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For more information, please see full course syllabus of AP English Language & Composition
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Lecture Comments (1)

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Post by Wennie Zhang on March 14, 2014

Is it possible to post an essay response to a prompt from a past exam and get some feedback on it?

AP Essay Section Scoring

  • Holistic Scoring
    • Your essays won’t be graded according to a checklist.
    • Your score reflects the overall quality of your essay, taken as a whole—and it also reflects the reader’s opinion of that quality.
    • ETS table leaders choose real essays from each year’s crop to represent typical essays of each level. They then use these samples to train the readers.
    • A reader will end up re-reading and re-correcting certain essays at random, and every reader will grade some essays that other readers have already graded, to ensure consistency.
  • What the Reader Wants
    • The reader wants an essay that is easy to score.
      • The clearer and more outstanding your writing, the greater the odds that you’ll quickly be given a high score, and then passed on.
    • The reader wants an essay that is interesting.
      • Three-quarters of the essays each reader encounters will be average or worse.
      • A compelling beginning and a strong writing style will earn you a lot of points immediately.
  • Scoring Guide
    • Scores 8-9:
      • A well-written, well-organized essay that clearly addresses the prompt.
      • Uses apt, specific examples.
      • Convincing and well-developed argument.
      • Demonstrates an understanding of the passage and of the techniques of composition.
      • Controls a wide range of elements.
      • Expresses ideas skillfully and clearly.
    • Scores 6-7:
      • Resembles a higher-scoring essay, but is less precise and has less apt support.
      • Has most of the characteristics of higher-scoring essays, but uses them to less effect.
      • 7 essays display fewer mechanical errors and use slightly better specific examples than 6 essays.
    • Score 5:
      • Superficial.
      • On-topic, but misses the complexity of the prompt.
      • Overly generalized treatment of elements such as rhetorical strategies, diction, imagery, point of view.
      • Conveys writer’s thoughts, but is limited, consistent, and uneven in its writing.
      • An average score, and one dreaded by readers.
    • Scores 3-4:
      • Incomplete understanding of the prompt or passage (or both).
      • Oversimplifies or misrepresents discussion.
      • Scanty treatment of rhetorical elements
      • Unsupported statements
      • Marked weaknesses in English mechanics
    • Scores 1-2:
      • Like a 3 or 4, but worse!
      • May completely misunderstand the prompt/passage, or simply summarize instead of analyzing.
      • Incoherent, garbled, or both.
      • Poor organization.
      • Poor English mechanics.
    • Score 0:
      • Fails to address the question, and may only reference its existence.
    • Score “—”:
      • Completely off-topic or no answer.
      • Receives no points.
  • The Two Secrets of Essay Scores
    • Clarity is everything!
      • Clear organization, clear examples, clear prose style
      • You don’t have to be profound if you can be clear.
      • It’s all about level 5.
      • Readers mentally divide essays into “above 5,” “5”, and “below 5”.
      • Above level 5, essays sparkle (at least a little) and the reader can get into what the writer is saying more than how he or she is saying it.
      • If you can understand what you read and write fairly well, your goal should be a 6 or 7 minimum. After that, the tricks to raise your score are more specialized.

AP Essay Section Scoring

Lecture Slides are screen-captured images of important points in the lecture. Students can download and print out these lecture slide images to do practice problems as well as take notes while watching the lecture.

  • Intro 0:00
  • Lesson Overview 0:09
  • Holistic Scoring 0:43
    • Essays Will Not Be Graded According to a Checklist
    • Score Reflects the Overall Quality of Your Essay
    • ETS Table Leaders Choose Real Essays from Each Year's Crop to Represent Typical Essays of Each Level
    • A Reader Will End Up Re-Reading and Re-Correcting Certain Essays at Random
  • What the Reader Wants 2:38
    • Easy to Score Essay
    • Interesting Essay
  • Scoring Guide 4:05
    • Scores 8-9
    • Scores 6-7
    • Scores 5
    • Scores 3-4
    • Scores 1-2
    • Scores 0 and -
  • The Two Secrets of Essay Scores 8:49
    • Clarity is Everything
    • It's All About Level 5