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Lesson Plan: AP Government: Argumentative Essay Practice

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The Federalist Papers

Boston College professor Mary Sarah Bilder gives a brief overview backgrounding the Federalist Papers


This is intended as an end-of-course review activity for practice with the argumentative essay format included on the AP United States Government and Politics exam since the 2018 redesign. Eleven practice prompts are provided, reflecting content from Units 1-3.


  • Review the provided Argumentative Essay Prompts in either an individual or jigsaw format.
  • Write a thesis statement for your selected prompt(s) and identify the selection you would make from the provided list and the second piece of evidence you would choose.
  • If there are prompts for which you struggle to develop a thesis, or items on the bulleted lists with which you are not conversant, use the hyperlinked C-SPAN Classroom resources to extend your understanding of the required founding documents and SCOTUS cases that you found challenging.


  • Chose one or more of the provided Argumentative Essay Prompts , as assigned, and use the planning and exploration you did above to write a full essay in response to your designated prompt(s) in 25 or fewer minutes , since that's the time limit you'll face on the AP Exam!
  • Exchange essays with a classmate and evaluate each others' work.
  • 1st Amendment
  • Branches Of Government
  • Constitution
  • House Of Representatives
  • Separation Of Powers
  • Supreme Court


Find what you need to study

2024 AP US Government & Politics Exam Guide

11 min read • july 12, 2023


Your Guide to the 2024 AP US Government & Politics Exam

We know that studying for your AP exams can be stressful, but Fiveable has your back! We created a study plan to help you crush your AP Government and Politics exam. This guide will continue to update with information about the 2024 exams, as well as helpful resources to help you do your best on test day. Unlock Cram Mode for access to our cram events—students who have successfully passed their AP exams will answer your questions and guide your last-minute studying LIVE! And don't miss out on unlimited access to our database of thousands of practice questions.

Format of the 2024 AP US Gov Exam

Going into test day, this is the format to expect:

📃 55 multiple-choice questions with 80 minutes to complete them.

There will be ~30 individual, stand-alone questions.

All the other questions will be put together into sets. You may be asked to complete a quantitative, qualitative, or visual analysis in these questions.

✍ 4 free-response questions with 100 minutes to complete them. You should devote ~20 minutes to each response.

Question 1 is always a concept application question.

Question 2 is a quantitative analysis question, where you will analyze data and come to a conclusion.

Question 3 is a Supreme Court case comparison essay. You will compare a required court case with a nonrequired one, explaining how they are related.

Lastly, question 4 is an argumentative essay .

👉 Check out the 2023 AP US Government and Politics Free-Response Section posted on the College Board site.

Scoring Rubric for the AP US Government Exam

View an example set of questions and the corresponding scoring guidelines (page 186) from the College Board to get an idea of what they look for in your responses! You can also focus in on the argumentative essay (free response #4) and take a look at that rubric here .

Check out our study plan below to find resources and tools to prepare for your AP US Government exam.

When is the 2024 AP Gov Exam and How do I Take it?

Tests will be taken in person at your school. Here is what we know from College Board so far:

The exam date will be in-person and on paper at your school on Monday, May 6, 2024 at 8 am, your local time.

You have 3 hours to take the exam. We will have more updates from College Board soon, but as of now, this is what we know!

How Should I Prepare for the AP Gov Exam?

First, you need to take stock of your progress in the course so far so that you can build your study plan according to your needs. Download the AP Government and Politics Cheatsheet PDF —a single sheet that covers everything you need to know—so that you can see a map of the entire course and quickly spot the weak areas that you need to focus on.

Then, create your study plan by focusing on your learning styles and areas to improve. Which types of questions do you need to practice more? We've put together the study plan found below to help you study between now and May. This will cover all of the units and essay types to prepare you for your exam. Pay special attention to the units that you need the most improvement in.

Study, practice, and review for test day with other students during our live cram sessions via Cram Mode . Cram live streams will teach, review, and practice important topics from AP courses, college admission tests, and college admission topics. These streams are hosted by experienced students who know what you need to succeed.

Finally, build your study schedule in advance! We highly suggest making your study schedule ahead of time so that you can easily join interactive study sessions such as live streams, voice chats, and study groups.

Pre-Work: Set Up Your Study Environment

Before you begin studying, take some time to get organized.

🖥 Create a study space.

Make sure you have a designated place at home to study. Somewhere you can keep all of your materials, where you can focus on learning, and where you are comfortable. Spend some time prepping the space with everything you need and you can even let others in the family know that this is your study space. 

