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2.3 Developing thesis statements

2 min read • january 26, 2023

Sahithi Morla

Sahithi Morla

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In Topic 2.3, we will cover how to write thesis statements. ✍️

What is a Thesis Statement?

A thesis statement is the main argument or point that a student makes in an essay. It serves as a roadmap for the essay and guides the reader through the main points and evidence used to support the argument. A thesis statement should be clear and specific, and it should be included in the introduction of the essay. In AP English Language and Composition, students are often required to analyze texts and make arguments about them, so the thesis statement is crucial in demonstrating their understanding of the text and their ability to analyze it.

How to Develop a Thesis Statement

To develop a thesis statement , follow these steps:

Read and analyze the text : Before you can develop a thesis statement , you need to have a thorough understanding of the text you are analyzing. Read the text carefully and take notes on key ideas and themes.

Identify the main idea : Look for the main idea or message that the author is trying to convey. Consider the purpose of the text and the intended audience.

Brainstorm possible thesis statements : Based on your understanding of the text, come up with a few possible thesis statements that express your main idea.

Refine your thesis statement : Choose the thesis statement that is the most clear, specific, and arguable. Make sure that it is a statement and not a question or a fact.

Test your thesis statement : Ask yourself if your thesis statement can be supported by evidence from the text and if it is clear and specific enough.

Revise if necessary : If your thesis statement is not clear or specific enough, or if it is not supported by the text, revise it until it meets these criteria.

Your thesis statement should be the foundation of your essay, so it is important to develop it carefully and thoughtfully. Remember that a thesis statement is not a summary of the text, but an argument that you make about the text, and it should be specific, complex, and nuanced.

Key Terms to Review ( 1 )

Thesis Statement

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Lesson Plan: AP Government: Argumentative Essay Practice

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The Federalist Papers

Boston College professor Mary Sarah Bilder gives a brief overview backgrounding the Federalist Papers

Description

This is intended as an end-of-course review activity for practice with the argumentative essay format included on the AP United States Government and Politics exam since the 2018 redesign. Eleven practice prompts are provided, reflecting content from Units 1-3.

ARGUMENTATIVE ESSAY PROMPT ANALYSIS

  • Review the provided Argumentative Essay Prompts in either an individual or jigsaw format.
  • Write a thesis statement for your selected prompt(s) and identify the selection you would make from the provided list and the second piece of evidence you would choose.
  • If there are prompts for which you struggle to develop a thesis, or items on the bulleted lists with which you are not conversant, use the hyperlinked C-SPAN Classroom resources to extend your understanding of the required founding documents and SCOTUS cases that you found challenging.

ARGUMENTATIVE ESSAY

  • Chose one or more of the provided Argumentative Essay Prompts , as assigned, and use the planning and exploration you did above to write a full essay in response to your designated prompt(s) in 25 or fewer minutes , since that's the time limit you'll face on the AP Exam!
  • Exchange essays with a classmate and evaluate each others' work.
  • 1st Amendment
  • Branches Of Government
  • Constitution
  • House Of Representatives
  • Separation Of Powers
  • Supreme Court

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AP®︎/College US Government and Politics

Course: ap®︎/college us government and politics   >   unit 7.

  • How to practice with our multiple choice questions

AP free response tips

Examine the question, determine what's required to answer the question, choose your evidence, develop a thesis, support your thesis, get examples from past exams, want to join the conversation.

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AP® US Government

How to answer ap® us government free response questions.

  • The Albert Team
  • Last Updated On: March 1, 2022

how to answer AP® US Government free response questions

Mastering the free response section can make or break any student’s AP® US Government and Politics score. If you’re looking for the best tips and tricks for answering AP® US GoPo free response questions, you’ve come to the right place. 

In this article, we’ll review tips for writing top-mark AP® US Government and Politics FRQs, mistakes that students make one too many times on past AP® GoPo exams, and how to use past AP® free response questions to start practicing for your upcoming exam. 

Keep reading to get everything you need to know when it comes to making the most of your AP® US Government and Politics exam review. 

What We Review

5 Steps on How to Write Effective AP® US Government and Politics Free Responses

Here, we’ll review a five-step strategy for you to start writing AP® US GoPo free response answers that will score you maximum possible points. 

1. Commit to learning what gets you points on the AP® US Government and Politics exam by reviewing past rubrics and scoring guidelines.

A common mistake students make when it comes to preparing for their AP® GoPo exam is failing to understand how they’re being graded. The first step to solving this is going to the College Board’s AP® Central website and navigating to the past released exams for US Government. 

Here is the link for AP® US Government and Politics past released exams

Open up the scoring guidelines PDF. These guidelines outline how points were distributed on that particular year’s exams. 

Here’s a screenshot from the first question of the 2019 released exam: 

AP® US Government frq

Source: College Board

From this, you can see that this short answer question in 2019 was worth three points, with one point being allocated to each part. There are certain directive words to keep an eye on when reviewing AP® US Government and Politics free response questions, but we’ll get into that later.

For now, just make sure you review at least two years worth of released exam scoring guidelines so you begin to understand how questions and parts of questions are weighted. 

2. Underline or circle every bolded and capitalized word in the question prompt.

Alright, so now that we know how points are generally distributed, we need to build the habit of having a system for ensuring we actually answer the question asked by the College Board when we start our AP® US Government and Politics free response section.

ap us gopo frq example

AP® US Government and Politics isn’t as “nice” as AP® Biology free response questions in that they don’t always bold key directive words for you to know what is being asked.

That being said, it’s not hard to circle or underline for yourself the key thing you are being asked to answer. 

There are three “key phrases” to commit to memory when it comes to AP® US Government and Politics free response questions: 

That’s it. If you look at the last few years worth of released exam questions, these are the most commonly used directive words for the short answer question section of the AP® US Government and Politics free response section. 

If you aren’t sure what the three of these words are asking you for, keep reading.

When the exam asks you to describe something, you need to tell them about what they’re asking. This doesn’t mean you need to explain the “why” — it just means you need to talk about what the topic is and the characteristics of the topic being asked.

When you’re asked to explain something, this is where you need to show the “why”. You need to be able to give 3-5 sentences with an example in most cases to earn credit for these questions.

Finally, when asked to identify something, you need to simply indicate that you know what the topic is related to — no need for explanation or elaboration as you might when asked to describe or explain. 

One of our best test taking tips we can give you is to make a tick mark or star next to the words you have circled or underlined after you’ve answered it in your free response. This serves as a visual checklist for you to make sure you answered all parts of the question. 

Trust us! It’s easy to forget to answer one small part of an FRQ, and that can make all the difference in your free response score. 

Aside from the three directive words above, other commonly used ones for AP® GoPo include:

  • Define : Similar to identify — show that you know what the topic is but there is no need to elaborate further than what’s asked.
  • Compare : Provide a description of the similarities and/or differences of the topics presented.
  • Develop an Argument : State a claim and support it with evidence.
  • Draw a Conclusion : Make an accurate statement from what has been presented. 

