How to Write the AP Lang Rhetorical Analysis Essay (With Example)

November 27, 2023

how to write AP Lang rhetorical analysis essay example

Feeling intimidated by the AP Lang Rhetorical Analysis Essay? We’re here to help demystify. Whether you’re cramming for the AP Lang exam right now or planning to take the test down the road, we’ve got crucial rubric information, helpful tips, and an essay example to prepare you for the big day. This post will cover 1) What is the AP Lang Rhetorical Analysis Essay? 2) AP Lang Rhetorical Analysis Rubric 3) AP Lang Rhetorical Analysis: Sample Prompt 4) AP Lang Rhetorical Analysis Essay Example 5)AP Lang Rhetorical Analysis Essay Example: Why It Works

What is the AP Lang Rhetorical Analysis Essay?

The AP Lang Rhetorical Analysis Essay is one of three essays included in the written portion of the AP English Exam. The full AP English Exam is 3 hours and 15 minutes long, with the first 60 minutes dedicated to multiple-choice questions. Once you complete the multiple-choice section, you move on to three equally weighted essays that ask you to synthesize, analyze, and interpret texts and develop well-reasoned arguments. The three essays include:

Synthesis essay: You’ll review various pieces of evidence and then write an essay that synthesizes (aka combines and interprets) the evidence and presents a clear argument. Read our write up on How to Write the AP Lang Synthesis Essay here.

Argumentative essay: You’ll take a stance on a specific topic and argue your case.

Rhetorical essay: You’ll read a provided passage, then analyze the author’s rhetorical choices and develop an argument that explains why the author made those rhetorical choices.

AP Lang Rhetorical Analysis Rubric

The AP Lang Rhetorical Analysis Essay is graded on just 3 rubric categories: Thesis, Evidence and Commentary, and Sophistication . At a glance, the rubric categories may seem vague, but AP exam graders are actually looking for very particular things in each category. We’ll break it down with dos and don’ts for each rubric category:

Thesis (0-1 point)

There’s nothing nebulous when it comes to grading AP Lang Rhetorical Analysis Essay thesis. You either have one or you don’t. Including a thesis gets you one point closer to a high score and leaving it out means you miss out on one crucial point. So, what makes a thesis that counts?

  • Make sure your thesis argues something about the author’s rhetorical choices. Making an argument means taking a risk and offering your own interpretation of the provided text. This is an argument that someone else might disagree with.
  • A good test to see if you have a thesis that makes an argument. In your head, add the phrase “I think that…” to the beginning of your thesis. If what follows doesn’t logically flow after that phrase (aka if what follows isn’t something you and only you think), it’s likely you’re not making an argument.
  • Avoid a thesis that merely restates the prompt.
  • Avoid a thesis that summarizes the text but does not make an argument.

Evidence and Commentary (0-4 points)

This rubric category is graded on a scale of 0-4 where 4 is the highest grade. Per the AP Lang Rhetorical Analysis rubric, to get a 4, you’ll want to:

  • Include lots of specific evidence from the text. There is no set golden number of quotes to include, but you’ll want to make sure you’re incorporating more than a couple pieces of evidence that support your argument about the author’s rhetorical choices.
  • Make sure you include more than one type of evidence, too. Let’s say you’re working on your essay and have gathered examples of alliteration to include as supporting evidence. That’s just one type of rhetorical choice, and it’s hard to make a credible argument if you’re only looking at one type of evidence. To fix that issue, reread the text again looking for patterns in word choice and syntax, meaningful figurative language and imagery, literary devices, and other rhetorical choices, looking for additional types of evidence to support your argument.
  • After you include evidence, offer your own interpretation and explain how this evidence proves the point you make in your thesis.
  • Don’t summarize or speak generally about the author and the text. Everything you write must be backed up with evidence.
  • Don’t let quotes speak for themselves. After every piece of evidence you include, make sure to explain your interpretation. Also, connect the evidence to your overarching argument.

Sophistication (0-1 point)

In this case, sophistication isn’t about how many fancy vocabulary words or how many semicolons you use. According to College Board , one point can be awarded to AP Lang Rhetorical Analysis essays that “demonstrate sophistication of thought and/or a complex understanding of the rhetorical situation” in any of these three ways:

  • Explaining the significance or relevance of the writer’s rhetorical choices.
  • Explaining the purpose or function of the passage’s complexities or tensions.
  • Employing a style that is consistently vivid and persuasive.

Note that you don’t have to achieve all three to earn your sophistication point. A good way to think of this rubric category is to consider it a bonus point that you can earn for going above and beyond in depth of analysis or by writing an especially persuasive, clear, and well-structured essay. In order to earn this point, you’ll need to first do a good job with your thesis, evidence, and commentary.

  • Focus on nailing an argumentative thesis and multiple types of evidence. Getting these fundamentals of your essay right will set you up for achieving depth of analysis.
  • Explain how each piece of evidence connects to your thesis.
  • Spend a minute outlining your essay before you begin to ensure your essay flows in a clear and cohesive way.
  • Steer clear of generalizations about the author or text.
  • Don’t include arguments you can’t prove with evidence from the text.
  • Avoid complex sentences and fancy vocabulary words unless you use them often. Long, clunky sentences with imprecisely used words are hard to follow.

