I. Introduction A. The first sentence should introduce the issue presented in the prompt and address the counter-argument to the position you will take in the rest of the essay. • Example: In my community, there has been a strong debate about [the general idea you're talking about]. Some [grown-up people] argue that [one side of the debate is right], while others believe that [the opposing side of the debate is right]. B. State your thesis: a specific position on the issue that all 3 of your examples can prove. • A better option is [your position] because [summary of your examples]. • By enacting [your position], we can ensure that [summary of your examples]. • The benefits of [your position] include [summary of your examples]. • By looking at the larger societal issues surrounding the topic and the experiences of [my cousin Chris], we'll be able to conclude that [thesis statement - the side you want to prove] because [reason, usually connected to a bigger meaning].
Pitfalls to Avoid: Don’t make wide generalizations about people or races. Don’t use exaggerated phrases like “since the beginning of time” because nothing has been true since the beginning of time. Don’t use any vague or “fluff language” (I think / in my opinion / it seems that).
II. Body Paragraph 1 A. Experience Example (Evidence 1) • Example: My cousin Chris's experience in changing schools can serve as a perfect example of the importance of [the side of the debate you support]. Chris spent his freshman year of high school in Beijing, but then moved to America to further pursue his education. [Set up Chris's Chinese school as one side of the prompt, then show how his American school was the opposite side of the prompt, and show which one worked better for Chris.] B. Structure: • The topic sentence should be a general statement about how this piece of evidence relates to your argument. • The following two or three sentences should give detailed information about the example. You should only include details that lead directly to the final sentence for this body paragraph. C. Transitions: • Instead of SHOWS (“The competition shows...”), try: demonstrates, reveals, proves, manifests, suggests, implies, indicates, highlights, underlines, emphasizes, clarifies, exemplifies, solidifies • Instead of SAYS (“Opponents say...”), try: asserts, states, argues, communicates, declares, tells, expresses, articulates, conveys, claims, affirms, maintains. • Instead of IDEA (“The idea that...”), try: notion, phenomenon, concept, belief, premise, factor, theory, principle, tenet, precept • Instead of PART (“The different parts...”), try: aspect, element, facet, segment, component, factor, characteristic D. Counter Argument: • It is common knowledge that a counter-argument, a rebuttal of the opposing view, is critical to a high score. The trick is to state enough of the opponent’s position without giving this argument any credibility. Not an easy feat! • Use: Some may say that... Some might argue that... While some may say... Then use evidence to prove why this argument is wrong. REFUTE the counter argument!!!
III. Body Paragraph 2 A. Old People Paragraph (Evidence 2) • Example: Although Chris's story only presents the point of view of a student, the same argument can be made from the point of view of [old people - teachers, parents, cops, etc.], too. [Explain what old people would think about safety, money, getting a good education, teachers caring about how much attention people pay in class, making grading tests easier, etc...] B. Structure: Topic sentence Explanation Counter Argument Refute counter argument / Explanation State why your side