3. Plan your response BEFORE beginning to write your response. 

planning your AP® US Government frq out

One of the most commonly cited mistakes students make on the AP® GoPo free response section is not actually answering the question in a thoughtful way. 

The College Board uses the free response section to test your ability to connect the dots with what you’ve learned in class. You need to demonstrate skills such as considering evidence to incorporate and how that fits into your analysis. 

This means plan out your response before you begin writing! 

Take a second before putting your pen down to start writing to think through how you’ll answer the “why” based questions. 

Think deeply about what the question is actually asking you — sometimes students answer questions without actually…answering the question.

Readers often express that student misconceptions come from having a poorly planned response or simply restating the question without adding any direct response to the question they were asked. 

4. Remember that AP® US Government and Politics free responses are not like other subjects — treat them differently than you may in AP® English Language. 

ap us gopo frq

When it comes to the short answer questions in AP® GoPo, you do not need to write an essay to score max points. There is no need for an introduction, thesis, or conclusion on these questions.

When it comes to the argumentative essay, it’s not necessarily a cookie-cutter five paragraph essay either. 

The argumentative essay’s scoring depends on each proceeding section building on the prior. On every question 4, the College Board states exactly what you need to score maximum possible points. 

You need: 

  • To articulate a defensible claim or thesis that responds to the prompt and establishes a line of reasoning.
  • Typically one will be from a foundational document while the other will be any other foundational document you learned in class
  • Use reasoning to explain why your evidence supports your claim or thesis
  • Respond to an opposing or alternative perspective using refutation, concession, or rebuttal.

What this means is that as long as you cover all the points outlined above clearly, you can score a perfect score on the argumentative essay! 

When it comes to preparing for the argumentative essay, one of the best things you can do is make sure you are fully comfortable with all 9 foundational documents and 15 Supreme Court cases. 

The required foundational documents to know are: 

  • The Declaration of Independence
  • The Articles of Confederation
  • The Constitution of the United States
  • Federalist No. 10
  • Brutus No. 1
  • Federalist No. 51
  • Federalist No. 70
  • Federalist No. 78
  • Letters from a Birmingham Jail

Kelsey Falkowski has a nice 15-minute review video of these foundational documents here .

The required Supreme Court cases are:

  • Marbury v. Madison (1803)
  • McCulloch v. Maryland (1819)
  • Schenck v. United States (1919)
  • Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka (1954)
  • Baker v. Carr (1961)
  • Engel v. Vitale (1962)
  • Gideon v. Wainwright (1963)
  • Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District (1969)
  • New York Times Company v. United States (1971)
  • Wisconsin v. Yoder (1972)
  • Roe v. Wade (1973)
  • Shaw v. Reno (1993)
  • United States v. Lopez (1995)
  • McDonald v. Chicago (2010)
  • Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission (2010)

Adam Norris has a great 11-minute review video on these fifteen cases here .

Typically when it comes to the final component, we like using rebuttals more than concessions or refutations. The reason why is because when you make a concession or refutation on a claim you made earlier in your essay, it can potentially come across as a weakening of your thesis if you are not able to position it properly. 

The last thing to remember here is to make sure you “close the loop”. This is a test taking strategy the College Board promotes across multiple disciplines and with good reason — it challenges a student to demonstrate they can form a coherent argument. Closing the loop in AP® US Government can mean using words like “because” or “therefore” to help bridge two concepts together and solve for the “why” this matters. 

5. Practice, practice, and did we say practice?

When you reduce AP® free response sections down to their core, regardless of subject domain, mastering them comes down to two things: knowing how you’re going to be graded, and learning how to craft responses that fit those rubrics. 

Sometimes students do the first part well but fail to practice enough at doing the second part, and vice versa. 

When you first start out, we recommend trying a set of past released questions and then having a friend grade your responses with the scoring guidelines. See how you would do without any intentional prep. Then, learn from your mistakes, log your mistakes in a study journal, and begin intentionally tackling other years one by one.

After a few times of doing this, you’ll begin building your intuition to craft a perfect-score response for your AP® US Government and Politics free responses.

25 AP® US Government and Politics FRQ Tips to Scoring a 4 or 5

Now that we’ve gone over the 5-step process to writing good AP® GoPo free responses, we can shift gears to tackle some test taking tips and tricks to maximizing your FRQ scores. 

We recommend you review these several weeks, and then days before your exam to keep them top of mind. 

  • Know which SAQ you’re weakest at. There are always three core question types: concept application, quantitative analysis, and SCOTUS comparison. If you’re weak at one, make sure you’ve reviewed all the past released exams for that particular SAQ. 
  • Make sure you review how issues or ideology can drive partnership on specific issues. 
  • Focus on applying the political concepts and processes you learned in class to scenarios in context. This is one of the most common mistakes for the SAQs. 
  • One of the easiest ways to bridge two concepts is to use words like “because” or “therefore” and then proceed to answer the “why this matters”. 
  • Focus on what is right instead of what is wrong in your response. These free response questions are often graded based on what’s right more so than what’s wrong (which is different from another subject like AP® Biology).
  • If you’re not 100% sure about a supporting statement, add a second supporting statement on the topic as backup. 
  • If you’re offering specificity, make sure to be explicit on what the intent of you introducing that in your response is. For example, if something is being presented to rebuttal something else, explain why or how it does so. 
  • When it comes to data analysis, you need to make sure you are comfortable interpreting data and applying data to demonstrate how it interacts with the political process. 
  • In the past, students have not been able to analyze and apply data to course content — they make mistakes in connecting how policy relates to respective parties in the political process. 
  • When practicing data analysis, it’s important to look at a variety of different types of graphs and focus on identifying the similarities and differences within a set of complex data. 
  • Data analysis is not just reading graphs, but also reading charts and tables. Don’t just think because you got one question reading a graph correctly that you’re good to go for your quantitative analysis SAQ. 
  • One of the easiest ways to bolster your data analysis skills is by reviewing sources such as the Gallup National Polls or Pew Research findings. 
  • When it comes to SCOTUS comparison, students often fail to effectively compare the two cases — they do a fine job of recalling the required case, but struggle to connect the required case to the non-required case. 
  • Remember that the SCOTUS comparison SAQ is typically not going to ask you to discuss the rulings of the required case, but rather the facts of the cases and how it applies to the non-required case. 
  • Keep an eye out for when you’re asked for the clause from an amendment or the Constitution. This means there will only be one right answer. 
  • Know the difference between reasoning of a case, the decision, opinions of the case, as well as the cold hard facts. Make flashcards or use Quizlet to help here. 
  • When you’re asked to compare facts, it means you need to review the facts of both cases, not just one. Even if the facts for the non-required case are included in the prompt, you need to include it in your response for points. 
  • When it comes to the argumentative essay, students typically fail to explain why the evidence they bring up supports their thesis.
  • The second area students struggle is in responding to an alternative perspective (refutation, concession, or rebuttal).
  • X is your counterargument or counterpoint
  • ABC are your strongest supporting points for your argument.
  • And Y is your argument. 
  • Know your foundational documents cold. Sometimes students mix up these documents. There are four different Federalists to know!
  • When looking to get the reasoning point, make sure to explain why the evidence you’re procuring supports your thesis. Don’t just restate your thesis or state the evidence without connecting the two. 
  • When seeking your perspective point (for refutation, concession, or rebuttal), make sure to state the alternative point of view, but also respond to it. Both of these parts are needed.
  • Work with a friend through at least three years of AP® GoPo FRQs. Then swap with each other and go through the scoring guidelines together to get consistent exposure to the rubrics. 
  • By your last two weeks before the exam, you should have clearly identified your 3-5 biggest weaknesses when it comes to FRQs. Devote at least 70% of your time to these areas and the remaining time on general review. 

