AP English Language

STEP 3
Develop Strategies for Success

CHAPTER 5

Introduction to the Analysis Essay

Rating the Analysis Essay

How Do the AP Readers Rate My Essay?

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It’s important to understand just what it is that goes into rating your essay. This is called a rubric, but don’t let that word frighten you. A rubric is just a fancy, professional word that simply means the rating standards that are set and used by the people who read the essays. These standards are fairly consistent, no matter what the given prompt might be. The only primary change is in the citing of the specifics in a particular prompt.

As experienced readers of AP exams, let us assure you that the readers are trained to reward those things you do well in addressing the question. They are NOT looking to punish you. They are aware of the time constraints and read your essay just as your own instructor would read the first draft of an essay you wrote on a 40-minute exam. These readers do look forward to reading an interesting, insightful, and well-constructed essay.

So, let’s take a look at these rubrics.

9 essay has all the qualities of an 8 essay, and the writing style is especially impressive, as is the analysis of the specifics related to the prompt and the text.

Remember: PROMPT is another word for QUESTION.

An 8 essay will effectively and cohesively address the prompt. It will analyze and/or argue the elements called for in the question. In addition, it will do so using appropriate evidence from the given text. The essay will also show the writer’s ability to control language well.

7 essay has all the properties of a 6, only with a more complete, well-developed analysis/argument or a more mature writing style.

6 essay adequately addresses the prompt. The analysis and/or argument is on target and makes use of appropriate specifics from the text. However, these elements are less fully developed than scores in the 7, 8, and 9 range. The writer’s ideas are expressed with clarity, but the writing may have a few errors in syntax and/or diction.

5 essay demonstrates that the writer understands the prompt. The analysis/argument is generally understandable but is limited or uneven. The writer’s ideas are expressed clearly with a few errors in syntax or diction.

“Throughout the year, I have students mimic the styles of various authors. We, then, present the pieces to the class, which tries to identify the author being imitated. Through this process, the students become more cognizant of what makes up style, tone, syntax, and diction.”

—Denise C., AP teacher

4 essay is not an adequate response to the prompt. The writer’s analysis/argument of the text indicates a misunderstanding, an oversimplification, or a misrepresentation of the given passage. The writer may use evidence which is inappropriate or insufficient to support the analysis/argument.

3 essay is a lower 4, because it is even less effective in addressing the prompt. It is also less mature in its syntax and organization.

2 essay indicates little success in speaking to the prompt. The writer may misread the question, only summarize the passage, fail to develop the required analysis/argument, or simply ignore the prompt and write about another topic. The writing may also lack organization and control of language and syntax. (Note: No matter how good the summary, it will never rate more than a 2.)

1 essay is a lower 2, because it is even more simplistic, disorganized, and lacking in control of language.

REMEMBER, THIS ESSAY IS REALLY A FIRST DRAFT. THE READERS KNOW THIS AND APPROACH EACH ESSAY KEEPING THIS IN MIND.