Writing Guidelines for AP Essays
1. Read question carefully - circle/underline important directions and words [see task words]. Divide general concepts (tone, purpose, meaning, attitude, theme…) from specific techniques (diction, imagery, details, symbolism…) If nothing is specifically suggested for you to look at, remember: What is the Purpose, what techniques were used, why were they used, how do they affect the essay/paper/reader…
2. Read the selection carefully - mark what the prompt asks for—diction (individual words), imagery (color, details), assertions-commentary sentences (emphasis in sentences/paragraphs). Mark unique punctuation (dashes, hyphens…), mark sentence structure if it seems to be serving a purpose (parallelism, deliberately short/long sentences…)
3. Organize your ideas – stay focused on the prompt. Allow at least 10 minutes to read the selection and outline your ideas. It is OK to practice a few opening sentences before you begin the essay [or even wait to put in the opening sentence after you have finished most of the essay.]
4. Write the essay
Include only what the prompt states – stay on topic.
If nothing specific is mentioned, consider the concepts and techniques of analysis we have studied in class: what stands out???
Focus on what the author does, not on how the reader reacts
Include effective sentence structure for the ideas you are presenting.
Use a variety of sentences and punctuation to show mastery of sentence structure (make sure you are correct – only use what you know how to do well)
5. Introduction – keep it simple and to the point.
DO NOT repeat the prompt – use it but don’t repeat it. Directly answer the main intent of the prompt
Use parallel structure for the items you are listing. Use specific, expressive adjectives.
6. Supporting Paragraphs
Have at least 2 supporting paragraphs – include 3 or more if you have time. Each supporting paragraph should have two good, strong examples of your topic with commentary. Explain what the author does to achieve his purpose.
Why are his techniques effective?
Be very specific – refer directly to the selection.
Include memorized quotes or passages for the free response question if you can. At the very least, include specific facts and details to support your ideas.
7. Conclusion – Bring your main ideas back together, but DO NOT repeat your first paragraph (or any other part of the essay, for that matter).
Extend your ideas with an original insight, comment about the topic in general or the selection specifically.
The conclusion can be very brief but it needs to be included.
A poor conclusion is better than no conclusion. Make sure you have one.
8. Editing/Proofreading – if you have time, proofread your writing. Everyone knows you are writing a rough draft and that it will not be perfect, but the fewer obvious errors, the better. You are graded on what you do well, not on the small mistakes you make.
A few final admonitions
Don’t repeat the prompt
Use adjectives to state what kind of diction, style, imagery…the author has used (understated diction, natural imagery, parallel syntax, chronological organization…)
Use specific details and examples to support your ideas. Never use second person pronouns (you, your you’re)
Use first person sparingly – generally needed only for personal narrative.
Use specific and varied vocabulary – avoid the overuse of adverbs; avoid using the same descriptive word in every sentence or paragraph; use specific verbs.
Write like you are comfortable with what you are doing – make your reader believe you have complete understanding of the topic and are expressing your own ideas – not what your teacher told you to write.
Let your personality show in your writing, but not interfere with the purpose of your essay. (Don’t be casual or flippant.
Stay in a completely formal style. [No colloquial speech or contractions] Don’t write to impress; you won’t.
First SKIM the questions which follow the passage (do not read the choices at this time).
A PATTERNED PLAN OF ATTACK
Follow this procedure for each passage and set of questions
or Begin READING the passage as quicly as possible without losing comprehension.
READ the passage QUICKLY and ACTIVELY, marking the few important key points in each paragraph (DON’T OVERMARK)).
Answer the questions which follow the passage without spending too much time on any difficult questions. No guessing penalty, so make your best guess.
Mark extremely difficult, “no-guess” questions with a check so that you can quicly return to them.
REPEAT this process with each passage.
Rubric #1 AP Scoring Model
These are well-written papers, which respond fully to the question
asked. The best papers show a full understanding of the issues and support their points with appropriate textual evidence and examples. Writers of these essays demonstrate stylistic maturity by an effective command of sentence structure, diction, and organization. The writing need not be without flaws, but it should reveal the writer’s ability to choose from and control a wide range of elements of effective writing.
