the sentences, the punctuation, the footnotes, the order and content of paragraphs, or the overall structure of their work.
Their prose has a purpose behind it.
Get used to line by line dissections.
To pass the AP exam, you have to read the passages and analyze how they were written.
You can train yourself to make insightful analyses by analyzing what you read.
As you read a piece of prose, make a note of why the author chose certain words and details.
The author creates a tone and develops a main idea.
Like every other worthwhile skill, annotating a passage in this manner takes time, and to do it well takes even more time at the beginning.
It can be difficult, frustrating, and even discouraging, but just a single astute insight can lead to another.
Close reading can become addictive with regular practice.
Laying bare an author's creative process has whet the appetite of many students who now do it all the time.
A heightened awareness of the reasons behind every choice that an author makes will lift your score on the AP exam.
It's likely to raise the level and maturity of your own writing in the long run.
Take the main idea of what you read and make it into a sentence or two.
You have come a long way if you can clearly and accurately identify the thesis.
Sometimes the thesis will be made public.
Put the thesis into your own words if it is implied by content.
It's a good sign that you're serious about finding the essence of a passage if you write it down on paper or on a computer screen.
It's hard to imagine a piece of writing where the author's attitude is completely hidden.
Take the paragraph you just read.
If you're the least bit tempted to look at a passage, then I've succeeded in persuading you to give it a try.
The author has an effect on the reader.
Think about the author's qualifications to write.
The authority of the writer is revealed by details.
Authors who don't know what they're talking about often hide behind their prose.
Writing in margins and highlighting noteworthy ideas and features is a must.
There are two annotated passages.
The notes suggest what an alert reader should look out for during a close reading.
Some annotators made valid comments about each of the passages.
One annotator's words may differ from another's but that doesn't matter because both accurately convey the anatomy of the passages.
Take a look at a sample passage written by John Livingston Lowes.
You should read the passage at least twice, first to see what it is about, and then during the second reading to see what you notice.
Write a statement that summarizes the main idea of the passage and state your opinion of the author's tone.
Take your notes and compare them to those made by the other person.
Chances are that you will record his missed ideas.
The clock won't permit lengthy annotations during the AP exam, but if you get into the habit of scrawling your insights all over the things you read, it's likely that you'll sail through.
It's easy to slip out of the grooves if you stop for a while.
The multiple-choice questions on the exam have been written to separate qualified students from less qualified students.
You need to answer most of the questions correctly and write good essays to get a 5.
You need to get at least 50% of the questions right if you want to get a 3.
The questions are not arranged in order of difficulty.
They follow the progress of the passage, but not always.
Each correct answer is worth a point.
Each wrong answer and blank answer will be subtracted from the total number of questions.
If you leave two blanks and answer four questions wrong, a total of six points will be deducted from your score, making your short answer score 49.
The scoring procedure means that it pays to guess even when there is no answer.
By guessing at random, you still have a one-in-five chance of getting it right, and by eliminating one or more choices, you dramatically increase the odds of picking the correct answer.
Don't leave barnyards.
Conventional wisdom says you should go with your first impulse when you can't decide among three choices.
Testing experts and psychologists agree that there's a better chance of success if you trust your intuition.
There are no guarantees.
The human mind works in so many ways that relying on your initial choice may not always work for you.
If you have to guess, answer every question.
You use sources to argue your point of view in a synthesis essay.
The meaning and structure of prose passage is examined in an analytical essay.
A persuasive essay supports, refutes, or qualifies an opinion expressed in a statement or brief passage.
You have 15 minutes to read the questions and sources for the synthesis essay before you start writing.
You don't have to read all the time.
You can plan your essay, highlight noteworthy ideas, formulate a tentative thesis, or prepare a brief outline during those 15 minutes.
You could look at the other essay questions.
You may not start writing your essay if you don't fill the time as you wish.
The green light is the beginning of that.
The choice is yours.
40 minutes is the suggested writing time.
Here are the essay topics that students were given during each of the last few years to give you a better idea of what to write about on the exam.
The widespread use of information technologies is applauded by some people.
They claim that easy access to computers, smart phones, and other devices improves learning.
