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A Comprehensive Guide to the AP Lang 2018 Question 3 Argument Essay

Are you preparing to take the AP Language and Composition exam? If so, you’ll want to be well-prepared for the Argument Essay, particularly Question 3 on the 2018 exam. This section requires you to read a passage and write an essay that persuasively argues your point of view regarding a stated position. Let’s take a closer look at how you can approach this question to get the best possible marks on the exam.

Understanding the AP Lang 2018 Question 3 Argument Essay Prompt

In this essay type, you will read an extract from a well-written and thought-provoking work of non-fiction. You’ll then be tasked with crafting an argument using evidence from this text to support your position. But it’s not always just a matter of summarizing what you read – you’ll need to provide your own insight and analysis, as well.

The 2018 prompt reads: “Students often misunderstand the role of teachers in the classroom. Based on your reading of the following passage, explain how the author uses rhetorical strategies and evidence to support their argument that teachers should prioritize class participation over lecturing.”

Through this prompt, the exam is testing your ability to read, comprehend, analyze, and write an argument for or against the author’s stance on the role of teachers in the classroom. Note that simply re-stating the author’s position won’t be enough – you’ll need to build your own argument using supporting evidence that you gather from the text.

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Key Requirements and Tips to Approach the Essay Prompt

To approach this essay successfully, you’ll want to focus on the following elements:* Rhetorical Strategies: The passage will contain linguistic tools such as ethos, logos, and pathos that the author uses to persuade readers. Analyze how these strategies have been used and how effective they are.* Evidence: With this prompt, you’ll be given a specific focus to analyze, so pay close attention to how the author uses evidence to support their point of view.* Argumentation: Remember that your essay must be an argument, and it should be clear and well-supported with evidence and analysis. Take time to organize your thoughts and create a cohesive argument.* Structure and Organization: Proper structure and organization of your essay will be key to readability and comprehension. Your essay should be well-ordered, with each paragraph supporting the thesis statement.

To further improve your score, keep in mind the following tips:* Take your time to read and understand the prompt carefully.* Make use of the given helpful materials like the prompt and the text extract to support your arguments.* Grasp the author’s position from the extract and build your argument based on your opinion regarding said position.* Utilize literary and persuasive devices to strengthen the argument you put forward.* Include direct quotes from the text to support your arguments.* Make sure your writing is clear, concise, and addresses the prompt.

Common Mistakes Students Should Avoid

With the AP Lang 2018 Question 3 Argument Essay, students often make the following mistakes:* They don’t read the prompt and the given text extract carefully, leading them to miss out on important detail.* They don’t fully comprehend the position of the author, resulting in a weakly constructed argument.* They don’t provide enough evidence to support their argument.* They don’t stay on-topic or fail to address arguments outlined in the prompt.* Their writing is weak and unorganized.

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Avoid these common mistakes by practicing ahead of the exam date, familiarizing yourself with the prompt and sample responses.

The Best Sample Responses to the Essay Prompt

Let’s take a look at two examples of strong essays in response to this prompt:

Sample 1:

The author utilizes contrasting rhetorical strategies to argue for the prioritization of class participation over lecturing. In the first paragraph, the author builds their ethos by establishing their credentials as a teacher. They then use logos to make a comparison between two different social situations to highlight how complex the intricacies of leading a classroom can be. Additionally, the author’s diction, irony and rhetorical questions enhance the power of their argument. By the end of the essay, the author has established their argument persuasively by judiciously weaving together ethos, pathos, and logos in conjunction with varied vocabulary and syntax.

Sample 2:

The author, through the use of a series of rhetorical strategies, argues that teachers should prioritize class participation over lecturing. By introducing anecdotes from their teaching experience, the author establishes their authority and employs ethos. The use of rhetorical questions resonates pathos with readers and coaxes them into seeing how the author’s argument makes sense. Finally, the author builds logos through the use of examples and statistics. Through these strategies, they make the reader consider how important it is to encourage classroom participation, leading to the acceptance of the author’s position towards classroom leadership.

Examining the Grading Criteria Used by Examiners

On the AP Language and Composition exam, essays are graded on a scale of 0-9. The grading considers the following criteria:* The strength of the student’s argument.* Their command of writing and organization of the essay.* The student’s analysis of the use of rhetorical strategies and evidence.* The student’s ability to effectively use textual evidence to support their argument.

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To score highly on this essay, you’ll need to fully address all parts of the prompt, have a clear and compelling argument, and demonstrate your ability to analyze and write effectively.


The AP Lang 2018 Question 3 Argument Essay may be challenging, but with the proper preparation, it’s certainly possible to excel. Reread the prompt, take your time in analyzing the given text, and focus on constructing a well-supported and well-organized argument. While the essay has a clear structure to adhere to, you’ll need to make sure your writing is engaging and persuasive. Be sure to practice ahead of exam day and you’ll be ready to knock it out of the park!

Useful FAQ

Q. Can we use outside sources when making our argument?

A. No, outside sources should not be used in this essay. Your argument should solely rely on the given text extract.

Q. How much time do we have for the essay?

A. You will have 40 minutes in total to read the provided text and essay prompt, as well as the time to write and edit your essay.

Q. What type of vocabulary and syntax should we use in our essay?

A. Make sure that your writing is clear and precise, with well-organized paragraphs that flow seamlessly. Draw upon literary devices to make your argument more convincing when necessary.

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