These essays also respond correctly to the questions asked but do
so less fully or less effectively than the essays in the top range. Their discussion may be less thorough and less specific. These essays are well-written in an appropriate style but reveal less
maturity than the top papers. They do make use of textual evidence to support their points. Some lapses in diction or syntax may
appear, but he writing demonstrates sufficient control over the elements of composition to present the writer’s ideas clearly.
These essays respond to the question, but the comments may be
simplistic or imprecise; they may be overly generalized, vague, or inadequately supported. These essays are adequately written, but may demonstrate inconsistent control over the elements of composition. Organization is attempted, but it may not be fully realized or particularly effective.
These essays attempt to deal with the question, but do so either
inaccurately or without support or specific evidence. They may
show some misunderstanding or omit pertinent analysis. The writing can convey the writer’s ideas, but it reveals weak control over diction, syntax, and organization. These essays may contain excessive and distracting spelling and grammatical errors. Statements are seldom supported with specific or persuasive evidence, or inappropriately lengthy quotations may replace discussion and analysis.
These essays fail to respond adequately to the question. They may
reveal misunderstanding or may distort the interpretation. They compound the problems of the Lower Score papers. Generally these essays are unacceptably brief or poorly written. Although some attempts to answer the question may be indicated, the writer’s view has little clarity and only slight, if any, evidence in its support.
Past Tests1-9 Descriptors
• Off topic (e.g. summarization or argument instead of analysis of the rhetoric asked for)
• Soap box lecture
• “I” (filter of self)
• argues against writer’s position
• teacher lecture
• defining of terms unnecessarily
• major grammar problems
• no analysis
• “Listers” “Labelers” w/o analysis of why it matters
• pointless allusion
• believe Language test is the same as Literature test
• paraphrasing through over quoting (i.e. long passages)
• Prosaic paraphrase - ineffective quoting in place of analysis
• limited task (i.e. diction only)
• proving the obvious
• poor analogies
• obviously “2nd Person” “you”
• colloquial diction “even”
• clichés (“makes you stop and wonder”)
• implied analysis, but inadequate
• funnel opening (truisms)
• immature focus (“Get the reader’s attention” hook is overplayed)
• no sense of completion, abrupt (victim of lack of time management)
• Inconsistent – but adequate
• Less difficult concepts (e.g. diction – rather than point of view, symbolism, syntax)
• Linear in organization
• Step by step, laborious
• Rigid organization
• Occasional insight
• Limited thesis (often 3 parts)
• Summary conclusion
• “once over lightly”
• More fluid in style
• Sections insightful
• Often one section well developed by student affected by time
• Clear or implied thesis tied to general intent of question
• Attempts more difficult tasks
• Sense of completion
• Conclusion that broadens the applications
• Strong sense of control- organization
• Insightful (often tied to human condition)
• Mature in style and vocabulary
• Tight link of support (text references to authors intent)
• Magical at times
• Insightful (often tied to human condition)
• Attempts more challenging concepts (i.e. figurative lang., symbolism, extended metaphor, organization, pacing, narrative strategies)
• Mature beginnings
• Takes risks – always under control
AP Language and Composition
Scoring for Synthesis Free Response Question (Usually Question 1)
9- Meets the criteria for the 8 essay and, in addition, is especially sophisticated in argument, skillful in synthesizing of sources, or impressive in control of language.
8- Effectively develops a position. Position is supported by effectively synthesizing at least three of the sources. The writer’s argument is convincing, and the sources effectively support the writer’s position. Prose demonstrates an ability to control a wide range of the elements of effective writing but is not necessarily flawless.
7- Meets the criteria for the 6 essay but provides a more complete or more purposeful argumentation and synthesis of sources or a more mature prose style.