Wrapping Things Up: How to Write AP® US Government and Politics FRQs

Wow! We’ve gone over a ton of things in this AP® US Government and Politics review guide. At this point, you should have everything you need to get started in preparing for your GoPo FRQs. 

To summarize, here are a few things to remember: 

  • Great AP® US Government and Politics free response scores are only made when you know how you’re being graded. Learn the rubrics. 
  • Have a consistent system for responding to each question. We recommend circling or underlining what you’re being asked, and then adding a tick or star next to the word in the prompt when you’ve answered it.
  • Know the facts of your foundational documents and required Supreme Court cases cold. Students have missed points in the past by mixing up one with another. 
  • Practice working with multiple types of data for the quantitative analysis SAQ: this means reviewing charts, graphs, and tables. Focus on being able to interpret the data presented to political concepts or processes. 
  • Review commonly tested AP® US Government and Politics topics. Review the curriculum and exam description to see the percentage breakdown of different units. Unit 2 on Interactions Among Branches of Government is a very important one to know as it makes up 25-36% of the exam. 
  • Make sure your thesis includes a clear line of reasoning. Remember the model: Although X, ABC, therefore Y.
  • Always “close the loop”. Use words such as “because” or “therefore” to bridge two concepts together and solve for the “why” this matters. 

We hope you’ve found this exhaustive guide helpful for your AP® US Government and Politics exam review. 

If you’re looking for more free response questions or multiple choice questions, check out our website! Albert has hundreds of original standards-aligned practice questions for you with detailed explanations to help you learn by doing.

If you found this post helpful, you may also like our AP® US Government tips here or our AP® US GoPo score calculator here .

We also have an AP® US Government review guide here .

Interested in a school license?​

2 thoughts on “how to answer ap® us government free response questions”.

On the list of required supreme court cases, you guys listed Schneck v United States with the wrong year.

Great catch, Johnny! We’ve updated the list to include the correct date (1919).

Comments are closed.

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Your chance of acceptance, your chancing factors, extracurriculars, creating a thesis for ap lit.

This year, I'm taking AP Lit and I'm struggling with writing thesis statements for my essays. Does anyone have any tips or insight on how to write a solid thesis statement for AP Lit essays?

I can definitely give you some advice on how to create a solid thesis statement for your AP Lit essays. In AP Lit, your thesis statement should provide a clear, original, and specific claim about your chosen literary work, which your essay will then analyze and support with textual evidence.

Here are a few steps you can follow to create a strong thesis statement:

1. Read the prompt carefully: Make sure you understand what the prompt is asking you to do, whether it's analyzing a specific aspect of the text, exploring a theme, or discussing a particular character.

2. Choose a clear and specific focus: Decide what aspect of the work you want to explore, such as characterization, theme, symbolism, or structure. Your thesis statement should be specific enough that your analysis doesn't become too broad or unfocused.

3. Make an original claim: Your thesis statement should present an original argument or interpretation, rather than merely stating an obvious fact or restating the prompt. Make sure your claim is one that can be both supported by evidence from the text and challenged by other interpretations.

4. Include some direction for your essay: A strong thesis statement not only makes a claim but also gives some indication of how your essay will support that claim. This helps guide your reader and sets up the organization of your essay.

For example: In The Great Gatsby , F. Scott Fitzgerald uses the contrasting settings of East Egg, West Egg, and the Valley of Ashes to illustrate the corrupting influence of wealth and social class on the characters and their ultimate disillusionment with the American Dream.

In this thesis statement, the focus is on the contrasting settings and their impact on the characters, making a specific claim about the author's intent. It provides direction for the essay, indicating that the writer will explore how Fitzgerald uses these settings to convey his message.

Remember, writing a strong thesis statement takes practice, so keep working at it and tweaking it until you feel confident in your ability to craft a well-argued and coherent claim about the text. Good luck in your AP Lit class!

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How to Write the AP Lang Argument Essay + Examples

What’s covered:, what is the ap language argument essay, tips for writing the ap language argument essay, ap english language argument essay examples, how will ap scores impact my college chances.

In 2023, over 550,148 students across the U.S. took the AP English Language and Composition Exam, and 65.2% scored higher than a 3. The AP English Language Exam tests your ability to analyze a piece of writing, synthesize information, write a rhetorical essay, and create a cohesive argument. In this post, we’ll be discussing the best way to approach the argumentative essay section of the test, and we’ll give you tips and tricks so you can write a great essay.

The AP English Language Exam as of 2023 is structured as follows:

Section 1: 45 multiple choice questions to be completed in an hour. This portion counts for 45% of your score. This section requires students to analyze a piece of literature. The questions ask about its content and/or what could be edited within the passage.

Section 2: Three free response questions to be completed in the remaining two hours and 15 minutes. This section counts for 55% of your score. These essay questions include the synthesis essay, the rhetorical essay, and the argumentative essay.

  • Synthesis essay: Read 6-7 sources and create an argument using at least three of the sources.
  • Rhetorical analysis essay: Describe how a piece of writing evokes meaning and symbolism.
  • Argumentative essay: Pick a side of a debate and create an argument based on evidence. In this essay, you should develop a logical argument in support of or against the given statement and provide ample evidence that supports your conclusion. Typically, a five paragraph format is great for this type of writing. This essay is scored holistically from 1 to 9 points.

Do you want more information on the structure of the full exam? Take a look at our in-depth overview of the AP Language and Composition Exam .

Although the AP Language Argument may seem daunting at first, once you understand how the essay should be structured, it will be a lot easier to create cohesive arguments.

Below are some tips to help you as you write the essay.

1. Organize your essay before writing

Instead of jumping right into your essay, plan out what you will say beforehand. It’s easiest to make a list of your arguments and write out what facts or evidence you will use to support each argument. In your outline, you can determine the best order for your arguments, especially if they build on each other or are chronological. Having a well-organized essay is crucial for success.

2. Pick one side of the argument, but acknowledge the other side

When you write the essay, it’s best if you pick one side of the debate and stick with it for the entire essay. All your evidence should be in support of that one side. However, in your introductory paragraph, as you introduce the debate, be sure to mention any merit the arguments of the other side has. This can make the essay a bit more nuanced and show that you did consider both sides before determining which one was better. Often, acknowledging another viewpoint then refuting it can make your essay stronger.

3. Provide evidence to support your claims

The AP readers will be looking for examples and evidence to support your argument. This doesn’t mean that you need to memorize a bunch of random facts before the exam. This just means that you should be able to provide concrete examples in support of your argument.