Those who don't agree worry that technology can cause our lives to move too quickly and cause the decline of face-to-face interaction.
They say that we are overcome with more information than we can ever use.
The most important factors that schools should consider before using specific technologies in the classroom should be discussed in the essay after reading six sources about the general effects of information technology.
You should include at least three sources into your discussion.
Benjamin Banneker, the son of a former slave, wrote a letter to Thomas Jefferson.
Banneker used rhetorical strategies to argue against slavery.
A quote by de Botton states that humorists such as cartoonists, stand-up comedians, writers of satire, and others do more than entertain.
They are vital to society because they can say things others can't.
In order to help sustain the environment, many people choose to eat food that has been grown or produced in the area.
In the past decade, the ranks of these people have swelled.
A particular community is being proposed as a location for a locavore movement.
After reading seven sources, including the material that introduces each source, write an essay that identifies the most significant issues raised by such a movement and explains the implications of these issues for the community.
You should include at least three sources into your discussion.
Florence Kelly gave a speech at the National American Woman Sufferage Association in 1905.
The speaker used rhetorical strategies to convey her views about child labor in this country.
An essay should be written after reading a short excerpt from Rights of Man by Thomas Paine, a British subject who supported America's independence from England.
Appropriate evidence is needed to back up your argument.
The United States Postal Service was founded more than two hundred years ago.
The growth of package delivery companies and the expansion of digital communications have led to a decline in postal business.
The loss of revenue has forced the USPS to consider reducing services, such as cutting the number of mail delivery days.
After reading seven sources about the current status of the postal service, write an essay that discusses whether the USPS should take steps to adapt to the current needs of the country.
In 1962, President John F. Kennedy responded to a decision by American steel companies to raise their prices when the country's economy was in great distress.
Kennedy used rhetorical strategies to convey his views on the actions of the steel companies.
Write an essay that takes a position on the relationship between certainty and doubt as expressed by two brief quotations, one advocating the need to develop certainty in order to accomplish one's goals, the other supporting the inclusion of a degree of doubt in statements of one's opinions.
The building of monuments that pay homage to renowned people, to great achievements, and to historic moments of deep sacrifice is the question.
There are a lot of decisions to be made regarding size, location, and materials.
An essay that examines the criteria that a group or agency should take into account not only in choosing an event or person to memorialize but also in creating an appropriate monument should be written after reading seven sources related to monument building.
There is a passage written in 2008 that talks about the separation of people from the natural world.
The author Richard Louv used rhetorical strategies to express and develop his main idea.
The importance of ownership and the development of self should be explained in an essay.
Your reading, experience, or observations can be used to support your argument.
College graduates have failed to find jobs in which their education prepared them.
Many people, including high school students and their parents, question whether a college degree is worth the cost.
College education is not meant to prepare students for a job or career, according to others.
An essay should be written about whether a college education is worth the cost after reading six sources.
You should include at least three sources in your essay.
John Quincy Adams traveled to Europe with his father, John Adams, the future second president of the United States, after his mother wrote a letter of advice to him.
Carefully read the letter.
An essay analyzing the rhetorical strategies Mrs. Adams uses to advise the young man is needed.
The creativity of children from kindergarten through sixth grade has suffered in recent years according to research by experts in education.
When present and future world problems related to climate, economics, war and peace, and much more will require increasingly creative solutions, a decline in creativity is alarming.
Going to school has always included homework.
Efforts to improve education have included assigning more homework to students from kindergarten to twelfth grade.
Many people applaud this increase.
Critics claim that heavier loads of homework do more harm than good.
The material that introduces each source is included in the following six sources.
Take a position on the claim that large amounts of homework have more negative consequences than positive ones in an essay that synthesises at least three of the sources.
Use the sources to support and illustrate your position and focus the essay on your point of view.
The sources should not be summarized.
You can quote material directly from the sources.
In your essay, be sure to state which sources you use.
The online edition of Psychology Today was published on November 24, 2012.
An excerpt from an article written by an author and specialist in behavior and education can be found here.
The Homework Myth is one of his books.
The research supporting homework hasn't been very persuasive at the high school level.
There seems to be a correlation between homework and standardized test scores, but it isn't strong, meaning that homework doesn't explain much of the variation in scores, and one prominent researcher returned to that conclusion.
