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Writing The LEQ

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Writing the LEQ
APUSH Redesign 2014

Things You Will, Of
Course, Avoid
Papers that read like greeting cards: Leave cuteness and humor to the professionals. This is a time to be scholarly. Embrace your inner tweed-jacketed-geek.
Papers that aren’t proofread: Avoid obvious errors.
Informal writing: Sound like you want to be taken seriously. A fuzzy thesis: Be clear. Be interesting. Argue something. Fluff: Cut to the chase. Answer the question completely, but don’t add info just to have a long essay. The New APUSH Exam

Demystifying the Long
Essay Question
The AP US History exam requires students to write a long essay within a thirty-five minutes time limit.
Students will have a choice between two prompts that focus on the same historical thinking skills (HTS) but may apply to different time periods and historical themes. Evaluation
1. Argumentation: Develops a thesis or relevant argument that addresses all parts of the question 2. Use of evidence: Supports the thesis using specific evidence, clearly linked to the thesis.
3. Targeted historical thinking skill (HTS): causation, comparison, continuity, change over time, or periodization.
4. Synthesis: Written answer extends the argument of the essay, connects it to a different time period, historical context, or different category of analysis.

Long
Essay
Question
How-To LEQ

Analyze the
Prompt
Know what you’re being asked to do

Look for Verbs
Circle verbs that instruct you to do something (analyze, identify, explain, etc.).
Count how many parts there are to the question. Most will ask you to do more than one thing.
If the question starts with “identify” or
“describe,” be on your guard for a hefty part two. Most of these questions follow up with “analyze” or another demanding thinking skill.

Identify the Skill
Take time to figure out what HTS this question is testing (causation, comparison, continuity and change over time, or periodization).
Maker sure to check all parts of the question.
Essays that ask you to perform two or more tasks may embed them all in one sentence of the prompt. ALL questions require you to perform an HTS.
Simply reporting information will not earn a passing grade!
Protip: If you’re not making a judgment, you’re probably not answering the question.

Example:
Consider two of the following and analyze the ways in which each of the two has affected the identity of women in American society since 1940: changing economic conditions, rebirth of an organized women’s movement, or traditional definitions of women’s roles.

Develop the
Evidence
Prove your claim.

Brain Dump
Jot down everything you know about the prompt. Be smart: don’t just write about the time period. Write down info related to what the question is asking you. This is where you start to figure out your argument.

Organize the Brain
Dump
Categorize the information based on categories from the prompt. Organize it in the way you plan to introduce it in your essay. Step back, look at your information, and find your argument. What is your response to the prompt? How does this information help prove your point?

Write Your
Thesis
Make an argument. Make it clear.

There is no right answer. There are many wrong
A thesis is a single, clear, declarative sentence ones. that makes a specific argument in response to the prompt. A thesis proves that you can interpret evidence and develop a historical argument.
A thesis sums up the entire argument of your paper. A thesis may be complex but does not have to be.
A thesis determines how your essay will score.
A thesis NEVER restates the prompt.

Write the Intro
Give ‘em a clue where you’re going.

A Good Intro Has Three
Parts
Background Statement: general introduction to the topic or time period
Thesis: clear, brilliant, specific statement that summarizes your response to the prompt Road Map: a list of key ideas, events, personalities, or categories of evidence you will address in your body paragraphs

Long
Essay
Question
HTS

What the skills are and how to prove you have them

Causation
Describe causes AND/OR effects of a historical development and analyze specific examples that illustrate causes
AND/OR effects of a historical development. What were the major causes and consequences (effects) of an event? What were the most important causes and effects of an event?

Why did it happen?
What was the impact? Think about short and long term.

Comparison
Describe similarities AND differences among historical developments, providing specific examples AND analyze the reasons for their similarities AND/OR differences
OR, depending on the prompt, evaluate the relative significance of the historical developments. What were the major similarities and differences between the two events? Are there more similarities or differences and why? Identify similarities and differences Within or between societies – chronological, ideological, demographic, geographic, political, economic, or social

Continuity and Change Over
Time
Describe historical continuity AND change over time, and analyze specific examples that illustrate historical continuity AND change over time.
What were the major patterns of continuity and change? Was there more continuity or change over the time period?
What stayed the same? What changed?
Why did it change? How much did it change? Periodization
Analyzes the extent to which the historical development specified in the prompt was different from AND similar to developments that preceded and/or followed, providing specific examples to illustrate the analysis.
Evaluate whether an event was a turning point or a major marking period in history.
Note what it was like before and after that development. Long
Essay
Question
APUSH
Synthesis

Like AP English Language… but different How To Do It
Extend or modify the thesis by developing a counter-argument.
Connect the topic to another historical period (even our own!), geographical era, context, or circumstance.
Add an additional category of analysis beyond what the prompt asks you to consider. Think Across Time Periods
What do these things have in common? What can we learn from them?

Long
Essay
Question
The Grand
Finale

Writing the concluding paragraph. A Strong Conclusion:
Sums up what the reader has learned (tl;dr).
Restates the thesis in a fresh and interesting way. Restates each topic sentence of your argument and provides an example for each one (these may be examples you already mentioned). Expresses nuance, but does not introduce new evidence.
Never summarizes the entire essay.

AP means
Address the
Prompt!
When in doubt, just answer the question.

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