📚 Organize your study materials.

Get your notebook, textbook, prep books, or whatever other physical materials you have. Also create a space for you to keep track of review. Start a new section in your notebook to take notes or start a Google Doc to keep track of your notes. Get yourself set up!

📅 Plan designated times for studying.

The hardest part about studying from home is sticking to a routine. Decide on one hour every day that you can dedicate to studying. This can be any time of the day, whatever works best for you. Set a timer on your phone for that time and really try to stick to it. The routine will help you stay on track.

🏆 Decide on an accountability plan.

How will you hold yourself accountable to this study plan? You may or may not have a teacher or rules set up to help you stay on track, so you need to set some for yourself. First set your goal. This could be studying for x number of hours or getting through a unit. Then, create a reward for yourself. If you reach your goal, then x. This will help stay focused!

AP US Government & Politics 2024 Study Plan

🏛️ unit 1: foundations of american democracy, big takeaways:.

Unit 1 introduces the concept of democracy and its various forms. The documents that first started the United States are analyzed by looking at the challenges and promises associated with each. The division of power within our government: individual rights vs government authority and state vs federal government powers are at the heart of this unit and discussed within each founding document. 

Definitely do this:

🎥 Watch these videos:

Intro to American Government, models of Representative Democracy : A full review of the types of democracy, the difference between government and politics as well as the functions of government are discussed. 

Foundational Documents Review : A deep dive into the foundational documents you need to know for the exam.

Ratification of the Constitution: Constitutional Convention : A review of the compromises leading to the ratification of the Constitution. 

📰 Check out these articles:

Unit 1 Overview: Foundations of American Democracy 

1.1 Ideals of Democracy  

1.2 Types of Democracy 

1.3 Federalist No. 10 & Brutus 1 Summary 

1.4 Challenges of the Articles of Confederation

1.5 Ratification of the US Constitution

1.6 Principles of American Government

1.7 Relationship Between States and the Federal Government

1.8 Constitutional Interpretations of Federalism

1.9 Federalism in Action 

1.10 Required Founding Documents

✍️ Practice:

Best Quizlet Deck: AP Gov Unit 1 by bryce_s

If you have more time or want to dig deeper:

👻 Check out Too Late to Apologize: An Ode to the Declaration of Independence (YouTube)

Types of Federalism Part 1 - Dual vs Cooperative

Marbury v. Madison, McCulloch v. Maryland and US v. Lopez

The Powers - Expressed, Implied, Concurrent, Denied...

⚖️ Unit 2: Interactions Among Branches of Government

Unit 2 dives into the separation of powers between our three branches of government. It looks at the specific powers of each branch as outlined in the Constitution and how each branch has grown in power through the years. The system of checks and balances and the role each branch plays in holding the other accountable is analyzed. 

Legislative and Judicial Branch Review : This stream provides a review of the legislative and judicial branches including their powers and role within the federal government.

Powers of the Presidency : This stream provides a review of the executive branch including its powers and role within the federal government.

Separation of Powers/Checks and Balances : This video from Crash Course reviews the separation of powers between the three branches of government. It also looks at the ways each branch “checks” the other. 

Unit 2 Overview: Interactions Among Branches of Government

2.1 Congress : The Senate and the House of Representatives

2.2 Structures, Powers, and Functions of Congress

2.3 Congressional Behavior

2.4 Roles and Power of the President

2.5 Checks on the Presidency

2.6 Expansion of Presidential Power

2.7 Presidential Communication

2.8 The Judicial Branch

2.9 Legitimacy of the Judicial Branch

2.10 The Court in Action

2.11 Checks on the Judicial Branch

2.12 The Bureaucracy

2.13 Discretionary and Rule-Making Authority

2.14 Holding the Bureaucracy Accountable

2.15 Policy and the Branches of Government

Best Quizlet Deck: Unit 2 – AP Gov by k8te13

Bill to Law Process

Review and Application of Iron Triangles and Issue Networks

Selection and Nomination of Federal Judges

✊ Unit 3: Civil Liberties and Civil Rights

Unit 3 takes the principles of our government established in Units 1 and 2 to analyze maintaining those principles while balancing liberty and order. The role of the Bill of Rights and the 14th amendment in guaranteeing civil rights and liberties for all citizens is at the heart of this unit.  

First and Second Amendments : This stream looks at what the first and second amendments say, how they have been interpreted and some of the major Supreme Court cases around them.