The connection between homework and test scores tends to be strongest with math.
If homework isn't necessary for students to succeed in that subject, it's probably unnecessary everywhere.
The effect of math and science homework on grades in high school is the focus of a new study.
The researchers were surprised by this result.
When you measure "achievement" in terms of grades, you expect to see a positive result, not because homework is beneficial, but because the same teacher who gives the assignments evaluates the students who complete them, and the final grade is often based on whether or not.
It's important to remember that some people object to homework because they don't think it provides academic benefits.
They argue that six hours a day of academics is enough, and that kids should have the chance to explore other interests and relax in the same way that most adults like to.
There is an excerpt from an opinion article written by a social scientist at the RAND Corporation.
Homework is the most important window into the school for parents to understand and connect with the academic mission of the teachers.
On a daily basis, children, parents and schools interact in this arena.
It gets less attention than any other part of education.
We don't pay much attention to how to improve its design and content, other than the admonition that kids should do more of it.
We don't do much to prepare teachers to use and evaluate homework, to hold administrators accountable for monitoring the homework load, or to cultivate parents' collaboration.
Homework is an orphan of the educational excellence movement.
After 50 years of failure to increase student buy-in, it's time to rethink how to make homework a more valued part of the pedagogic process.
Homework can promote academic achievement and help inform parents about the educational agenda of the school.
We need to find ways to make homework interesting and challenging for students, instead of being a seat-bound, memorize-focused solo exercise.
The roadblock that has stymied the pursuit of educational excellence in the past will prevent us from talking about high standards and improving student achievement.
There is an excerpt from a report on American education.
The most reliable data shows that the typical high school student does not spend more than an hour per day on homework, that the homework load has not changed since the 1980s, and that the students whose homework has increased in the past decade are those who previously.
The relationship of homework with student achievement is positive for both middle and high school students and neutral for elementary school students.
It's difficult to prove causality with research on educational practices.
Students who enjoy studying may do more homework.
They need a lot of work in tough classes.
That doesn't mean homework is boosting their achievement.
Students who are struggling to catch up may do more homework.
They are not having learning problems because of the homework.
The Digest of Education Statistics came from the U.S. Department of Education.
Score differentials are calculated as the difference between the NAEP score for students with no assigned homework and those in the defined categories.
An article published on a website promotes the writing of authors in many disciplines, including education.
Homework assignments serve various educational needs.
It serves as an intellectual discipline, establishes study habits, eases time constraints on the amount of material that can be covered in class, and supplements and reinforces work done in school.
It fosters student initiative, independence, and responsibility, and brings home and school closer together.
Homework seems to be a part of life like mowing the lawn or taking out the garbage.
Good assignments can help children develop good habits.
It can teach children to work independently, encourage self-discipline and responsibility, and encourage a love of learning.
Homework can help parents learn more about their children's education.
The case for homework has been strengthened by research that focuses on the relationship between homework and student achievement.
Many teachers and parents agree that homework develops students' initiative and responsibility and fulfill the expectations of students, parents, and the public.
If homework assignments are carefully planned by the teachers and have meaning to students, they will be most helpful in studies.
"Homework Is Wrecking My Home Life" was published in 2000.
The article was published in an online educational journal.
Howard Gardner of the Harvard Graduate School of Education says that teachers should devote energy to creating homework that is stimulating and provocative.
It sounds great, "but you need parent input for kids to perform, and with the increase in single-parent families, there's no one at home to help," said a veteran fifth-grade teacher.
"It's not that the kids don't want to do homework; the majority of my students don't have the skills to go home and do it on their own," said Highfield, a teacher at Florida Avenue Elementary in Slidell, Louisiana.
The same holds true for older children.
"I have students who have been thrown out of the house or have a financial situation brought on by an ill parent," Northshore High School teacher Kathleen Modenbach told Education World.
As kids deal with assigned homework in their own ways, their parents are unsure what to do.
Some want their children to be academically competitive, while others wonder how much is too much.
There is a topic that you need to know about.
Being a seasoned doer of homework, you're probably bursting with ideas on the pros and cons of the stuff and could probably argue brilliantly for or against homework.