For example, if the essay topic is about whether the role of the media in society has been detrimental or not, and you argue that it has been, you may talk about the phenomenon of “fake news” during the 2016 presidential election.

AP readers are not looking for perfect examples, but they are looking to see if you can provide enough evidence to back your claim and make it easily understood.

4. Create a strong thesis statement

The thesis statement will set up your entire essay, so it’s important that it is focused and specific, and that it allows for the reader to understand your body paragraphs. Make sure your thesis statement is the very last sentence of your introductory paragraph. In this sentence, list out the key points you will be making in the essay in the same order that you will be writing them. Each new point you mention in your thesis should start a paragraph in your essay.

Below is a prompt and sample student essay from the May 2019 exam . We’ll look at what the student did well in their writing and where they could improve.

Prompt: “The term “overrated” is often used to diminish concepts, places, roles, etc. that the speaker believes do not deserve the prestige they commonly enjoy; for example, many writers have argued that success is overrated, a character in a novel by Anthony Burgess famously describes Rome as a “vastly overrated city,” and Queen Rania of Jordan herself has asserted that “[b]eing queen is overrated.”

Select a concept, place, role, etc. to which you believe that the term “overrated” should be applied. Then, write a well-developed essay in which you explain your judgment. Use appropriate evidence from your reading, experience, or observations to support your argument.

Sample Student Essay #1:

[1] Competition is “overrated.” The notion of motivation between peers has evolved into a source of unnecessary stress and even lack of morals. Whether it be in an academic environment or in the industry, this new idea of competition is harmful to those competing and those around them.

[2] Back in elementary school, competition was rather friendly. It could have been who could do the most pushups or who could get the most imaginary points in a classroom for a prize. If you couldn’t do the most pushups or win that smelly sticker, you would go home and improve yourself – there would be no strong feelings towards anyone, you would just focus on making yourself a better version of yourself. Then as high school rolled around, suddenly applying for college doesn’t seem so far away –GPA seems to be that one stat that defines you – extracurriculars seem to shape you – test scores seem to categorize you. Sleepless nights, studying for the next day’s exam, seem to become more and more frequent. Floating duck syndrome seems to surround you (FDS is where a competitive student pretends to not work hard but is furiously studying beneath the surface just like how a duck furiously kicks to stay afloat). All of your competitors appear to hope you fail – but in the end what do you and your competitor’s gain? Getting one extra point on the test? Does that self-satisfaction compensate for the tremendous amounts of acquired stress? This new type of “competition” is overrated – it serves nothing except a never-ending source of anxiety and seeks to weaken friendships and solidarity as a whole in the school setting.

[3] A similar idea of “competition” can be applied to business. On the most fundamental level, competition serves to be a beneficial regulator of prices and business models for both the business themselves and consumers. However, as businesses grew increasingly greedy and desperate, companies resorted to immoral tactics that only hurt their reputations and consumers as a whole. Whether it be McDonald’s coupons that force you to buy more food or tech companies like Apple intentionally slowing down your iPhone after 3 years to force you to upgrade to the newest device, consumers suffer and in turn speak down upon these companies. Similar to the evolved form of competition in school, this overrated form causes pain for all parties and has since diverged from the encouraging nature that the principle of competition was “founded” on.

The AP score for this essay was a 4/6, meaning that it captured the main purpose of the essay but there were still substantial parts missing. In this essay, the writer did a good job organizing the sections and making sure that their writing was in order according to the thesis statement. The essay first discusses how competition is harmful in elementary school and then discusses this topic in the context of business. This follows the chronological order of somebody’s life and flows nicely.

The arguments in this essay are problematic, as they do not provide enough examples of how exactly competition is overrated. The essay discusses the context in which competition is overrated but does not go far enough in explaining how this connects to the prompt.

In the first example, school stress is used to explain how competition manifests. This is a good starting point, but it does not talk about why competition is overrated; it simply mentions that competition can be unhealthy. The last sentence of that paragraph is the main point of the argument and should be expanded to discuss how the anxiety of school is overrated later on in life. 

In the second example, the writer discusses how competition can lead to harmful business practices, but again, this doesn’t reflect the reason this would be overrated. Is competition really overrated because Apple and McDonald’s force you to buy new products? This example could’ve been taken one step farther. Instead of explaining why business structures—such as monopolies—harm competition, the author should discuss how those particular structures are overrated.

Additionally, the examples the writer used lack detail. A stronger essay would’ve provided more in-depth examples. This essay seemed to mention examples only in passing without using them to defend the argument.

It should also be noted that the structure of the essay is incomplete. The introduction only has a thesis statement and no additional context. Also, there is no conclusion paragraph that sums up the essay. These missing components result in a 4/6.

Now let’s go through the prompt for a sample essay from the May 2022 exam . The prompt is as follows:

Colin Powell, a four-star general and former United States Secretary of State, wrote in his 1995 autobiography: “[W]e do not have the luxury of collecting information indefinitely. At some point, before we can have every possible fact in hand, we have to decide. The key is not to make quick decisions, but to make timely decisions.”

Write an essay that argues your position on the extent to which Powell’s claim about making decisions is valid. 

In your response you should do the following:

  • Respond to the prompt with a thesis that presents a defensible position. 
  • Provide evidence to support your line of reasoning. 
  • Explain how the evidence supports your line of reasoning. 
  • Use appropriate grammar and punctuation in communicating your argument.

Sample Student Essay #2:

Colin Powell, who was a four star general and a former United States Secretary of State. He wrote an autobiography and had made a claim about making decisions. In my personal opinion, Powell’s claim is true to full extent and shows an extremely valuable piece of advice that we do not consider when we make decisions.

Powell stated, “before we can have every possible fact in hand we have to decide…. but to make it a timely decision” (1995). With this statement Powell is telling the audience of his autobiography that it does not necessarily matter how many facts you have, and how many things you know. Being able to have access to everything possible takes a great amount of time and we don’t always have all of the time in the world. A decision has to be made with what you know, waiting for something else to come in while trying to make a decision whether that other fact is good or bad you already have a good amount of things that you know. Everyone’s time is valuable, including yours. At the end of the day the decision will have to be made and that is why it should be made in a “timely” manner.

This response was graded for a score of 2/6. Let’s break down the score to smaller points that signify where the student fell short.

The thesis in this essay is clearly outlined at the end of the first paragraph. The student states their agreement with Powell’s claim and frames the rest of their essay around this stance. The success in scoring here lies in the clear communication of the thesis and the direction the argument will take. It’s important to make the thesis statement concise, specific, and arguable, which the student has successfully done.

While the student did attempt to provide evidence to support their thesis, it’s clear that their explanation lacks specific detail and substance. They referenced Powell’s statement, but did not delve into how this statement has proven true in specific instances, and did not provide examples that could bring the argument to life.

Commentary is an essential part of this section’s score. It means explaining the significance of the evidence and connecting it back to the thesis. Unfortunately, the student’s commentary here is too vague and does not effectively elaborate on how the evidence supports their argument.