Civil Liberties and Civil Rights : This video from crash course provides a review of the civil liberties and civil rights guaranteed to US citizens. It also looks at the way the Bill of Rights has been interpreted since its inception in relation to liberties and rights.

The 14th Amendment : This stream breaks down the 14th amendment and many of the key terms associated with it: due process, equal protection, incorporation, citizenship, and privileges or immunities clause. 

Required Supreme Court Cases from 1st-10th Amendments : This stream reviews Supreme Court cases about the 1st-10th Amendments and how they protect civil liberties today!

Unit 3 Overview: Civil Liberties and Civil Rights

3.1 The Bill of Rights

3.2 First Amendment: Freedom of Religion

3.3 First Amendment: Freedom of Speech

3.4 First Amendment: Freedom of the Press

3.5 Second Amendment: Rights to Bear Arms

3.6 Amendments: Balancing Individual Freedom with Public Order and Safety

3.7 Selective Incorporation & the 14th Amendment

3.8 Amendments: Due Process and the Rights of the Accused

3.9 Amendments: Due Process and the Right to Privacy

3.10 Social Movements and Equal Protection

3.11 Government Responses to Social Movements

3.12 Balancing Minority and Majority Rights

3.13 Affirmative Action

Best Quizlet Deck: AP Gov – Civil Liberties and Rights by Sandy_Midgley

📜 Check out Bill of Rights and Bill of Rights (YouTube)

Civil Liberties and Civil Rights (Fiveable stream)

🐘Unit 4: American Political Ideologies and Beliefs

Unit 4 focuses on political ideology - the idea that there are different and consistent patterns of beliefs about political values and the role of government within the context that we live in. This unit will discuss the different American ideologies and how major parties influence them.

Political Socialization and Political Ideology : This stream discusses what influences people's political views and a few different dominant political ideologies.

Political Parties and Their Platforms : This stream dives into the major beliefs and ideologies of the Republican and Democratic party platforms, the history of political parties, their impact on voters and the government, and third parties were also discussed.

Economic Ideology - Keynesian vs Supply Side : In this stream we dived into fiscal economic theory and policy, looking at the liberal take on Keynesian theory and the conservative look at supply-side theory. 

Unit 4 Overview: American Political Ideologies and Beliefs

4.1 American Attitudes about Government and Politics

4.2 Political Socialization

4.4 Influence of Political Events on Ideology

4.5 Measuring Public Opinion

4.6 Evaluating Public Opinion Data

4.7 Ideologies of Political Parties

4.8 Ideology and Policy Making

4.9 Ideology and Economic Policy

4.10 Ideology and Social Policy

Best Quizlet Deck: AP GOV Unit 4 by MARGARET_CYLKOWSKI

A Review of Public Policy (Social Policy)

A Review of Public Policy (Economic Policy)

Social Security, Healthcare, and Education Policy

🗳Unit 5: Political Participation

This unit focuses on how we, citizens, can participate in politics as well as how the media, finance and other factors play a part in our government and policy-making. 

Voting and Voter Behavior : Who votes and why do they vote? This stream answers these questions and explains the process of voting in the US in this stream.

Campaign Finance : Campaign finance isn't as scary as you think! This stream looks at the Federal Elections Campaign Act, hard vs soft money, Buckley vs Valeo, Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act, Citizens United vs FEC, 501(c)s, and more!

Media Ownership and Bias :  This steam discusses the growing concentration of media companies and how bias in media affects both policy-making and public interest.

Critical Elections: Realignments and Dealignment : Often, students are confused on the differences between a party realignment and dealignment. This stream covers those around the five critical elections in US history. 

Unit 5 Overview: Political Participation

5.1 Voting Rights and Models of Voting Behaviour

5.2 Voter Turnout

5.3 Political Parties

5.4 How and Why Political Parties Change

5.5 Third-Party Politics

5.6 Interest Groups Influencing Policy Making

5.7 Groups Influencing Policy Outcomes

5.8 Electing a President

5.9 Congressional Elections

5.10 Modern Campaigns

5.11 Campaign Finance

5.12 The Media

5.13 Changing Media

Best Quizlet Deck: AP Government - Political Participation by Carpenter-Economics

🧐AP US Government - Multiple Choice Questions (MCQ)

AP US Government Multiple Choice Questions

AP US Government Multiple Choice Help (MCQ)

🏛️AP US Government - Free Response Questions (FRQ)

Breaking Down the Supreme Court Case Comparison Essay : This stream discusses how exactly to write the Supreme Court Case Comparison Essay, FRQ #3, on the AP Gov exam! We talked about the elements of a good response, and wrote one ourselves!