You are not likely to find yourself short of ideas on the issue.
It is possible that you will find yourself sifting out the best arguments among many to include in an essay on the subject.
This essay assignment isn't intended to give you a chance to talk about homework.
You must not rely on your personal experience and observations to shape your argument.
This is what the AP people call a " synthesis essay", a label that you have to take seriously.
There's no extra credit for citing three sources.
It means that your essay must be based on at least three of the sources and not solely on your personal opinion.
You can either use the sources as evidence to support your point of view, or you can comment on them in other ways.
They can either be criticized for being incorrect or rejected as dead- wrong observations of the homework scene.
You can quote from them, use indirect quotations, or put ideas into your own words.
You must say where the material came from if you incorporate the sources.
You must give credit to each source you use, as if you are writing a term paper for a class.
It may serve you well to use phrases like " According to Source C".
A study of students' reading scores shows that.
You can cite your sources with parenthetical references in your text.
One approach is to name the author or even the title of the sources, but it takes up a lot of time.
AP essay readers will penalize essays that contain less than three.
You won't get extra credit for citing more than three.
Whether or not you agree with the premise that large amounts of homework have more negative effects than positive ones, your task is to write an argument that defends your point of view.
You need to gather evidence to support your position because a researched argument is meant to sway readers who may disagree with you.
If you think homework is good for you, then the more you get, the better.
Right off the bat, you have a main idea for your essay.
If you know where you stand on the issue, you should take the time to read all the sources carefully, circling those ideas you might consider mentioning in your essay.
You can bolster your argument by refuting and revealing the weaknesses in what your opponent says if you read the material with which you don't agree.
It is important to read all the sources carefully.
It's important to gather at least three compelling reasons to support your position in a convincing case.
You won't go wrong following the structure of the essay, which includes an introduction, three paragraphs of development, and a conclusion.
Three is a number that works.
You appear to speak with authority if you can come up with three different arguments.
One paragraph is too easy.
It suggests insight and depth.
The beginning, middle, and end of a story create a sense of completeness for the reader.
The sources can be used to bolster your arguments.
You don't have to depend completely on the sources.
AP readers are likely to look kindly on your own original ideas if they are relevant to the issue, clearly expressed, and well-developed.
Homework allows parents to be involved in their children's education.
There are opportunities for students to catch up on homework.
Homework leads to a love of learning.
There is a weak correlation between homework and student achievement.
A large amount of homework can keep a student from pursuing their interests.
Homework assigned during vacations deprives kids of reading for pleasure and turns them away from the joys of learning.
Better grades do not come from more homework.
The sources give either support or decry.
A middle-of-the-road position is hard to defend unless you build a case by refuting both sides of the issue.
The teacher seems to have overlooked the fact that some students can be counted on to work on their own, because the word "majority" can mean almost all or just over half.
The teacher generalizing about all students deprives some of her kids of the chance to learn at home.
Universal policies regarding homework don't work, if an essay argues neither for nor against homework.
One size does not fit all when it comes to education.
After collecting your ideas for or against the issue, stop and think about which idea to put first, which idea to put second, and so on.
It's important that order is followed.
The arrangement that readers can follow with the least effort is the best order.
No plan is better than another if you have a valid reason for using it.
The aimless one, the one in which you state and develop ideas in random order, is the plan that is least likely to succeed.
It's better to rank your ideas in order of importance so that you can pick the strongest support for your thesis.
Save your best argument for the last part of the essay.
Everything that follows will be anticlimactic, so giving it away at the beginning is self-defeating.
An excellent way to arrange your ideas is to lead with your second best, save your best for the end, and sandwich the others in between.
The end and the beginning of an essay are critical parts of the structure.
A good opening draws the reader in and creates an all important first impression, but a memorable ending, coming last, is what readers have fresh in their minds when they assign you a grade.
Don't just follow these guidelines.
If you can justify another organization, use it.
Readers won't judge your essay on the basis of your opinion.
They are obliged to grade you according to the criteria of good writing even if they disagree with you.
They may think that your view is off the wall, but a cogent, forceful essay that smoothly integrates the sources and demonstrates mastery of argumentation will merit a high score.