AP Lang Rhetorical Analysis: Sample Prompt

The sample prompt below is published online by College Board and is a real example from the 2021 AP Exam. The prompt provides background context, essay instructions, and the text you need to analyze. For sake of space, we’ve included the text as an image you can click to read. After the prompt, we provide a sample high scoring essay and then explain why this AP Lang Rhetorical Analysis essay example works.

Suggested time—40 minutes.

(This question counts as one-third of the total essay section score.)

On February 27, 2013, while in office, former president Barack Obama delivered the following address dedicating the Rosa Parks statue in the National Statuary Hall of the United States Capitol building. Rosa Parks was an African American civil rights activist who was arrested in 1955 for refusing to give up her seat on a segregated bus in Montgomery, Alabama. Read the passage carefully. Write an essay that analyzes the rhetorical choices Obama makes to convey his message.

In your response you should do the following:

  • Respond to the prompt with a thesis that analyzes the writer’s rhetorical choices.
  • Select and use evidence to support your line of reasoning.
  • Explain how the evidence supports your line of reasoning.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the rhetorical situation.
  • Use appropriate grammar and punctuation in communicating your argument.

AP Lang Rhetorical Analysis Essay Example

In his speech delivered in 2013 at the dedication of Rosa Park’s statue, President Barack Obama acknowledges everything that Parks’ activism made possible in the United States. Telling the story of Parks’ life and achievements, Obama highlights the fact that Parks was a regular person whose actions accomplished enormous change during the civil rights era. Through the use of diction that portrays Parks as quiet and demure, long lists that emphasize the extent of her impacts, and Biblical references, Obama suggests that all of us are capable of achieving greater good, just as Parks did.

Although it might be a surprising way to start to his dedication, Obama begins his speech by telling us who Parks was not: “Rosa Parks held no elected office. She possessed no fortune” he explains in lines 1-2. Later, when he tells the story of the bus driver who threatened to have Parks arrested when she refused to get off the bus, he explains that Parks “simply replied, ‘You may do that’” (lines 22-23). Right away, he establishes that Parks was a regular person who did not hold a seat of power. Her protest on the bus was not part of a larger plan, it was a simple response. By emphasizing that Parks was not powerful, wealthy, or loud spoken, he implies that Parks’ style of activism is an everyday practice that all of us can aspire to.

AP Lang Rhetorical Analysis Essay Example (Continued)

Even though Obama portrays Parks as a demure person whose protest came “simply” and naturally, he shows the importance of her activism through long lists of ripple effects. When Parks challenged her arrest, Obama explains, Martin Luther King, Jr. stood with her and “so did thousands of Montgomery, Alabama commuters” (lines 27-28). They began a boycott that included “teachers and laborers, clergy and domestics, through rain and cold and sweltering heat, day after day, week after week, month after month, walking miles if they had to…” (lines 28-31). In this section of the speech, Obama’s sentences grow longer and he uses lists to show that Parks’ small action impacted and inspired many others to fight for change. Further, listing out how many days, weeks, and months the boycott lasted shows how Parks’ single act of protest sparked a much longer push for change.

To further illustrate Parks’ impact, Obama incorporates Biblical references that emphasize the importance of “that single moment on the bus” (lines 57-58). In lines 33-35, Obama explains that Parks and the other protestors are “driven by a solemn determination to affirm their God-given dignity” and he also compares their victory to the fall the “ancient walls of Jericho” (line 43). By of including these Biblical references, Obama suggests that Parks’ action on the bus did more than correct personal or political wrongs; it also corrected moral and spiritual wrongs. Although Parks had no political power or fortune, she was able to restore a moral balance in our world.

Toward the end of the speech, Obama states that change happens “not mainly through the exploits of the famous and the powerful, but through the countless acts of often anonymous courage and kindness” (lines 78-81). Through carefully chosen diction that portrays her as a quiet, regular person and through lists and Biblical references that highlight the huge impacts of her action, Obama illustrates exactly this point. He wants us to see that, just like Parks, the small and meek can change the world for the better.

AP Lang Rhetorical Analysis Essay Example: Why It Works

We would give the AP Lang Rhetorical Analysis essay above a score of 6 out of 6 because it fully satisfies the essay’s 3 rubric categories: Thesis, Evidence and Commentary, and Sophistication . Let’s break down what this student did:

The thesis of this essay appears in the last line of the first paragraph:

“ Through the use of diction that portrays Parks as quiet and demure, long lists that emphasize the extent of her impacts, and Biblical references, Obama suggests that all of us are capable of achieving greater good, just as Parks did .”

This student’s thesis works because they make a clear argument about Obama’s rhetorical choices. They 1) list the rhetorical choices that will be analyzed in the rest of the essay (the italicized text above) and 2) include an argument someone else might disagree with (the bolded text above).

Evidence and Commentary:

This student includes substantial evidence and commentary. Things they do right, per the AP Lang Rhetorical Analysis rubric:

  • They include lots of specific evidence from the text in the form of quotes.
  • They incorporate 3 different types of evidence (diction, long lists, Biblical references).
  • After including evidence, they offer an interpretation of what the evidence means and explain how the evidence contributes to their overarching argument (aka their thesis).