To improve, the student could use more concrete examples to demonstrate their point and discuss how each piece of evidence supports their thesis. For instance, they could discuss specific moments in Powell’s career where making a timely decision was more valuable than waiting for all possible facts. This would help illustrate the argument in a more engaging, understandable way.

A high score in the “sophistication” category of the grading rubric is given for demonstrating a complex understanding of the rhetorical situation (purpose, audience, context, etc.), making effective rhetorical choices, or establishing a line of reasoning. Here, the student’s response lacks complexity and sophistication. They’ve simply agreed with Powell’s claim and made a few general statements without providing a deeper analysis or effectively considering the rhetorical situation.

To increase sophistication, the student could explore possible counterarguments or complexities within Powell’s claim. They could discuss potential drawbacks of making decisions without all possible facts, or examine situations where timely decisions might not yield the best results. By acknowledging and refuting these potential counterarguments, they could add more depth to their analysis and showcase their understanding of the complexities involved in decision-making.

The student could also analyze why Powell, given his background and experiences, might have come to such a conclusion, thus providing more context and showing an understanding of the rhetorical situation.

Remember, sophistication in argumentation isn’t about using fancy words or complicated sentences. It’s about showing that you understand the complexity of the issue at hand and that you’re able to make thoughtful, nuanced arguments. Sophistication shows that you can think critically about the topic and make connections that aren’t immediately obvious.

Now that you’ve looked at an example essay and some tips for the argumentative essay, you know how to better prepare for the AP English Language and Composition Exam.

While your AP scores don’t usually impact your admissions chances , colleges do care a lot about your course rigor. So, taking as many APs as you can will certainly boost your chances! AP scores can be a way for high-performing students to set themselves apart, particularly when applying to prestigious universities. Through the process of self-reporting scores , you can show your hard work and intelligence to admissions counselors.

That said, the main benefit of scoring high on AP exams comes once you land at your dream school, as high scores can allow you to “test out” of entry-level requirements, often called GE requirements or distribution requirements. This will save you time and money.

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How to Write the AP Lit Prose Essay with Examples

March 30, 2024

ap lit prose essay examples

AP Lit Prose Essay Examples – The College Board’s Advanced Placement Literature and Composition Course is one of the most enriching experiences that high school students can have. It exposes you to literature that most people don’t encounter until college , and it helps you develop analytical and critical thinking skills that will enhance the quality of your life, both inside and outside of school. The AP Lit Exam reflects the rigor of the course. The exam uses consistent question types, weighting, and scoring parameters each year . This means that, as you prepare for the exam, you can look at previous questions, responses, score criteria, and scorer commentary to help you practice until your essays are perfect.

What is the AP Lit Free Response testing? 

In AP Literature, you read books, short stories, and poetry, and you learn how to commit the complex act of literary analysis . But what does that mean? Well, “to analyze” literally means breaking a larger idea into smaller and smaller pieces until the pieces are small enough that they can help us to understand the larger idea. When we’re performing literary analysis, we’re breaking down a piece of literature into smaller and smaller pieces until we can use those pieces to better understand the piece of literature itself.

So, for example, let’s say you’re presented with a passage from a short story to analyze. The AP Lit Exam will ask you to write an essay with an essay with a clear, defensible thesis statement that makes an argument about the story, based on some literary elements in the short story. After reading the passage, you might talk about how foreshadowing, allusion, and dialogue work together to demonstrate something essential in the text. Then, you’ll use examples of each of those three literary elements (that you pull directly from the passage) to build your argument. You’ll finish the essay with a conclusion that uses clear reasoning to tell your reader why your argument makes sense.

AP Lit Prose Essay Examples (Continued)

But what’s the point of all of this? Why do they ask you to write these essays?

Well, the essay is, once again, testing your ability to conduct literary analysis. However, the thing that you’re also doing behind that literary analysis is a complex process of both inductive and deductive reasoning. Inductive reasoning takes a series of points of evidence and draws a larger conclusion. Deductive reasoning departs from the point of a broader premise and draws a singular conclusion. In an analytical essay like this one, you’re using small pieces of evidence to draw a larger conclusion (your thesis statement) and then you’re taking your thesis statement as a larger premise from which you derive your ultimate conclusion.

So, the exam scorers are looking at your ability to craft a strong thesis statement (a singular sentence that makes an argument), use evidence and reasoning to support that argument, and then to write the essay well. This is something they call “sophistication,” but they’re looking for well-organized thoughts carried through clear, complete sentences.

This entire process is something you can and will use throughout your life. Law, engineering, medicine—whatever pursuit, you name it—utilizes these forms of reasoning to run experiments, build cases, and persuade audiences. The process of this kind of clear, analytical thinking can be honed, developed, and made easier through repetition.

Practice Makes Perfect

Because the AP Literature Exam maintains continuity across the years, you can pull old exam copies, read the passages, and write responses. A good AP Lit teacher is going to have you do this time and time again in class until you have the formula down. But, it’s also something you can do on your own, if you’re interested in further developing your skills.

AP Lit Prose Essay Examples 

Let’s take a look at some examples of questions, answers and scorer responses that will help you to get a better idea of how to craft your own AP Literature exam essays.

In the exam in 2023, students were asked to read a poem by Alice Cary titled “Autumn,” which was published in 1874. In it, the speaker contemplates the start of autumn. Then, students are asked to craft a well-written essay which uses literary techniques to convey the speaker’s complex response to the changing seasons.

The following is an essay that received a perfect 6 on the exam. There are grammar and usage errors throughout the essay, which is important to note: even though the writer makes some mistakes, the structure and form of their argument was strong enough to merit a 6. This is what your scorers will be looking for when they read your essay.

Example Essay 

Romantic and hyperbolic imagery is used to illustrate the speaker’s unenthusiastic opinion of the coming of autumn, which conveys Cary’s idea that change is difficult to accept but necessary for growth.

Romantic imagery is utilized to demonstrate the speaker’s warm regard for the season of summer and emphasize her regretfulness for autumn’s coming, conveying the uncomfortable change away from idyllic familiarity. Summer, is portrayed in the image of a woman who “from her golden collar slips/and strays through stubble fields/and moans aloud.” Associated with sensuality and wealth, the speaker implies the interconnection between a season and bounty, comfort, and pleasure. Yet, this romantic view is dismantled by autumn, causing Summer to “slip” and “stray through stubble fields.” Thus, the coming of real change dethrones a constructed, romantic personification of summer,  conveying the speaker’s reluctance for her ideal season to be dethroned by something much less decorated and adored.

Summer, “she lies on pillows of the yellow leaves,/ And tries the old tunes for over an hour”, is contrasted with bright imagery of fallen leaves/ The juxtaposition between Summer’s character and the setting provides insight into the positivity of change—the yellow leaves—by its contrast with the failures of attempting to sustain old habits or practices, “old tunes”. “She lies on pillows” creates a sympathetic, passive image of summer in reaction to the coming of Autumn, contrasting her failures to sustain “old tunes.” According to this, it is understood that the speaker recognizes the foolishness of attempting to prevent what is to come, but her wishfulness to counter the natural progression of time.