The New York Times has a Sunday magazine.
You should analyze the structure of the passage and the use of language to convey the writer's views.
The original question asked you to analyze the structure and language of the passage.
The first aspect is specific.
As you read the passage, you need to pay attention to what the author is saying.
The reasons the author may have chosen that order must be explained in your essay.
The general part of the question is what the second part is about.
It invites you to analyze the use of language, which may include the author's choice of words, the order of their words, the rhythm of their speech, and the tone of their rhetoric.
The essay should be unified, even though the question directs you to write about two different aspects of the passage.
A good essay should not consist of two separate paragraphs, one devoted to structure and the other to language.
The structure and language of the passage should be shown in the essay.
This could be woven into the overall fabric of the essay, or it could be covered in a separate paragraph.
As you write your analysis, read the passage at least twice.
Before you begin to write, read the passage at least twice, once for an overview and once for your analysis.
The opening paragraph contains generalizations about Westerners' concepts of science and progress.
The Western view of science and progress is compared to the Eastern view by the author.
You can see that the author is speaking from the perspective of an Easterner by using the first-person pronoun.
His discussion of Eastern views is likely to be more personal and well-informed.
The city of Shiraz is an example of how different the East is from the West.
The idea that the "spiritual way of life" has a side to it that Westerners don't know is conveyed by the description and vivid images of Shiraz.
The heart of the passage is here.
The use of quotation marks around "romantic" and "city of poetry" is meant to point out the discrepancy between the idealized and real versions of Shiraz.
Nearing the end, the author reiterates his initial contrast between West and East.
The last paragraph reminds the reader of the contrast made at the beginning of the passage.
In the middle of the twentieth century, an anthropologist named Clyde Kluckhorn wrote a book called Mirror for Man.
Carefully read the passage.
Write an essay that examines the extent to which the author's characterization of the United States holds true today.
Evidence can be used to support your argument.
The basis of the capitalistic system is technology.
To the extent that people are judged not by their character but by what they seem to be--so far as can be measured by the salaries they earn or the variety and material goods which they possess--having possession of gadgets is a mark of success.
In some cultures, the number of mistresses is a better indicator of success than the cars they drive.
Whether you agree or disagree with the content of the passage, your job is to write a convincing argument that expresses your opinion.
Conflict or confrontation may be suggested initially by the word argument.
Rest assured that you don't need to be combative in your essay.
It should be a calmly-reasoned explanation of your opinion.
Your goal is to convince the reader that your opinion is correct.
You can include strong feelings about the topic in moderation.
The essay shouldn't be an emotional rant against the issue.
A persuasive essay shouldn't be an emotional rant against an issue.
The ability to support the issue by drawing from your knowledge, experience, or observation is more important than the actual position you take.
Be sure to include more than one example.
An argument that relies on a single example will fall apart.
Kluckhorn's idea of success seems to refer to American society.
Don't respond in kind.
A short essay shouldn't focus on the whole of society but on an identifiable segment.
The point is that a narrowly-focused essay on a limited topic will always turn out better than one that tries to cover too much ground in just a few paragraphs.
When it's time to make a decision about writing, the word comes up a lot.
It's a popular word because it's easy to use.
You probably know effective writing when you see it, but what the AP folks have in mind is the thoughtful organization of ideas, appropriate word choice, proper syntax, varied sentence structure, a mature style of writing, sensible paragraphing, coherent development, and correct mechanics.
Readers don't expect three polished pieces of prose, just three good essays.
AP readers don't look at a list of criteria to see if your essay meets them.
They read it holistically, meaning that they read it quickly for an overall impression of your writing and assign a grade from 1 to 9.
Readers are trained to look for responses that are organized, well-developed, and powerful.
The 40 minutes suggested for each essay is not a lot of time to read the question, plan what you will say, write a few hundred words, edit and proofread your draft, and submit a finished piece of work.
You have to condense into a short time what would normally take a long time.
The AP test readers don't expect three polished pieces of prose, but just three written essays.
Thousands of college and high school teachers get together in June to read and evaluate essays written by students from across the country and overseas.
Readers are trained to use a common set of scoring standards in order to make sound judgments about student writing.
