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Thanks to Sarah Soper and Melissa Smith for sharing their thoughts from the AP Lit reading this year on Question 3. The prompt can be found here at AP Central. I was really excited when I heard Q3’s topic. I found out I had Q3 at the reading, I was excited to see what they had produced. We soon saw the prompt being used in various formats.
As a teacher, I need to make clear to my students that most prompts can be taken in a variety of ways, as long as they explain it clearly, and they need to highlight their strengths with their choice. In addition, they also need to make sure they choose a character that they have ENOUGH to write about. So many students would actually use that exact phrasing but discuss how it affected the plot, or they would just leave out that part completely. In order to score in the mid to upper range, it is essential that the students not only discuss a theme, but that they articulate it clearly and do so throughout the entirety of the essay. There were students, and probably classes, who tended to have more of a formulaic approach to the prompt. While this may work for some students and be exactly what they need, these just didn’t have the student voice in them that others did. When you get a folder of essays, they generally tend to come from the same class or school, so it’s likely that the students have mostly read the same things and therefore, tend to write using the same 1 or 2 texts.