AP English Language

Develop Strategies for Success


Introduction to the Synthesis Essay

Timing and Planning the Synthesis Essay

Before Writing

Before you begin to write your essay, you need to perform an important series of tasks.

The first among these tasks is to wisely use the allotted, prewriting 15 minutes of reading time.

• Read ALL three of the prompts

• Deconstruct the synthesis prompt

• Read and annotate each of the given texts related to the synthesis prompt

• Decide how you will address the synthesis prompt

The second of these tasks is to be aware of the timing of writing your essay. You’ve been told to open the test booklet and begin to write. Now what? Well, you’ve already read each of the three prompts and decided what position you’re going to take on the synthesis essay. Here’s what we recommend as a timeline for writing the synthesis essay:

• 5 to 6 minutes going back to the texts and deciding which you will use in your essay

• 8 to 10 minutes planning the support of your position

• 20 minutes writing the essay

• 3 to 4 minutes checking to make certain you’ve included at least the minimum number of sources and correctly cited each of them

• 3 minutes proofreading