The number of words in your essays is up to you.
The length of an AP essay takes a back seat to answering the question and covering the subject.
A single paragraph won't allow you to fully develop your ideas.
Multiparagraph essays allow you to be expansive, to use a variety of details to support your main idea, and to show that you have what it takes to cover a complex subject clearly and logically.
The number of words is not as important as what the words say.
AP readers are given guidelines that stress the need for fairness as part of their training.
Each essay needs to be read once.
To assign a grade immediately.
To take everything into account, including organization, word choice, and the mechanics of writing.
Not to penalize an incomplete essay.
Not to use length as a criterion.
The logic of the argument developed by the writer should be used to judge any essay that contains a marginal response to the question.
Each essay is a first draft written by a seventeen- or eighteen-year-old.
Each essay is scored on a scale of 0 to 9 and is read by two different people.
A third reader evaluates the essay if the scores assigned by the two readers are different.
While reading the synthesis essay, evaluators are required to judge how effectively you cite sources to support your position on the given issue.
Readers are expected to be objective in scoring essays.
Some essays are evaluated by more than one reader.
Every essay is assigned a single score.
One that's not quite 9 but is better than an 8 is raised to the higher number.
The writer's control of effective writing techniques is demonstrated in essays deserving a score of 9.
They are clear, interesting, and correct.
They analyze rhetorical strategies.
They refer frequently to the text, directly or indirectly, and succinctly describe how such matters as tone, irony, diction, and use of examples contribute to the structure and meaning of a passage.
The material from at least three sources is used in the discussion of the issue.
The errors in the essay are inconsequential if there is an occasional flaw in analysis, prose style, or mechanics.
Essays that earn an 8 are very well written and demonstrate mastery of English.
They meet all the criteria for an essay earning a 9.
7 essays were good at analyzing rhetorical strategies.
They often use specific examples from the text and discuss, directly or indirectly, such matters as tone, irony, diction, and use of examples.
They are well-developed and coherent, but they are not as complex as essays rated 8 or 9.
There are a few errors in the word choice and sentence structure, but they are not egregious enough to affect the expression of the writer's ideas.
A synthesis essay with a score of 7 effectively supports the writer's position and appropriately incorporates at least three sources into the discussion of the issue.
The overall argument may be less developed or more precise than arguments that earn an 8 or a 9.
A 6 is the same as a 7 except that the prose style may be less mature, or it may be more serious or occur more often.
Essays with a grade of 5 adequately answer the question, but may lack full development.
It is possible for ideas to be presented clearly but still be superficial.
The impact of the essay is weakened by the fact that the writer is not fully in control of effective writing techniques.
The position taken in the synthesis essay is supported by incorporating and citing at least three sources, but the arguments and the use of citations is questionable.
An essay that earns a 4 does not respond adequately to the question.
It may miss the point of the question.
It might be superficial or it might be developed incoherently.
Although the point of the essay is clear, the prose is immature, showing the writer's lack of control over organization, word choice, or syntax.
A synthesis essay with a score of 4 makes a weak or incomplete argument.
It may use too few sources.
The analysis of essays that get a score of 4 are more astute and flawed than the ones that get a score of 3.
The prose shows how difficult it is for the writer to control organization, develop ideas, choose the correct words, and use standard English to convey ideas.
The writer shows a weak understanding of the meaning of sources by citing sources in the synthesis essay.
The writer's inability to analyze the passage is demonstrated by the essay's score of 2.
It can substitute a simpler task for the one assigned by the question.
The prose shows weaknesses in organizing material, in expressing ideas clearly, and in writing correctly.
A score of 2 on the synthesis essay suggests that the writer has failed to address the issue, has used incorrect sources, or has responded to the issue largely by using the sources.
An essay deserving a 1 may be similar to an essay scored 2, but the ideas are more simplistic and the expression flawed, perhaps bordering on incomprehensible.
The writer may have neglected to mention any sources in the synthesis essay.
A blank paper, an essay not on the assigned topic, or a piece of writing that merely paraphrases the prompt are all indicators of a 0 score.
The descriptions lack precision.
Grades for essays are not an exact science.
The readers are expected to focus on the strengths of the essay rather than the weaknesses.
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