APUSH LEQ Writing Guide - Ms. Torre's History Website
APUSH LEQ Writing Guide Writing the LEQ Remember that the LEQ is an analysis essay, not a textbook-like report. Do not just tell about the topic examine it, relate the information to a thesis, and use your information to support your sub-theses. Format LEQ How many essays? 1you choose between 2 Are there documents? No Point value 0-6 points Prompt type Will ask you to complete task (see list) using a historical thinking skill May ask you to support, modify, or refute a statement. Relevant thesis statement that addresses all parts of the question Elements you must Support of thesis with specific evidence/examples from your include (also see rubric) background knowledge Apply historical thinking skills as directed by the question Synthesize these elements into a persuasive essay that either connects
it to a different historical context, another category of analysis, or addresses the other side of the argument (extends) Writing an excellent thesis statement (it takes practice!) The LEQ is a thesis-based response that is related to a prompt that requires students to take a stand on an issue and then present enough factual information in the context of their essay that proves their thesis. The thesis statement: what is it? A thesis is simply a historically defensible argument or a stand you take on a particular topic. It should not resemble a sentence from a textbook, but rather explain your point of view and why it matters. The Rules USE THE LANGUAGE OF THE PROMPT Dont restate the question, just make sure to use the important vocabulary. Itll keep you on target. ANSWER ALL PARTS OF THE QUESTION Some topics are naturally easier or more interesting to you. You need to do all of them, especially the ones you dont want to. THIS IS THE SIZZLE, THE MAIN BODY IS THE STEAK You want to be specifically general; tell the reader what youll be talking about, but dont give away too much. Some Parts of the Thesis The Qualification Is what you say always true always? Are there exceptions? Are there good reasons why your position may have a downside? How can you make your position have a reality check? What general reasons why your position may have problems can you admit up front? To make absolute statements usually causes your essays thesis to seem foolishly simplistic. Heres a trick: begin your qualification with a word
like although or despite. Dont worry if its not a complete sentence. EXAMPLE: "Despite its work relief elements and large government programs," The Reason In general why do you believe your position to be correct in spite of your qualification? What is the over all good to be gained by agreeing with your position? This is a general statement; your three specific reasons will follow in the body of your essay. EXAMPLE: "because its main programs attempted to create a stable environment for private enterprise." Put them all together. In one or two sentences, present your thesis, including a qualification, a reason, and a position. The classic, traditional way of combining is to first present your qualification. This immediately demonstrates your interest in accuracy. Then present your general reason which demonstrates your thinking process, and finally the punch line--your position. EXAMPLE: "Despite its work relief elements and large government programs,the New Deal is best understood as a defense of American capitalism because its main programs attempted to create a stable environment for private enterprise." Addressing and Understanding the Prompt Students often do worse than they should in examinations or when writing assignments, not because their writing skills are weak or because their knowledge of the subject matter is insufficient, but because they have not fully understood what they have been asked to do. To score high marks in an examination or an assignment, it is important to fully understand what a question or brief means and how it should be answered. Key words tell you the approach you should take when answering an essay question. There are three types of key words:
Task words: Tell you what you have to do; the action you need to perform Content words: Tell you what the topic area is and what you should write about Limiting words: Limit and focus the essay, making it workable Example essay question: Computers have had a significant impact on education in the 20th century. Discuss the changes they have made. Task word: DISCUSS Content word: education, computers Limiting word: changes, significant impact, 20th century 1. Focus on what the prompt is asking you to do. Commonly used task words/verbs in writing prompts and how to approach them. Analyze Explain how AND why something occurred by examining the component parts (social, political, economic) and their relationship
with one another. Analyze the major technological changes that took place in America from 1870 to 1900 and describe what significant social ramifications they had. Any question that uses how and/or why is an analysis question even if the word analyze is not in the prompt. Assess the validity How true is the statement? Pay attention to positive, negative, and disputable aspects, citing the judgment of known authorities and your own. Assess the validity of the following statement: Thomas Jeffersons political philosophy can best be described as revolutionary. You must take a stance herehow true is the statement and why? Evaluate
Which factor was most important? You usually need to rank several events or factors and specify which is most and which is least significant. To what extent This prompt frequently requires you to specify a cause and effect relationship and then state which causes were more important. Or, indicate the criteria on which you base your judgment and cite specific instance of how it applies in this case. (See prompt below) Discuss or Consider These are frequently used in free response prompts. They should be written as analysis essays. Examine key points and possible interpretations, giving reasons for and against the case. Draw a final conclusion. Discuss the extent to which nineteenth-century Transcendentalism was or was not a conservative cultural and intellectual movement.
