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AP US Gov FRQ: Argument Essay Review (2020)

6 min read • june 11, 2020

Fatima Raja

Fatima Raja

Mixed AP Review

Endless stimulus-based MCQs for all units

ap gov argumentative essay thesis

In these three things—production, with the necessity of exchanging products, shipping, whereby the exchange is carried on, and colonies, which facilitate and enlarge the operations of shipping and tend to protect it by multiplying points of safety—is to be found the key to much of the history, as well as of the policy, of nations bordering upon the sea. The policy has varied both with the spirit of the age and with the character and clear-sightedness of the rulers; but the history of the seaboard nations has been less determined by the shrewdness and foresight of governments than by conditions of position, extent, configuration, number and character of their people,—by what are called, in a word, natural conditions.

ap gov argumentative essay thesis

So, you’re reading this article and wondering how to approach the APGOPO and CompGov Argument Essay. First of all, no, this is not like a dinner table argument over politics that happens in every movie at Thanksgiving. Unlike one of those discussions, you have to actually use facts to get your point across (😂), and the reader is more concerned about your line of reasoning than about their own political opinions 👀.  

Let’s break down exactly what you should expect, so you can craft a solid argument:

In total, you have an hour and 40 minutes to finish the entire Free-Response Question section if you're in APGOPO. If you're in APCompGov, you have an hour and 30 minutes It’s important to use your time effectively because the FRQ section is worth half of your score. 

Because of that, you should spend around 25 minutes, give or take a few, on the Argument Free-Response Question. (NOTE: FOR THE 2019-2020 TEST, YOU WILL HAVE 25 MINUTES TO WRITE AND 5 MINUTES TO UPLOAD YOUR RESPONSE.)

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This is the nightmare you’re not gonna have before this AP exam.

Image courtesy of Freepik.

Obviously, you want to be able to conserve time and learn how to do these FRQs as effectively and quickly as possible. Here’s the secret to doing that: practice! You have to apply the concepts you’re learning to actual questions, so you understand how to break them down when you’re under pressure.

That way, you can get these skills down to muscle-memory and not be too stressed when you get to test day!

Structure (What does the FRQ look like?)

You’re gonna get a prompt that you have to write about (duh), but here’s the thing the point is not to explain or restate the prompt. The point is to develop an argument based on it .

Don’t just write about the situation that the prompt sets up. You need to explain why we should or should not do whatever the example is. This is an argument essay, so you need to argue a position. It doesn’t have to be the “right” position. It just needs to be logical and supported with evidence.

This is what you’ll be given to do just that:

A prompt. You have to explicitly agree or disagree with it when you state your thesis!

A few foundational documents. You’re required to use at least one example that is listed, so make sure you know them. 

Note for CompGov: Sorry, you don’t get these. Just make sure you include a specific piece of evidence.

But, you also need a few other things to actually get all the points available:

An additional piece of evidence. This can be a different foundational document than the one you initially used or any specific concept from APGOPO or CompGov. 

Analysis. You have to explain why your evidence justifies your line of reasoning (aka your thesis). 

An alternate perspective. Not everyone will agree with the position you take. That’s the beauty of democracy. To show you understand that, you have to refute your point or provide some concession to another POV (NOTE: THIS IS NOT NEEDED FOR THE 2019-2020 TEST.)

Now that you know what to expect, let’s figure out how to tackle the Argument FRQ!

How to Tackle the Argument Essay

Here’s what you need to do to tackle this FRQ thoroughly:

Look at the prompt and start thinking of a thesis. You may have a personal opinion right after looking at the prompt, or you may not. Either way, as you start to look at the provided documents, start brainstorming how you want to write your essay. It’s okay if this changes when you see what evidence is provided or what evidence you come up with on your own. It’s just good to have a jumping board.

Analyze the documents! This means you need to look at each of the foundational documents (again, CompGov, you don’t get any) and figure out how they fit into the context of the prompt. Does the evidence in question agree or disagree with the situation the prompt presents? How can you use it to support or refute your argument?

Create an outline. This is a good way to figure out exactly what you’re going to say, and you know what evidence you’re using. This will help you have a clear, well-thought out essay. Your outline shouldn’t be incredibly detailed, though! You still have to transfer everything to your writing booklet before you run out of time.

State your thesis. This is critical to ensuring you get full points. If the prompt asks whether or not America should switch to being a direct democracy, don’t just give a wishy-washy list of pros and cons. Make your answer explicit : “Yes, America should transition to being a direct democracy because x and y.” or “No, America should not become a direct democracy because of p and q.” Don’t turn your essay into a treasure hunt for your argument, just state it plainly.

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POV: you’re reading this article, taking notes, and getting ready to win this FRQ game.

Image courtesy of Pixabay

Provide justification! You already know that you need two pieces of evidence , but that’s not all. You can’t just say something like “The Articles of Confederation show that we should have a strong federal government.” It should be more like, “The problematic Articles of Confederation only further exemplify why we need to have a strong federal government, as expanded federal power is necessary to prevent the dissolution of the Union by dangerous uprisings, such as the Whiskey Rebellion.” You need to explain why each piece of evidence strengthens your argument. Don’t just toss in a vague reference and call it a day.

Consider an alternate perspective. This is critical to ensuring you get full points. Showing that you understand that your argument isn’t the only way to approach a situation shows you understand that every approach has its pros and cons. So, refute your argument or explain a situation in which it may not apply. Pro tip: showing why the example you used to weaken your argument is wrong only strengthens it! (NOTE: THIS IS NOT NEEDED FOR THE 2019-2020 TEST.)

Some Final Tips!

Practice! Practice! Oh, and did I say that you need to practice? Getting familiar with the structure and time constraints you’ll be under when writing the argument essay will allow you to actually get comfortable with it. You’ll understand how to apply the strategies I just talked about and discover some of your own!

Breathe! Don’t freak out. You may be feeling the pressure, but you’ve been prepping for this all year (or all semester). You put in the work, and you’ll be fine! Keeping a cool head will help you get the best score you can.

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Practice Prompts!

Here are some prompts to get you started:

The right to free speech for all citizens is protected in America. Though the Supreme Court has limited journalistic expression in some cases and individual states have worked to restrict the right of citizens to assemble, free speech remains a defining pillar of American society.

Develop an argument about whether restrictions on free speech and assembly ultimately help or hinder democracy.