Writing Workshop on the Argumentative Essay : This stream explores the Argumentative Essay, looking at the rubric and then using the remainder of the time to practice our skills. 

AP US Government Free Response Help - FRQs

FRQ: Conceptual Analysis

FRQ: SCOTUS Application

AP Gov FRQ: Argument Essay Review (2020)

AP Gov FRQ: Quantitative Analysis Review (2020)

AP Gov SAQ Practice Prompt Answers & Feedback

AP GoPo Free Response Questions (FRQ) – Past Prompts

AP Gov Federalism Practice Prompt Answers & Feedback


Stay Connected

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argumentative essay ap gov prompts

Sample Prompts for the Argument Essay FRQ- AP government

argumentative essay ap gov prompts

Below are 16 topics, each of which includes:

  • A sample essential question which introduces the prompt
  • A draft prompt including three founding documents that could help shape the students’ arguments.

Each prompt is crafted to encourage deep analysis and aligns with key AP Government concepts, ensuring your students are well-prepared for exam success.

AP Government Argument Essay Samples

  • NEW ! Media censorship: Should the government play an active role in the censorship of social media?  
  • Independent judiciary:   Is an independent judiciary a threat to or a savior for democracy?  
  • Congressional roles:   Does the delegate or trustee model of Congressional representation best serve the needs of the people as the Framers intended?  
  • Federalism in the Age of Coronavirus:  Should the federal government or the states be most responsible for responding to the Coronavirus outbreak?  
  • Political Parties:  Do political parties hinder or promote democracy?  
  • Congressional oversight :  Is congressional oversight healthy or unhealthy for our system of government?
  • Interest groups: Do interest groups hinder or promote democracy? 
  • Civil Rights:  Should the federal government have power over states in the shaping of civil rights policies?
  • Citizen participation: Does citizen participation really matter? 
  • Photo IDs and federalism:   Do states have the authority to pass photo identification laws which restrict people’s ability to vote?  
  • Presidential power:   Do executive orders give the president too much power?      
  • Gridlock:   Is gridlock healthy or unhealthy for our system of government?
  • Term limits:   Do congressional term limits violate or honor popular sovereignty?
  • Primaries and caucuses: Is the presidential nominating process democratic? 
  • Social Media :  Is social media a healthy way for citizens to participate in our political system?  
  • Electoral College:   Should the electoral college be abolished?
  • Representative versus direct democracy: Which is a better vehicle to serve citizen needs– a representative or direct democracy?  

Enhance Your Classroom Experience! You understand the challenges of keeping students engaged and preparing them for the AP exam. Our carefully curated essay prompts are designed to align with AP standards, fostering critical thinking and discussion in your classroom. Get ready to inspire your students with materials that cater to the dynamic world of government and politics.

For more resources for AP government, visit HERE

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How to Write the AP Lang Argument Essay + Examples

What’s covered:, what is the ap language argument essay, tips for writing the ap language argument essay, ap english language argument essay examples, how will ap scores impact my college chances.

In 2023, over 550,148 students across the U.S. took the AP English Language and Composition Exam, and 65.2% scored higher than a 3. The AP English Language Exam tests your ability to analyze a piece of writing, synthesize information, write a rhetorical essay, and create a cohesive argument. In this post, we’ll be discussing the best way to approach the argumentative essay section of the test, and we’ll give you tips and tricks so you can write a great essay.

The AP English Language Exam as of 2023 is structured as follows:

Section 1: 45 multiple choice questions to be completed in an hour. This portion counts for 45% of your score. This section requires students to analyze a piece of literature. The questions ask about its content and/or what could be edited within the passage.

Section 2: Three free response questions to be completed in the remaining two hours and 15 minutes. This section counts for 55% of your score. These essay questions include the synthesis essay, the rhetorical essay, and the argumentative essay.

  • Synthesis essay: Read 6-7 sources and create an argument using at least three of the sources.
  • Rhetorical analysis essay: Describe how a piece of writing evokes meaning and symbolism.
  • Argumentative essay: Pick a side of a debate and create an argument based on evidence. In this essay, you should develop a logical argument in support of or against the given statement and provide ample evidence that supports your conclusion. Typically, a five paragraph format is great for this type of writing. This essay is scored holistically from 1 to 9 points.

Do you want more information on the structure of the full exam? Take a look at our in-depth overview of the AP Language and Composition Exam .

