Apwh comparative Essay

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APWH Comparative Essay
The comparative essay focuses on developments between at least two regions or societies. It generally relates to G-SPRITE categories. Comparative questions always require an analysis of the reasons for the identified similarities and differences.
Comparative Structure for Essay
I Introduction

Thesis with roadmap (see below for more information)

II 1st Sentence for each body paragraph should make an explicit and direct (but somewhat general) comparison. Use connecting words such as both, although, while, whereas, etc. Elaborate as necessary (explain, analyze) with additional sentences.


Then, subsequent sentences in the paragraph should provide at least two pieces of evidence. Introduce each piece of evidence with “for example…”

At the conclusion of your paragraph, analyze a reason for one of your similarities or differences. Use words such as reason or because to make it clear that you are attempting the reason point.

V Conclusion
Prompt Example

Analyze similarities and differences in techniques of imperial administration in TWO of the following empires.

  • Han China (206 B.C.E.–220 C.E.)

  • Mauryan/Gupta India (320 B.C.E.–550 C.E.)

  • Imperial Rome (31 B.C.E.–476 C.E.)

Thesis Statement Construction

  • Before writing your thesis, circle the action words in the prompt, underline other key elements. Pay close attention to these elements as you construct your essay.

  • Fully address the prompt (be sure to include the years from the prompt!).

  • Take a position in answering the question asked, rather than simply restating the prompt.

  • Include at least one similarity AND one difference within your essay. An “although” thesis statement works well to set up this structure.

  • Provide organizational categories to support your position (these categories will be the subject of the topic sentences in the main body paragraphs).

  • Examples:

    • Unacceptable: “There were more similarities than differences between classical China and India…”

    • Acceptable: “China and India in the classical era shared similarities in x and y, yet differed in z as techniques for administering their empires…(*you must then elaborate by referencing some examples or by developing these ideas a bit more)”


Keep in Mind:

  • Make direct comparisons within each paragraph, using linking words such as “whereas” to help set up direct comparisons.

  • Write a traditional 5 paragraph essay, with 3 body paragraphs (and therefore 3 categories/arguments).

  • Include at least 2 pieces of evidence within each paragraph.

  • If in the prompt there is a parenthetical qualifier such as (political, economic, cultural), it is not required that evidence is given for each. This parenthetical qualifier helps students think about what to write.

  • Essays gain evidence points for specificity.  An example of a mediocre statement would be "Both Maurya/Gupta India and the Roman Empire had large armies and expanded their borders."  An example of a stronger statement would be "Both the Maurya/Gupta and the Romans used their armies to maintain control within their borders and to attack neighboring states.”

Basic Core Rubric for the Comparative Essay: CRATE

Basic Core

Point(s) Possible

Thesis is acceptable. (Do you compare the issues or themes specified?)


All parts of the question are addressed (even if you have not done so evenly or completely).

Most parts of the question are addressed (For example, do you address similarities but not differences?)


Evidence supports thesis.

Partially addressed



Three relevant, direct comparisons between or among the societies?


Analyze two reasons for similarities and/or differences identified in a direct comparison




If you achieve all of the core points, your essay will be considered for additional “expanded core” points of up to 2 additional points.

Expanded Core: Excellence

Expands beyond basic core of 1-7 points. The basic core score of 7 must be achieved before a student can earn expanded core points.


  • Has a clear, analytical and comprehensive thesis.

  • Addresses all parts of the question thoroughly (as relevant): comparisons, chronology, causation, connections, themes, interactions, content.

  • Provides ample historical evidence to substantiate thesis.

  • Relates comparisons to larger global context.

  • Makes several direct comparisons consistently between or among societies.

  • Consistently analyzes the causes and effects of relevant similarities and differences.

Score: up to 2 additional points possible, maximum score on comparison essay is 9 points.

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