Make sure to look for the specific requirements of the prompt. Circle or underline them before you read the actual passage. If a prompt demands specific analysis of a particular device or strategy, you must do it. If it suggests a particular device, I recommend writing about that device.
Write an Argument
It’s critical to remember that the analysis essays are still arguments. While your primary purpose is to demonstrate understanding of the author’s rhetorical choices, your take is an argument, and your thesis and topic sentences should reflect that approach.
Remember the fork.
Remember the fork. Avoid summarizing the text of the passage. Each portion you reference or quote should fit in the fork framework (writer’s message, techniques the author uses, how the techniques convey the message): the summary only exists so that you can analyze its effectiveness and connect it to your thesis. You should never focus on telling what the piece did, but rather why the author chose the language that she did.
Use the Natural Divisions of the Piece to Create Your Structure
Have a clear structure. Almost every piece will contain easy places to divide. Create sub-arguments for each section.
Use “Nuggets” of Text” for Textual Support
When you use specific text from the passage (and you should), resist the temptation to quote full sentences. Instead, use brief nuggets of text (properly embedded) inside your analytical sentences.
AP readers appreciate honest voice and natural analysis.