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How to Write the AP Lang Synthesis Essay?

AP Lang test is the logical conclusion to the introductory college English composition course. Any paper writing service is very much familiar with its format. And its most important (and often difficult) part is the AP Lang synthesis essay. Despite it being the very basic layer of your future composition skills, it’s a very complicated challenge to approach unprepared. Besides, it's details may change year to year. So it’s not as easy as having to buy an essay and memorize it. So let’s have a look at what your AP Lang exam 2022 might look like.

What is AP Lang?

AP Lang is a relatively lengthy test. There are several AP rubrics that a student must be well-versed in to hope to pass it. The first section includes reading and writing, while the second is slightly more freeform and includes three different types of essays.

Among those three, the most interesting and, coincidentally, oftentimes the hardest to deal with is the AP Lang synthesis essay rubric. Today will focus on it specifically to make sure you know exactly what you’re going to be facing during your test.

What Is a Synthesis Essay AP Lang?

At its core, the AP Lang synthesis essay is a pretty straightforward part of the AP Lang test. It might look pretty similar to the reading section of the exam. However, simply finding the right information isn’t enough. It’s a lot like writing a research paper in college. When writing a synthesis essay, you should not only gather the data but also distill it into your personal opinion.

This fine line may seem difficult to spot, but it is there. And it’s that small difference that can make or break your exam run. So try to follow the steps one by one and not lose focus. Writing a good synthesis essay is as easy as following the rules.

Here is the video for you:

AP Lang Synthesis Essay Outline

Looking through AP Lang essay examples, you might notice that the overall structure doesn’t really differ too much from your standard essay outline. You have your introduction, your body, and your conclusion. But the important thing to note is where your arguments are supposed to come from.

You’re not supposed to just go off on a rant. The task requires you to base your supporting evidence on at least three sources. And you will have to ensure your essay has solid roots. Here’s what a basic AP Lang exam essay outline should look like:

  • Introduction

Provide sufficient context for the topic you are about to cover. You can do a quick overview of prevailing opinions you have grasped while browsing through your source materials.

  • Thesis

Write a short and compelling thesis statement. This will be your ground zero for the rest of the essay. So make sure it reflects your opinion.

  • Body Paragraphs

Dedicate at least one paragraph to every source you’re using. Start with presenting the evidence you have gathered from that source and go on to explain how it formed your opinion on the topic and why it should be considered.

  • Conclusion

Quickly go through your line of reasoning and reinforce what you have already covered. Finish up with restating your thesis as you’re supposed to logically arrive at it after all the evidence you have presented. That’s how you write a conclusion properly.

Different Forms and Types of Synthesis Essay: Explanatory vs. Argumentative Synthesis Essays

When it comes to writing a synthesis essay AP Lang, there are several types of essays you should consider. The most common ones are the AP Lang argument essay and explanatory essay. The clues as to how each of them should look are hidden within their names but let’s go over them to clear any confusion.

An explanatory essay’s goal is to go over a certain topic, discuss it in detail, and ultimately show a high level of understanding of the said topic. You don’t necessarily have to get into a heated argument with the reader trying to convince them of something. All you need to do is create an impartial overview.

On the other hand, an argumentative essay has to do with personal opinions. And while there is a time and a place for bias, it still has to be as impartial and factual as possible. When proving your point, try not to devolve into emotional arguments but stick to logic and cold truths. This will make your argument way more solid.

Synthesis Essay Structure

In the general case, you don’t really need to look for a synthesis essay AP Lang example to get a solid grasp on how its structure should look like. You can safely fall back on your high school essay writing knowledge, and you’ll be mostly safe.

What you should pay attention to is your writing style and content. A synthesis essay is identified less by its structure and more by the way you form and present your arguments to the reader. It’s when you get a specific essay type (like an argumentative essay) that you should pay attention to slight changes in format.

Argument Essay Structure

The best way to understand argumentative essay structure is to study any well-written AP Lang argument essay example. Standard AP Lang essays have very distinctive features that are very easy to spot and emulate. They follow a very rigid form and employ specific rhetorical devices that you’ll be able to pick up after you analyze them once or twice quickly.

How Many Paragraphs Should an AP Lang Synthesis Essay Be?

The number of paragraphs in an AP Lang synthesis essay can indeed make a difference. Your arguments should be concise and pointed. Spreading them out throughout many paragraphs may seem like a good idea to fill in the space. But it’s actually detrimental to your final score. You can get a basic understanding of what your score is going to be using an AP Lang score calculator.

The same goes for too few paragraphs. Don’t even try to squeeze your entire line of thought into a single body paragraph. Generally, the minimum number of sources you should address is three. Any less, and you are getting a lower score. So try to keep it somewhere in the middle. Three to five body paragraphs is an optimal number. Don’t forget to add an intro and a conclusion to it and you’re all set. A well-written essay has a clear and easily identifiable structure.