Sophistication

This essay achieves sophistication according to the AP Lang Rhetorical Analysis essay rubric in a few key ways:

  • This student provides an introduction that flows naturally into the topic their essay will discuss. Before they get to their thesis, they tell us that Obama portrays Parks as a “regular person” setting up their main argument: Obama wants all regular people to aspire to do good in the world just as Rosa Parks did.
  • They organize evidence and commentary in a clear and cohesive way. Each body paragraph focuses on just one type of evidence.
  • They explain how their evidence is significant. In the final sentence of each body paragraph, they draw a connection back to the overarching argument presented in the thesis.
  • All their evidence supports the argument presented in their thesis. There is no extraneous evidence or misleading detail.
  • They consider nuances in the text. Rather than taking the text at face value, they consider what Obama’s rhetorical choices imply and offer their own unique interpretation of those implications.
  • In their final paragraph, they come full circle, reiterate their thesis, and explain what Obama’s rhetorical choices communicate to readers.
  • Their sentences are clear and easy to read. There are no grammar errors or misused words.

AP Lang Rhetorical Analysis Essay—More Resources

Looking for more tips to help your master your AP Lang Rhetorical Analysis Essay? Brush up on 20 Rhetorical Devices High School Students Should Know and read our Tips for Improving Reading Comprehension . If you’re ready to start studying for another part of the AP English Exam, find more expert tips in our How to Write the AP Lang Synthesis blog post.

Considering what other AP classes to take? Read up on the Hardest AP Classes .

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Christina Wood

Christina Wood holds a BA in Literature & Writing from UC San Diego, an MFA in Creative Writing from Washington University in St. Louis, and is currently a Doctoral Candidate in English at the University of Georgia, where she teaches creative writing and first-year composition courses. Christina has published fiction and nonfiction in numerous publications, including The Paris Review , McSweeney’s , Granta , Virginia Quarterly Review , The Sewanee Review , Mississippi Review , and Puerto del Sol , among others. Her story “The Astronaut” won the 2018 Shirley Jackson Award for short fiction and received a “Distinguished Stories” mention in the 2019 Best American Short Stories anthology.

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rhetorical analysis essay practice ap lang

How to Write the AP Lang Rhetorical Essay

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What is the ap lang rhetorical essay, tips for writing the ap lang rhetorical essay.

  • AP Lang Rhetorical Essay Example

How Will AP Scores Affect College Chances?

The AP English Language Exam is one of the most common AP exams you can take. However, the average score on the exam in 2020 was a 2.96 out of 5. While this may seem a bit low, it is important to note that over 550,000 students take the exam annually. With some preparation and knowing how to study, it is totally possible to do well on this AP exam.

The AP Lang Rhetorical Essay is one section of the AP English Language Exam. The exam itself is 3 hours and 15 minutes long, and is broken into two sections. The first part of the exam is a 60 minute, 45-question multiple-choice section. The questions on this part of the exam will test your ability to read a passage and then interpret its meaning, style, and overall themes. After the multiple-choice section, there is a section lasting 2 hours and 15 minutes with three “free response” essays. This includes the synthesis essay, the rhetorical analysis essay, and the argument essay. 

  • In the synthesis essay , you will have to develop an argument using pieces of evidence provided to you. 
  • The argumentative essay will have you pick a side in a debate and argue for or against it.
  • The rhetorical essay requires that you discuss how an author’s written passage contributes to a greater meaning or theme. 

The rhetorical essay is perhaps the most unique of all AP Lang exam essays because it requires the test taker to analyze and interpret the deeper meanings of the passage and connect them to the author’s writing style and writing syntax in only 40 minutes. This essay can be the trickiest because it requires you to have knowledge of rhetorical strategies and then apply them to a passage you’ve never seen before.

1. Outline Your Essay Before Writing

One of the most important parts of the AP Lang essays is structuring your essay so that it makes sense to the reader. This is just as important as having good content. For this essay in particular, you’ll want to read the passage first and write a brief outline of your points before you begin the essay. This is because you will want to write the essay using the passage chronologically, which will be discussed in detail below.

2. Understand Rhetorical Strategies 

If you feel like you don’t know where to start as you prepare to study for the rhetorical essay portion of the exam, you aren’t alone. It is imperative that you have a grasp on what rhetorical strategies are and how you can use them in your essay. One definition of rhetoric is “language carefully chosen and arranged for maximum effect.” This can include types of figurative language (metaphor, simile, personification, pun, irony, etc.) elements of syntax (parallelism, juxtaposition, anthesis, anaphora, etc), logical fallacies, or persuasive appeals. Overall, there are many elements that you can analyze in an essay and having a good grasp on them through practice and memorization is important.

3. Keep the Essay Well Structured 

Even if you understand the various rhetorical strategies you can use, where do you begin? First of all, you’ll want to write a strong introduction that outlines the purpose of the piece. At the end of this introduction, you will write a thesis statement that encapsulates all the rhetorical strategies you discuss. Perhaps these are style elements, tone, or syntax. Be sure to be specific as you list these.

