Rhetorical analysis essay prompts

Rhetorical analysis essay prompts


Important Updates

Secure Exam for Classroom Use
A secure 2018 AP English Language and Composition Exam is available on the AP Course Audit website. To access, sign in to your AP Course Audit account, and click on the Secure Documents link in the Resources section of your Course Status page.

  • Wed, May 15, 2019

AP English Language and Composition Exam Day 2019

  • 8 a. m. | 3 hrs 15 mins

Exam Overview

The AP English Language and Composition Exam includes multiple-choice and free-response questions that test essential skills covered in the course curriculum:

  • Reading comprehension of rhetorically and topically diverse texts
  • Rhetorical analysis of individual texts in isolation
  • Synthesis of information from multiple texts
  • Written argumentation

Encourage your students to visit the AP English Language and Composition student page for exam information and exam practice.

Exam Format

Multiple Choice — 52 to 55 Questions | 1 Hour | 45% of Exam Score

  • Excerpts from non-fiction texts are accompanied by several multiple-choice questions

Section II

Free Response — 3 Free-Response Questions | 2 Hours, 15 Minutes (includes a 15-minute reading period) | 55% of Exam Score

This section has three prompts:

  • Synthesis: Students read several texts about a topic and create an argument that synthesizes at least three of the sources to support their thesis.
  • Rhetorical analysis: Students read a non-fiction text and analyze how the writer’s language choices contribute to his or her purpose and intended meaning for the text.
  • Argument: Students create an evidence-based argument that responds to a given topic.

The total Section II time is 2 hours and 15 minutes. This includes a 15-minute reading period. The reading period is designed to provide students with time to develop thoughtful, well-organized responses. They may begin writing their responses before the reading period is over.

APAS English Block 2

«I write to discover what I think.» –Daniel J. Boorstin

AP English Language and Composition Practice Exams & Study Aides

Here are some sample essays from previous AP tests, with student writing, rubrics, and grading rationales. More to come.

The best way to use this resource: Practice writing at least one of each of the different types of essays below. Do as many practice essays as you can, and time yourself using the time limits listed on the prompts.

Step 1) Practice the essay just as you would in the exam, without looking at the sample essays or scoring guidelines.

Step 2) When you’ve finished your essay, read the scoring guidelines, and read the sample essays. Try to score the sample essays yourself.

Step 3) Now read the scoring rationales. Compare the AP readers’ scores with the scores you assigned the essays.

Step 4) Comparing your essay to the sample essays, decide what score your essay would have recieved. Look for ways to improve for next time.

Try to practice as much as you can. However, if you absolutely cannot do one practice essay, at least look through the samples to gain some familiarity with the prompts and expectations.

Glossary of Rhetorical Terms –An excellent resource for reviewing most of the terms you’ll need to know for the English test.

Some Prompts for Rhetorical Analysis — Kiefer

Answer the following questions to help you begin your analysis of rhetorical context. The questions focus on the REader, ESsay, AUdience, LImitations, and MOtivation for the piece of writing. These questions should also help you think of others to extend your analysis.

Can you define the probable readers in terms of age, gender, occupation, education, position of power? What values do target readers share with the writer? What range of positions on the issue might target readers hold before reading?

What features of the text seem most crucial to understand—the claim, the arrangement of arguments, the supporting evidence, the appeals, the style? What features of the essay make it a more convincing or persuasive argument? What parts of the text are most difficult to read? Why? What parts are most appealing? Why?

What do you know about this author? What specific qualifications does the author present to build credibility with the target audience? What appeals to the author’s character do you see in the essay? In what ways does the author identify with the readers? Does this level of audience connection help the essay? How?

Given what you can discern about target readers, what limitations does that audience impose on the writer? How do the author’s background knowledge or experience limit the argument? How do the author’s character or values limit the argument? How does the larger context (its history or its social, political, and economic context) of the argument constrain the writer?

What seems to have prompted the writer to present this argument? What, if any, is the writer’s history of work on this topic? What event might have prompted the writer? What value(s) might have sparked this essay?