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Writing the AP Synthesis Essay

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by

Debra Kendall

on 5 May 2014

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Transcript of Writing the AP Synthesis Essay

Step Two: Before Writing
WRITING THE ESSAY
Definition:
Process of synthesis writing:
Develop your own original idea, or thesis, based on the sources provided.
Read the materials:
Familiarize yourself with what others have written about the topic by reading the sources provided.
Introduction:
Open with an engaging hook.
What you need to know...
The AP Synthesis Essay requires you to use three sources. You
will lose points
if you use less, but
will not
earn points for using more.
Formulate your own thesis.
The synthesis essay is first and foremost a persuasive argument.
You MUST use the facts and ideas presented in the provided sources.
Use the sources to support or augment your OWN argument. DO NOT summarize the sources and allow those writers to speak for themselves—you are using what they say for your OWN purposes.
BODY PARAGRAPHS
Topic sentence:
Give one reason in support of your thesis.
Explain as necessary.

Present specific supporting evidence
(quotations from the provided sources—but
you may also bring in other evidence).
Make sure all sources are documented.
The writer explains the significance of the specific
supporting evidence (e.g., what does the evidence
show or suggest as true?)
CONCLUDING PARAGRAPH
Draw further significance from the
reasons and evidence presented.
Bring the paper to a thoughtful ending. (Be philosophical! Show your wisdom!)
“Synthesis” is the combining of separate elements or substances to form a coherent whole.
Step One:
Read the prompt.
Consider the question.
Determine your opinion.
(It is best to read for a purpose—finding claims with which you agree and disagree.)
It might be worth your time to consider
possible ideas before reading.
Create an organization chart, such as a T-Chart.
You might be asked an agree/disagree question or perhaps to give a list of ideas, such as what is most important to consider in a given situation.
As you read, briefly list claims/information/facts
in your chart that are deemed important. Place the sources of that information in parentheses.
Remember, some sources can contain multiple useful facts or claims—ones that could be listed on either side of your chart.
As you read, add ideas to your chart.
Underline or circle key lines or ideas.
Look for quotable claims.
Annotate the Readings
Look for points that you agree with as well as points with which you disagree. *Remember, addressing the opposition is central to effective argumentation.
In general, mark the texts in such a way that you can easily return to them and find exactly what you need.
QUESTION! QUESTION! QUESTION!
What are the claims made by the writers?
Do you note any logical fallacies or unsupported claims?
What does the writer assume to be true, and is it true?
Look at any charts and statistics. Are there any numerical changes? What is the presumed cause of any change? Might there be other causes?
Question! Question! Question!
Do not just accept what the writer writes as truth. It is your job to evaluate the sources and the claims!
STEP THREE:
Review your chart. Select the ideas/concepts that you will use to support your opinion.
If appropriate, plan to address the opposition. You can do this in one paragraph. This paragraph should address the opposition’s views and explain why you ultimately disagree with his or her position.
IN SUMMARY
Understand the prompt.
Consider your opinion of the topic.
Read the source material.
Annotate.
Chart your findings.
Decipher the authors' claims.
Quote and cite interesting source material.
Formulate your thesis.
Begin writing.
Your thesis must be clear and direct!
Your introduction should hook your reader.
You should provide a paragraph (when appropriate) to address the opposition.
The Body Paragraphs
Create strong topic sentences.
Give one reason in support of your thesis.
Explain as necessary.
Present supporting evidence. Be sure to DOCUMENT ALL SOURCES!
Explain what the evidence shows or suggests as true. DO NOT interpret the source material.
The Concluding Paragraph
Bring the paper to a thoughtful ending.
Your reader should be able to recall the important information you gave in your paper.
Draw further significance from the reasons and evidence presented.
Be philosophical!
Show your wisdom!
Identify/clarify the issue at hand.
Present a clear, direct thesis statement.
Assemble ideas from the various sources. AP usually requires that you use THREE sources.
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