Although the AP Language Argument may seem daunting at first, once you understand how the essay should be structured, it will be a lot easier to create cohesive arguments.

Below are some tips to help you as you write the essay.

1. Organize your essay before writing

Instead of jumping right into your essay, plan out what you will say beforehand. It’s easiest to make a list of your arguments and write out what facts or evidence you will use to support each argument. In your outline, you can determine the best order for your arguments, especially if they build on each other or are chronological. Having a well-organized essay is crucial for success.

2. Pick one side of the argument, but acknowledge the other side

When you write the essay, it’s best if you pick one side of the debate and stick with it for the entire essay. All your evidence should be in support of that one side. However, in your introductory paragraph, as you introduce the debate, be sure to mention any merit the arguments of the other side has. This can make the essay a bit more nuanced and show that you did consider both sides before determining which one was better. Often, acknowledging another viewpoint then refuting it can make your essay stronger.

3. Provide evidence to support your claims

The AP readers will be looking for examples and evidence to support your argument. This doesn’t mean that you need to memorize a bunch of random facts before the exam. This just means that you should be able to provide concrete examples in support of your argument.

For example, if the essay topic is about whether the role of the media in society has been detrimental or not, and you argue that it has been, you may talk about the phenomenon of “fake news” during the 2016 presidential election.

AP readers are not looking for perfect examples, but they are looking to see if you can provide enough evidence to back your claim and make it easily understood.

4. Create a strong thesis statement

The thesis statement will set up your entire essay, so it’s important that it is focused and specific, and that it allows for the reader to understand your body paragraphs. Make sure your thesis statement is the very last sentence of your introductory paragraph. In this sentence, list out the key points you will be making in the essay in the same order that you will be writing them. Each new point you mention in your thesis should start a paragraph in your essay.

Below is a prompt and sample student essay from the May 2019 exam . We’ll look at what the student did well in their writing and where they could improve.

Prompt: “The term “overrated” is often used to diminish concepts, places, roles, etc. that the speaker believes do not deserve the prestige they commonly enjoy; for example, many writers have argued that success is overrated, a character in a novel by Anthony Burgess famously describes Rome as a “vastly overrated city,” and Queen Rania of Jordan herself has asserted that “[b]eing queen is overrated.”

Select a concept, place, role, etc. to which you believe that the term “overrated” should be applied. Then, write a well-developed essay in which you explain your judgment. Use appropriate evidence from your reading, experience, or observations to support your argument.

Sample Student Essay #1:

[1] Competition is “overrated.” The notion of motivation between peers has evolved into a source of unnecessary stress and even lack of morals. Whether it be in an academic environment or in the industry, this new idea of competition is harmful to those competing and those around them.

[2] Back in elementary school, competition was rather friendly. It could have been who could do the most pushups or who could get the most imaginary points in a classroom for a prize. If you couldn’t do the most pushups or win that smelly sticker, you would go home and improve yourself – there would be no strong feelings towards anyone, you would just focus on making yourself a better version of yourself. Then as high school rolled around, suddenly applying for college doesn’t seem so far away –GPA seems to be that one stat that defines you – extracurriculars seem to shape you – test scores seem to categorize you. Sleepless nights, studying for the next day’s exam, seem to become more and more frequent. Floating duck syndrome seems to surround you (FDS is where a competitive student pretends to not work hard but is furiously studying beneath the surface just like how a duck furiously kicks to stay afloat). All of your competitors appear to hope you fail – but in the end what do you and your competitor’s gain? Getting one extra point on the test? Does that self-satisfaction compensate for the tremendous amounts of acquired stress? This new type of “competition” is overrated – it serves nothing except a never-ending source of anxiety and seeks to weaken friendships and solidarity as a whole in the school setting.

[3] A similar idea of “competition” can be applied to business. On the most fundamental level, competition serves to be a beneficial regulator of prices and business models for both the business themselves and consumers. However, as businesses grew increasingly greedy and desperate, companies resorted to immoral tactics that only hurt their reputations and consumers as a whole. Whether it be McDonald’s coupons that force you to buy more food or tech companies like Apple intentionally slowing down your iPhone after 3 years to force you to upgrade to the newest device, consumers suffer and in turn speak down upon these companies. Similar to the evolved form of competition in school, this overrated form causes pain for all parties and has since diverged from the encouraging nature that the principle of competition was “founded” on.