6- Adequately develops a position. The response synthesizes at least three of the sources. The writer’s argument is generally convincing, and the sources generally support the writer’s position. The writing may contain lapses in diction or syntax, but generally the prose is
5- Develops a position. The position is supported by synthesizing at least three sources, but the argument and use of sources is somewhat limited, uneven, or inconsistent. The writer’s argument is generally clear, and the sources generally support the position, but the links between the sources and the argument may be strained. The writing may contain lapses in diction or syntax, but usually conveys the writer’s ideas.
4- Inadequately develops a position. There is an attempt to present an argument and support it by synthesizing at least two sources, but may misunderstand, misrepresent, or oversimplify either the argument or the sources included. The link between the argument and the sources
is weak. The response may suggest immature control of writing.
3- Meets the criteria for the score of 4 but demonstrates less understanding of the sources, less success in developing an argument, or less control of writing.
2- Little success in developing a position. The response may merely allude to knowledge gained from the sources rather than citing the sources themselves. The response may misread the sources, fail to present an argument, or substitute a simpler task by merely responding to the task tangentially or by merely summarizing the sources. The prose often demonstrates consistent weakness in writing.
1- Meets the criteria for the 2 score but is especially simplistic, or is weak in control of language.
Scoring for Rhetorical Analysis Free Response Question (Usually Question 2)
9- Meets the criteria for the 8 essay and, in addition, is especially full or apt in analysis or demonstrates particularly impressive control of language.
8- Effectively responds to the prompt. Analysis effectively analyzes the strategies the author uses/ how the text is crafted. The passage is referred to explicitly or implicitly. Prose demonstrates an ability to control a wide range of the elements of effective writing but is not necessarily flawless.
7- Meets the criteria for the 6 essay but provides a more complete analysis or demonstrates a more mature prose style.
6- Adequately responds to the prompt. Analysis adequately analyzes the strategies the author uses/how the text is crafted. The passage is referred to explicitly or implicitly. The writing may contain lapses in diction or syntax, but generally the prose is clear.
5- Analyzes the strategies the author uses/how the text is crafted, but does so unevenly, inconsistently, or insufficiently. The writing may contain lapses in diction or syntax, but it usually conveys the student’s ideas.
4- Inadequately responds to the prompt. Little discussion of the strategies the author uses/how the text is crafted is offered. The analysis may be incorrect. The prose generally conveys the student’s ideas but may suggest immature control of writing.
3- Meets the criteria for the score of 4 but is less perceptive about the strategies the author uses/ how the text is crafted and/or less consistent in controlling the elements of writing.
2- Little success analyzing the strategies the author uses/how the text is crafted. The essay may misunderstand the prompt, offer vague generalizations, substitute simple tasks such as summarizing the passage, or simply list strategies. The prose often demonstrates consistent weakness in writing.
1- Meets the criteria for the 2 score but is undeveloped, especially simplistic in analysis, or weak in control of language.
Scoring for Argument Free Response Question (Usually Question 3)
9- Meets the criteria for the 8 essay and, in addition, is especially sophisticated in explanation and argument or demonstrates particularly impressive control of language.
8- Effectively develops a position. The evidence used is appropriate and convincing. Prose demonstrates an ability to control a wide range of the elements of effective writing but is not necessarily flawless.
7- Meets the criteria for the 6 essay but provides a more complete argument or demonstrates a more mature prose style.
6- Adequately develops a position. The evidence used is appropriate. The writing may contain lapses in diction or syntax, but generally the prose is clear.
5- Develops a position, but provides uneven, inconsistent, or limited explanations or evidence. The writing may contain lapses in diction or syntax, but it usually conveys the writer’s ideas.
4- Inadequately develops a position. The evidence may be insufficient. The prose generally conveys the student’s ideas but may suggest immature control of writing.
3- Meets the criteria for the score of 4 but demonstrates less success in developing a position or in providing evidence to support that position. The paper shows less control of writing.
2- Little success in developing a position. The essay may misunderstand the prompt, or substitute a simpler task by responding to the prompt tangentially with unrelated, inaccurate, inappropriate evidence. The prose demonstrates consistent weakness in writing.
1- Meets the criteria for the 2 score but is undeveloped, especially simplistic in explanation and argument, or weak in control of language.