Use at least one piece of evidence from one of the following foundational documents:

Bill of Rights

Letter from Birmingham Jail

Federalist 10

Since 200, Russian President Vladimir Putin has ensured that he wins Russian presidential elections. The presidential elections are rigged for Putin to win and to demonstrate his hold on Russian society. Russian opposition parties have gained some ground in recent years, seemingly in spite of Kremlin interference.

Develop an argument about whether elections have strengthened or weakened democracy in Russia.

Watch: Argumentative Essay Writing Workshop

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Lesson Plan: AP Government: Argumentative Essay Practice

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The Federalist Papers

Boston College professor Mary Sarah Bilder gives a brief overview backgrounding the Federalist Papers

Description

This is intended as an end-of-course review activity for practice with the argumentative essay format included on the AP United States Government and Politics exam since the 2018 redesign. Eleven practice prompts are provided, reflecting content from Units 1-3.

ARGUMENTATIVE ESSAY PROMPT ANALYSIS

  • Review the provided Argumentative Essay Prompts in either an individual or jigsaw format.
  • Write a thesis statement for your selected prompt(s) and identify the selection you would make from the provided list and the second piece of evidence you would choose.
  • If there are prompts for which you struggle to develop a thesis, or items on the bulleted lists with which you are not conversant, use the hyperlinked C-SPAN Classroom resources to extend your understanding of the required founding documents and SCOTUS cases that you found challenging.

ARGUMENTATIVE ESSAY

  • Chose one or more of the provided Argumentative Essay Prompts , as assigned, and use the planning and exploration you did above to write a full essay in response to your designated prompt(s) in 25 or fewer minutes , since that's the time limit you'll face on the AP Exam!
  • Exchange essays with a classmate and evaluate each others' work.
  • 1st Amendment
  • Branches Of Government
  • Constitution
  • House Of Representatives
  • Separation Of Powers
  • Supreme Court

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Sat / act prep online guides and tips, the complete guide to ap us government frqs.

Advanced Placement (AP)

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Free-response questions, or FRQs, on the AP US Government exam are more straightforward than those on some other AP tests, but they can still be tough if you're not ready for them. In this guide, we will lay out a simple step-by-step method for answering AP Government FRQs , go through a real example, and tell you where you can find additional practice resources.

AP Government Free-Response Section Format

The free-response section lasts one hour and 40 minutes and consists of four questions , each of which is worth 12.5% of your total score. So as a whole, the free-response section accounts for half your total AP Gov score (the other 50% comes from the multiple-choice section). Each FRQ is worth 3-6 raw points.

Here are the four types of FRQs you'll get on the AP Government exam:

  • Concept Application (3 raw points)
  • Quantitative Analysis (4 raw points)
  • SCOTUS Comparison (4 raw points)
  • Argument Essay (6 raw points)

The free-response questions will ask you to integrate your knowledge of the various content areas covered by the course. This includes analyzing political events in the US, discussing examples, and demonstrating your understanding of general principles of US government and politics. You'll also be asked to examine data from charts, define key terms, and explain the roles that different parts of our government play in the political system.

The following chart shows specifically what you must do for each FRQ on the AP Government test. All info below comes from the 2020 AP US Government and Politics Course and Exam Description .

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AP Government FRQs: 5-Step Solution Process

This section provides a step-by-step process for answering any question on the AP US Government exam. Here's a sample question from the 2020 AP Gov Course and Exam Description that I'll reference throughout so you can see how these steps might work in practice:

body_ap_us_gov_free_response_sample_question

Step 1: Read the Introductory and Concluding Sentences

Free-response questions #1 and #3 will include passages, while question #2 will have an image or a chart with data. Skim the first and final sentences of the passage (or title of the graphic for #2) before you get to the tasks (labeled A-C or A-D). This will help you get a rough sense of what to expect in the rest of the question.

It's a good idea to read the intros and conclusions to all the FRQs before choosing which one to begin with. Doing this might help build up your confidence and improve your efficiency to start with a question that's easier for you.

In the sample question above, you would read the title of the graphic ("Public Education Spending: Amount Spent per Pupil by State in 2014") and then skim the image itself to get a sense of what it's asking you to analyze.

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Step 2: Identify (and Underline, If You Want) the Command Verb

For each task in each FRQ, you're given specific instructions on the type of answer that is expected; these instructions include command verbs that tell you what to do. It's important to be aware of exactly what the question is asking so you can earn full points.

These command verbs are the first words you should zero in on as you approach a question. If you think it'll help keep you focused, you can underline these verbs .

Here are the most commonly used task verbs, as described in the AP Gov Exam Description :

Compare: Provide a description or explanation of similarities and/or differences.

Define: Provide a specific meaning for a word or concept.

Describe: Provide the relevant characteristics of a specified topic.

Develop an argument: Articulate a claim and support it with evidence.

Draw a conclusion: Use available information to formulate an accurate statement that demonstrates understanding based on evidence.

Explain: Provide information about how or why a relationship, process, pattern, position, situation, or outcome occurs, using evidence and/or reasoning. Explain "how" typically requires analyzing the relationship, process, pattern, position, situation, or outcome, whereas explain "why" typically requires analysis of motivations or reasons for the relationship, process, pattern, position, situation, or outcome.

Identify: Indicate or provide information about a specified topic, without elaboration or explanation.

In part A of the sample question, the command verb is "identify," indicating that you need to correctly interpret the data in the image. In part B, the command verb changes to "describe," which means you'll need to go one step further and interpret and analyze data in the graphic that you have found.

Part C starts with "draw a conclusion," meaning that you will need to tie together the evidence you found in part B to come up with a final (accurate) statement on what this means. Finally, part D begins with the task verb "explain," showing that you must make a clear connection between the data in this graphic as a whole and the principle of federalism.

Step 3: Know Where You'll Earn Your Raw Points

In general, each part in a question (A, B, C, and D) will correspond to 1 raw point , but not all questions are like this.

After finding the task verb in the part of the question you're answering, take note of how many examples or descriptions you need to provide , as each will likely correspond to a point in your raw score for the question. There might also be more than one task verb in a question, in which case you'll likely get at least 2 raw points for it.

As a reminder, here is the maximum number of raw points you can earn for each question (don't forget that each question is still worth the same percentage of your score: 12.5%):

Take care to answer the question thoroughly but directly , addressing all points in a way that will make it easy for graders to assess your response. Remember that you don't need to write an essay for the first three FRQs, so just go straight for the answer to avoid any ambiguity.

