Tips on the APLaC Free Response Essay Questions

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TIPS ON THE APLAC FREE
RESPONSE ESSAY QUESTIONS
TIP #1: WRITING BASICS
INTRODUCTIONS
1.
2.
3.
4.
Hook: A sentence that
grabs your reader’s
attention.
Thesis: States the
position you will be
unpacking in your essay.
Subtopics: States the
smaller topics that you
will be unpacking that
support your thesis.
Transition: A sentence
that smoothly shifts from
your introduction to your
first body paragraph.
THE 6 TS
• Type: What type of essay
am I writing?
• Topic: What is the topic of
the essay?
• Task: What is the prompt
asking me to do?
• Textual Evidence: Where am
I getting my evidence from?
• Target Audience: Who is this
essay being written for?
• Theme (Universal): What
theme can I use in this essay
that will connect my
hook/so what?
BODY PARAGRAPHS &
THE CITATION SANDWICH
• Topic Sentence: States what your
paragraph is focusing on and how it
ties to your thesis.
• Set-Up: Give context about the
evidence you are presenting.
• Evidence: The evidence you are using
to support your thesis. Focus on 1-2
pieces of evidence ONLY per body
paragraph!!!!
• Analysis: Demonstrate how your
evidence supports your thesis.
• Transition: Connects one body
paragraph to the next.
CONCLUSIONS
• Restate Thesis:
Paraphrase your thesis
without echoing it in your
introduction.
• Restate Subtopics:
Paraphrase your
subtopics and analyze
how they support your
thesis.
• So What?: A concluding
remark that leaves an
impact with the reader.
Should always have a
connection to your hook.
CONCLUSION DISCLAIMER
• Remember: The readers
score what you wrote,
NOT what you didn’t!!!
• If you are running out of
time, the part to skip is
the conclusion. It should
be clear in your essay the
position you are taking,
supported by the
evidence you provide.
• That being said….it is
better to include a
conclusion to give a
sense of completion to
the reader.
TRANSITIONS
• What makes a good
transition?
• Think of your
architecture. It should
follow a logical
structure:
• Chronological Order
• Sequential Order
• Matters of Degree
• 2/3/1 format
• Weaving a Theme
TIP #2: WRITING THE ARGUMENTATIVE
ESSAY (AE)
AE: TIME MANAGEMENT
• 5 minutes to read
prompt (apply the 6
Ts!)
• 5 minutes to
brainstorm/outline
• 25 minutes to
compose your essay.
• 5 minutes to revise
your essay.
• TOTAL TIME = 40
minutes.
AE: INTRODUCTION
• Hook: Reference personal
experience, current events, an
episode from a supplemental
reading/movie/TV show that ties to
your thesis.
• Thesis: Your position should either ask
you:
• To What Extent…
• What Factors to Consider…
• Support/Refute Qualify. You ‘re
encouraged to either support or
refute the prompt because of the
time constraints. However, if you
decide to qualify, it gives you more
voice/ethos with the readers
because fewer people take this
position in their essay.
• Subtopics: Reference 3-4 Worlds as
subtopics!:
AE: BODY PARAGRAPHS
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
Reference the “Worlds” as evidence:
Politics/Current Events/Op-Eds
History
Pop Culture (movies, TV, what’s hip).
Science/Technology
Literature/Supplemental Reading*
Sports
Personal Experience
Religion/Philosophy
Music/Arts
Digital Culture (video games, blogs, social
media, Youtube memes, podcasts, etc).
* = Remember, the readers value literature!
Always make sure to give context. Don’t
assume the reader knows the context of
the evidence you are presenting.
Make sure you reference the correct text.
AE: CONCLUSION
• Your Hook should
start with an
anecdote/problem/
situation/theme that
relates to your thesis.
• Your So What? should
either complete the
anecdote/problem/
situation/theme or
connect directly
back to it to give a
sense of wholeness.
TIP #3: WRITING THE RHETORICAL
ANALYSIS ESSAY (RAE)
RAE: TIME MANAGEMENT
• 5 minutes to apply
the 6Ts.
• 5 minutes to read the
essay.
• 25 minutes to
compose your essay.
• 5 minutes to revise
your essay.
• TOTAL TIME = 4o
minutes.
RAE: INTRODUCTION
• Hook: DO NOT NEED
TO WRITE ONE!!!!
Thesis: Restate the
type of rhetorical
analysis asked for in
the prompt.
• Subtopics: Choose
three rhetorical
devices to focus on
and organize them
using the 2/3/1
format.
RAE: BODY PARAGRAPHS
• Evidence should be
linked to the
rhetorical devices
you have selected.
• Analyze the author’s
function of employing
each rhetorical move
to reach his
audience.
• Optional to cite line
number from
passage.
RAE: CONCLUSION
• If there is one type of
essay a conclusion is
not needed, this
would be it.
• If you include a
conclusion, clearly restate the rhetorical
devices you analyzed
and how they support
your analysis.