Next, you will create your body paragraphs. As you discuss the rhetorical elements in the piece and tie them back to the work’s meanings, be sure to discuss the points in chronological order. You don’t have to discuss every single strategy, but just pick the ones that are most important. Be sure to cite the line where you found the example. At the end of the essay, write a short conclusion that summarizes the major points above.

4. Be Sure to Explain Your Examples

As you write the essay, don’t just list out your examples and say something like “this is an example of ethos, logos, pathos.” Instead, analyze how the example shows that rhetoric device and how it helps the author further their argument. As you write the rhetorical essay, you’ll want to be as specific and detail-focused as possible. 

rhetorical analysis essay practice ap lang

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AP Lang Rhetorical Analysis Essay Example

Below is a prompt and example for a rhetorical essay, along with its score and what the writer did well and could have improved:

The passage below is an excerpt from “On the Want of Money,” an essay written by nineteenth-century author William Hazlitt. Read the passage carefully. Then write an essay in which you analyze the rhetorical strategies Hazlitt uses to develop his position about money.

rhetorical analysis essay practice ap lang

Student essay example:

In his essay, Hazlitt develops his position on money through careful use of adjectives and verbs, hypothetical situations, and images. His examples serve to impress upon the reader the highly negative consequences of being in “want of money.”

Hazlitt’s word choice in his opening phrase provides an example of his technique in the rest of the essay. It is not necessary to follow “literally” with “truly” yet his repetition of the same ideas emphasizes his point. In his next sentence, one that lasts forty-six lines, Hazlitt condignly repeats similar ideas, beating into his audience the necessity of having money in this world. The parallelism throughout that one long sentence, “it is not to be sent for to court, or asked out to dinner…it is not to have your own opinion consulted or sees rejected with contempt..” ties the many different situations Haziltt gives together. What could have become a tedious spiel instead becomes a melodious recitation, each example reminding you of one before it, either because of the similarities in structure or content. Hazlitt addresses many different negative effects of not having money but manages to tie them together with his rhetorical strategies. 

The diction of the passage fully relays Hazlitt’s position about money. In every example he gives a negative situation but in most emphasizes the terrible circumstance with strong negative adjectives or verbs. “Rejected,” “contempt,” “disparaged,” “scrutinized,” “irksome,” “deprived,” “assailed” “chagrin;” the endless repetition of such discouragement shows how empathetically Hazlitt believes money is a requisite for a happy life. Even the irony of the last sentences is negative, conveying the utter hopelessness of one without money. Through one may have none in life, pitiless men will proceed to mock one’s circumstances, “at a considerable expense” after death! 

In having as the body of his essay one long sentence, Hazlitt creates a flow that speeds the passage along, hardly giving the reader time to absorb one idea before another is thrown at him. The unceasing flow is synonymous with Hazlitt’s view of the life of a person without money: he will be “jostled” through life, unable to stop and appreciate the beauty around him or to take time for his own leisure. 

The score on this essay was a 6 out of 6. This essay started out very strong as the student had a concrete thesis statement explaining the strategies that Hazlitt used to develop his position on money as well as Hazlitt’s belief on the topic. In the thesis statement, the student points out that adjectives, verbs, hypothetical situations, and images help prove Hazlitt’s point that wanting money can be problematic. 

Next, the student broke down their points into three main subsections related to their thesis. More specifically, the student first discusses word choice of repetition and parallelism. When the student discusses these strategies, they list evidence in the paragraph that can be found chronologically in Hazlitt’s essay. The next paragraph is about diction, and the student used specific adjectives and verbs that support this idea. In the last paragraph, the student emphasized how the speed and flow of the essay helped describe Hazlitt’s viewpoint on life. This last concluding sentence is particularly thoughtful, as it goes beyond the explicit points made in the essay and discusses the style and tone of the writing. 

It is important to remember that in some ways, the rhetorical essay is also an argumentative essay, as the student must prove how certain rhetorical strategies are used and their significance in the essay. The student even discussed the irony of the paragraph, which is not explicit in the passage.

Overall, this student did an excellent job organizing and structuring the essay and did a nice job using evidence to prove their points. 

Now that you’ve learned about the AP Lang rhetorical essay, you may be wondering how your AP scores impact your chances of admission. In fact, your AP scores have relatively little impact on your admissions decision , and your course rigor has much more weight in the application process.

If you’d like to know your chances of admission, be sure to check out our chancing calculator! This tool takes into account your classes, extracurriculars, demographic information, and test scores to understand your chances at admission at over 600 schools. Best of all, it is completely free!

rhetorical analysis essay practice ap lang

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AP® English Language

3 ap® english language rhetorical essay strategies.

  • The Albert Team
  • Last Updated On: March 1, 2022

3_ap_english_language rhetorical essay strategies

The AP® English Language rhetorical essay can be nightmare inducing for some AP® students, but there is no need for fear. In this exam review we will lay out helpful strategies to get you through the rhetorical essays in no time.

Rhetorical Strategy #1: Dissecting the Prompt

The first rhetorical essay strategy is to dissect the prompt. Understanding what the rhetorical essay wants from you is essential. It is important for you to read the prompt carefully for every essay, but critical reading is even more essential to the rhetorical essay. Your rhetorical prompt that you will be given for the AP® English Language exam will contain two elements. The first element is the concrete task that the prompt is asking of you, which is always to analyze the passage that follows. The second part of the prompt is a more abstract task that is not directly asked for in the prompt, but it is implied. By completely understanding both parts of the prompt, you will be able to give a complete essay that will get you to a higher score.

