2 Essay PromptAll college-level essay test answers are written in response to an essay “prompt.”You must answer the question asked in order to score well.Answering essays is a skill that takes practice.
3 Overview READ the entire prompt! Reread & Mark the IMPORTANT WORDS. Understand your TASK (question verb).Define any “loaded” TERMS.Make a quick OUTLINE.Cover the entire TIME PERIOD.Determine your THESIS.Write your ESSAY, using facts to prove your thesis
4 1. Read the ENTIRE prompt.The first mistake that many students make is in reading and answering only part of the prompt.
5 2. Carefully REREAD the prompt & mark the IMPORTANT WORDS Verbs,Conjunctions, andthe time period
6 2. Mark the important words Analyze the impact of the American Revolution on both slavery and the status of women in the period from 1775 to 1800.Compare and contrast United States foreign policy after the First World War and after the Second World War. Consider the periods and
7 2. Mark the important words In what ways did the French and Indian War ( ) alter the political, economic and ideological relations between Britain and its American colonies? Use your knowledge of the period along with the documents provided.
8 3. Understand the TASKCommonly used verbs and explanations for the tasks they indicate: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.Discuss or Explain: frequently used in recent prompts. They should be written as analysis essays, not merely a list of events or facts.
9 3. Understanding the Task: Commonly used verbs and verb phrases To what extent: How true is some development or description of history? AP essay questions will invariably be about a complex topic that is not completely true or false.Assess the validity: How true is a given statement? (variant: “Evaluate the validity”)
10 3. Understanding the Task: Commonly used verbs and verb phrases (cont’d) 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.Compare AND contrast: Discuss BOTH similarities AND differences between two events or periods.
11 4. Define any “loaded” TERMS in the prompt that need clarification Examples:Assess the validity of the following 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.“From 1781 to 1789, the Articles of Confederation provided the United States with an effective government.” Using your knowledge of the period, evaluate this statement.(2) 1985 DBQ mod.
12 5. BRAINSTORM: sketch out a quick, informal OUTLINE This is crucial in helping you to:Cover the entire question asked,Organize your response, andInclude as many important details as possible.
13 Outlines do not have to be formal, just sketch or a structure How did the American Revolution affect American society? Be sure to explain the political, social and economic effects during the periodPolitical Economic Social
14 6: OutlinesimilaritiesdifferencesCompare and contrast United States foreign policy after the First World War and after the Second World War. Consider the periods and
15 6: Outline Alternatively: similaritiesdifferencesAlternatively:Compare and contrast United States foreign policy after the First World War and after the Second World War. Consider the periods and
16 6. Cover the TIME PERIOD in the prompt If the prompt asks you to discuss reform between 1865 and 1900, you must include information for the ENTIRE time period.Dates included in prompts are not random: test writers put a lot of thought into them
17 7. Develop your thesis Historical essays require that you take a clear position that responds to the prompt (state a thesis) anddefend your thesis with facts.Thesis: sentence that states a clear position in response to the promptBetter theses also tell the reader what evidence the essay will prove the thesis is true – they give a brief overview of the essay.[We will discuss developing a thesis in our next session on answering essays.]
18 8. Write your essay4 -7 well-organized paragraphs, incl’g intro & conclusion2-3 lined pages in minutesWrite with a goal: Prove and support your thesis using evidence (facts) and explanation (analysis)Discuss/analyze as many relevant facts as possibleAnalysis, analysis, analysis - don’t just list facts/events. You must explain why they are significant and/or how they support your thesis.Don’t ignore important facts that don’t support your thesis. Acknowledge them & show why they don’t undermine your thesisIn-class essays are a rough draft
19 8. Write your essay: analysis Description:WhoWhatWhereWhenAnalysis:HowWhyHow much (to what extent)Causes, effects
20 Summary READ the ENTIRE prompt! Mark the IMPORTANT WORDS – verbs, conjunctions, time periodUnderstand your TASK. What exactly what you are being asked to do?. Consider the entire prompt.Define any important “loaded” TERM(s).Make a quick OUTLINE. Organize your thinking before you begin writing.Cover the entire TIME PERIOD.Determine your THESIS.Write your essay, using facts to support your thesis
21 Practice Question 1Analyze the impact of the American Revolution on both slavery and the status of women in the period from 1775 to 1800.2004 FRQ
22 Practice Question 2Evaluate the relative importance of the following as factors promoting Americans to rebel: parliamentary taxation, restriction of civil liberties, British military measures and the legacy of colonial religious and political ideas.1992 FRQ
23 Practice Question 3“The United States Constitution of 1787 represented an economic and ideological victory for the traditional American political elite.” Assess the validity of that statement for the period 1781 to 1789.2006B
24 Practice Question 4How did economic, geographic, and social factors encourage the growth of slavery as an important part of the economy of the southern colonies between ?2001 FRQ
25 An Actual ExampleIn what ways did the French and Indian War ( ) alter the political, economic and ideological relations between Britain and its American colonies? Use your knowledge of the period along with the documents provided to answer the question.2004 DBQ
26 SourcesOriginally based on a presentation by Mr. Keith Wood, Murray H.S., Utah,