TIP #4: WRITING THE SYNTHESIS ESSAY
(SE)
SE: TIME MANAGEMENT
• 5 minutes to apply the
6ts.
• 5 minutes to read texts
and tag them
support/refute your claim.
• 5 minutes to select three
texts and develop your
position (2-3-1).
• 25 minutes to compose
your essay.
• 5 minutes to revise your
essay.
• TOTAL TIME = 55 minutes.
SE: INTRODUCTION
• Hook: If a quote or scenario is
presented, use this as your
hook to save time.
• Thesis: Clearly state whether
you support, refute, or qualify
the position presented in the
prompt.
• Subtopics: Select a minimum of
4 texts of the texts provided
and organize them using the
point/counterpoint structure.
• Remember you need to
represent the conversation
taking place within the texts
with emphasis on allies and
critics supporting/challenging
your position.
SE: BODY PARAGRAPHS
• Set-Up: Give context to
reader how source
supports your thesis.
• Evidence: Always cite
sources as Source A, B,
C, etc. OR by author’s
last name. For visual
texts, be detailed
about how the visual
supports your thesis.
• Analysis: Be specific
and direct how
evidence supports your
thesis.
SE: CONCLUSIONS
• Like the RAE essay,
optional to include a
conclusion.
• If you elect to include
a conclusion,
paraphrase the
prompt, clearly restate your position, restate your three texts
as subtopics, and
explain how the texts
support your thesis.
TIP #5: ADDING VOICE
EXPERIMENT WITH SYNTAX AND
DICTION
• One way to add voice to
your writing is to experiment
with syntax and diction.
• Syntax: Add a periodic,
cumulative, or hortative
sentence. Follow a long
sentence with a short one.
• Diction: Add tone words in
your description . Describe
something in an unusual
way by using figurative
language such as similes,
metaphors, personification,
hyperbole, etc.
WEAVING A THEME
Weaving a theme is also a
good way to add voice.
Hook/So What?: Make sure
there is a clear
connection between
your Hook and So What?
-Examples:
Hook: Rhetorical Question
So What?: Answer
Hook: Begin Story
So What?: Complete Story
Hook: Problem
So What?: Solution
TIP #6: REVISE, REVISE, REVISE
GLOBAL REVISIONS
• If you have any time
to spare, revise your
essay:
• Check spelling errors.
• Check grammatical
errors.
• Make sure you have
clear topic sentences
and transitions
between
paragraphs.
TIP #7: MISCELLANEOUS TIPS
AVOID OVERGENERALIZATIONS
• Avoid
overgeneralizations
which makes you
lose ethos:
• “Over the Years”
• “Back in the Day”
• Better to say…
• “During Twain’s era”
• “America during
the Civil War”
AUTHORITATIVE “I”
• The pronoun “I” should
be used sparingly.
• However it can be
used in the
argumentative or
synthesis essays to give
you ethos/authority as
an author.
• Use it in your Hook, So
What, or a personal
example in the
argumentative essay.
READING PERIOD
• Before you start
composing the freeresponse essays, you are
given 15 minutes to read
the prompts.
• Use that time to do the
following:
1. Read/Annotate the
Synth Sources
2. Read/Annotate
Rhetorical Analysis Text
3. Outline the Arg Essay
Prompt
WHAT ORDER SHOULD I COMPOSE THE ESSAYS?
1. Synthesis Essay
(takes the most
steps)
2. Argumentative
Essay (needs to
be outlined)
3. Rhetorical
Analysis Essay
(the most straight
forward)
TOOLS
• #2 pencils for the
Multiple Choice
Exam
• Pens with
blue/black ink for
the essays.
• Eraser for mistakes.
• A watch to pace
yourself.
DO NOT BRING THE FOLLOWING…
• Hot beverage
• Electronic
Device
(including cell
phone!!).
• Dictionary
• Calculator
• Excessive jewelry
TIP #8: GAIN AND LOSE ETHOS
GAIN ETHOS
• Hook/So What? connected
with Theme
• Experiment with Syntax and
Diction
• Thorough Analysis
• Clear Thesis that focused
throughout Essay
• Employ Citation Sandwich
• Qualifying Effectively
• Organize your body
paragraphs using the 2/3/1
structure.
• Conversing between different
texts in the body paragraphs of
your Synth essay.
LOSE ETHOS
• Weak, Vague, or Random Hook
• NO CONNECTION between Hook/So
What?
• Unfocused essay
• Spelling/Grammatical Errors
• Disorganized essay
• Misquoting or misnaming authors
• Funny, without being funny
• Having the structure of your body
paragraphs different than your intro.
• Overgeneralizations or obvious
Logical Fallacies in your argument.
• Illegible handwriting
• Write “DNF” if you don’t finish essay.
SUMMARY
• Manage your time well.
• Focused Introduction that
takes a position and states
subtopics.
• Citation Sandwich used in
each body paragraph.
• Connect introduction to
conclusion with a theme.
• Experiment with diction and
syntax to add voice.
• Revise if you have time to
spare.
PLEASE STAND FOR THINK ON YOUR FEET

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