How to Write an AP Argumentative Essay
AP English Language and Composition is a common rhetoric course in high school. Many schools offer this course to mainly juniors while seniors undertake the AP English Literature and Composition course. To excel in this course, you need good rhetorical skills especially for the persuasive essay section. In fact, you will need intensive knowledge when handling this exam than when writing rhetorical analysis essay. Besides being able to identify, the rhetorical devices in a particular text, you must defend, challenge, or qualify any assertions you make on the document. Keep reading this handout to find more tips on how to write an AP argumentative essay.
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Exam Tips on how to write an AP argumentative essay.
Writing AP argumentative essay is major task for about 400,000 students who do the exams. Excelling in this section calls for skills, knowledge and practice. This essay may require you to do the following:
- Defend the assertions – Give relevant evidence to support the argument, which the reader of the exam is making. Ideally, you take the same stance with the person making the prompt.
- Qualify the assertions – Here, you give prove to show that the claims merit. Your task is to show that the argument is strong.
- Challenge the assertions – Challenging the assertions of the prompt means that you give a counterargument of what the prompt is saying. It is opposing the claim. Simply saying no to a claim does not make it a challenge. You must use evidence from reading or experience to convince the examiner that in deed the prompt does not make a strong argument.
These prompts form the basis of how to write an AP argumentative essay. You cannot claim to be ready of an AP Lang exam when you cannot read a rhetorical piece and respond to the three prompts.
You are likely to encounter two major challenges as you sit of AP exams. Here are the obstacles:
Offering credible evidence – For you to make your point strong, the secret is in giving irrefutable support for your position. Whether you are defending, qualifying or challenging, you need facts to convince the reader (examiner) that you understand the concept and the piece under scrutiny.
Differentiating the prompts – Drawing a clear line between the prompts can be a daunting task. However, it becomes a walkover when you have a mastery of the document, plus the rhetorical devices, which the rhetorician uses to make his or her point.
What to do when writing an AP argumentative essay
If you look at previous AP Lang exams, you will see examiners word the prompts in a range of ways. However, the three prompts we have discussed remain unchanged since they form the basis of argumentative or persuasive writing.
Perhaps the number one trick of how to write an AP argumentative essay is packing your evidence. So, how do you get your proofs that will convince the examiner that you know what you are discussing? Here are three simple approaches…
Experience – Your personal experience can form an excellent resource when handling AP argumentative essays. In essence, we all have life changing experiences, which we can use to defend, challenge or qualify a prompt scenario. The main challenge is always putting together your specific experiences in form of evidence.
In case you choose personal experience, pick relevant encounters that adequately add value to your response to the prompt.
Observations – What knowledge do you have on the issue in the prompt? As you prepare for your AP Lang exams, think widely and draw knowledge from different disciplines, including history, current events, science, technology, music, sports, and human behavior. These areas are a reservoir of all you need to make your case using observations.
Reading – This allows you to get more insights on the prompt. Since examiners change prompts every year, you must be ready to encounter any subject or issue in your exam. Thus, read widely to have massive knowledge to apply. Reading will open your mind and allow you to see issues from differ perspectives.
With these hints on how to write an AP argumentative essay, let us look at an example of a prompt plus a possible way to respond.
Example: AP Argumentative Essay
The culture of giving incentives for charity work is common, from organizations funding school projects to national income levy deductions for contributions. In a well-organized essay, develop an opinion on the ethics of giving incentives for charity work. Use evidence from your observations, reading and or experience to support your position.
Below are excerpts from an essay that had a score of ‘8’. Read and see how to respond to a persuasive prompt.
According to my experience, a school should choose a lack of corporate sponsorship policy. In middle class, we were overexposed to Kraft products and activities because the company was just in the neighborhood. Ironically, I developed a negative attitude towards Kraft products, with Kraft dominating every aspect of my middle school. While finding an ad free environ is not easy, it can be achieved in high school since demerits of corporate advertising in schools outweigh the benefits. Schools should be solely for education.
See how the writer uses personal experience to develop a solid argument. You may read the rest of the prompts here. Always remember that for a personal experience to support a persuasive essay prompt, it must be valid and relevant to the issue. This is a good example to help you gain more insights on how to write an AP argumentative essay.
Steps to follow when writing an AP argumentative essay
Unlike other academic essays, what makes an argumentative essay is evidence from credible sources. Effective argumentative skills will help in different circumstances even after studies. What is more, if you can convert literary evidence into a concrete argument, then you will be on your way to scoring high in your AP English course.
Writing a good AP argumentative essay involves two steps:
Let us look at each of these steps in details
Planning for an AP Argumentative Essay
STEP 1: Identify the prompt – Look for the keywords in the prompt to know what the examiner wants from you. Keywords are action words, which signal the main argument of the prompt. Common key words you will meet are, ‘refute,’ ‘support,’ and qualify.
STEP 2: Determine the argument – As you read the prompt, establish its main argument and link it to your task.
STEP 3: Get evidence – Your next step is to find out the evidence from the text that support the main argument. Focus on what the text is arguing and not how the writer is making the argument. Get as more evidence as you can.
STEP 4: Develop your argument – Come up with an argument that answers the prompt. As you develop your argument, question and evaluate as opposed to summarizing the central argument in the source text.
STEP 5: Create your thesis – As you figure out how to write an AP argumentative essay, do not forget developing a thesis statement that captures your claim. Make it simple but strong enough to represent the finality of your argument.
STEP 6: Map your paper – At this point, draft your argument on a scrap paper. Having an outline will help you organize your ideas and ensure that you have enough evidence.
The actual writing of an AP argumentative essay
Once you are through with the planning stage, you are ready to put pen to paper and nail your argument like an expert. Follow the following steps.
STEP 1: Introduce your paper. Put down a strong and appetizing intro that captures the significance of your topic, your thesis, and argument outline.
STEP 2: Connect your evidence – Here, link the evidence you identified from the text with your argument to develop your body paragraphs. Your main task is to explain the argument and give supporting evidence.
STEP 3: Conclude your essay – Your conclusion should back your thesis and provide new interpretation of your argument instead of merely summarizing it.
With these steps and discussions, you have all the secrets of how to write an AP argumentative essay. We hope this guide helps you excel in your AP English course. All the Best.
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