All the information you need to put together a great essay that will win over the reader
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All the information you need to put together a great essay that will win over the reader. Writing a Winning Ap US History Essay. The Purpose. Persuade the reader that your answer is correct. Use analytical reasoning supported by facts. The Goal. Write a literate, organized essay

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Writing a Winning Ap US History Essay

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All the information you need to put together a great essay that will win over the reader

All the information you need to put together

a great essay that will win over the reader.

Writing a Winning Ap US History Essay


The purpose

The Purpose

  • Persuade the reader that your answer is correct.

  • Use analytical reasoning supported by facts


The goal

The Goal

  • Write a literate, organized essay

  • Begin with an introduction and a thesis statement.

  • This introduction should clearly announce your answer and intentions.

  • Support the thesis with several paragraphs of reasoning and factual evidence.


Essay format

Essay Format

  • Write in complete sentences. Do not use fragments or run-ons.

  • Divide thoughts into paragraphs.

  • Use standard English, not slang terms or profanity.

  • Do not use first person (I, my, we, our, etc.) unless the question demands it.

  • Write legibly so that the reader can read it.

  • You may cross out sentences and passages, no need to erase.

  • Use proper grammar. Some grammatical errors will be overlooked, but too many becomes distracting.


The reader

The Reader

  • The reader is your audience.

  • Many are college professors who are experts in the area of US History.

  • The reader knows more than you do about the subject.

  • You are trying to make your essay stand out from the many other essays that they will read!


The question

The Question

  • Read the question very carefully and understand all the parts.

  • Do what the question says:

    • “Compare”-explain how 2 things are alike. Usually means “compare and contrast”. Explain similarities and differences.

    • Comparison Words- both, each, neither/nor, either/or, also, and, likewise, yet, is comparable to, is different from, on the other hand, despite, is similar to, however, etc.


The question1

The Question

  • Read the question very carefully and understand all the parts.

  • Do what the question says:

    • “Evaluate the importance”-explain how multiple things were important. Rank causes or items.

    • “Evaluate to what extent”-explain whether something is or is not, and how much it is


The question2

The Question

  • Read the question very carefully and understand all the parts.

  • Do what the question says:

    • “Assess the validity of this statement”-explain whether the statement is true or false and for what reasons you believe this.


The question3

The Question

  • Observe Numbers-If you are to reference 2 people, issues, etc., stick to them. You don’t get extra points for discussing more.

  • Observe Boundaries-If you are to reference a particular geographical area, stick to it.

  • Observe Time Frames-If you are given a time frame, reference it and stick to it.

  • Observe Categories-If you are given categories (political, social, economic, etc.) reference them and stick to them.


The question4

The Question

  • Answer the Question!!!!!

  • Do not ramble. You are given direction by the question. Take that direction and go.

  • Take a Stand!! Do no be a fence-rider! Do not be soft! Make sure the reader knows clearly which side of the issue you are on.

  • You must use outside information in your essay!!


The plan

The Plan

  • Make a Plan for the essay.

  • A quick outline should serve as a blueprint for the essay.

  • Refer to the outline when you write. This is the most important step to keep you from rambling or veering off course.

  • Brainstorm ideas that could be of use. Make lists of important information.


The plan1

The Plan

  • If the question does not provide structure (categories, people, issues) you need to create it here.

  • Categorize your ideas so that you can present them with confidence.


The thesis

The Thesis

  • An acceptable thesis statement does not just restate the question, it states the answer.

  • If there is not a clear thesis, the reader will likely grade the essay a 0.

  • Make it exceptionally obvious what your answer is from the beginning. If it isn’t there, the reader will not waste their time.


The thesis1

The Thesis

  • The Thesis should address all parts of the answer clearly.

  • The Thesis should reflect your categories and structure.

  • The Thesis can incorporate outside information.

  • The Thesis must clearly grab the reader’s attention and let them know where the argument is going!!


The thesis examples

The Thesis-Examples

  • Question: “Slavery was the principal cause of the U.S. Civil War. Assess the validity of this statement.”

  • A simple (and low scoring) thesis: “The Civil War had many causes.”

  • A better (but mediocre) thesis: “Slavery was the principal cause of the Civil War.”


