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Writing the AP English Essay: A Personal Trainer for the AP English Student


Enough of just looking at others. It’s time to stretch and maximize your own opening skills.

Go to your writing folder or portfolio and choose THREE opening paragraphs.

• Either rewrite or copy and paste each of the openings on a separate sheet of paper and answer the following questions:
1. The subject of the essay is _______________________.

2. My purpose is___________________________________.

3. My audience is _________________________________.

4. My assertion is _________________________________.

5. I used the following opening technique(s) in my opening ______________________________________________.

6. I believe the opening is good just the way it is.
___yes ___no

7. If you answered no to question 6, what technique do you think would be a better choice? ___________________________________________________.

• Choose ONE of the introductions and complete the following:

1. Using three different techniques, rewrite the opening THREE different ways below.

    Technique __________________ Rewrite:

    Technique __________________ Rewrite:

    Technique __________________ Rewrite:

2. Which technique do you think works best? __________.

3. Why do you believe this method is best? ___________.

4. Ask one of your peers to read each opening and see whether or not he/she agrees with your choice.

5. Do you think revising your introduction would make your essay even better?
___yes ___no Why?

Can you feel the burn? Well, before you cool down, here’s another item to consider when deciding on your opening. If you are given a writing assignment that involves several classes and several steps, from planning to first draft to peer review to revision, you can take a great deal of time to consider and reconsider your introduction. This is the time to experiment and to be creative. However, in a timed situation, you will have to think quickly and decisively. The more practice you allow yourself in the untimed essays the better you will be in the stressful and demanding timed writing environments.