In the sample question, we know there will be 4 raw points you can earn. And since the tasks are divided into four parts (labeled A-D), we can assume that each part will be worth 1 raw point .

You can see more sample FRQs and how they're graded with the official scoring guidelines here .

Step 4: Reread Your Answer

Once you've come up with an answer, reread what you wrote to ensure it makes sense and addresses the question completely . Did you give the correct number of descriptions or examples asked of you? Does your answer directly respond to what the question is asking?

If you're satisfied, move on to the next part of the question and return to step 2!

Step 5: Pace Yourself

The final step is to keep track of time so you can be sure you're pacing yourself effectively and are not spending too much time on any one question. As a reminder, you'll have one hour and 40 minutes for the entire free-response section of the AP Government exam.

It's suggested that you spend the following amounts of time on each FRQ:

As you can see, you should spend about an equal amount of time on the first three FRQs and save most of your time for your essay , which will likely require the most effort of the four.

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A Real AP Government FRQ Example + Analysis

Now, let's go through the answers to a real AP Government free-response question from the 2019 released questions to show you what your responses should look like. This question is an example of a Concept Application question on the exam, meaning it's worth 3 raw points (1 point each for parts A, B, and C).

body_ap_gov_frq_sample_question

This question is all about the Johnson Amendment, which does not allow religious organizations to engage in political activities and contribute money to political campaigns. As this passage explains, the Alliance Defending Freedom, a religious group, encourages pastors to challenge this law by participating in an annual event called Pulpit Freedom Sunday.

Below, we go through how to answer each of the three parts correctly using the scoring guidelines .

Part A—1 Point

Part A asks you to come up with an example of a specific action Congress could take to address the concerns of the Alliance Defending Freedom. In other words, what could Congress do to allow groups such as the Alliance Defending Freedom to speak freely about political campaigns?

Note that the command verb used here is "describe," meaning you must "provide the relevant characteristics of a specified topic," or elaborate on what you're proposing and why it would work.

There are two possible answers you could put down here, according to the scoring guidelines:

  • Congress could pass a law that would reverse the Johnson Amendment.
  • Congress could pass a law to allow religious organizations to participate more directly in politics.

Part B—1 Point

Part B asks you to go into more detail about what you proposed in part A . You must talk about how partisan divisions (i.e., differences in political parties among politicians) could stop whatever you proposed in part A from going into effect (whether that's a new law altogether or a reversal of the original Johnson Amendment).

The task verb used here is "explain," so you must use evidence to show how the action you wrote down in part A could be blocked or reversed.

Here are two possible answers , according to the scoring guidelines:

  • Partisan divisions make it more difficult to pass a law because parties adhere to different ideological points of view.
  • If Congress and the president are from different political parties, the president might threaten to veto the legislation.

Part C—1 Point

The final part of this free-response question asks you to examine the scenario again, this time from the perspective of the Alliance Defending Freedom , or the religious group in question.

How might the Alliance argue that the Johnson Amendment, which prevents them from speaking on political issues and contributing money to political campaigns, is taking away their rights?

The key here is to first think about what rights these could be . Perhaps freedom of speech or freedom of religion? As you probably noticed, the task verb is "explain," so once again you must use plenty of evidence to show why this contentious relationship exists between the Alliance and the Johnson Amendment/the US government as a whole.

Here are examples of answers you could write, according to the official scoring guidelines:

  • The Alliance Defending Freedom and other religious groups might argue that their First Amendment rights are being violated.
  • The Alliance Defending Freedom and other religious groups might argue that their freedom of speech/religion is being violated.

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Essential Resources for Practicing AP US Government FRQs

There are several resources you can use to hone your skills for answering AP Government FRQs.

Official College Board Resources

The College Board website hosts free-response questions from previous tests that you can use for practice. I recommend starting with the 2019 FRQs (unfortunately, they don't come with sample student responses), as these will look the most like the questions you'll get on test day.

Once you've used those, you can look at FRQs from the 2018 test and earlier; most of these come with sample student responses so you can see what a good response looks like.

If you're hoping to practice FRQs in the context of a full-length test, here are some links to past AP Government exams you can download (as always, prioritize the most recent tests):

  • 2018 Practice Test
  • 2013 Practice Test
  • 2012 Practice Test
  • 2009 Practice Test
  • 2005 Practice Test
  • 1999 Practice Test

These are by far the best sample AP US Government free-response questions you can get because they most accurately represent what you'll see on the real test.

AP Government Review Books

AP Government review books are also solid resources for free-response practice, though they vary a lot in quality.

The Princeton Review's prep book for AP Gov includes five full-length practice tests , so there should be tons of free-response questions you can use to hone your skills. Barron's AP US Gov review book also has some useful practice tests and free-response questions.

If you use these unofficial free-response questions for practice, just be sure to intersperse them with official questions from the College Board so that you maintain an accurate sense of what to expect on the real test.

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Recap: Everything to Know About AP US Government FRQs

The four free-response questions on the AP US Government and Politics exam can be approached methodically to earn the maximum number of points.

Read the intro and conclusion to the question first so you can get your bearings. Then, for each of the separate parts, identify the task verb, figure out where you'll earn your raw points, and double-check your answer for any missing pieces or careless errors.

You should also pace yourself so that you're spending no more than 20 minutes each on the first three questions and 40 minutes on the essay.

I suggest practicing at least a few free-response questions before heading into the AP exam. The best resource to use is the College Board website, which contains an archive of past questions accompanied by scoring guidelines and sample student responses. These questions are pretty simple compared to the free-response questions on other AP tests once you get the hang of them!

What's Next?

Not sure where to begin in your AP prep? Our five-step plan will prepare you to take on any AP test .

If you're missing some of your notes that you need to study for AP Gov, check out this article with links to all the content you need to know for the test . You can also learn about the test as a whole with our comprehensive AP Government and Politics review guide .

Do you have a target score in mind for this exam? Learn more about what it takes to earn a 5 on an AP test and whether you should aim for one yourself.

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How to Write the AP Lang Argument Essay + Examples

What’s covered:, what is the ap language argument essay, tips for writing the ap language argument essay, ap english language argument essay examples, how will ap scores impact my college chances.

In 2023, over 550,148 students across the U.S. took the AP English Language and Composition Exam, and 65.2% scored higher than a 3. The AP English Language Exam tests your ability to analyze a piece of writing, synthesize information, write a rhetorical essay, and create a cohesive argument. In this post, we’ll be discussing the best way to approach the argumentative essay section of the test, and we’ll give you tips and tricks so you can write a great essay.