One example of a prompt from an AP® English Language rhetorical essay is this one from the 2008 exam . The prompt reads:

“In the following passage from The Great Influenza, an account of the 1918 flu epidemic, author John M. Barry writes about scientists and their research. Read the passage carefully. Then, in a well-written essay, analyze how Barry uses rhetorical strategies.”

Here you can see the concrete task that the examiners are asking. They want you to analyze the passage for rhetorical strategies; however, you must figure out what you are analyzing the passage for. That is the more abstract concept that you need to dissect the prompt to find. In the case of Barry’s passage you will need to analyze how he uses rhetorical strategies in order to portray scientific research. We know this, because if you look at the prompt, it specifically states what Barry did in his work, which was to write about science and research. That is your abstract task.

Once you have found your concrete task and your abstract task, a great strategy is to write it down to keep you focused throughout your essay . Using the example above this would look like the following:

Analyze how Barry uses rhetorical strategies in order to portray scientific research.

That sentence is what you must follow when writing your essay, and if you successfully keep to this task, then you will move closer to that high score.

Rhetorical Essay Strategy #2: Stick to the Format

This next rhetorical essay strategy is the key to great organization and structure that will put your test anxiety to bed. There is a simple paragraph structure for the body paragraphs of the AP® English Language rhetorical essay that will allow you to think, write, and score higher, faster. You need to begin each body paragraph with an assertion or claim. That is the point that you are trying to make clear to your audience what you will be proving. A great example of this is from the 2006 AP® English Language rhetorical essay. Below is student 2B’s opening sentence for her first body paragraph.

“The diction of the passage fully relays Hazlitt’s position about money ( student 2B ).”

You can see how the student directly asserts what he or she will be proving in this statement. The next step in constructing your body paragraph is to give one to two pieces of textual evidence. Be sure to state why these quotations relate back to your claim, otherwise they will be deemed irrelevant by the examiners. An example of this is the next sentence in student 2B’s body paragraph about diction. Here, the student brings in elements from the text to support his or her claim about Hazlitt using diction.

“’Rejected’, ‘contempt’, ‘disparaged’, ‘scrutinized’, ‘irksome’, ‘deprived’, ‘assailed’, ‘chagrin’; the endless repetition of such discouragement shows just how emphatically Hazlitt money is requisite for happy life (student 2B).”

The final part of this strategy for conquering the body paragraphs of your rhetorical essays is to end those body paragraphs with a thorough analysis. This is the aspect of the exam where you can put your way of looking at the text into your essay.

An example of this is at the end of student 2B’s body paragraph where he or she states, “The irony of the last sentences is negative, conveying the utter hopelessness of one without money. Though one may have none in life, pitiless men will continue to mock one’s circumstances even after death! (student 2B)”

This analysis of the text adds to the textual examples above and continues to bring in new logic from the student.

When this format of a body paragraph is followed, then it is extremely effective. The essay becomes clear, assertive, and easy to follow for the examiners. Follow this rhetorical essay strategy and you are even closer to getting that 5 on the exam.

Rhetorical Essay Strategy #3: LORA

As you are looking at your AP® English Language rhetorical essay prompt and passage it is important to remember the mnemonic device, LORA. LORA stands for Language, Organization, and Rhetorical Appeals. These elements will help you form your argument.

When you read through your passage you want to think about how the author is utilizing language. Is he or she using figurative language effectively? Is there imagery within the passage? Does the diction of the passage make it more rhetorically persuasive? You should not use all of these, but picking one and analyzing it clearly in one paragraph will keep you focused on how the author uses rhetoric, which is the main task of this essay.

An example of this was in the 2006 AP® English Language rhetorical essay. Student 2A begins his or her first body paragraph with, “One of Hazlitt’s most effective methods of promoting the importance of money is his strong diction (student 2A).” This student begins his or her essay with focusing on diction as how the language is used. He or she then goes on to explain why diction betters Hazlitt’s argument, which is exactly what you must do for your own rhetorical essay.

The organization of the author is the next part of your answer to the prompt. You want to look at how the author organized his or her ideas within the passage to support his or her own argument. By pointing out the organization, or structure, of the work and how it adds to the overall persuasiveness, you will bring two of the three most important elements of rhetoric together in your essay.

After organization you need to look at the rhetoric appeals. You may know them by the names logos, pathos, and ethos. It is suggested that you cover as many of these as possible; however, if time does not permit or if the passage uses one more than the other, then you should focus on one appeal.

One example of using pathos in an essay is from student 2A from the 2006 prompt. “Hazlitt plays on the audience’s heartstrings for more than enough time to convince them of the importance of having money (student 2A).” While it would have been better for the student to directly say that this is pathos, he or she does thoroughly explain the appeal to the passions, or pathos.

Key Takeaways

When taking the AP® English Language rhetoric essay you just need to remember these three rhetorical essay strategies: dissect the prompt, follow the format, and always include LORA. If you can follow them, then you are already on your way to a 5 on the AP® English Language exam .

