1 of 3 essays on your ap language Test…



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1 of 3 essays on your AP Language Test…

  • TAKEN AND MODIFIED FROM FAST TRACK TO A 5
  • BY STEVE OLSON & EVELINE BAILEY

AN INTRODUCTION TO THE SYNTHESIS ESSAY

  • Examines your ability to consider and support a rational argument
  • Also seeks to evaluate your ability to absorb, understand, and employ several sources on the same topic
  • Finally tests your ability to correctly cite the sources you have quoted or paraphrased in your argument

THE PROCESS

  • You have 15 minutes to read and examine the essay questions (all three)…
    • Start with the Synthesis question
    • Read the initial question page carefully
  • Annotate, Annotate, Annotate, and Mark Stuff…

DIRECTIONS

  • Your argument should be central…
    • the sources should support this argument.
  • Avoid Summarizing sources - Form an opinion
    • This means you should try to bring your own opinion into the essay
      • However, you need to be careful to maintain an academic tone…

INTRODUCTION

  • This will “get you thinking about the issue”
  • Provides a larger context for the question
    • But this material is NOT the prompt.
    • Don’t get sidetracked by answering questions that may be posed in this section

“ASSIGNMENT”

  • This is where you will get your prompt!!!
  • Topic is highlighted in bold type
    • DO WHAT THE PROMPT ASKS YOU TO DO!
      • Answer the Prompt
      • “synthesize at least three of the sources for support”

TO SUMMARIZE

  • Answer the question
  • Present your own opinion
  • Use at least three different sources

SOURCES

  • The sources will look something like this:
    • Source A (Dilby)
    • Source B (Sollich)
  • When you cite a source, you do NOT need formalized MLA format
    • You may simply refer to it as either “Source A” or “Dilby”
      • “Dilby makes a startling observation when he suggests…
      • vs “Source A states…”

DEALING WITH SOURCES

  • Is the source biased?
    • You can determine this by looking at the source itself – an article from Christian Century might carry a certain inherent bias
  • Does the source’s date of publication have an effect on the relevance of the argument?
    • A passage written in 1975 about advertising is likely to be out of date today, so take this into account if you decide to use this source…

DEALING WITH SOURCES (CONTINUED)

  • What position does the author hold?
    • Determine whether he or she is for, against, or neutral about the topic.
  • For what audience is the author writing?

ENGAGE THE TEXT

  • What is the point of view, thesis, or information offered?
  • Are there any “quotables” – particularly succinct or stimulating phrases – you can use?
  • Do you plan to use the piece or a portion of it to support your argument in some way? (You may decide this question after reading all or most of the passages – you are looking for at least three good sources.)

THE VISUAL

  • There will be at least one visual
    • Chart, table, photograph, political cartoon, painting, or any other black and white image.
  • Treat the image as a text that can be examined
    • Look for bias, datedness, position, audience, etc…
  • Only make reference to the visual if it offers specific support or illustration of your argument

USING ENOUGH PASSAGES

  • Time is of the essence!!!
  • Use the reading strategy of “skimming and scanning” EVERY source.
    • Mark each for its support or attack of your position
      • IE) annotate with “Neg” “Aff” or “Neutral”
    • This will save you time when you come back to that source

USING OPPOSING PASSAGES

  • It is always a good strategy to use passages that disagree with your point of view, especially if you are dealing with an “agree, disagree, or qualify” prompt.
    • If you find a source that says the exact opposite of your position, you may cite it and then point out what you consider to be the weakness or error in that author’s argument (LOOK FOR FALLACIES).
  • Done correctly, this is a sign of sophisticated writing and thinking.

IN SUMMARY

  • Read the first page carefully and take note of your task
  • Identify your own feelings or opinion before you read the passage
  • Read annotate, and comment on each passage, paying close attention to clarity of position and keeping an eye open for any good quotations you might use.

THE RUBRIC

  • “Aim for a 6+”
  • The score ranges from a 1-9
    • 9 is “exceptionally well written”
    • 5 is a minimally “adequate” essay (“passing”)
  • Review “General Scoring Rubric for Synthesis Essay”

TIPS…

  • When possible use the author’s name
  • Stay away from simple citation intros
  • Don’t clump a bunch of sources together
    • Deal with each source thoroughly and connect to YOUR POSITION
  • Create an ISSUE DRIVEN essay
    • SOURCE DRIVE essays just string a bunch of sources together…
    • Remember to connect to the Prompt's ISSUE


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