The AP English Language Exam as of 2023 is structured as follows:

Section 1: 45 multiple choice questions to be completed in an hour. This portion counts for 45% of your score. This section requires students to analyze a piece of literature. The questions ask about its content and/or what could be edited within the passage.

Section 2: Three free response questions to be completed in the remaining two hours and 15 minutes. This section counts for 55% of your score. These essay questions include the synthesis essay, the rhetorical essay, and the argumentative essay.

  • Synthesis essay: Read 6-7 sources and create an argument using at least three of the sources.
  • Rhetorical analysis essay: Describe how a piece of writing evokes meaning and symbolism.
  • Argumentative essay: Pick a side of a debate and create an argument based on evidence. In this essay, you should develop a logical argument in support of or against the given statement and provide ample evidence that supports your conclusion. Typically, a five paragraph format is great for this type of writing. This essay is scored holistically from 1 to 9 points.

Do you want more information on the structure of the full exam? Take a look at our in-depth overview of the AP Language and Composition Exam .

Although the AP Language Argument may seem daunting at first, once you understand how the essay should be structured, it will be a lot easier to create cohesive arguments.

Below are some tips to help you as you write the essay.

1. Organize your essay before writing

Instead of jumping right into your essay, plan out what you will say beforehand. It’s easiest to make a list of your arguments and write out what facts or evidence you will use to support each argument. In your outline, you can determine the best order for your arguments, especially if they build on each other or are chronological. Having a well-organized essay is crucial for success.

2. Pick one side of the argument, but acknowledge the other side

When you write the essay, it’s best if you pick one side of the debate and stick with it for the entire essay. All your evidence should be in support of that one side. However, in your introductory paragraph, as you introduce the debate, be sure to mention any merit the arguments of the other side has. This can make the essay a bit more nuanced and show that you did consider both sides before determining which one was better. Often, acknowledging another viewpoint then refuting it can make your essay stronger.

3. Provide evidence to support your claims

The AP readers will be looking for examples and evidence to support your argument. This doesn’t mean that you need to memorize a bunch of random facts before the exam. This just means that you should be able to provide concrete examples in support of your argument.

For example, if the essay topic is about whether the role of the media in society has been detrimental or not, and you argue that it has been, you may talk about the phenomenon of “fake news” during the 2016 presidential election.

AP readers are not looking for perfect examples, but they are looking to see if you can provide enough evidence to back your claim and make it easily understood.

4. Create a strong thesis statement

The thesis statement will set up your entire essay, so it’s important that it is focused and specific, and that it allows for the reader to understand your body paragraphs. Make sure your thesis statement is the very last sentence of your introductory paragraph. In this sentence, list out the key points you will be making in the essay in the same order that you will be writing them. Each new point you mention in your thesis should start a paragraph in your essay.

Below is a prompt and sample student essay from the May 2019 exam . We’ll look at what the student did well in their writing and where they could improve.

Prompt: “The term “overrated” is often used to diminish concepts, places, roles, etc. that the speaker believes do not deserve the prestige they commonly enjoy; for example, many writers have argued that success is overrated, a character in a novel by Anthony Burgess famously describes Rome as a “vastly overrated city,” and Queen Rania of Jordan herself has asserted that “[b]eing queen is overrated.”

Select a concept, place, role, etc. to which you believe that the term “overrated” should be applied. Then, write a well-developed essay in which you explain your judgment. Use appropriate evidence from your reading, experience, or observations to support your argument.

Sample Student Essay #1:

[1] Competition is “overrated.” The notion of motivation between peers has evolved into a source of unnecessary stress and even lack of morals. Whether it be in an academic environment or in the industry, this new idea of competition is harmful to those competing and those around them.

[2] Back in elementary school, competition was rather friendly. It could have been who could do the most pushups or who could get the most imaginary points in a classroom for a prize. If you couldn’t do the most pushups or win that smelly sticker, you would go home and improve yourself – there would be no strong feelings towards anyone, you would just focus on making yourself a better version of yourself. Then as high school rolled around, suddenly applying for college doesn’t seem so far away –GPA seems to be that one stat that defines you – extracurriculars seem to shape you – test scores seem to categorize you. Sleepless nights, studying for the next day’s exam, seem to become more and more frequent. Floating duck syndrome seems to surround you (FDS is where a competitive student pretends to not work hard but is furiously studying beneath the surface just like how a duck furiously kicks to stay afloat). All of your competitors appear to hope you fail – but in the end what do you and your competitor’s gain? Getting one extra point on the test? Does that self-satisfaction compensate for the tremendous amounts of acquired stress? This new type of “competition” is overrated – it serves nothing except a never-ending source of anxiety and seeks to weaken friendships and solidarity as a whole in the school setting.

[3] A similar idea of “competition” can be applied to business. On the most fundamental level, competition serves to be a beneficial regulator of prices and business models for both the business themselves and consumers. However, as businesses grew increasingly greedy and desperate, companies resorted to immoral tactics that only hurt their reputations and consumers as a whole. Whether it be McDonald’s coupons that force you to buy more food or tech companies like Apple intentionally slowing down your iPhone after 3 years to force you to upgrade to the newest device, consumers suffer and in turn speak down upon these companies. Similar to the evolved form of competition in school, this overrated form causes pain for all parties and has since diverged from the encouraging nature that the principle of competition was “founded” on.

The AP score for this essay was a 4/6, meaning that it captured the main purpose of the essay but there were still substantial parts missing. In this essay, the writer did a good job organizing the sections and making sure that their writing was in order according to the thesis statement. The essay first discusses how competition is harmful in elementary school and then discusses this topic in the context of business. This follows the chronological order of somebody’s life and flows nicely.

The arguments in this essay are problematic, as they do not provide enough examples of how exactly competition is overrated. The essay discusses the context in which competition is overrated but does not go far enough in explaining how this connects to the prompt.

In the first example, school stress is used to explain how competition manifests. This is a good starting point, but it does not talk about why competition is overrated; it simply mentions that competition can be unhealthy. The last sentence of that paragraph is the main point of the argument and should be expanded to discuss how the anxiety of school is overrated later on in life. 

