AP Comparative Essay – Middle East and Americas

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October 28, 2016 by mrcaseyhistory

2b6cbd3e12a00b78b77939d70975fdebEssay Materials:
Comparitive Essay – Development of Agricultural Societies
How to Write a Compare Contrast Thesis
APWH Comparison LEQ Rubric
AP Historical Thinking Skills

Content Resources:
AP Textbook Chapter 1, 2, 6
Different Continents Different Histories (Geographic Disadvantages of the Americas)
Any other materials from class related to the topic (see past lessons)

Message on Essay Structure:

Hello my wonderful AP students!

I’m sure you all rushed home today in excitement to start working on your first AP World essay, but I wanted to reach out to you to give you some further guidance on how to structure your essay. One of your classmates reached out to me with some great questions about how to organize things, and how to incorporate the requirements into the structure of the essay, so I thought I would share my response with all of you, since I’m sure many of you will have similar questions. Before you read the rest of this, get out those papers I gave you in class so you can follow along…

So with the AP essays, they are in some ways less rigid in structure than regents essays, but of course, sometimes that can make it even more confusing, so here’s a bit more structure.

The main goal is that you answer all parts of the prompt fully (fully meaning hitting all the points on the rubric, which are the same as those listed right under the prompt). Since this is a comparative essay, you have to discuss similarities and differences. So a good way to organize the essay would be to have the first body paragraph discuss similarities, the second body paragraph discuss differences, and the third body paragraph discuss the synthesis with an outside example.

As for how to actually discuss the similarities and differences…

While you will very likely provide many examples that show similarity/difference, they should all connect to an particular overall similarity/difference. You want to focus on at least one major, overall similarity and one major, overall difference, and for each, provide lots of details and examples (evidence) AND do lots of explaining, connecting, and ANALYZING (historical thinking skills).

As you can see from the rubric, you can get 1 point each for B and C by just doing the basics, but you get 2 points each if you take it to the next level.

So the essay should look something like this…

1. Introduction (containing Thesis Statement)

2. Major Similarity (containing lots of evidence and explained with historical thinking skills)

3. Major Difference (containing lots of evidence and explained with historical thinking skills)

4. Synthesis (containing outside example with historical thinking skills)

5. Conclusion (returning to and tying up Thesis)

I hope that helps clarify things a bit, and if any of you guys have any questions, please do not hesitate at all to ask.


Mr Casey

PS: One more giant piece of advice. When I write all over people’s essays with feedback, two of the most common words I write are HOW? and WHY? As you write, or even after you write your essay, when reading it over, see if there are any places you can ask HOW? or WHY?, and if there are, do you best to answer those questions in the essay. It’s so important to not just state information but to explain it, clarify it, connect it, and when it comes to your argument, show how your examples connect back to prove your point. Happy writing, and sorry for the long post-script!

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