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MHS AP U. S. History1 Lesson 1 Understanding the Essay Prompt.

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Presentation on theme: "MHS AP U. S. History1 Lesson 1 Understanding the Essay Prompt."— Presentation transcript:

1 MHS AP U. S. History1 Lesson 1 Understanding the Essay Prompt

2 MHS AP U. S. History2 All AP essays are written in response to an essay “prompt.” Understanding what this prompt asks you to do is the first important skill you need to acquire.

3 MHS AP U. S. History3 Sample DBQ prompt: Sample DBQ prompt: –How successful was organized labor in improving the position of workers in the period from 1875 to 1900? Analyze the factors that contributed to the level of success achieved. Sample free response prompt: Sample free response prompt: –Compare and contrast United States foreign policy after the First World War and after the Second World War. Consider the periods and Here are two examples

4 MHS AP U. S. History4 Tip #1 The first thing you need to do is to read the WHOLE prompt, every word of it. This is especially true if the prompt is in two sentences like this one... The first thing you need to do is to read the WHOLE prompt, every word of it. This is especially true if the prompt is in two sentences like this one... –How successful was organized labor in improving the position of workers in the period from 1875 to 1900? Analyze the factors that contributed to the level of success achieved. The first mistake that many students make is in reading and answering only part of the prompt. The first mistake that many students make is in reading and answering only part of the prompt.

5 MHS AP U. S. History5 Tip #2 Having read the whole prompt, circle or underline the VERBS. These words will give you your task. Having read the whole prompt, circle or underline the VERBS. These words will give you your task. –How successful was organized labor in improving the position of workers in the period from 1875 to 1900? Analyze the factors that contributed to the level of success achieved. The important verb, and thus your task, is in the second sentence: ANALYZE. The important verb, and thus your task, is in the second sentence: ANALYZE.

6 MHS AP U. S. History6 Tip #3 After finding the verbs, look carefully and mark any CONJUNCTIONS and circle or underline them. For instance After finding the verbs, look carefully and mark any CONJUNCTIONS and circle or underline them. For instance –Compare and contrast United States foreign policy after the First World War and after the Second World War. Consider the periods and You must compare AND contrast these periods to successfully complete the task. Doing only one or the other will lower your score. You must compare AND contrast these periods to successfully complete the task. Doing only one or the other will lower your score.

7 MHS AP U. S. History7 Tip #4 Go back and look carefully at the VERB in the prompt. Go back and look carefully at the VERB in the prompt. This word will tell you what you are expected to do. This word will tell you what you are expected to do. The following is a list of commonly used verbs and explanations for the tasks they indicate. These are verbs the College Board has used recently. The following is a list of commonly used verbs and explanations for the tasks they indicate. These are verbs the College Board has used recently.

8 MHS AP U. S. History8 Commonly used verbs and verb phrases Analyze Analyze –Explain how AND why something occurred. Any question that uses “how” and/or “why” is an analysis question even if the word “analyze” is not in the prompt. Assess the validity Assess the validity –How true is the statement. The statement doesn’t have to be all true; it can be true in one instance or circumstance and false in another.

9 MHS AP U. S. History9 Commonly used Verbs (continued) Evaluate Evaluate –Which factor was most important. You usually need to rank several events or factors and specify which is most and which is least significant. To what extent To what extent –This prompt frequently requires you to specify a cause and effect relationship and then state which causes were more important.

10 MHS AP U. S. History10 Commonly used Verbs (continued) Compare AND contrast Compare AND contrast –To do this correctly you need to discuss BOTH similarities AND differences between two events or periods. It is important to both in a balanced way without shortchanging either. Discuss or Consider Discuss or Consider –These are frequently used in free response prompts. They should be written as analysis essays.

11 MHS AP U. S. History11 Tip #5 Define any terms in the prompt that you need to explain. Define any terms in the prompt that you need to explain. For instance, a recent essay prompt asked students to assess the validity of this statement: “Reform movements in the United States sought to expand democratic ideals.” For instance, a recent essay prompt asked students to assess the validity of this statement: “Reform movements in the United States sought to expand democratic ideals.” Jot down some “democratic ideals” and be prepared to explain how they are democratic. Failing to do this will lower your score. Jot down some “democratic ideals” and be prepared to explain how they are democratic. Failing to do this will lower your score.

12 MHS AP U. S. History12 Tip #6 Clearly understand the time period in the prompt. Clearly understand the time period in the prompt. If the prompt asks you to discuss reform between 1865 and 1900, you must include information for the WHOLE time period. If the prompt asks you to discuss reform between 1865 and 1900, you must include information for the WHOLE time period. You can help yourself do this by listing information from the last 10 years of the time period in the prompt FIRST, then working backward with your details. You can help yourself do this by listing information from the last 10 years of the time period in the prompt FIRST, then working backward with your details.

13 MHS AP U. S. History13 Tip #7 After you are clear as to your task (analyze, evaluate, etc.) sketch out a quick, informal outline of how you are going to proceed. This is very important to guaranteeing that you cover the whole prompt. After you are clear as to your task (analyze, evaluate, etc.) sketch out a quick, informal outline of how you are going to proceed. This is very important to guaranteeing that you cover the whole prompt. For instance, if you were writing the following prompt... For instance, if you were writing the following prompt... –Compare and contrast United States foreign policy after the First World War and after the Second World War. Consider the periods and

14 MHS AP U. S. History14 You might jot down a simple “outline” like the one at the right. You might jot down a simple “outline” like the one at the right. You would list things that were similar in BOTH periods, You would list things that were similar in BOTH periods, Then list the differences in BOTH periods. Then list the differences in BOTH periods. Your essay would then have either four body paragraphs as indicated by the circles Your essay would then have either four body paragraphs as indicated by the circles similarities differences

15 MHS AP U. S. History15 Or you might have two longer and more involved paragraphs as indicated by the two ovals. Or you might have two longer and more involved paragraphs as indicated by the two ovals. In either case, you would have organized your thinking so that you cover all of the material you need to cover to address the prompt completely. In either case, you would have organized your thinking so that you cover all of the material you need to cover to address the prompt completely similarities differences

16 MHS AP U. S. History16 Lesson 1 Summary Read the WHOLE prompt! Read the WHOLE prompt! Mark the VERBS and the CONJUNCTIONS in the prompt. Mark the VERBS and the CONJUNCTIONS in the prompt. Think about that verb. What, exactly, are you being asked to do. Consider the whole prompt. Think about that verb. What, exactly, are you being asked to do. Consider the whole prompt. ORGANIZE your thinking BEFORE you begin writing. ORGANIZE your thinking BEFORE you begin writing.


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