The APUSH long essay is worth 15% of your entire score. To get the coveted 5 on the exam, you’re going to need to write a solid APUSH long essay. Start by reading through the two prompt options, and choose the one you feel more confident in writing about. The prompts fall into 4 categories:
- Patterns of connectivity (argue whether history changed or remained the same)
- Compare and contrast
No matter which type of essay you face, here are 4 steps to help you write a good APUSH long essay.
Focus on Writing a Solid Thesis
Your thesis is the most important part. It’s going to set up the entire essay. It’s also the first thing that the grader is going to see, so start with a strong thesis!
Your introductory paragraph should be about 2-5 sentences in length. Start with a hook before including your thesis. Your thesis should be original. Don’t just copy the question prompt!
Make sure that your thesis contains the following three things:
- Your stance (or answer) to the prompt
- A counterargument to address
- The 3 strongest supporting points for your thesis
Describe and Explain Your Supporting Points
To support your thesis, you need three specific examples. If you’re having a hard time coming up with examples, think about PERSIA: political, economic, religious, social, intellectual, and artistic.
Describe each example as much as possible. Then, don’t forget to reflect back to the thesis. This is the most important part, so spend plenty of time circling back to the thesis for each point.
When writing the body paragraphs, try to connect to events from different time periods, geographical areas, and themes whenever possible. Making connections is especially important when it comes to the rebuttal for your argument.
Synthesis across history is important to show that you have a deep understanding of U.S. history and that you’ve developed the historical thinking skills you need.
Don’t Forget the Conclusion
Some people skip over the conclusion. With only 35 minutes to write a polished essay, they would rather spend time developing the introductory and body paragraphs.
However, if you’ve practiced your timing for the APUSH long essay, you should have a few extra minutes for a conclusion. The conclusion should restate your thesis and strongest points in different words.
You’ve spent the entire school year preparing for your APUSH long essay. You’ve studied the concepts and themes. You have the information that you need to write a 6-worthy essay. Follow these tips as you practice writing APUSH long essays, so you can practice crafting these essays within the 35-minute time period. The more you practice, the better prepared you’ll be to write your essay on exam day.
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About Jamie Goodwin
Jamie graduated from Brigham Young University- Idaho with a degree in English Education. She spent several years teaching and tutoring students at the elementary, high school, and college level. She currently works as a contract writer and curriculum developer for online education courses. In her free time, she enjoys running and spending time with her boys!
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