Ap Language Synthesis Essay Prompt

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Just reading the thesis tells you that this student’s essay will a) prove that honor codes do not prevent cheating, b) discuss the idea that honor codes promote repeat-after-me ethics over actual understanding and c) draw on examples of cheating in school and out of school (which will be drawn from the documents).

This is not a good thesis because it is not at all clear whether the student is going to argue that their school should maintain their honor code or revise their honor code. What parts of their own sources would they bring up?

The synthesis FRQ gives students six sources with which to form and argue for a position on a topic the test provides.

In order to score an 8 on the synthesis FRQ question, students need to write an essay that effectively argues a position, synthesizes at least 3 of the sources, uses appropriate and convincing evidence, and showcases a wide range of the elements of writing. You are given a 15-minute planning period, so make sure that you use it to read the documents, label them, and ask yourself questions about them.

Fully comprehend them, and try to understand their meaning.

A deeper understanding of the documents will help you much more than a few extra minutes of writing time.

65% of students say the honor system is discussed in class and on the syllabus and 40% of students have violated the honor code and not been caught. Instead of adding to the information from the source, the student just rewrote the information from the source.

The student does not include information that the reader cannot get from reading the document.

The student is waffling on their opinion and the reader will definitely have some questions. Take your well-crafted thesis and try pretending, briefly, that you sent your thesis to the author of the sources. Use that imaginary conversation to help write your outline.

Talking to yourself like this may feel odd, but in the context of writing an essay, it is the best way to organize your thoughts.


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