Let’s put everything into practice. Try this AP® English Language practice question:

Rhetorical Considerations AP® English Language Practice Question

Looking for more AP® English Language practice?

Check out our other articles on AP® English Language .

You can also find thousands of practice questions on Albert.io. Albert.io lets you customize your learning experience to target practice where you need the most help. We’ll give you challenging practice questions to help you achieve mastery of AP® English Language.

Start practicing here .

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AP Lang Rhetorical Analysis Essay

AP language exams are held for numerous subjects. Students have to choose a specific subject and get higher scores. The higher the score, the higher the chance of pursuing the best 700 colleges or universities overall in the world, including the United States and Canada.

When it comes to AP English language, it involves a section called rhetorical analysis essay. This is a part of three free-response essays that have to be answered within 2 hours and 15 minutes from the overall 3 hours 15 minutes exam. 

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If you are taking the AP Lang exam this year, guidance on how to answer this part will be useful. This article is specially curated to help you score the best. Read on to learn more about the AP language rhetorical analysis essay and get an idea of how to prepare for the associated exam successfully.

What is the AP Lang Rhetorical Analysis Essay ?

AP elaborated that the Advanced Placement is the exam conducted by the College Board in the United States of America. The exam is generally offered at the high school level and helps students to pursue higher education at the university level. The exam holds two sections: MCQs and Rhetorical Essay. MCQ sections are for 1 hour, and the rest of the time is for the essay section. The free-response essay holds three essays: rhetorical analysis essay, synthesis essay, and argumentative essay. 

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  • The rhetorical analysis essay in the AP Lang exam involves students having to discuss how the authors’ contribution to the passage gives a theme or meaning. 
  • A synthesis essay involves students creating arguments on the passage or piece of information delivered to them.
  • An argumentative essay requires students to pick a side ‘for or against ‘ for an argument or debate.

Since we are here to discuss rhetorical analysis essays in AP language, you must know the essay is added to test students’ ability to analyze and interpret the deeper meaning in the provided passage. Through rhetorical essays, the examiner examines how students connect with the author’s style of writing and syntax within 40 minutes. Some students may face challenges while dealing with this essay because it requires a better understanding of rhetorical strategies and the method to apply them.

Tips to Write a Rhetorical Analysis Essay AP Lang ?

Since a rhetorical essay is quite tricky in comparison to other essays, it requires certain tips for a better approach to answering. Let us explore the method of writing a rhetorical essay for the AP Lang exam that helps you score well.

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  • Outline Essay Prior to Writing

Not only good content but providing a readable structure is an important part of the rhetorical analysis essay AP Lang . First, you must read the passage thoroughly and develop a brief outline or key points before writing the essay. This helps you write with respect to the chronology of the given passage and maintain the flow of writing.

  • Understand Rhetorical Strategies

You aren’t alone in thinking about where to start writing a rhetorical essay. Many students face the same and are required to learn and implement rhetorical strategies. First, understand what rhetoric actually means. It refers to language sensibly chosen and structured for an impressive effect on the audience. This involves persuasive appeal, logical fallacies, and syntax such as anaphora, anthesis, parallelism, and so on. There is a vast range of elements that you can assess in the provided essay and develop a strong grasp with consistent practice.

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  • Make your Essay Well-Structured

Sometimes, students understand the rhetorical strategies but still get confused about where to initiate. It is recommended to start with an introduction that delivers the purpose of your writing. In the last introductory line, you must talk about the rhetorical strategies you will discuss in the piece. However, there are so many styles, syntax, and tones. You must be specific while listing them and then move to develop a body paragraph. 

Now, you have to collect all the rhetorical strategies you mentioned in the introduction to discuss your point of view chronologically. Be specific while discussing strategy, as only the crucial ones among them must be discussed. Never forget to cite the line from the original passage. Your write-up must maintain the flow and should include relativity among the paragraphs. End the rhetorical essay by summarising key points.

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  • Never Forget to Explain your Examples

Do not just state the examples or deliver statements like ‘this is an example of pathos or logos.’ It is advisable to explain the example you have listed in context to the rhetorical elements you have mentioned and how it aids the author in their viewpoint. Stay detailed yet precise while writing the rhetorical analysis essay AP Lang .

AP Lang Rhetorical Analysis Essay Rubric

Did you know that the rhetorical analysis essay AP Lang is graded into three rubric categories? Students must pay heed to the categories, as the examiner seeks specific things in each of them. Also, learn about some dos and don’ts to score well.

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When it comes to grading the thesis of the rhetorical analysis essay AP Lang , there is nothing nebulous. Either you get one point, or you lose one. Thesis points help you get close to higher scores, and thus, you must be mindful of the following points.

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  • Developing an argument states that your interpretation leads to a risk of disagreement. Thus, your thesis statements must be in context with the author’s rhetorical choice. 
  • If you create a phrase in your mind initiating with ‘I think that..’, your phrase should not go in a negative argumentative direction.
  • Never provide a thesis with summaries but not an argument.
  • Try not to provide the thesis with repeated prompts.

Evidence is provided to prove the argumentative context in the thesis. This rubric category is graded from 0 to 4 points. To score higher, you must follow the points below.