The AP score for this essay was a 4/6, meaning that it captured the main purpose of the essay but there were still substantial parts missing. In this essay, the writer did a good job organizing the sections and making sure that their writing was in order according to the thesis statement. The essay first discusses how competition is harmful in elementary school and then discusses this topic in the context of business. This follows the chronological order of somebody’s life and flows nicely.

The arguments in this essay are problematic, as they do not provide enough examples of how exactly competition is overrated. The essay discusses the context in which competition is overrated but does not go far enough in explaining how this connects to the prompt.

In the first example, school stress is used to explain how competition manifests. This is a good starting point, but it does not talk about why competition is overrated; it simply mentions that competition can be unhealthy. The last sentence of that paragraph is the main point of the argument and should be expanded to discuss how the anxiety of school is overrated later on in life. 

In the second example, the writer discusses how competition can lead to harmful business practices, but again, this doesn’t reflect the reason this would be overrated. Is competition really overrated because Apple and McDonald’s force you to buy new products? This example could’ve been taken one step farther. Instead of explaining why business structures—such as monopolies—harm competition, the author should discuss how those particular structures are overrated.

Additionally, the examples the writer used lack detail. A stronger essay would’ve provided more in-depth examples. This essay seemed to mention examples only in passing without using them to defend the argument.

It should also be noted that the structure of the essay is incomplete. The introduction only has a thesis statement and no additional context. Also, there is no conclusion paragraph that sums up the essay. These missing components result in a 4/6.

Now let’s go through the prompt for a sample essay from the May 2022 exam . The prompt is as follows:

Colin Powell, a four-star general and former United States Secretary of State, wrote in his 1995 autobiography: “[W]e do not have the luxury of collecting information indefinitely. At some point, before we can have every possible fact in hand, we have to decide. The key is not to make quick decisions, but to make timely decisions.”

Write an essay that argues your position on the extent to which Powell’s claim about making decisions is valid. 

In your response you should do the following:

  • Respond to the prompt with a thesis that presents a defensible position. 
  • Provide evidence to support your line of reasoning. 
  • Explain how the evidence supports your line of reasoning. 
  • Use appropriate grammar and punctuation in communicating your argument.

Sample Student Essay #2:

Colin Powell, who was a four star general and a former United States Secretary of State. He wrote an autobiography and had made a claim about making decisions. In my personal opinion, Powell’s claim is true to full extent and shows an extremely valuable piece of advice that we do not consider when we make decisions.

Powell stated, “before we can have every possible fact in hand we have to decide…. but to make it a timely decision” (1995). With this statement Powell is telling the audience of his autobiography that it does not necessarily matter how many facts you have, and how many things you know. Being able to have access to everything possible takes a great amount of time and we don’t always have all of the time in the world. A decision has to be made with what you know, waiting for something else to come in while trying to make a decision whether that other fact is good or bad you already have a good amount of things that you know. Everyone’s time is valuable, including yours. At the end of the day the decision will have to be made and that is why it should be made in a “timely” manner.

This response was graded for a score of 2/6. Let’s break down the score to smaller points that signify where the student fell short.

The thesis in this essay is clearly outlined at the end of the first paragraph. The student states their agreement with Powell’s claim and frames the rest of their essay around this stance. The success in scoring here lies in the clear communication of the thesis and the direction the argument will take. It’s important to make the thesis statement concise, specific, and arguable, which the student has successfully done.

While the student did attempt to provide evidence to support their thesis, it’s clear that their explanation lacks specific detail and substance. They referenced Powell’s statement, but did not delve into how this statement has proven true in specific instances, and did not provide examples that could bring the argument to life.

Commentary is an essential part of this section’s score. It means explaining the significance of the evidence and connecting it back to the thesis. Unfortunately, the student’s commentary here is too vague and does not effectively elaborate on how the evidence supports their argument.

To improve, the student could use more concrete examples to demonstrate their point and discuss how each piece of evidence supports their thesis. For instance, they could discuss specific moments in Powell’s career where making a timely decision was more valuable than waiting for all possible facts. This would help illustrate the argument in a more engaging, understandable way.

A high score in the “sophistication” category of the grading rubric is given for demonstrating a complex understanding of the rhetorical situation (purpose, audience, context, etc.), making effective rhetorical choices, or establishing a line of reasoning. Here, the student’s response lacks complexity and sophistication. They’ve simply agreed with Powell’s claim and made a few general statements without providing a deeper analysis or effectively considering the rhetorical situation.

