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How to Write an Outstanding AP Seminar Essay

AP Seminar is a course offered by the College Board that challenges students to take a deep dive into academic research and develop their critical thinking skills. At the end of the course, students are expected to submit an end-of-course exam, which includes two performance tasks, known as an individual research-based essay and a team multimedia presentation. Writing an excellent AP Seminar essay can be daunting, but with the right approach, students can develop a compelling essay that showcases their research and analysis skills. In this guide, we will explore the steps to take to write an outstanding AP Seminar essay, share tips for success, and provide some examples of excellent essays.

Key Takeaways

  • Start with a clear and focused research question
  • Gather and analyze credible sources to support your argument
  • Develop a thesis and outline before diving into the writing process
  • Use evidence to support your argument throughout your essay
  • Use transitions to connect your ideas and make your essay easy to read
  • Proofread and edit your essay multiple times to ensure clarity and accuracy

How to Write an Outstanding AP Seminar Essay

Step 1: Choose a research question

Your research question should be a focused inquiry that can be analyzed within the context of the literature you have gathered. It should be a topic that you are passionate about and one that requires more analysis and evaluation than the average reader can provide. To choose a good research question, start by brainstorming a list of topics and then narrow it down to a specific idea that you can’t wait to explore further.

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Step 2: Gather and analyze credible sources

To write a strong AP Seminar essay, you need to rely on credible sources to support your argument. Find sources that are relevant, reliable, and current. You can use academic journals, books, government reports, and authoritative websites. Evaluate the sources you find carefully and take careful notes on the information you’ll use in your essay.

Step 3: Develop a thesis and outline

Your thesis is the central argument you will make in your essay. Use the research you’ve collected to develop a strong thesis statement that addresses your research question. Once you have your thesis, create an outline that will guide your writing process. Your outline should include an introduction, body paragraphs that support your thesis, and a conclusion that summarizes your key findings.

Step 4: Write and revise your essay

With your research in place and your thesis and outline created, it’s time to start writing your essay. Use your outline as a guide and start writing your introduction, making sure to grab the reader’s attention with a compelling hook. In the body of your essay, use evidence to support your argument and transitions to connect your ideas. Finally, wrap up your essay with a conclusion that restates your thesis and summarizes your key findings.

Step 5: Proofread and edit your essay

Before submitting your final draft, it’s essential to proofread your essay multiple times to check for errors and ensure clarity. Read your essay aloud to catch any awkward phrasing, and ask a friend or teacher to review your work for feedback.

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Examples of Excellent AP Seminar Essays

To get a better sense of what a great AP Seminar essay looks like, here are a few examples:

  • The Impact of Social Media on Political Campaigns
  • The Use of Smartphones in the Classroom: A Comprehensive Review of Literature
  • The Effects of Sleep Deprivation on Academic Performance: A Longitudinal Study


Writing an outstanding AP Seminar essay takes time, effort, and attention to detail. By carefully selecting a focused research question, gathering and analyzing credible sources, developing a thesis and outline, writing and revising your essay, and proofreading and editing your work, you can produce a compelling essay that showcases your research, analysis, and critical thinking skills.

Useful FAQ

What is the AP Seminar exam?

The AP Seminar exam is a two-part end-of-course assessment that students take after completing the AP Seminar course. The first part of the assessment is an individual research-based essay, while the second part is a team multimedia presentation.

What is the format of an AP Seminar essay?

AP Seminar essays should be a minimum of 2000 words in length, including the introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion. They should be double-spaced, use a 12-point font, and have 1-inch margins.

What is the AP Seminar rubric?

The AP Seminar rubric is a scoring guide used by College Board judges to evaluate student essays. The rubric evaluates seven categories: research, analysis and evaluation, evidence and support, organization, argument, evidenceal connections, and language use.

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