  • You must aim to provide multiple types of evidence in your argumentative thesis.
  • Each statement you provide must be backed up with evidence in context to the text or arguments about the author’s theoretical choices.
  • Add more and more evidence, which must be specific.
  • Examine whether your evidence is linked with your overarching argument.
  • Deliver your interpretation and never rely on just quotes or phrases. 
  • Steer clear of generalization for text or author
  • Avoid quotes that speak for themselves. You must elaborate on the evidence you provided.
  • Sophistication

According to The College Board, this category holds 0 to 1 points. The higher grading in rhetorical analysis essays indicates the delivery of the sophistication of thoughts or a complex understanding of rhetorical elements. In this, you have to mainly focus on the number of semicolons you use and not the fancy terms. Here is what you need to follow:

  • Focus on delivering the right connection between the thesis and your evidence.
  • Create a brief framework and then proceed with writing the essay in the right flow to stay precise and clear in your piece.
  • Do not include arguments that you won’t be able to provide evidence for.
  • Ignore complex or fancy words or phrases that are hard to follow.

Ways to Improve Your Rhetorical Analysis Essay AP Lang

Now that you know what a rhetorical analysis essay is and how it is developed, you must be thinking about how tricky it is to understand the passage. Many find themselves in a completely blank position when it comes to where to begin during the exam. They find the rhetorical analysis essay AP Lang quite challenging to deal with and understand the author’s perspective and viewpoint. Practicing rhetorical strategies does not help if you do not have the right approach, which only comes from the field experts and their guidance.  Turito offers a platform where you get mentors to teach you all the concepts and approaches you apply in writing effective rhetorical essays in less time. Their course helps you get higher scores, which you can use to get college admission to your favorite college and country. Hey, you ambitious one, what are you waiting for? Contact us now and give your dreams a flight!

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Rhetorical Analysis: Raising Your Sophistication Score

april 20, 2020

Brandon Wu

Learn how to earn the sophistication point on the AP Lang rhetorical analysis essay. Practice picking the "best" way to earn the sophistication point by analyzing past prompts.

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Your chance of acceptance, your chancing factors, extracurriculars, ap lang rhetorical analysis essay examples.

Hi everyone! I'm looking for some really good examples of rhetorical analysis essays for AP Lang. Would love to see how others have approached this type of essay and learn from them!

Hello! I'm glad you're looking for examples to learn and improve your rhetorical analysis skills. To guide you, I'll point out a few resources and tips that could be helpful.

1. College Board resources: The College Board, which oversees the AP program, provides sample essays and scoring guidelines on their website. You can find past exam questions and sample responses for AP Lang, including rhetorical analysis essays, in their "Free-Response Questions" section. These examples include the grading commentary that explains what makes the essays effective. Here's the link: https://apcentral.collegeboard.org/courses/ap-english-language-and-composition/exam/past-exam-questions

2. Analyzing other AP Lang prompts: It's also useful to look at the rhetorical analysis prompts from past exams and try to analyze them yourself. Practice identifying the rhetorical strategies used and make notes on what you think works well and what could be improved. This will help you understand the process of writing an effective rhetorical analysis.

3. Check the AP Lang subreddit or online forums: The AP Lang subreddit and other online forums can be a great place to find examples of rhetorical analysis essays written by other students. Be sure to read the comments, as they often contain valuable feedback and insight from peers and experienced individuals. Remember, though, to take these examples with a grain of salt, as they may not be as high quality or well vetted as official College Board examples.

4. Get feedback: As you practice writing your own rhetorical analysis essays, try to get feedback from your teacher, classmates, or an experienced individual who is familiar with AP Lang expectations. This will help you refine your writing and understand what areas you need to improve.

When examining samples, focus on understanding how the writer:

- Clearly states their thesis, identifying the rhetorical strategies they'll analyze

- Organizes their essay, often using a chronological or point-by-point structure

- Analyzes specific examples from the text and explains their significance

- Uses effective transitions between points and examples

- Builds a coherent and well-supported argument throughout the essay

By studying examples and practicing your own writing, you'll be well equipped to tackle the AP Lang rhetorical analysis essay. Good luck!

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IMAGES

  1. How to Write the AP Lang Rhetorical Essay

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  2. Ap Lang Rhetorical Analysis Essay Outline

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  3. AP English Lang

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  4. Rhetorical Analysis Thesis Statements

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  5. ⭐ Ap english language and composition rhetorical analysis essay sample

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  6. Ap Lang Rhetorical Analysis Essay Example

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VIDEO

  1. Rhetorical Analysis Overview for AP Lang Students

  2. The Rhetorical Analysis Essay

  3. AP Lang

  4. AP Lang Rhetorical Analysis Rubric

  5. How to Plan a Rhetorical Analysis Unit

  6. Writing Rhetorical Analysis was HARD Until I Did THIS!

COMMENTS

  1. AP English Language and Composition Past Exam Questions

    Download free-response questions from past exams along with scoring guidelines, sample responses from exam takers, and scoring distributions. If you are using assistive technology and need help accessing these PDFs in another format, contact Services for Students with Disabilities at 212-713-8333 or by email at [email protected]. Note ...