To increase sophistication, the student could explore possible counterarguments or complexities within Powell’s claim. They could discuss potential drawbacks of making decisions without all possible facts, or examine situations where timely decisions might not yield the best results. By acknowledging and refuting these potential counterarguments, they could add more depth to their analysis and showcase their understanding of the complexities involved in decision-making.

The student could also analyze why Powell, given his background and experiences, might have come to such a conclusion, thus providing more context and showing an understanding of the rhetorical situation.

Remember, sophistication in argumentation isn’t about using fancy words or complicated sentences. It’s about showing that you understand the complexity of the issue at hand and that you’re able to make thoughtful, nuanced arguments. Sophistication shows that you can think critically about the topic and make connections that aren’t immediately obvious.

Now that you’ve looked at an example essay and some tips for the argumentative essay, you know how to better prepare for the AP English Language and Composition Exam.

While your AP scores don’t usually impact your admissions chances , colleges do care a lot about your course rigor. So, taking as many APs as you can will certainly boost your chances! AP scores can be a way for high-performing students to set themselves apart, particularly when applying to prestigious universities. Through the process of self-reporting scores , you can show your hard work and intelligence to admissions counselors.

That said, the main benefit of scoring high on AP exams comes once you land at your dream school, as high scores can allow you to “test out” of entry-level requirements, often called GE requirements or distribution requirements. This will save you time and money.

To understand how your course rigor stacks up, check out CollegeVine’s free chancing engine . This resource takes your course rigor, test scores, extracurriculars, and more, to determine your chances of getting into over 1600 colleges across the country!

Related CollegeVine Blog Posts

argumentative essay ap gov prompts

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  1. Argumentative Essay

    argumentative essay ap gov prompts

  2. Argumentative Essay Prompts

    argumentative essay ap gov prompts

  3. AP Government Argument FRQ 1

    argumentative essay ap gov prompts

  4. Argumentative Essay Writing Prompts: Text Based Topics With Grading Rubric

    argumentative essay ap gov prompts

  5. Argumentative Essay: Debate in 5 paragraphs with example

    argumentative essay ap gov prompts

  6. AP Comp Gov

    argumentative essay ap gov prompts


  1. FOUR (Possible) Topics for the Argumentative Essay (AP Gov Exam)

  2. Argumentative Writing

  3. How to get a 5 on your AP lang argumentative essay

  4. Dissecting Writing Prompts & Rubrics

  5. How to write an Argumentative Essay

  6. Government Contracting: Find Subcontractors In Minutes


  1. AP U.S. Government and Politics Exam Questions

    Note: Some questions and scoring guidelines from the 2023 and earlier AP U.S. Government and Politics Exams may not perfectly align with the course and exam updates that take effect in the 2023-24 school year. These questions remain available because teachers say that imperfectly aligned questions still provide instructional value.

  2. AP U.S. Government and Politics: Argument Essay

    Step 1: Analyze the Prompt. The Argument Essay question format is relatively straightforward, and the language will largely be the same for all Argument Essay prompts except for two parts: the topic and the short list of relevant foundational documents. With this in mind, analyzing the prompt for this question type is easy!

  3. AP Gov FRQ: Argument Essay Review (2020)

    If you're in APCompGov, you have an hour and 30 minutes It's important to use your time effectively because the FRQ section is worth half of your score. Because of that, you should spend around 25 minutes, give or take a few, on the Argument Free-Response Question. (NOTE: FOR THE 2019-2020 TEST, YOU WILL HAVE 25 MINUTES TO WRITE AND 5 MINUTES ...

  4. PDF AP United States Government and Politics

    Question 4: Argument Essay 6 points . Reporting Category Scoring Criteria . Row A Claim/Thesis (0-1 points) 0 points . Does not meet the criteria for one point. 1 point . Responds to the prompt with a defensible claim or thesis that reasoning. Decision Rules and Scoring Notes . Responses that do not earn this point: • Only restate the prompt.

  5. AP Gov Free Response Questions (FRQ)

    Overview. We've compiled a sortable list of a bunch of the AP US Government & Politics past prompts! The AP Gov essays (or all written portions) are 50% of the exam including short-answer questions (SAQs) and an Argument Essay. It's important that you understand the rubrics and question styles going into the exam. Use this list to practice!

  6. AP Government: Argumentative Essay Practice

    Chose one or more of the provided Argumentative Essay Prompts, as assigned, and use the planning and exploration you did above to write a full essay in response to your designated prompt (s) in 25 ...