Hyperbolic imagery displays the discrepancies between unrealistic, exaggerated perceptions of change and the reality of progress, continuing the perpetuation of Cary’s idea that change must be embraced rather than rejected. “Shorter and shorter now the twilight clips/The days, as though the sunset gates they crowd”, syntax and diction are used to literally separate different aspects of the progression of time. In an ironic parallel to the literal language, the action of twilight’s “clip” and the subject, “the days,” are cut off from each other into two different lines, emphasizing a sense of jarring and discomfort. Sunset, and Twilight are named, made into distinct entities from the day, dramatizing the shortening of night-time into fall. The dramatic, sudden implications for the change bring to mind the switch between summer and winter, rather than a transitional season like fall—emphasizing the Speaker’s perspective rather than a factual narration of the experience.

She says “the proud meadow-pink hangs down her head/Against the earth’s chilly bosom, witched with frost”. Implying pride and defeat, and the word “witched,” the speaker brings a sense of conflict, morality, and even good versus evil into the transition between seasons. Rather than a smooth, welcome change, the speaker is practically against the coming of fall. The hyperbole present in the poem serves to illustrate the Speaker’s perspective and ideas on the coming of fall, which are characterized by reluctance and hostility to change from comfort.

The topic of this poem, Fall–a season characterized by change and the deconstruction of the spring and summer landscape—is juxtaposed with the final line which evokes the season of Spring. From this, it is clear that the speaker appreciates beautiful and blossoming change. However, they resent that which destroys familiar paradigms and norms. Fall, seen as the death of summer, is characterized as a regression, though the turning of seasons is a product of the literal passage of time. Utilizing romantic imagery and hyperbole to shape the Speaker’s perspective, Cary emphasizes the need to embrace change though it is difficult, because growth is not possible without hardship or discomfort.

Scoring Criteria: Why did this essay do so well? 

When it comes to scoring well, there are some rather formulaic things that the judges are searching for. You might think that it’s important to “stand out” or “be creative” in your writing. However, aside from concerns about “sophistication,” which essentially means you know how to organize thoughts into sentences and you can use language that isn’t entirely elementary, you should really focus on sticking to a form. This will show the scorers that you know how to follow that inductive/deductive reasoning process that we mentioned earlier, and it will help to present your ideas in the most clear, coherent way possible to someone who is reading and scoring hundreds of essays.

So, how did this essay succeed? And how can you do the same thing?

First: The Thesis 

On the exam, you can either get one point or zero points for your thesis statement. The scorers said, “The essay responds to the prompt with a defensible thesis located in the introductory paragraph,” which you can read as the first sentence in the essay. This is important to note: you don’t need a flowery hook to seduce your reader; you can just start this brief essay with some strong, simple, declarative sentences—or go right into your thesis.

What makes a good thesis? A good thesis statement does the following things:

  • Makes a claim that will be supported by evidence
  • Is specific and precise in its use of language
  • Argues for an original thought that goes beyond a simple restating of the facts

If you’re sitting here scratching your head wondering how you come up with a thesis statement off the top of your head, let me give you one piece of advice: don’t.

The AP Lit scoring criteria gives you only one point for the thesis for a reason: they’re just looking for the presence of a defensible claim that can be proven by evidence in the rest of the essay.

Second: Write your essay from the inside out 

While the thesis is given one point, the form and content of the essay can receive anywhere from zero to four points. This is where you should place the bulk of your focus.

My best advice goes like this:

  • Choose your evidence first
  • Develop your commentary about the evidence
  • Then draft your thesis statement based on the evidence that you find and the commentary you can create.

It will seem a little counterintuitive: like you’re writing your essay from the inside out. But this is a fundamental skill that will help you in college and beyond. Don’t come up with an argument out of thin air and then try to find evidence to support your claim. Look for the evidence that exists and then ask yourself what it all means. This will also keep you from feeling stuck or blocked at the beginning of the essay. If you prepare for the exam by reviewing the literary devices that you learned in the course and practice locating them in a text, you can quickly and efficiently read a literary passage and choose two or three literary devices that you can analyze.

Third: Use scratch paper to quickly outline your evidence and commentary 

Once you’ve located two or three literary devices at work in the given passage, use scratch paper to draw up a quick outline. Give each literary device a major bullet point. Then, briefly point to the quotes/evidence you’ll use in the essay. Finally, start to think about what the literary device and evidence are doing together. Try to answer the question: what meaning does this bring to the passage?

A sample outline for one paragraph of the above essay might look like this:

Romantic imagery

Portrayal of summer

  • Woman who “from her golden collar… moans aloud”
  • Summer as bounty

Contrast with Autumn

  • Autumn dismantles Summer
  • “Stray through stubble fields”
  • Autumn is change; it has the power to dethrone the romance of Summer/make summer a bit meaningless

Recognition of change in a positive light

  • Summer “lies on pillows / yellow leaves / tries old tunes”
  • Bright imagery/fallen leaves
  • Attempt to maintain old practices fails: “old tunes”
  • But! There is sympathy: “lies on pillows”

Speaker recognizes: she can’t prevent what is to come; wishes to embrace natural passage of time

By the time the writer gets to the end of the outline for their paragraph, they can easily start to draw conclusions about the paragraph based on the evidence they have pulled out. You can see how that thinking might develop over the course of the outline.

Then, the speaker would take the conclusions they’ve drawn and write a “mini claim” that will start each paragraph. The final bullet point of this outline isn’t the same as the mini claim that comes at the top of the second paragraph of the essay, however, it is the conclusion of the paragraph. You would do well to use the concluding thoughts from your outline as the mini claim to start your body paragraph. This will make your paragraphs clear, concise, and help you to construct a coherent argument.

Repeat this process for the other one or two literary devices that you’ve chosen to analyze, and then: take a step back.

Fourth: Draft your thesis 

Once you quickly sketch out your outline, take a moment to “stand back” and see what you’ve drafted. You’ll be able to see that, among your two or three literary devices, you can draw some commonality. You might be able to say, as the writer did here, that romantic and hyperbolic imagery “illustrate the speaker’s unenthusiastic opinion of the coming of autumn,” ultimately illuminating the poet’s idea “that change is difficult to accept but necessary for growth.”

This is an original argument built on the evidence accumulated by the student. It directly answers the prompt by discussing literary techniques that “convey the speaker’s complex response to the changing seasons.” Remember to go back to the prompt and see what direction they want you to head with your thesis, and craft an argument that directly speaks to that prompt.

Then, move ahead to finish your body paragraphs and conclusion.

Fifth: Give each literary device its own body paragraph 

In this essay, the writer examines the use of two literary devices that are supported by multiple pieces of evidence. The first is “romantic imagery” and the second is “hyperbolic imagery.” The writer dedicates one paragraph to each idea. You should do this, too.

This is why it’s important to choose just two or three literary devices. You really don’t have time to dig into more. Plus, more ideas will simply cloud the essay and confuse your reader.