In the second example, the writer discusses how competition can lead to harmful business practices, but again, this doesn’t reflect the reason this would be overrated. Is competition really overrated because Apple and McDonald’s force you to buy new products? This example could’ve been taken one step farther. Instead of explaining why business structures—such as monopolies—harm competition, the author should discuss how those particular structures are overrated.

Additionally, the examples the writer used lack detail. A stronger essay would’ve provided more in-depth examples. This essay seemed to mention examples only in passing without using them to defend the argument.

It should also be noted that the structure of the essay is incomplete. The introduction only has a thesis statement and no additional context. Also, there is no conclusion paragraph that sums up the essay. These missing components result in a 4/6.

Now let’s go through the prompt for a sample essay from the May 2022 exam . The prompt is as follows:

Colin Powell, a four-star general and former United States Secretary of State, wrote in his 1995 autobiography: “[W]e do not have the luxury of collecting information indefinitely. At some point, before we can have every possible fact in hand, we have to decide. The key is not to make quick decisions, but to make timely decisions.”

Write an essay that argues your position on the extent to which Powell’s claim about making decisions is valid. 

In your response you should do the following:

  • Respond to the prompt with a thesis that presents a defensible position. 
  • Provide evidence to support your line of reasoning. 
  • Explain how the evidence supports your line of reasoning. 
  • Use appropriate grammar and punctuation in communicating your argument.

Sample Student Essay #2:

Colin Powell, who was a four star general and a former United States Secretary of State. He wrote an autobiography and had made a claim about making decisions. In my personal opinion, Powell’s claim is true to full extent and shows an extremely valuable piece of advice that we do not consider when we make decisions.

Powell stated, “before we can have every possible fact in hand we have to decide…. but to make it a timely decision” (1995). With this statement Powell is telling the audience of his autobiography that it does not necessarily matter how many facts you have, and how many things you know. Being able to have access to everything possible takes a great amount of time and we don’t always have all of the time in the world. A decision has to be made with what you know, waiting for something else to come in while trying to make a decision whether that other fact is good or bad you already have a good amount of things that you know. Everyone’s time is valuable, including yours. At the end of the day the decision will have to be made and that is why it should be made in a “timely” manner.

This response was graded for a score of 2/6. Let’s break down the score to smaller points that signify where the student fell short.

The thesis in this essay is clearly outlined at the end of the first paragraph. The student states their agreement with Powell’s claim and frames the rest of their essay around this stance. The success in scoring here lies in the clear communication of the thesis and the direction the argument will take. It’s important to make the thesis statement concise, specific, and arguable, which the student has successfully done.

While the student did attempt to provide evidence to support their thesis, it’s clear that their explanation lacks specific detail and substance. They referenced Powell’s statement, but did not delve into how this statement has proven true in specific instances, and did not provide examples that could bring the argument to life.

Commentary is an essential part of this section’s score. It means explaining the significance of the evidence and connecting it back to the thesis. Unfortunately, the student’s commentary here is too vague and does not effectively elaborate on how the evidence supports their argument.

To improve, the student could use more concrete examples to demonstrate their point and discuss how each piece of evidence supports their thesis. For instance, they could discuss specific moments in Powell’s career where making a timely decision was more valuable than waiting for all possible facts. This would help illustrate the argument in a more engaging, understandable way.

A high score in the “sophistication” category of the grading rubric is given for demonstrating a complex understanding of the rhetorical situation (purpose, audience, context, etc.), making effective rhetorical choices, or establishing a line of reasoning. Here, the student’s response lacks complexity and sophistication. They’ve simply agreed with Powell’s claim and made a few general statements without providing a deeper analysis or effectively considering the rhetorical situation.

To increase sophistication, the student could explore possible counterarguments or complexities within Powell’s claim. They could discuss potential drawbacks of making decisions without all possible facts, or examine situations where timely decisions might not yield the best results. By acknowledging and refuting these potential counterarguments, they could add more depth to their analysis and showcase their understanding of the complexities involved in decision-making.

The student could also analyze why Powell, given his background and experiences, might have come to such a conclusion, thus providing more context and showing an understanding of the rhetorical situation.

Remember, sophistication in argumentation isn’t about using fancy words or complicated sentences. It’s about showing that you understand the complexity of the issue at hand and that you’re able to make thoughtful, nuanced arguments. Sophistication shows that you can think critically about the topic and make connections that aren’t immediately obvious.

Now that you’ve looked at an example essay and some tips for the argumentative essay, you know how to better prepare for the AP English Language and Composition Exam.

While your AP scores don’t usually impact your admissions chances , colleges do care a lot about your course rigor. So, taking as many APs as you can will certainly boost your chances! AP scores can be a way for high-performing students to set themselves apart, particularly when applying to prestigious universities. Through the process of self-reporting scores , you can show your hard work and intelligence to admissions counselors.

That said, the main benefit of scoring high on AP exams comes once you land at your dream school, as high scores can allow you to “test out” of entry-level requirements, often called GE requirements or distribution requirements. This will save you time and money.

To understand how your course rigor stacks up, check out CollegeVine’s free chancing engine . This resource takes your course rigor, test scores, extracurriculars, and more, to determine your chances of getting into over 1600 colleges across the country!

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Should college essays touch on race? Some feel the affirmative action ruling leaves them no choice

Hillary Amofa listens to others member of the Lincoln Park High School step team after school Friday, March 8, 2024, in Chicago. When she started writing her college essay, Amofa told the story she thought admissions offices wanted to hear. She wrote about being the daughter of immigrants from Ghana, about growing up in a small apartment in Chicago. She described hardship and struggle. Then she deleted it all. "I would just find myself kind of trauma-dumping," said the 18 year-old senior, "And I'm just like, this doesn't really say anything about me as a person." (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

Hillary Amofa listens to others member of the Lincoln Park High School step team after school Friday, March 8, 2024, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

ap gov argumentative essay thesis

When the Supreme Court ended affirmative action, it left the college essay as one of few places where race can play a role in admissions decisions. (AP Video: Noreen Nasir)

Hillary Amofa listens to others member of the Lincoln Park High School step team after school Friday, March 8, 2024, in Chicago. When she started writing her college essay, Amofa told the story she thought admissions offices wanted to hear. She wrote about being the daughter of immigrants from Ghana, about growing up in a small apartment in Chicago. She described hardship and struggle. Then she deleted it all. "I would just find myself kind of trauma-dumping," said the 18 year-old senior, "And I'm just like, this doesn't really say anything about me as a person." (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