  7. AP US Government & Politics Exam Guide

    AP Gov FRQ: Argument Essay Review (2020) AP Gov FRQ: Quantitative Analysis Review (2020) ️ Practice: AP Gov SAQ Practice Prompt Answers & Feedback. AP GoPo Free Response Questions (FRQ) - Past Prompts. AP Gov Federalism Practice Prompt Answers & Feedback.

  8. 19 AP Government Argumentative Essays Flashcards

    The expanded powers of the national government benefit policymaking because they can create uniform policies that apply to all the states. - Articles of Confederation: weak national, all states had to agree, almost impossible to amend. - Federalist 10: Factions threaten small republics, strong national prevents singular faction domination.

  9. PDF AP United States Government and Politics

    Explain why changes in entitlement spending make balancing the federal budget difficult. Explain how deficit spending affects the projected trend in net interest. 4. The balance of power between the United States national government and state governments is shaped by the Constitution and Supreme Court rulings.

  10. How to Write the ARGUMENTATIVE ESSAY FRQ for AP Gov

    More from Heimler's History:AP HEIMLER REVIEW GUIDE (formerly known as the Ultimate Review Packet): +AP Gov Heimler Review Guide:

  11. PDF AP United States Government and Politics

    AP United States Government and Politics Sample Student Responses ... • Respond to the prompt rather than restating or rephrasing the prompt and ... an argumentative essay, demonstrating each of the skills mentioned above. Sample: 4A Score: 6 Claim/Thesis: 1 Evidence: 3

  12. AP US Government and Politics Free Response Strategies

    For the fourth type of FRQ, the Argument Essay, you will need to write a longer essay with a central argument or thesis state- ment. With this in mind, you should aim to spend 20 minutes each on the Concept Application, Quantitative Analysis, and SCOTUS Comparison prompts and 40 minutes on the Argument Essay prompt.

  13. Sample Prompts for the Argument Essay FRQ- AP government

    Sample Prompts for the Argument Essay FRQ- AP government. Below are 16 topics, each of which includes: A sample essential question which introduces the prompt. A draft prompt including three founding documents that could help shape the students' arguments. Each prompt is crafted to encourage deep analysis and aligns with key AP Government ...


    Articulates a defensible claim or thesis that responds to the prompt and establishes a line of reasoning. To earn this point, the thesis must make a claim that responds to the prompt, rather than merely restating or rephrasing the prompt. The thesis may be located anywhere in the response and this point can be earned even if the claim is not ...

  15. AP Gov

    AP Gov - Unit 2 Essay Prompts. Thoroughly illustrate the structure of Congress, including significant differences between the chambers regarding organization, leadership, incumbency, and powers. Click the card to flip 👆. House of Representatives: 435 members. Elected for 2-year terms. Districts of equal size by population.

  16. Unit 4 Argumentative Essay Topics AP GOV Flashcards

    a belief that government can and should achieve justice and equality of opportunity. Libertarian. typology used to describe a political position that advocates small government and lots of freedom. Brutus 1. argued that federal power was bad and that the Constitution gives too much power to the federal government.

  17. How to Write the AP Lang Argument Essay + Examples

    2. Pick one side of the argument, but acknowledge the other side. When you write the essay, it's best if you pick one side of the debate and stick with it for the entire essay. All your evidence should be in support of that one side. However, in your introductory paragraph, as you introduce the debate, be sure to mention any merit the ...

  18. PDF AP Language Argument Prompts (some adaptions)

    Asher AP ELAC Past AP Language ARGUMENT Prompts (some adaptations) 2012 Consider the distinct perspective expressed in the following statements: "If you develop the absolute sense of certainty that powerful beliefs provide, then you can get yourself to accomplish virtually anything, including those things that other people are certain are impossible." (William Phelps )

  19. PDF 2020 Exam Sample Questions

    Sample Question 1 (Argument Essay) (Adapted from: 2019 AP® U.S. Government and Politics Question 4) Allotted time: 25 minutes (plus 5 minutes to submit) The United States Constitution establishes a federal system of government. Under federalism, policymaking is shared between national and state governments.

  20. Mastering the Art of Argumentative Essays: A ...

    Additionally, the article explores diverse topics for argumentative essays across technology, health, government, and education, encouraging students to engage with contemporary issues. Each section provides examples of specific subjects for debate, such as the impact of social media on youth, the ethics of artificial intelligence, the ...

  21. Welcome to the Purdue Online Writing Lab

    The Online Writing Lab at Purdue University houses writing resources and instructional material, and we provide these as a free service of the Writing Lab at Purdue.