Using your outline, start each body paragraph with a “mini claim” that makes an argument about what it is you’ll be saying in your paragraph. Lay out your pieces of evidence, then provide commentary for why your evidence proves your point about that literary device.

Move onto the next literary device, rinse, and repeat.

Sixth: Commentary and Conclusion 

Finally, you’ll want to end this brief essay with a concluding paragraph that restates your thesis, briefly touches on your most important points from each body paragraph, and includes a development of the argument that you laid out in the essay.

In this particular example essay, the writer concludes by saying, “Utilizing romantic imagery and hyperbole to shape the Speaker’s perspective, Cary emphasizes the need to embrace change though it is difficult, because growth is not possible without hardship or discomfort.” This is a direct restatement of the thesis. At this point, you’ll have reached the end of your essay. Great work!

Seventh: Sophistication 

A final note on scoring criteria: there is one point awarded to what the scoring criteria calls “sophistication.” This is evidenced by the sophistication of thought and providing a nuanced literary analysis, which we’ve already covered in the steps above.

There are some things to avoid, however:

  • Sweeping generalizations, such as, “From the beginning of human history, people have always searched for love,” or “Everyone goes through periods of darkness in their lives, much like the writer of this poem.”
  • Only hinting at possible interpretations instead of developing your argument
  • Oversimplifying your interpretation
  • Or, by contrast, using overly flowery or complex language that does not meet your level of preparation or the context of the essay.

Remember to develop your argument with nuance and complexity and to write in a style that is academic but appropriate for the task at hand.

If you want more practice or to check out other exams from the past, go to the College Board’s website .

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Brittany Borghi

After earning a BA in Journalism and an MFA in Nonfiction Writing from the University of Iowa, Brittany spent five years as a full-time lecturer in the Rhetoric Department at the University of Iowa. Additionally, she’s held previous roles as a researcher, full-time daily journalist, and book editor. Brittany’s work has been featured in The Iowa Review, The Hopkins Review, and the Pittsburgh City Paper, among others, and she was also a 2021 Pushcart Prize nominee.

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Supporting ‘democracy’ is hard for many who feel government and the economy are failing them

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Associate Professor of Political Science, University of South Carolina

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Americans, it seems, can both value the idea of democracy and not support it in practice .

Since 2016, academics and journalists have expressed concerns that formerly secure democracies are becoming less democratic . Different measures of democracy, such as scores produced by the Economist Intelligence Unit , Freedom House and the Varieties of Democracy Institute , have suggested as much based on data over the past decade.

The surveys have sounded alarms about the future of democratic governance in places such as the U.S., which the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance listed as “backsliding” since 2019.

A number of countries that were once considered stable democracies – such as Hungary, India and Nicaragua – have seen their leaders and representatives undermine government institutions in common ways: by encouraging division and polarization , spreading misleading or biased messages , pursuing strategies to unfairly dominate in elections , promoting loyalists and marginalizing opponents , and attacking efforts to hold leaders accountable .

This pattern across democracies raises questions about whether what’s called democratic backsliding is happening globally and which democracies are at risk of failing .

A report released recently by the Pew Research Center that describes the results of public opinion surveys on democracy and political representation in 24 countries, including the U.S., has added to those concerns.

A substantial portion of respondents feel unrepresented by their governments, and 59% are dissatisfied with how their democracy is functioning. Three-quarters of respondents indicate that elected officials do not care what people like them think, and 42% say that no political party in their country represents their views.

In the U.S., Pew reports that 66% are dissatisfied with how democracy is working, 83% feel overlooked by officials, and 49% feel overlooked by political parties. Such pessimistic trends are not new; a Gallup Poll in 2021 and a Pew survey from 2022 both reported that Americans’ trust in government is low.

One of the most unsettling statistics from the recent survey is that 32% of Americans think that “rule by a strong leader or the military would be a good way of governing their country .” This particular finding has been taken as evidence for the idea that a growing number of Americans support replacing democracy with an authoritarian government .

Are Americans losing faith in democracy?

Not quite. Instead, respondents may be losing faith in current institutions’ ability to deliver what they expect out of democracy.

A large white mansion with dark clouds over it, behind a fence.

Democracy’s different definitions

Most Americans support democracy as a concept.

Pew found that about 75% of respondents in the U.S. think that representative democracy is a good way of governing . A 2023 study also showed that Americans tend to see themselves as being more committed to democracy, while viewing members of the other party as being more likely to subvert democracy.

But people hold different ideas about what “democracy” is and what it should look like.

When asked to define democracy, those who emphasize electoral and liberal aspects – such as free elections and civil liberties – are more likely to indicate support for democracy . Research shows that commitment to these values is strongly related to democracy support .

In contrast, those who define democracy in terms of its ability to deliver economic security, such as taxing the rich and helping the unemployed, show weaker support for it . This suggests that when people in more democratic countries think that democracy is supposed to alleviate income disparities, they tend to be less satisfied with how democracy is working.

Respondents’ evaluations of whether their country is democratic – or whether democracy is functioning as intended – can therefore be influenced by whether they are economically well off and whether they feel their values are represented in society . Those who are benefiting more from the current political situation are more likely to support it .

Citizens’ desires for a strong leader may largely reflect economic dissatisfaction that overlaps with social and political shifts , such as changes in demographic diversity, family structures and religiousness . Competition with other groups over power and resources presents threats that make people more concerned about their future well-being than about how democracy is functioning.

Many may think that democracy is broken because it neither provides what they expect nor reflects the values they hold. Being laid off and experiencing rising food prices, or disapproving of prevailing positions on socially divisive issues such as abortion, can lead a person to think that supporting mainstream politicians and the usual practice of electing officials is not enough to guarantee that their interests are represented.

An aerial view of a lot of large buildings in a city.

Using dissatisfaction to undermine democracy

The Pew survey does not directly indicate that American citizens do not support democracy. But it does reveal an important vulnerability.

The results suggest that a substantial portion of citizens might support a leader working outside of democracy’s institutions – by breaking laws and avoiding accountability for it – because they have lost faith in those institutions’ ability to deliver their version of good governance.

Dissatisfaction with government performance and concerns about socioeconomic well-being can lead citizens to support someone who is willing to flout constitutional rules to restore what they consider to be a broken democracy.

When facing changes that they deem a threat to their economic and social security, voters may gravitate toward someone who can “fix” the problem .

This has the potential to erode the very freedoms that respondents profess to care about. Populist leaders can use dissatisfaction and people’s feelings of being left behind or excluded to build support and justify antidemocratic stances.

Recognizing this is important for understanding how citizens can intrinsically value democracy – and undermine it at the same time . Although people may think they share similar definitions of it, democracy is a complex concept.

Concluding that citizens do not support democracy based on the survey does not address what those citizens think democracy is.

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    The Argument Essay differs substantially from the other free-response questions on the AP U.S. Government and Politics exam, but you can and should still follow the Kaplan Method (AP-AP). It is recommended that you take 40 minutes to plan and write your Argument Essay (as opposed to 20 minutes each for the other free-response questions), so ...