Hillary Amofa listens to others member of the Lincoln Park High School step team after school Friday, March 8, 2024, in Chicago. When she started writing her college essay, Amofa told the story she thought admissions offices wanted to hear. She wrote about being the daughter of immigrants from Ghana, about growing up in a small apartment in Chicago. She described hardship and struggle. Then she deleted it all. “I would just find myself kind of trauma-dumping,” said the 18 year-old senior, “And I’m just like, this doesn’t really say anything about me as a person.” (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

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Hillary Amofa, laughs as she participates in a team building game with members of the Lincoln Park High School step team after school Friday, March 8, 2024, in Chicago. When she started writing her college essay, Amofa told the story she thought admissions offices wanted to hear. She wrote about being the daughter of immigrants from Ghana, about growing up in a small apartment in Chicago. She described hardship and struggle. Then she deleted it all. “I would just find myself kind of trauma-dumping,” said the 18 year-old senior, “And I’m just like, this doesn’t really say anything about me as a person.” (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

Hillary Amofa stands for a portrait after practice with members of the Lincoln Park High School step team Friday, March 8, 2024, in Chicago. When she started writing her college essay, Amofa told the story she thought admissions offices wanted to hear. She wrote about being the daughter of immigrants from Ghana, about growing up in a small apartment in Chicago. She described hardship and struggle. Then she deleted it all. “I would just find myself kind of trauma-dumping,” said the 18 year-old senior, “And I’m just like, this doesn’t really say anything about me as a person.” (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

Max Decker, a senior at Lincoln High School, sits for a portrait in the school library where he often worked on writing his college essays, in Portland, Ore., Wednesday, March 20, 2024. (AP Photo/Amanda Loman)

Hillary Amofa stands for a portrait after practice with members of the Lincoln Park High School step team Friday, March 8, 2024, in Chicago. When she started writing her college essay, Amofa told the story she thought admissions offices wanted to hear. She wrote about being the daughter of immigrants from Ghana, about growing up in a small apartment in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

Hillary Amofa, second from left, practices with members of the Lincoln Park High School step team after school Friday, March 8, 2024, in Chicago. When she started writing her college essay, Amofa told the story she thought admissions offices wanted to hear. She wrote about being the daughter of immigrants from Ghana, about growing up in a small apartment in Chicago. She described hardship and struggle. Then she deleted it all. “I would just find myself kind of trauma-dumping,” said the 18 year-old senior, “And I’m just like, this doesn’t really say anything about me as a person.” (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

Max Decker, a senior at Lincoln High School, stands for a portrait outside of the school in Portland, Ore., Wednesday, March 20, 2024. (AP Photo/Amanda Loman)

*Hillary Amofa, reflected right, practices in a mirror with members of the Lincoln Park High School step team after school Friday, March 8, 2024, in Chicago. When she started writing her college essay, Amofa told the story she thought admissions offices wanted to hear. She wrote about being the daughter of immigrants from Ghana, about growing up in a small apartment in Chicago. She described hardship and struggle. Then she deleted it all. “I would just find myself kind of trauma-dumping,” said the 18 year-old senior, “And I’m just like, this doesn’t really say anything about me as a person.” (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

Max Decker, a senior at Lincoln High School, sits for a portrait outside of the school in Portland, Ore., Wednesday, March 20, 2024. (AP Photo/Amanda Loman)

Hillary Amofa, left, practices with members of the Lincoln Park High School step team after school Friday, March 8, 2024, in Chicago. When she started writing her college essay, Amofa told the story she thought admissions offices wanted to hear. She wrote about being the daughter of immigrants from Ghana, about growing up in a small apartment in Chicago. She described hardship and struggle. Then she deleted it all. “I would just find myself kind of trauma-dumping,” said the 18 year-old senior, “And I’m just like, this doesn’t really say anything about me as a person.” (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

Hillary Amofa sits for a portrait after her step team practice at Lincoln Park High School Friday, March 8, 2024, in Chicago. When she started writing her college essay, Amofa told the story she thought admissions offices wanted to hear. She wrote about being the daughter of immigrants from Ghana, about growing up in a small apartment in Chicago. She described hardship and struggle. Then she deleted it all. “I would just find myself kind of trauma-dumping,” said the 18 year-old senior, “And I’m just like, this doesn’t really say anything about me as a person.” (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

FILE - Demonstrators protest outside of the Supreme Court in Washington, in this June 29, 2023 file photo, after the Supreme Court struck down affirmative action in college admissions, saying race cannot be a factor. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

CHICAGO (AP) — When she started writing her college essay, Hillary Amofa told the story she thought admissions offices wanted to hear. About being the daughter of immigrants from Ghana and growing up in a small apartment in Chicago. About hardship and struggle.

Then she deleted it all.

“I would just find myself kind of trauma-dumping,” said the 18-year-old senior at Lincoln Park High School in Chicago. “And I’m just like, this doesn’t really say anything about me as a person.”

When the Supreme Court ended affirmative action in higher education, it left the college essay as one of few places where race can play a role in admissions decisions. For many students of color, instantly more was riding on the already high-stakes writing assignment. Some say they felt pressure to exploit their hardships as they competed for a spot on campus.

Amofa was just starting to think about her essay when the court issued its decision, and it left her with a wave of questions. Could she still write about her race? Could she be penalized for it? She wanted to tell colleges about her heritage but she didn’t want to be defined by it.

In English class, Amofa and her classmates read sample essays that all seemed to focus on some trauma or hardship. It left her with the impression she had to write about her life’s hardest moments to show how far she’d come. But she and some of her classmates wondered if their lives had been hard enough to catch the attention of admissions offices.

“For a lot of students, there’s a feeling of, like, having to go through something so horrible to feel worthy of going to school, which is kind of sad,” said Amofa, the daughter of a hospital technician and an Uber driver.

This year’s senior class is the first in decades to navigate college admissions without affirmative action . The Supreme Court upheld the practice in decisions going back to the 1970s, but this court’s conservative supermajority found it is unconstitutional for colleges to give students extra weight because of their race alone.

Still, the decision left room for race to play an indirect role: Chief Justice John Roberts wrote universities can still consider how an applicant’s life was shaped by their race, “so long as that discussion is concretely tied to a quality of character or unique ability.”

“A benefit to a student who overcame racial discrimination, for example, must be tied to that student’s courage and determination,” he wrote.

