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See Chapter 3 in The Language of Composition for more info.

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1 See Chapter 3 in The Language of Composition for more info.
Synthesis Essay

2 BASICS 15 minutes to read question and sources,40 minutes to write the essay (AP recommends taking 45 on this one) The prompt will require that you synthesize sources in order to support your position. AP evaluators point out that this prompt compels students to “enter the conversation” in that they read what others are already saying and then reference those points to develop and demonstrate their own perspective. Sources: Expect 6+, ranging from an op-ed to an article excerpt to a chart/graph, to a political cartoon to an ad to a piece of art Expect at least one non-textual source You must reference at least 3 sources in your essay You MUST CITE YOUR SOURCE (if not, 2 is the highest grade you can earn) To cite, include in parenthesis either the author’s last name or just the source tag Ex: (Jones) or (Source B) Avoid mere summarizing/paraphrasingyour evaluator knows the gist of the sources

3 AP Prompt Stems for Synthesis Prompts
The actual prompt section begins with “Read the following sources. Then synthesize information from at least three of the sources and incorporate it into a coherent, well-developed essay that...” identifies the key issues associated with and discusses their implications for . . . develops a position on the extent to which . . . evaluates the most important factors that should be considered when/for/if. . . evaluates the merits of develops a position on what issues should be considered most important in making decisions about... argues the extent to which . . . takes a position on whether or not. . .


5 The need to memorialize events or people is complex; in some cases, monuments honor moments of great achievement, while in other cases, monuments pay homage to deep sacrifice. A monument’s size, location, and materials are all considerations in planning and creating a memorial to the past. Read the following seven sources carefully, including the introductory information for each source. Then, in a well-organized essay that synthesizes at least three of the sources for support, examine the factors a group or agency should consider in memorializing an event or person and in creating a monument. Context is first provided about the USPS and how it’s mail volume has decreased over the past decade ( , other delivery companies), leading to cutbacks on delivery days and other services. Carefully read the following seven sources, including the introductory information for each source. Then synthesize information from at least three of the sources and incorporate it into a coherent, well-developed essay that argues a clear position on whether the USPS should be restructured to meet the needs of a changing world, and if so, how. 2013 2012

6 In much of the world, the time that regulates our lives is altered by daylight saving time. Each year, we set our clocks back an hour in the fall and then move them forward an hour in the spring. This annual shift is thought to have been invented by Benjamin Franklin, who in 1784 wrote a letter to a French journal suggesting that Parisians could economize on candles if they simply woke up earlier during the summer. Daylight saving time was adopted by the United States in the twentieth century and is regulated by the federal government. Even though daylight saving time has been widely adopted, it still has detractors. Read the following sources (including the introductory information) carefully. Then synthesize at least three of the sources into an essay that evaluates daylight saving time and offers a recommendation about its continued use. 2010 B

7 So, how do I start? Within the 15 minute reading period, you will be able to process the sources. As you read, I recommend noting what the prompt asks you to do and then note: Factors that speak to considerations to be made regarding how an issue should be addressed (maybe just number them in the margins with a quick categorization note) Indicating (maybe with a + , - for pro, con) regarding information you could utilize to develop/support a position. Definitely mark the source overall regarding whether it will be useful for pro or con.

8 Prompt about considerations for monuments/memorials
Factor 1:Feasibility for Completion Factor 2:Appropriateness? Factor 3: Public rxn

9 - Prompt about cont’d use of daylight saving time - -

10 DBQ vs. Synthesis AP Central does acknowledge that the synthesis essay is similar to the DBQ. 2003 AP U.S. History DBQ prompt: Analyze the responses of Franklin D. Roosevelt's administration to the problems of the Great Depression. How effective were these responses? How did they change the role of the federal government? Use the documents and your knowledge of the period to construct your essay. 2007 synthesis prompt (first one ever): That advertising plays a huge role in society is readily apparent to anyone who watches television, listens to radio, reads newspapers, uses the Internet, or simply looks at billboards on streets and buses. Advertising has fierce critics as well as staunch advocates. Critics claim that advertisement is propaganda, while advocates counter that advertising fosters free trade and promotes prosperity…Read the sources…and write an essay in which you develop a position on the effects of advertising.

11 But how are they different?
DBQ evaluates content knowledge, whereas the synthesis question requires several skills: evaluation of sources, integration of sources, and written expression. The synthesis question is not designed to assess a content-driven body of knowledge DBQ privileges primary sources so the students develop a “historical voice” whereas synthesis questions allow for an opinion DBQ requires outside information, whereas the synthesis doesn’t require outside info (though some integration of it to supplement your thesis is okay) DBQ requires usage of at least half the documents provided whereas the synthesis requires reference to at least three

12 SAMPLE: 2011 Synthesis Question
Locavores are people who have decided to eat locally grown or produced products as much as possible. With an eye to nutrition as well as sustainability (resource use that preserves the environment), the locavore movement has become widespread over the past decade. Imagine that a community is considering organizing a locavore movement. Carefully read the following seven sources, including the introductory information for each source. Then synthesize information from at least three of the sources and incorporate it into a coherent, well-developed essay that identifies the key issues associated with the locavore movement and examines their implications for the community. Make sure that your argument is central; use the sources to illustrate and support your reasoning. Avoid merely summarizing the sources. Indicate clearly which sources you are drawing from, whether through direct quotation, paraphrase, or summary. You may cite the sources as Source A, Source B, etc., or by using the descriptions in parentheses.

13 Sources Provided: Source A (Maiser) (blog) Source B (Smith and MacKinnon) (book excerpt) Source C (McWilliams) (opinion) Source D (chart) Source E (Gogoi) (online article) Source F (Roberts) (book) Source G (cartoon)

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