The Compare /


Contrast Essay











The time is now to express thoughts in writing for adults. What is adolescent writing when it comes to a compare / contrast essay? When asked to compare two civilizations, for example, Cletus started his essay like this: "There are many way that Egypt and Sumer were similar, and many ways that they were different," and the reader immediately thought, "Duh."

This, unfortunately, and according to AP standards, is no good. 0 point. "Hey, Sumer had ziggurats and Egypt had pyramids!" True, a fine bit of knowledge in fact, but its best to express your knowledge appropriately by writing it down in terms of  'catagories of analysis', because, it is in these catagories that you are rewarded by your graders. So, take the SPRITE history catagories and reflect your knowledge about the subject. When you start to compare and contrast using these catagories, a real academic study begins to develop. It is hard at first but you can be conditioned (and condition yourself) to succeed. CORE = 7 Pts.

1.  Has acceptable thesis.                        1 Point

     (addresses comparison of the

      issues or themes specified) 

2.  Addresses all parts of the                  2 Points

    of the question, though not

    necessarily evenly or thoroughly. 

    (Addresses most parts of the                 (1)

    question: for example, deals with

    differences but not similarities) 

3.  Substantiates thesis with                   2 Points

     appropriate evidence.   

     (Partially substantiates thesis with      (1)

     appropriate evidence.)  

4.  Makes at least three relevant,            1 Point

     direct comparisons between or

     among societies. 

5.  Analyzes at least three reasons         1 Point

     for a similarity or difference

     identified in a direct comparison. 

Remember in AP you are graded using the "Asset Model". Instead of starting with 100% and getting "marked off" for errors and omissions, in AP you start with 0% and work your way up. So you really have to demonstrate your knowledge well.

 Free Response Questions