The thesis examples1

The Thesis-Examples

  • Question: “Slavery was the principal cause of the U.S. Civil War. Assess the validity of this statement.”

  • A high scoring thesis is complex andshows direction: “Although slavery was a significant factor in the coming of the Civil War, the primary causes were the political, economic, and moral implications of the extension of slavery to the territories.”


The thesis examples2

The Thesis-Examples

  • Question: “How did independence from Great Britain change gender and race relations in the U.S.? Confine your answer to the period 1750 to 1789.”

  • A simple (and low scoring) thesis: “Independence changed gender and race relations.”

  • A better (but mediocre) thesis: “Independence changed gender and race relations somewhat.”


The thesis examples3

The Thesis-Examples

  • Question: “How did independence from Great Britain change gender and race relations in the U.S.? Confine your answer to the period 1750 to 1789.”

  • High scoring thesis: “ The American Revolution was premised on radical ideals of equality. Although independence brought little change to gender relations, it did bring somewhat greater change to some aspects of racial relations. It brought small, although real, gains to blacks in the North, but little improvements for accommodating Native Americans and blacks in the South. Aside from a new role as Republican mothers, women generally remained legally and socially embedded in traditional patriarchy.”


The thesis2

The Thesis

  • Avoid Fluff and Generalizations

  • Essays that begin with the following phrases make the reader think you have no idea what you are talking about:

    • “Since the dawn of time…”

    • “Throughout American History…”

    • “American History is…”

    • “In this time there was lots of change..”


The points

The Points

  • Clearly address all of the points outlined in your thesis. If you address 5 things in your thesis, you must develop them all.

  • ***You must support all of your statements with facts***

  • Be specific about the facts. Use dates, names, places, etc. If you don’t know any, you are in trouble. Don’t try to fake it.


The points1

The Points

  • Avoid:

    • Generalizations-You must be specific.

      • “The British taxed the colonists”-Duh.

      • “The Great Depression was a rough time”-Duh

      • “World War II changed the world”-Duh

    • Repetition-They heard it the first time, no need to say it over and over to fill up space.

    • Storytelling-Don’t just spout facts. The facts must be relevant to your point and support the argument.


The conclusion

The Conclusion

  • One of the most overlooked parts, but it is as important as your introduction.

  • You must wrap up the argument and remind the reader what you have said.

  • Restate your points and thesis while persuading your reader.

  • Finish with gusto! Make the reader believe what you have written.


The conclusion1

The Conclusion

  • Avoid:

    • Fluffy, Flowery, statements like

      • “The nation has never been the same…”

      • “Who knows what would have happened…”

      • “This was a major time in history…”

      • “This made us what we are today…”

    • These are all Duh statements. If it weren’t important, or influential, you wouldn’t have been asked about it.


Grammar

Grammar

  • Write legibly

  • Write with decent grammar.

  • Theoretically, you are not graded on grammar. Too many spelling and grammatical mistakes become distracting to the reader.

  • Properly written sentences may please the reader and help you when your facts are not perfect.


Historical information

Historical Information

  • You must include facts to support your points.

  • Small slip-ups will not cost you, but mixing up Washington and Lincoln will.

    • Small-Jefferson was only 37 when he wrote the Declaration

    • Small-The Meat Inspection Act was passed in 1910

    • Small-Dwight Eisenhower won the election of 1954


Historical information1

Historical Information

  • You must include facts to support your points.

  • Small slip-ups will not cost you, but mixing up Washington and Lincoln will.

    • Large-Abraham Lincoln was a threat to the South because he was an abolitionist.

    • Large-John Kennedy’s Great Society helped to address the problems of poverty in the U.S.


Grading what are they looking for

Grading-What are they looking for?

  • Thesis

  • Facts, Supporting information

  • Analysis-Did you understand and answer the question? Did you show cause and effect? Is your argument logical?

  • Organization-Did you group, categorize, etc?

  • Continuity-Did you stick to your argument?


Length how long should the essay be

Length-How long should the Essay be?

  • There is no set length.

  • Must confine the essay to the time allotted.

  • 2.5 page is a good general rule. 1page essays can be great and 4 page essays can be terrible.

  • The key is to get the job done!


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