These guidelines should be replaced by the new AP Free Response
guidlines to be replace this summer (2011)
consist of five paragraphs
introduction, 3 body, & 1 conclusion)
General length should be two to three
Writing an Essay
Analyze the Question
Without a clear understanding of the
questions you cannot write an adequate answer.
Understand key terms: assess, explain and
Develop a Thesis
Thesis: your perspective on the given
Thesis must be in the opening paragraph.
The reader must immediately know your position on the question.
3. Writing the
Restate question: do not recopy the
question word for word.
State your thesis.
Indicate major points to be discussed in
4. Writing the
Provide factual information to prove your
Facts should be organized in logical
Each set of facts should be in a separate
Refute arguments contrary to your thesis.
Illustrate your essay with substantive
examples where appropriate.
5. Writing the
Conclusion should bring the reader back to
your thesis and the question.
Do not introduce new evidence
(source: Conforti, Daniel A.
Advanced Placement American Government: A Practical Curriculum Guide
for Teachers. Yorba Linda, California: DAC Educational Publications,
analytical focus. Exhaustive breadth, responds to all elements asked
for in the question. Marshalls in a convincing way evidence to support
a thesis. In some cases, shows signs of original thinking and
B. Presents a
thesis. Marshalls evidence in an organized fashion to support the
thesis. Adequate in breadth responding to most of the important issues
raised in the question.
rudiments of a thesis or argument. Cites facts appropriate to the
development of the thesis but does not clearly link these to the thesis.
Discusses some of the major issues. Incorrect factual illustrations
and/or faulty or incomplete logic may be encountered. Argument appears
Demonstrates comprehension of pertinent concepts and facts. Presents
descriptive narrative with little or no reference to an organizing
principle. Responds to some of the issues raised in the essay
question. May contain some factual errors.
D+ Weak or
implausible thesis. Breadth of coverage and depth of information may be
adequate but contains factual errors. Information may not fit the
thesis that is unsustained in discussion. Offers few, it any, factual
illustrations to support the thesis. Includes irrelevant information.
Attempts to respond to the question. However, fails to provide detail
and breadth of coverage. (Or) No attempt to answer the
question in any meaningful way.