  3. AP Gov FRQ: Argument Essay Review (2020)

    If you're in APCompGov, you have an hour and 30 minutes It's important to use your time effectively because the FRQ section is worth half of your score. Because of that, you should spend around 25 minutes, give or take a few, on the Argument Free-Response Question. (NOTE: FOR THE 2019-2020 TEST, YOU WILL HAVE 25 MINUTES TO WRITE AND 5 MINUTES ...

  4. PDF AP United States Government and Politics

    2021 AP Exam Administration Sample Student Responses - AP U.S. Government and Politics Free-Response Question 4: Set 1 Author: College Board Subject: 2021 AP Exam Administration: Student Samples and Commentary Keywords

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    More from Heimler's History:AP HEIMLER REVIEW GUIDE (formerly known as the Ultimate Review Packet): +AP Gov Heimler Review Guide: https://bit.ly/3rfXr2YCheck...

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    AP U.S. Government and Politics Exam Tips. The following strategies for answering the free-response questions will help you on exam day. Answering essay questions generally requires a good deal of training and practice. Students too often begin to write immediately, which can create a string of disconnected, poorly planned thoughts.

  7. PDF AP United States Government and Politics

    thesis with evidence from a foundational document or the course, use reasoning to explain why the evidence provided supports the thesis, and respond to an alternate perspective using refutation, conces sion, or rebuttal. Students were expected to write in the form of an argumentative essay, demonstrating each of the skills mentioned above.

  8. PDF AP United States Government and Politics

    The description of Federalist 10 is inaccurate, and the description of the Bill of Rights and the First Amendment is not relevant to the prompt and does not support the thesis. Question 4 (continued) C. The response did not earn any evidence points and, therefore, could not earn the reasoning point. D.

  9. Developing Thesis Statements

    To develop a thesis statement, follow these steps: Read and analyze the text: Before you can develop a thesis statement, you need to have a thorough understanding of the text you are analyzing. Read the text carefully and take notes on key ideas and themes. Identify the main idea: Look for the main idea or message that the author is trying to ...

  10. PDF AP GOVERNMENT ARGUMENT ESSAY RUBRIC

    Articulates a defensible claim or thesis that responds to the prompt and establishes a line of reasoning. To earn this point, the thesis must make a claim that responds to the prompt, rather than merely restating or rephrasing the prompt. The thesis may be located anywhere in the response and this point can be earned even if the claim is not ...

  11. AP Government: Argumentative Essay Practice

    Chose one or more of the provided Argumentative Essay Prompts, as assigned, and use the planning and exploration you did above to write a full essay in response to your designated prompt (s) in 25 ...

  12. AP free response tips (article)

    Free-response questions are available through the Advanced Placement Program® in numerous formats. One of the easiest ways to find sample essays is to go to the AP Exam Practice page for U.S. Government and Politics. Learn for free about math, art, computer programming, economics, physics, chemistry, biology, medicine, finance, history, and more.

  13. How to Answer AP® US Government Free Response Questions

    1. Commit to learning what gets you points on the AP® US Government and Politics exam by reviewing past rubrics and scoring guidelines. 2. Underline or circle every bolded and capitalized word in the question prompt. 3. Plan your response BEFORE beginning to write your response. 4.

  14. PDF AP United States Government and Politics

    support the thesis with evidence from a foundational document(s) and/or the course concepts; use reasoning to explain why the evidence provided supports the thesis; and respond to an alternative perspective using refutation, concession, or rebuttal. Students were expected to write in the form of

  15. AP US Government and Politics Free Response Strategies

    Overview of the AP US Government and Politics Exam. The 1 hour and 40 minute free-response section is worth half of your total exam score and consists of 4 questions, all of which are required. You should devote about 20 minutes to each of the first 3 questions, which will ask you to write short responses to questions relating to a stimulus.

  16. PDF A Guide to Writing a Senior Thesis in Government

    2.1 On Writing, Thinking, and the Senior Thesis 16 2.2 Completing a Government Senior Thesis: Useful Strategies 22 Chapter Three: Gov 99 Matters .....27 3.1. Seminar Logistics 27 3.2. What Do You Do in Gov 99? 27 3.3. Specific Gov 99 Writing Requirements 28 3.4. Learning from Previous Theses 29 3.5.

  17. Creating a thesis for AP Lit?

    Here are a few steps you can follow to create a strong thesis statement: 1. Read the prompt carefully: Make sure you understand what the prompt is asking you to do, whether it's analyzing a specific aspect of the text, exploring a theme, or discussing a particular character. 2. Choose a clear and specific focus: Decide what aspect of the work ...

  18. How to Write the AP Lang Argument Essay + Examples

    Having a well-organized essay is crucial for success. 2. Pick one side of the argument, but acknowledge the other side. When you write the essay, it's best if you pick one side of the debate and stick with it for the entire essay. All your evidence should be in support of that one side.

  19. How to Write the AP Lang Rhetorical Analysis Essay (With Example)

    Her story "The Astronaut" won the 2018 Shirley Jackson Award for short fiction and received a "Distinguished Stories" mention in the 2019 Best American Short Stories anthology. How to write the AP Lang rhetorical analysis essay. We look at a AP lang rhetorical analysis essay example and explore do's and don'ts.

  20. AP Comparative Government and Politics Exam Tips

    Here are the task verbs you'll see on the exam: Compare: Provide a description or explanation of similarities and/or differences. Define: Provide a specific meaning for a word or concept. Describe: Provide the relevant characteristics of a specified topic. Develop an argument: Articulate a claim and support it with evidence.

  21. PDF AP United States Government and Politics

    2023 College Board. Visit College Board on the web: collegeboard.org. AP® United States Government and Politics 2023 Scoring Commentary. Question 4 (continued) supporting the original thesis: "Congress (part of the federal government) could easily pass a legislation that could mandate a specific equal educational policy.". Sample: 4B.

  22. How to Write the AP Lit Prose Essay with Examples

    The AP Lit Exam will ask you to write an essay with an essay with a clear, defensible thesis statement that makes an argument about the story, based on some literary elements in the short story. After reading the passage, you might talk about how foreshadowing, allusion, and dialogue work together to demonstrate something essential in the text.

  23. Welcome to the Purdue Online Writing Lab

    Mission. The Purdue On-Campus Writing Lab and Purdue Online Writing Lab assist clients in their development as writers—no matter what their skill level—with on-campus consultations, online participation, and community engagement. The Purdue Writing Lab serves the Purdue, West Lafayette, campus and coordinates with local literacy initiatives.

  24. PDF AP United States Government and Politics 7 points Scoring Rubric for

    piece to support the claim or thesis. 4 points Uses two pieces of specific and relevant evidence to support the claim or thesis. An additional point has been added in Row B ... AP United States Government and Politics Free-Response Question 4 Scoring Rubric, Effective Fall 2019

  25. Supporting 'democracy' is hard for many who feel government and the

    Most Americans support democracy as a concept. Pew found that about 75% of respondents in the U.S. think that representative democracy is a good way of governing. A 2023 study also showed that ...