Scores of colleges responded with new essay prompts asking about students’ backgrounds. Brown University asked applicants how “an aspect of your growing up has inspired or challenged you.” Rice University asked students how their perspectives were shaped by their “background, experiences, upbringing, and/or racial identity.”

*Hillary Amofa, reflected right, practices in a mirror with members of the Lincoln Park High School step team after school Friday, March 8, 2024, in Chicago. When she started writing her college essay, Amofa told the story she thought admissions offices wanted to hear. She wrote about being the daughter of immigrants from Ghana, about growing up in a small apartment in Chicago. She described hardship and struggle. Then she deleted it all. "I would just find myself kind of trauma-dumping," said the 18 year-old senior, "And I'm just like, this doesn't really say anything about me as a person." (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

Hillary Amofa, reflected right, practices in a mirror with members of the Lincoln Park High School step team after school, March 8, 2024, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

WONDERING IF SCHOOLS ‘EXPECT A SOB STORY’

When Darrian Merritt started writing his essay, he knew the stakes were higher than ever because of the court’s decision. His first instinct was to write about events that led to him going to live with his grandmother as a child.

Those were painful memories, but he thought they might play well at schools like Yale, Stanford and Vanderbilt.

“I feel like the admissions committee might expect a sob story or a tragic story,” said Merritt, a senior in Cleveland. “And if you don’t provide that, then maybe they’re not going to feel like you went through enough to deserve having a spot at the university. I wrestled with that a lot.”

He wrote drafts focusing on his childhood, but it never amounted to more than a collection of memories. Eventually he abandoned the idea and aimed for an essay that would stand out for its positivity.

Merritt wrote about a summer camp where he started to feel more comfortable in his own skin. He described embracing his personality and defying his tendency to please others. The essay had humor — it centered on a water gun fight where he had victory in sight but, in a comedic twist, slipped and fell. But the essay also reflects on his feelings of not being “Black enough” and getting made fun of for listening to “white people music.”

“I was like, ‘OK, I’m going to write this for me, and we’re just going to see how it goes,’” he said. “It just felt real, and it felt like an honest story.”

The essay describes a breakthrough as he learned “to take ownership of myself and my future by sharing my true personality with the people I encounter. ... I realized that the first chapter of my own story had just been written.”

Max Decker, a senior at Lincoln High School, sits for a portrait in the school library where he often worked on writing his college essays, in Portland, Ore., Wednesday, March 20, 2024. (AP Photo/Amanda Loman)

Max Decker, a senior at Lincoln High School, sits for a portrait in the school library where he often worked on writing his college essays, in Portland, Ore., March 20, 2024. (AP Photo/Amanda Loman)

A RULING PROMPTS PIVOTS ON ESSAY TOPICS

Like many students, Max Decker of Portland, Oregon, had drafted a college essay on one topic, only to change direction after the Supreme Court ruling in June.

Decker initially wrote about his love for video games. In a childhood surrounded by constant change, navigating his parents’ divorce, the games he took from place to place on his Nintendo DS were a source of comfort.

But the essay he submitted to colleges focused on the community he found through Word is Bond, a leadership group for young Black men in Portland.

As the only biracial, Jewish kid with divorced parents in a predominantly white, Christian community, Decker wrote he constantly felt like the odd one out. On a trip with Word is Bond to Capitol Hill, he and friends who looked just like him shook hands with lawmakers. The experience, he wrote, changed how he saw himself.

“It’s because I’m different that I provide something precious to the world, not the other way around,” he wrote.

As a first-generation college student, Decker thought about the subtle ways his peers seemed to know more about navigating the admissions process . They made sure to get into advanced classes at the start of high school, and they knew how to secure glowing letters of recommendation.

Max Decker reads his college essay on his experience with a leadership group for young Black men. (AP Video/Noreen Nasir)

If writing about race would give him a slight edge and show admissions officers a fuller picture of his achievements, he wanted to take that small advantage.

His first memory about race, Decker said, was when he went to get a haircut in elementary school and the barber made rude comments about his curly hair. Until recently, the insecurity that moment created led him to keep his hair buzzed short.

Through Word is Bond, Decker said he found a space to explore his identity as a Black man. It was one of the first times he was surrounded by Black peers and saw Black role models. It filled him with a sense of pride in his identity. No more buzzcut.

The pressure to write about race involved a tradeoff with other important things in his life, Decker said. That included his passion for journalism, like the piece he wrote on efforts to revive a once-thriving Black neighborhood in Portland. In the end, he squeezed in 100 characters about his journalism under the application’s activities section.

“My final essay, it felt true to myself. But the difference between that and my other essay was the fact that it wasn’t the truth that I necessarily wanted to share,” said Decker, whose top college choice is Tulane, in New Orleans, because of the region’s diversity. “It felt like I just had to limit the truth I was sharing to what I feel like the world is expecting of me.”

FILE - Demonstrators protest outside of the Supreme Court in Washington, in this June 29, 2023 file photo, after the Supreme Court struck down affirmative action in college admissions, saying race cannot be a factor. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

Demonstrators protest outside of the Supreme Court in Washington, in this June 29, 2023 file photo, after the Supreme Court struck down affirmative action in college admissions, saying race cannot be a factor. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

SPELLING OUT THE IMPACT OF RACE

Before the Supreme Court ruling, it seemed a given to Imani Laird that colleges would consider the ways that race had touched her life. But now, she felt like she had to spell it out.

As she started her essay, she reflected on how she had faced bias or felt overlooked as a Black student in predominantly white spaces.

There was the year in math class when the teacher kept calling her by the name of another Black student. There were the comments that she’d have an easier time getting into college because she was Black .

“I didn’t have it easier because of my race,” said Laird, a senior at Newton South High School in the Boston suburbs who was accepted at Wellesley and Howard University, and is waiting to hear from several Ivy League colleges. “I had stuff I had to overcome.”

In her final essays, she wrote about her grandfather, who served in the military but was denied access to GI Bill benefits because of his race.

She described how discrimination fueled her ambition to excel and pursue a career in public policy.

“So, I never settled for mediocrity,” she wrote. “Regardless of the subject, my goal in class was not just to participate but to excel. Beyond academics, I wanted to excel while remembering what started this motivation in the first place.”

