Presentation on theme: "APUSH Student: “How long should the essay be?” Susan Firestone: (my 10 th grade English Teacher), “Like a mini-skirt, long enough to cover the subject,"— Presentation transcript:
APUSH Student: “How long should the essay be?” Susan Firestone: (my 10 th grade English Teacher), “Like a mini-skirt, long enough to cover the subject, but short enough to be interesting!”
Step One: Analyzing The Prompt ….. All AP essays are written in response to an essay “prompt.” This is what you commonly call the “question.” Understanding what this prompt asked you to do is the first important skill you need to acquire.
Step One…Analyzing the Info. What is the question/prompt asking for? Are there any terms or words that you do not understand? DBQ’s often provide a historical background and that information SHOULD be used
Examples of Prompts Sample FRE prompt: – Compare and contrast President Madison’s foreign policy before the War of 1812 with President Wilson’s foreign policy before World War I. Consider the periods 1809-1812 and 1912-1917. 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.
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…. 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 students make is in reading and answering only one part of the prompt.
Tip #2 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 most important verb, and thus your task, is in the second sentence: ANALYZE.
Tip #3 After finding the verbs, look carefully and mark any CONJUNCTIONS and circle or underline them. For instance Compare and contrast President Madison’s foreign policy before the War of 1812 with President Wilson’s foreign policy before World War I. Consider the periods 1809-1812 and 1912-1917. You must compare AND contrast these periods to successfully complete the task. Doing only one or the other will lower your score.
Tip #4 Go back and look carefully at the verb in the prompt. This word will tell you what you are expected to do.
Tip #5 Define any terms in the prompt that you need to explain and make sure you address them in the essay. Failure to do so will lower your score considerably. For example, a recent AP essay prompt asked for students to assess the validity of this statement: “Early 19 th century reform movements in the United States sought to expand democratic ideals.”
Tip #6 Clearly understand the time period in the prompt. If the prompt asks you to discuss reform in the early 19 th century then you must include information from that time period. If the prompt asks you to discuss the period between 1865 and 1900, then you must include information from the WHOLE time period. You can help yourself by listing facts from the last 10 years of the time period FIRST, then working backwards with the details.
Tip #7 After you are clear as to your task (analyze, evaluate, assess the validity, etc.), sketch out a quick, informal, OUTLINE of how you are going to proceed. This is very important in guaranteeing that you address all parts of the prompt. Your outline should also include the major facts you are going to address in the essay paragraph by paragraph. Your outline will serve as a check-off list so you don’t forget anything in your discussion.
Sample Jot Outline Thesis statement Topic of Body Paragraph 1 – SFE Topic of Body Paragraph 2 – SFE Topic of Body Paragraph 3 – SFE Concluding sentences You will only have 5 minutes to write your thesis and your outline for an FRE. You will only 15 minutes to read the documents, write your thesis and your outline for a DBQ so…… Knowing the FACTS and understanding what the question is asking you to do is vital to your success!!
The Thesis sentence is the most important sentence in any essay. It must be clear, properly structured, and in the correct place.
A Thesis sentence is……. A single Declaratory sentence That “answers” the prompt With a clearly and simply stated argument A good thesis NEVER restates the prompt
Tip #1 After reading the whole prompt, marking the verbs and conjunctions, and thinking about how you are going to proceed……… Answer the prompt in a single sentence For example, consider this prompt: How successful were the English colonists in establishing complete religious freedom in colonial American during the period 1620 to 1700? Analyze the factors that contributed to the level of freedom achieved.
Tip #1 (continued) What do you think about this prompt? – Was the period 1620-1700 a period of religious freedom? – Or was it a period of religious restraint, intoleration, and struggle? Your opinion/argument is essential!! Your argument must be clear. Think about the historical “grey area!”
Although early British Colonists enjoyed a degree of religious freedom, intolerance was often seen due to ____________, _____________, and ___________.
Tip #1 (continued) It is extremely important to get your thinking clearly into a simple “answer” to the prompt. DO NOT restate the wording of the prompt. – Rather than saying “ the time period of 1620- 1700,” say “ the early decades of the 17 th century” or “the early decades of colonial settlement…” – Rather than saying “English colonists,” refer to American colonists, British colonists or settlers.
Tip #2 Now that you know your answer/argument, you need to write a sentence that is both complex and specific. One way of doing this is to begin your thesis sentence with the word “Although” This may seem odd, but recent AP grading rubrics award high scores only to essays that “address the complexity of the question”– that is recognizing that there is a “grey area” in history.
The Grey Area How successful were the English colonists in establishing complete religious freedom in colonial American during the period 1620 to 1700? Analyze the factors that contributed to the level of freedom achieved. Having studied properly and knowing the facts, you know that complete religious freedom may have existed for some but not for others. Consider the various religious groups and religions that existed in the colonies during the time period 1620-1700. Consider the experiences of the people living in different colonies and areas. An argument should be forming in your head as you consider the facts of the question……. If you know your FACTS, then it will come to you….
Tip #2 One of the easiest ways of doing this is to write a sentence that looks like this: Although during the early 17 th century America was settled by people seeking religious freedom, these colonists were often intolerant to those whose beliefs conflicted with their own resulting in a lack of complete religious freedom in America. Or… Although the British colonies were founded by groups seeking religious freedom, complete religious freedom was not successfully achieved for all groups due to the variety of religious groups and their intolerance for religious dissenters.
Tip #2 (continued) Writing this kind of thesis sentence sets you up from the very beginning to acknowledge the “complexity” in the essay prompt- that is the “grey” area. Your opinion/answer to the prompt will form your argument- it goes in the SECOND HALF of your thesis statement. This is the point where you are going to make; the destination at which you want the reader to arrive. Using the world “Although..” to start your thesis forces you to have a CONTRAST in the sentence, with your argument in the second half.
Tip #3 Having written your thesis sentence, you are ready to put it into your essay. For most AP U.S. History essays, the thesis sentence is the last sentence of the introductory paragraph
Analyzing the Documents (DBQ) PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE write on the documents—circle, underline, etc. Do a SOAPS chart! S: SPEAKER— voice which writes the piece O: OCCASION— What? How? What was going on for someone to write this piece? In other words, the context A: AUDIENCE— readers to whom this piece is directed. Can be a group of people P: PURPOSE-- what was so important that this article/piece/document had to be written? S: SUBJECT— what is the document about? Always keep the prompt in mind!!!