Compare/ Contrast Identify the characteristics or qualities of two or more things, comparing Compare the religious revival of the First Great what they have in common (compare) and differences (contrast). Awakening to that of the Second. Explain Contrast the Federalist and Antifederalist arguments for or against the ratification of the new Federal Constitution. Tell how things work or how they came to be, including descriptions or Explain how economic, political, and religious factors analysis. This must have DETAIL to give it meaning. promoted European explorations from 1450 to 1525. Step 2: What Historical Thinking Skill is being tested? Causation - The ability to identify, analyze, and evaluate relationships among multiple historical causes and effects, distinguishing between those that are long-term and proximate. Continuity and Change Over Time - The ability to recognize, analyze, and evaluate the dynamics of historical continuity AND change over periods of time of varying lengths, as well
as the ability to relate these patterns to larger historical processes or themes. Comparison - Describe, compare, evaluate historical developments and processes across place, time, and/or societies or within one society. Periodization - Explain ways that historical events and processes can be organized within blocks of time identifying turning points that begin and end periods. GO LOOK AT THE RUBRIC!!!! Step 3: Create an LEQ Outline After you are clear as to your task (analyze, evaluate, etc.) sketch out a quick, informal outline of how you are going to proceed. This is very important to guaranteeing that you cover the whole prompt. Paragraph 1: Introduction Takes a stand sets time, place, and context thesis statement with three categories Paragraph 2: Topic sentence introduces your first category using the action verb(s) from the prompt. Use specific evidence to support your category Connect evidence used back to the prompt using the Historical Thinking Skill asked for Paragraph 3: Topic sentence introduces your second category using the action verb(s) from the prompt. Use specific evidence to support your category Connect evidence used back to the prompt using the Historical Thinking Skill asked for Paragraph 4:
Topic sentence introduces your third category using the action verb(s) from the prompt. Use specific evidence to support your category Connect evidence used back to the prompt using the Historical Thinking Skill asked for No, LEQ Q, not a leg. Get back to work. Paragraph 5: Synthesis/Conclusion Extend the argument by explaining the connections between the argument and ONE of the following: A development in a different historical period, situation, era, or geographical area. Step 4: Some quick notes on writing GOOD historical essays 1. In no circumstance should your history essay have fluff in it. 2. Do not bullet or use contractions. This detracts from the sophistication of the analysis. 3. Avoid general statements at the beginning of sentences; for example: this, they, them, he, they. Identify what or who you are discussing, as it makes your essay more clear and sophisticated. Consider as well if you can combine two sentences to make it a more analytical statement. 4. In reference to the United States: do not say, our country or we (in talking about Americans). Say instead, The United States, America, or Americans where appropriate. Do not use pronouns. 5. Make sure you address the entire scope of the question. Many students just address half of the
question. 6. If the question has a chronological aspect to it (many do), address the essay somewhat chronologically (for example, an essay about 1763-1781 should follow approximately in that order). The essay becomes very confusing if the writer jumps around from event to event and they are not in a logical order. ASSIGNMENT LEQ #1 Write a historically correct, clear, essay on the following prompt. Your response will include the following: State a relevant thesis that directly addresses all parts of the prompt. Support your argument with evidence, using specific examples. Apply historical thinking skills as directed by the question. Synthesis the elements above into a persuasive essay that extends your argument, connects it to a different historical context, or connects it to a different category of analysis. Prompt (in class): Between 1607 and 1763 to what degree did the Colonial relations with Native Americans change over time? Were there any aspects of Colonial relations with Native Americans that did not change over this time period?
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