How to Write AP Lang Synthesis Essay: Guide

In order to write a decent essay, all you have to do is follow these simple steps. Performing a rhetorical analysis essay example, AP Lang won’t give you insight into how it was built from the ground up. But looking at this list might.

Step 1. Read the Prompt

It may sound like a no-brainer. But it’s actually more important than you can imagine. Don’t skip right past this step. It’s very easy to misunderstand the task under stress. And if you do slip up in the beginning - the entirety of your work after that is wasted.

Step 2. Analyze the Sources Carefully

The same goes for your sources. Take your time reading them. Try to spot every smallest detail, as even a single one can help you better incorporate your evidence into the body of your essay. You can begin outlining the general points of your essay in your head at this point.

Step 3. Come Up with a Strong Thesis Statement

Your thesis statement is the baseline of your writing. Make it short and clear. Try not to overthink it too much.

Step 4. Fill in Your Essay Outline

Start filling out your outline step by step. You don’t have to go from top to bottom. If you feel like you’re struggling - skip to the next part and return to the problem paragraph later. The use of rhetorical devices AP Lang is also pretty important. So once you flesh out your essay a bit, spend some time trying to come up with the perfect wording.

Step 5. Finalize

The first finished version of your essay is a draft. Don’t be hasty to turn it in. Read over it a couple of times. Make sure everything is in order. You can switch some of the parts around or rewrite some sections if you have the time. Ideally, at this stage you should have enough time to eliminate all grammatical errors that may still be present in your essay. Polish it to perfection.

Useful Tips

Here are some useful tips that might make the writing process a bit easier for you:

  • Use either APA or Chicago style to cite your sources
  • Have a schedule to understand how much time you have for each section
  • Leave as much time as you can for editing and proofreading
  • You can never over study the source material. Spend as much time as you can reading into it
  • Don’t linger on the surface of your essay subject. Dive in and show your complex understanding of the material
  • Avoid using private life anecdotes to support your case unless the essay type specifically allows it. These don’t make for a convincing argument.
  • Use as many supporting arguments as you can but make sure they are actually solid and relevant to your thesis
  • Check with your thesis from time to time. The entirety of your text should align with it

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AP Lang Essay Prompts

Here are some interesting prompts. Some of them could be found in the previous iterations of the test; you may have spotted them in some of the AP Lang essay examples. Others are there to help you practice for the AP Lang exam 2022.

  1. The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, dedicated in 1979, was founded in memory of the president and contained archives pertaining to his administration. On June 24, 1985, then President Ronald Reagan joined members of the Kennedy family at a fundraising event to help the Kennedy Library Foundation create an endowment to fund and support the presidential library. The following is an excerpt from the speech Reagan gave at that event. Read the passage carefully. Write an essay that analyzes the rhetorical choices Reagan makes to achieve his purpose of paying tribute to John F. Kennedy.
  1. On August 29, 2009, then-President Barack Obama delivered a eulogy at the funeral of Senator Ted Kennedy in Boston, Massachusetts. Kennedy served in the United States Senate from 1962 until his death. Obama served with him in the Senate from 2005 until Obama was elected president in 2008. The following is an excerpt from Obama’s speech. Read the passage carefully. Write an essay that analyzes the rhetorical choices Obama makes to achieve his purpose of praising and memorializing Kennedy.
  1. On April 9, 1964, Claudia “Lady Bird” Johnson, who was at the time the First Lady of the United States, gave the following speech at the first-anniversary luncheon of the Eleanor Roosevelt Memorial Foundation. The foundation is a nonprofit division of the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library dedicated to the works of former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, who passed away in 1962. Read the passage carefully. Write an essay that analyzes the rhetorical choices Johnson makes to achieve her purpose of paying tribute to Eleanor Roosevelt.

In your response, you should do the following:

• Respond to the prompt with a thesis that analyzes the writer’s rhetorical choices.

• Select and use evidence to support your line of reasoning.

• Explain how the evidence supports your line of reasoning.

• Demonstrate an understanding of the rhetorical situation.

• Use appropriate grammar and punctuation in communicating your argument.

AP Lang Essay Example

Here is a decent if a bit shortened, AP Lang rhetorical analysis essay example you can use for reference.

Rhetorical Analysis of Environmental Activists
Rhetorical Analysis of Environmental Activists

Literature to Prepare for AP Lang

And here is a list of some great AP Lang books that will help you prepare for the exam. Not all of them are immediately useful, but most will help you enhance your writing and analytical abilities to get a better score in the end.