Introduction to Rhetoric PowerPoint Close
– refer to the Intro PowerPoint for correct answers
Rhetoric part of speech? \‘rĕ tə rǐk\
Definition: the study of and and the art of
• conveys meaning as much as .
• I encourage you to get past the . . . It is the that the power of rhetoric is made apparent.
Basic Tools –
Persuasive Appeals (see page 17)
1. The appeal to , providing logical support for arguments
2. The appeal to .
3. The persuasive appeal , to establish one's with the audience
When are you allowed to say an author “used diction”?
1. Register : This style of communications RARELY or NEVER changes. It is -
. e.g. the Pledge of Allegiance, the Lord’s Prayer, the Preamble to the US Constitution, the Alma
Mater, a bibliographic reference, laws .
2. Register: This language is used in settings and is in nature. This use of language usually follows a commonly accepted format. It is usually impersonal and formal. A common format for this register are
. e.g. sermons, rhetorical statements and questions, speeches, pronouncements made by judges, announcements.
3. Register: This is a standard form of communications. Users engage in a mutually accepted structure of communications. It is and accompany the users of this speech. It is
. e.g. when strangers meet, communications between a superior and a subordinate, doctor & patient, lawyer & client, lawyer & judge, teacher & student, counselor & client,
4. Register: This is informal language used by and . Slang, vulgarities and colloquialisms are normal. This is . One must be a member to engage in this register. e.g. buddies, teammates, chats and emails, and blogs, and letters to friends.
5. Register: This communications is . It is reserved for
or . e.g. husband & wife, boyfriend & girlfriend, siblings, parent & children.
One can usually transition from one language register to an adjacent one without encountering repercussions. However,
is usually considered inappropriate and even offensive.
Types of Sentences:
1. – statement ending in a period Sample:
2. – command, an understood (i.e. elliptical, not actually named) subject and sometimes followed by an
exclamation point Sample:
3. –expresses strong emotion and ends with an exclamation point
4. – asks a question and ends with? Sample:
Quiz? Mark first letter of sentence type.
1. - single independent clause
1. S V - - (with any articles, adjectives and adverbs needed)
2. S V DO – – All of the above plus a direct object Receives the action of the verb
3. S V OI DO – – – All of the above plus an Indirect object—always between the verb and direct object—which answers “to whom” the direct object is directed.
4. S LV PA - – -A linking verb shows a state of being (appear, feel, seem look, become…) or forms of the verb “be” (am, is are, were, was…). The predicate adjective is an adjective after the verb that describe the subject of the sentence
5. S LV PN – – . The same as the previous pattern except a predicate nominative is a noun after the verb that describes the subject. .
2. A is properly joined with .
, conjunction-- ; -- ; conjunction ,
I am hungry. I will fix my lunch. = I am hungry, so I will fix my lunch.
I am hungry; I will fix my lunch.
I am hungry; therefore, I will fix my lunch.
3. A contains (independent clause) modified by
. (A clause is a group of words that contains a subject and verb which modifies the meaning of part of the original sentence. Dependent clauses usually begin with words such as: which, when, while, where, as, for, if, as soon as, whatever, whoever, because, however, that, than, who, whom, whose… see page 14 for more complete list)
1. Jim watches ships because that is his job. OR Because it is his job, Jim watches ships.
2. Susan was happy that she paid all of her bills. OR Susan paid all of her bills so she was happy.
3. Although John failed the test, he passed the class. OR John passed the class even though he failed the test.
4. Sam stopped at the store before he went home. OR Before he went home, Sam stopped at the store.
4. A sentence simply combines the two previous sentence patterns. It has independent clauses and dependent clauses.
Whenever Julie feels tired, she thinks of her friends; that makes her work seem to go faster.
If you study hard enough, you will earn good grades; in addition, your parents will stop nagging you.
• – complex sentence where the main or independent clause does not occur until the end – (HINT) just before the period.
• – complex sentence that begins with the independent clause so you can end it any time after that and it will still be a complete sentence.
• – Parallel structure where whatever is on one side of a coordinating conjunction balances with whatever comes after.