Improve scores with advice from expert AP teachers.
Tips for essay writing
- Organize your thoughts. Before you begin writing a free-response essay, take a few minutes to prewrite. Determine exactly what the prompt is asking and then jot down a few notes. Set up a mini-outline with your initial ideas and use that as a road map for your writing.
- Craft a clear thesis. Construct a clear and simple thesis that you can support using details from any provided documents, passages, or poems. Make sure you set up the specific topics you will use to prove your thesis and then look for details that support them. Also, make sure to acknowledge and address arguments that support different perspectives.
- Avoid lengthy quotes. Long, direct quotes will weaken your argument or analysis. Instead, state your point and then paraphrase reference examples and use brief quotes to back up your perspective.
- Avoid inappropriate language and judgments. Consider that your readers are professional educators who are looking for articulate language and specific responses to questions. Criticizing authors, the legitimacy of questions, or the worth of certain subjects is inappropriate. Being clever or cute may result in fewer points awarded.
Additional Tips for Success on the AP Exam
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