  2. How to Write the AP Lang Rhetorical Analysis Essay (With Example)

    The AP Lang Rhetorical Analysis Essay is one of three essays included in the written portion of the AP English Exam. The full AP English Exam is 3 hours and 15 minutes long, with the first 60 minutes dedicated to multiple-choice questions.

  3. AP Lang

    AP Lang Rhetorical Analysis Essay Practice. Rhetorical Analysis practice is one of the most important ways to prepare for the exam! Review student writing practice samples and corresponding feedback from TA Brandon Wu! While you don't need to memorize every rhetorical device for the exam, you should take some time to familiarize yourself with them.

  4. How to Write the AP Lang Rhetorical Essay

    4. Be Sure to Explain Your Examples. As you write the essay, don't just list out your examples and say something like "this is an example of ethos, logos, pathos.". Instead, analyze how the example shows that rhetoric device and how it helps the author further their argument. As you write the rhetorical essay, you'll want to be as ...

  5. AP Lang

    for AP Lang: 12 minutes: Read the text and plan out your essay. (TOBI) 6 minutes: Write your introduction paragraph. 18 minutes: Write 2-3 body paragraphs. 2 minutes: Write a quick conclusion. 2 minutes: Proofread and revise your essay. 🎥 Watch: AP Language - Rhetorical Analysis Organization and Timing.

  6. How to Ace the AP Language Rhetorical Analysis Essay

    In this video, I'll show you how to write the AP English Language rhetorical analysis essay (Q2) step by step using the actual 2017 prompt. Watch me annotate...

  7. AP English Language Exam Practice: Rhetorical Analysis

    Resources you need to improve your Rhetorical Analysis essay on the AP English Language and Composition exam. Includes revelant readings and practice problems. Note: For best results, click to highlight and copy/paste this list into your Fiveable Rooms Task Card to automatically create individual tasks. Jumpstart your studying in 5 seconds!

  8. AP Lang Rhetorical Analysis Review & Practice [video]

    Rhetorical Analysis Review and Practice. march 23, 2020. B. Brandon Wu. 📑 Summary. ⏳ Timestamps. 📚 Resources. 🏽 Exam Skills study guides written by former AP English Lang students to review Exam Skills with detailed explanations and practice questions.

  9. 3 AP® English Language Rhetorical Essay Strategies

    When taking the AP® English Language rhetoric essay you just need to remember these three rhetorical essay strategies: dissect the prompt, follow the format, and always include LORA. If you can follow them, then you are already on your way to a 5 on the AP® English Language exam. Let's put everything into practice.

  10. AP Lang Rhetorical Analysis Essay

    The rhetorical analysis essay can seem a bit challenging at first, but with practice and a solid strategy, you can ace it! Here are some tips for tackling this essay: Start by reading the text carefully and taking notes on the author's use of rhetorical strategies, such as ethos, pathos, and logos. Jot down specific examples and make note of ...

  11. How to master the AP English Language and Composition rhetorical

    5. Use precise, concise language: Clearly articulate your analysis in a direct, concise manner. Use specific language and active verbs when analyzing the author's effectiveness. 6. Practice with past prompts: To get better at rhetorical analysis essays, practice by reviewing past AP exam prompts and analyzing various texts.

  12. AP Lang

    FRQ #2 on Rhetorical Analysis might seem intimidating at first, but once you know your rhetorical devices, do some practice essays, and sleep tight the night before test day, you are going to be more than ready to take on the writing section of the AP Lang exam! ... Question 2: The Rhetorical Analysis FRQ. The AP Lang exam's free-response ...

  13. AP Lang Rhetorical Analysis Essay: Tips & Rubric

    When it comes to AP English language, it involves a section called rhetorical analysis essay. This is a part of three free-response essays that have to be answered within 2 hours and 15 minutes from the overall 3 hours 15 minutes exam. If you are taking the AP Lang exam this year, guidance on how to answer this part will be useful.

  14. PDF AP English Language and Composition

    Do not explain the connections or progression between the student's claims, so a line of reasoning is not clearly established. Typical responses that earn 3 points: Uniformly offer evidence to support claims. Focus on the importance of specific words and details from the passage to build an argument.

  15. AP Lang Analysis Essay

    Sure, I'd be happy to break down the steps for you. The AP Lang analysis essay, also known as the rhetorical analysis essay, requires you to analyze a text (usually a speech or an article) and explain how the author uses various rhetorical strategies to achieve their purpose. Here are the steps you should follow: 1. Read the prompt: Carefully read the given prompt, which will provide you with ...

  16. AP Lang Rhetorical Analysis: Raising Your Sophistication ...

    Rhetorical Analysis: Raising Your Sophistication Score. april 20, 2020. B. Brandon Wu. 📑 Summary. 🏽 Exam Skills study guides written by former AP English Lang students to review Exam Skills with detailed explanations and practice questions.

  17. AP Lang rhetorical analysis essay examples?

    Hello! I'm glad you're looking for examples to learn and improve your rhetorical analysis skills. To guide you, I'll point out a few resources and tips that could be helpful. 1. College Board resources: The College Board, which oversees the AP program, provides sample essays and scoring guidelines on their website. You can find past exam questions and sample responses for AP Lang, including ...