AP LANGUAGE AND COMPOSITION The Free Response Essay What is it? • The free-response essays asks that you formulate an opinion on a topic that you are given. • You will be asked to defend (agree with), challenge (disagree with), or qualify (discuss both sides) or to evaluate a position given (discuss whether or not you agree or disagree) For example: Recently, the AP test has been giving quotes and asking the reader to develop a position on the information that is presented in the quote. How to Attack the Prompt • First, read all of the information from the prompt to get all aspects of what you are supposed to cover—don’t forget to look at historical or biographical information given to you. • Find some way to annotate the information. Highlight, underline, etc.—just don’t skip it! Has a good perspective since he is from the country we broke from After the revolution—America is forming Give the reader the perspective that the writer is starting from Now, look at what you are being asked to do in the assignment section of the prompt: You are being asked to do two things: 1. Understand and address the way Paine feels about America 2. Formulate an opinion about it How to Construct Your Answer • Always start with some kind of prewriting—it doesn’t matter what you do, just do some planning. You only have 40 minutes, so you need to figure out where to go with the prompt. • Make sure that your essay covers every aspect of the prompt’s question. Intro paragraph • Make sure that you have a solid thesis statement that addresses the prompt. • Your information in the intro should be concise and should address the basics/background in the prompt—it should not give your entire paper away. Construction cont. • You are asked to provide evidence to support your answer—this can be in the form of personal experience, history, media, literature. • Be careful—your personal experience is not enough to substantiate an entire answer. Also, anything that you use should relate to the question on a higher level. More construction • Your answer may contain first person, but you should not use “I” too much in the paper. • You don’t always have to write like this: “I believe that Paine makes a good point when he states:…” Because you can write this and have a better answer: “Paine makes a good point when he states:…” Conclusion paragraph • This paragraph should close down your paper, not summarize it. • This is a good place to give information that does not need a lot of explanation and seems fairly obvious.