ap lang argument essay

How to Write an Argument Essay AP Lang

Students aim to apply to the best college or university when finishing high school. But most of them can’t afford this luxury. Hence, there are only three ways out: having a part-time job to earn a necessary amount of money, going to a cheaper educational institution, or enrolling in AP courses to pursue college-level studies (with the opportunity to earn college credit, advanced placement, or both). 

To successfully apply to college, you must cultivate perfect reading and writing skills. That’s why this course is designed to guide students in: 

  • developing analytical and critical thinking;
  • becoming reflective and flexible writers;
  • using an evidence-based approach in argumentative writing;
  • improving the rhetorical analysis of nonfiction texts. 

To avoid burning the midnight oil or asking a research paper writer for help in the future, you need to deepen your understanding of how to write an essay. At the end of the course, you will have an exam, and writing the argument essay will be one of the tasks. In this article, we will tell you how to ace this assignment. Let’s dive in!

Main Aspects

An excellent argument essay should have the following key components. 

  • Defensible thesis. Make sure to work out an effective thesis statement for your paper. The thesis statement must reflect your position on a specific topic.
  • Evidence. Include particular evidence supporting all claims and commentary suitable to your line of reasoning. Whenever you make a claim, you have to back it up with facts, statistics, and other data from credible sources. 
  • Complete understanding of the rhetorical situation. First, you need to explore the nuances of the argument. Second, you have to show the implications or limitations of your view. Finally, you should be able to point out counterarguments and be ready to refute them.
  • Vivid and persuasive style. Look at your essay from the reader’s perspective. Is it engaging? Do your arguments seem convincing to your audience? Be picky: try to clear any doubt your readers might have.

Determine the Purpose

The first step is to define what you are required to do. Sure, it can seem silly and obvious because you are given a specific question on an exam. Yet, it can be a surprisingly tricky task. Your aim is to look for keywords and phrases that will spark a thought. 

In case you can’t determine what the question is, just take a step back and look through the prompt one more time. We recommend you have a closer look at the last few sentences. When you understand what to write about, you will gain confidence and answer the question effectively.

A Firm Stance Is an Absolute Must

Yet, it’s difficult to meet this requirement. The aim is to establish a specific stand on the subject and stick to it. If the point of view you want to push for will look wishy-washy, you won’t persuade anybody. So, you need to be straightforward and avoid qualifiers that make your stance seem subjective.

Establishing a strong stand, however, can be a challenge. Many students end up reaching a deadlock, which can lead to a serious delay in the writing process and a waste of time. To engage in the process again, you have to take a step back and rethink all sides of the discussion. 

Develop a Thesis Statement

The thesis statement should be clear but, at the same time, well-thought-out. Some students find this part the most challenging one. You need to remember that a thesis statement should encompass your entire paper in a single sentence.

When you have finally formulated your thesis, use it to your advantage to create a brief outline. Then, you can provide specific examples and evidence. In general, your reasons and examples can be based on

  • personal life and experience;
  • literature, movies, music, and podcasts;
  • current events;
  • history and politics;
  • science.

Craft a Chronological Argument

It is important to avoid repeating the same stand. Instead, make use of different points to advance your own one. You are likely to have your own definition of the question you are given on the exam. 

First, you want to consider what it means to you. Second, think about how it applies to the real world. The thing is, there are no wrong or right answers, but you need to try to pin down one. When you have finally nailed your own definition, you can start to form arguments. 

Support Your Claims

You need to prove to your readers that you’re right. Thus, tie each claim to a piece of evidence to make it sound convincing and win your audience’s trust. 

To gain more confidence, you can imagine yourself discussing your paper with someone who will disagree with everything you mention. Now the task is to figure out how to convince this person, what examples to use, and how to back them up. When you support your claim, go into details. Don’t refer to any examples in vague terms. 

When it comes to historical evidence or examples from science, cite specific dates, events, and names to avoid further mistakes and frustrations. Be sure to explain how each piece of data relates to the main idea and pay attention to the readability of your text. Thus, you will make the essay more persuasive by including hyper-specific information with corresponding clarifications.

Wrap Up Your Essay Nicely

Finally, it is of vital importance to properly close off your paper. While the introduction part will draw the attention of the readers, a conclusion will establish your claim as a valid idea. 

This way, you will highlight all the findings you’ve presented throughout your essay and add some flourish to it. 

The conclusion should repeat everything stated above. Instead, you should present your claims in light of provided evidence to enhance your key idea.

Summing Up

At first, crafting a perfect argumentative essay might seem challenging. However, if you follow our advice, you will whip up such assignments without a hitch.

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Todd VanDuzer

Co-Founder & CEO at Student-Tutor
Hello! My name is Todd. I help students design the life of their dreams by ensuring college, scholarship, and career success! I am a former tutor for seven years, $85,000 scholarship recipient, Huffington Post contributor, lead SAT & ACT course developer, host of a career exploration podcast for teens, and have worked with thousands of students and parents to ensure a brighter future for the next generation. I invite you to join my next webinar to learn how to save thousands + set your teenager up for college, scholarship, and career success!
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