Hillary Amofa stands for a portrait after practice with members of the Lincoln Park High School step team Friday, March 8, 2024, in Chicago. When she started writing her college essay, Amofa told the story she thought admissions offices wanted to hear. She wrote about being the daughter of immigrants from Ghana, about growing up in a small apartment in Chicago. She described hardship and struggle. Then she deleted it all. "I would just find myself kind of trauma-dumping," said the 18 year-old senior, "And I'm just like, this doesn't really say anything about me as a person." (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

Hillary Amofa stands for a portrait after practice with members of the Lincoln Park High School step team, March 8, 2024, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

WILL SCHOOLS LOSE RACIAL DIVERSITY?

Amofa used to think affirmative action was only a factor at schools like Harvard and Yale. After the court’s ruling, she was surprised to find that race was taken into account even at some public universities she was applying to.

Now, without affirmative action, she wondered if mostly white schools will become even whiter.

It’s been on her mind as she chooses between Indiana University and the University of Dayton, both of which have relatively few Black students. When she was one of the only Black students in her grade school, she could fall back on her family and Ghanaian friends at church. At college, she worries about loneliness.

“That’s what I’m nervous about,” she said. “Going and just feeling so isolated, even though I’m constantly around people.”

Hillary Amofa reads her college essay on embracing her natural hair. (AP Video/Noreen Nasir)

The first drafts of her essay focused on growing up in a low-income family, sharing a bedroom with her brother and grandmother. But it didn’t tell colleges about who she is now, she said.

Her final essay tells how she came to embrace her natural hair . She wrote about going to a mostly white grade school where classmates made jokes about her afro. When her grandmother sent her back with braids or cornrows, they made fun of those too.

Over time, she ignored their insults and found beauty in the styles worn by women in her life. She now runs a business doing braids and other hairstyles in her neighborhood.

“I stopped seeing myself through the lens of the European traditional beauty standards and started seeing myself through the lens that I created,” Amofa wrote.

“Criticism will persist, but it loses its power when you know there’s a crown on your head!”

Ma reported from Portland, Oregon.

The Associated Press’ education coverage receives financial support from multiple private foundations. AP is solely responsible for all content. Find AP’s standards for working with philanthropies, a list of supporters and funded coverage areas at AP.org .

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  3. Writing the Argument Essay Walkthrough AP Gov 2020

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    The newly redesigned AP US Government and Politics exam includes an Argument Essay that is graded based on a six point rubric. In order to gain full credit, the argumentative essay must include a thesis (or claim), two relevant and specific pieces of evidence, an explanation of how the evidence connects with the claim, and acknowledge a counter-argument by refutation, concession, or rebuttal.

  12. PDF AP United States Government and Politics

    The description of Federalist 10 is inaccurate, and the description of the Bill of Rights and the First Amendment is not relevant to the prompt and does not support the thesis. Question 4 (continued) C. The response did not earn any evidence points and, therefore, could not earn the reasoning point. D.

  13. PDF AP Goverment Argument Essay Rubric (2020)

    EVIDENCE & SUPPORT FOR ARGUMENT (Up to 3 Points) NOTE: These points are progressive, with each point building upon the previous point. If the essay lacks a thesis or claim, it is impossible for the student to earn the second or third evidence point. 1-2 Points: Provides ONE or TWO pieces of evidence relevant to the topic of the prompt (one ...

  14. AP United States Government and Politics Unit 9

    Student Teacher AP U. Government & Politics 23 January 2022. Unit 9 Argumentative Essay The ruling of Brown v. Board of Education case on May 17, 1954, was a monumental moment in history.

  15. How To Write a Thesis Statement AP Gov

    The most important thing on the AP Gov Argument Essay is the thesis statement. Find out how to write a perfect thesis statement every time.Check out the AP G...

  16. PDF AP GOVERNMENT ARGUMENT ESSAY RUBRIC

    Articulates a defensible claim or thesis that responds to the prompt and establishes a line of reasoning. To earn this point, the thesis must make a claim that responds to the prompt, rather than merely restating or rephrasing the prompt. The thesis may be located anywhere in the response and this point can be earned even if the claim is not ...

  17. The Complete Guide to AP US Government FRQs

    Here are the four types of FRQs you'll get on the AP Government exam: Concept Application (3 raw points) Quantitative Analysis (4 raw points) SCOTUS Comparison (4 raw points) Argument Essay (6 raw points) The free-response questions will ask you to integrate your knowledge of the various content areas covered by the course.

  18. How to Write the AP Lang Argument Essay + Examples

    2. Pick one side of the argument, but acknowledge the other side. When you write the essay, it's best if you pick one side of the debate and stick with it for the entire essay. All your evidence should be in support of that one side. However, in your introductory paragraph, as you introduce the debate, be sure to mention any merit the ...

  19. AP United States Government and Politics Exam

    Argument Essay: Develop an argument in the form of an essay, using evidence from required foundational documents and course concepts Exam Questions and Scoring Information Note : Some questions and scoring guidelines from the 2023 and earlier AP U.S. Government and Politics Exams may not perfectly align with the course and exam updates that ...

  20. ap gov argumentative essay info Flashcards

    Federalist 10. The Federalist Papers Summary and Analysis of Essay 10. Madison begins perhaps the most famous of the Federalist papers by stating that one of the strongest arguments in favor of the Constitution is the fact that it establishes a government capable of controlling the violence and damage caused by factions. Constitution.

  21. 19 AP Government Argumentative Essays Flashcards

    19 AP Government Argumentative Essays. Develop an argument that takes a position on whether the process to amend the US Constitution should be simplified. The process to amend the US Constitution should stay as it is, as the framers deliberately made the process difficult to prevent changes made by the whims of the people.

  22. AP U.S. Government and Politics Past Exam Questions

    Note: Some questions and scoring guidelines from the 2023 and earlier AP U.S. Government and Politics Exams may not perfectly align with the course and exam updates that take effect in the 2023-24 school year. These questions remain available because teachers say that imperfectly aligned questions still provide instructional value.

  23. College application: Should race be in essay after affirmative action

    Scores of colleges responded with new essay prompts asking about students' backgrounds. Brown University asked applicants how "an aspect of your growing up has inspired or challenged you.". Rice University asked students how their perspectives were shaped by their "background, experiences, upbringing, and/or racial identity.". Hillary ...

  24. PDF AP United States Government and Politics 7 points Scoring Rubric for

    Responds to the prompt with a defensible claim or thesis that establishes a line of reasoning. ... argument with at least one piece of specific and relevant evidence (earned at least 3 points in Row B). ... AP United States Government and Politics Free-Response Question 4 Scoring Rubric, Effective Fall 2019; Effective Fall 2019 ; teacher ...