Timed Writing Understanding the Prompts, Tips, and Scoring Adapted from Laying the Foundation Writing Essay Prompts There are two types of prompts: – Literary analysis questions which test the ability to use concrete evidence (e.g. DIDLS) to analyze an abstract idea or concept – Open-ended prompts require you to write a persuasive paper in response to a quote or idea drawing knowledge from readings, observations, studies, and experience to defend, challenge, or qualify an assertion. Writing Essay Prompts Sample AP Language Prompt: – Read carefully the following autobiographical narrative by Gary Soto. Then, in a well-written essay, analyze some of the ways in which Soto recreates the experience of his guilty six-year-old self. You might consider such devices as contrast, repetition, pacing, diction, and imagery. Writing Essay Prompt Sample AP Literature Prompts: – Read the following poem carefully. Then, in a well organized essay, analyze how the speaker uses the varied imagery of the poem to reveal his attitude toward the nature of love. – Read the following passage carefully. Then, in a well-developed essay, explain how the word choice creates a somber mood. Writing Essay Prompts Sample Open-Ended Essay Prompt: – In “The Most Dangerous Game,” Rainford says, “The world is made up of two classes - the hunters and the huntees.” In a carefully reasoned essay, analyze this assertion and then defend, challenge, or qualify this statement. Use evidence from your observations, experience, or reading to develop your position. Writing Essay Format The stages for putting it all together: – Assertion – Introduction to the quotation – Quotation that proves or backs up the assertion – Transitional phrase to next quotation (if necessary) – Second quotation (if necessary) – Documentation of quotation – Commentary on the quotation Writing Essay Format Meg has a tendency to jump to conclusions and to assume the worst about anything that happens. When she realizes that her father has resued her from “It,” the giant evil brain, but that he is powerless to retrieve her brother, Charles Wallace, from the planet of Camazotz, she lashes out at him in despair, complaining bitterly, “You don’t even know where we are!’” She continues, “’We’ll never see mother or the twins again! We don’t even know where earth is! Or even where Camazotz is! We’re lost out in space!’” (L’Engle 172). With this statement, Meg acknowledges her beloved father’s imperfections and takes a step toward adulthood by realizing that in some situations, even parents are not all powerful. Writing Essay Format Include in the introduction: – A clear thesis – A personal reflection – An explanation of the thesis – A startling statement – A rhetorical question – A quotation related to the topic – An idea to be refuted – An anecdote Writing Essay Format Include in the conclusion – A call for action – A quotation illustrating the main point – A question – A statement of the subject’s overall significance – A useful analogy or comparison – A speculation about what the thesis implies for the future Writing Essay Tips Note the start and end time at the top of the page, then spend half of the time analyzing the prompt, reading the passage, and planning the essay. Read the passage for understanding, asking the who, what, when, where, and why questions and keeping the prompt in mind at all times. Writing Essay Tips Read the prompt carefully: – For literary analysis questions identify the abstract concept and the concrete devices the prompt specifies you use – For open-ended persuasive questions identify the topic, brainstorm the pros and cons, support with links to literature and history where possible Writing Essay Tips Reread and mark the passage focusing on concrete devices that create the abstract concept. Jot notes in the margins as you read. You may forget some of the points you want to make if you don’t. Follow the format: introduction, body paragraphs with clear assertions/evidence/commentary, and a conclusion. Writing Essay Tips Write a concise introduction that answers the question – ATTT - include the author, title, type of selection, and time period information – AQA - Answer the question asked. Don’t just restate the prompt. Writing Essay Tips Focus on your commentary – Your insight and understanding of the literature, as well as how you make the connections called for in the prompt, are what the author will evaluate. – You do not have to follow the 11- sentence five paragraph essay structure, but be sure to balance evidence with interpretation, and develop the body fully. – Make sure you answer the question! Focus on the prompt! Writing Essay Tips Your conclusion must be worth reading – Do not merely repeat what has already been stated in the essay. – Your conclusion should reflect an understanding of the passage, the question, and the author’s craft. – Be sure to address the theme, or meaning, in your conclusion. Try to find the universal element or truth that relates to the passage or prompt and ties it all together.
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