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AP Lang Rhetorical Analysis Essay

Mar 17, 2024

AP language exams are held for numerous subjects. Students have to choose a specific subject and get higher scores. The higher the score, the higher the chance of pursuing the best 700 colleges or universities overall in the world, including the United States and Canada.

When it comes to AP English language, it involves a section called rhetorical analysis essay. This is a part of three free-response essays that have to be answered within 2 hours and 15 minutes from the overall 3 hours 15 minutes exam. 


If you are taking the AP Lang exam this year, guidance on how to answer this part will be useful. This article is specially curated to help you score the best. Read on to learn more about the AP language rhetorical analysis essay and get an idea of how to prepare for the associated exam successfully.

What is the AP Lang Rhetorical Analysis Essay?

AP elaborated that the Advanced Placement is the exam conducted by the College Board in the United States of America. The exam is generally offered at the high school level and helps students to pursue higher education at the university level. The exam holds two sections: MCQs and Rhetorical Essay. MCQ sections are for 1 hour, and the rest of the time is for the essay section. The free-response essay holds three essays: rhetorical analysis essay, synthesis essay, and argumentative essay. 

  • The rhetorical analysis essay in the AP Lang exam involves students having to discuss how the authors’ contribution to the passage gives a theme or meaning. 
  • A synthesis essay involves students creating arguments on the passage or piece of information delivered to them.
  • An argumentative essay requires students to pick a side ‘for or against ‘ for an argument or debate.

Since we are here to discuss rhetorical analysis essays in AP language, you must know the essay is added to test students’ ability to analyze and interpret the deeper meaning in the provided passage. Through rhetorical essays, the examiner examines how students connect with the author’s style of writing and syntax within 40 minutes. Some students may face challenges while dealing with this essay because it requires a better understanding of rhetorical strategies and the method to apply them.

Tips to Write a Rhetorical Analysis Essay AP Lang?

Since a rhetorical essay is quite tricky in comparison to other essays, it requires certain tips for a better approach to answering. Let us explore the method of writing a rhetorical essay for the AP Lang exam that helps you score well.

  1. Outline Essay Prior to Writing

Not only good content but providing a readable structure is an important part of the rhetorical analysis essay AP Lang. First, you must read the passage thoroughly and develop a brief outline or key points before writing the essay. This helps you write with respect to the chronology of the given passage and maintain the flow of writing.

  1. Understand Rhetorical Strategies

You aren’t alone in thinking about where to start writing a rhetorical essay. Many students face the same and are required to learn and implement rhetorical strategies. First, understand what rhetoric actually means. It refers to language sensibly chosen and structured for an impressive effect on the audience. This involves persuasive appeal, logical fallacies, and syntax such as anaphora, anthesis, parallelism, and so on. There is a vast range of elements that you can assess in the provided essay and develop a strong grasp with consistent practice.

  1. Make your Essay Well-Structured

Sometimes, students understand the rhetorical strategies but still get confused about where to initiate. It is recommended to start with an introduction that delivers the purpose of your writing. In the last introductory line, you must talk about the rhetorical strategies you will discuss in the piece. However, there are so many styles, syntax, and tones. You must be specific while listing them and then move to develop a body paragraph. 

Now, you have to collect all the rhetorical strategies you mentioned in the introduction to discuss your point of view chronologically. Be specific while discussing strategy, as only the crucial ones among them must be discussed. Never forget to cite the line from the original passage. Your write-up must maintain the flow and should include relativity among the paragraphs. End the rhetorical essay by summarising key points.

  1. Never Forget to Explain your Examples

Do not just state the examples or deliver statements like ‘this is an example of pathos or logos.’ It is advisable to explain the example you have listed in context to the rhetorical elements you have mentioned and how it aids the author in their viewpoint. Stay detailed yet precise while writing the rhetorical analysis essay AP Lang.

AP Lang Rhetorical Analysis Essay Rubric

Did you know that the rhetorical analysis essay AP Lang is graded into three rubric categories? Students must pay heed to the categories, as the examiner seeks specific things in each of them. Also, learn about some dos and don’ts to score well.

  1. Thesis

When it comes to grading the thesis of the rhetorical analysis essay AP Lang, there is nothing nebulous. Either you get one point, or you lose one. Thesis points help you get close to higher scores, and thus, you must be mindful of the following points.


  • Developing an argument states that your interpretation leads to a risk of disagreement. Thus, your thesis statements must be in context with the author’s rhetorical choice. 
  • If you create a phrase in your mind initiating with ‘I think that..’, your phrase should not go in a negative argumentative direction.


  • Never provide a thesis with summaries but not an argument.
  • Try not to provide the thesis with repeated prompts.
  1. Evidence 

Evidence is provided to prove the argumentative context in the thesis. This rubric category is graded from 0 to 4 points. To score higher, you must follow the points below.


  • You must aim to provide multiple types of evidence in your argumentative thesis.
  • Each statement you provide must be backed up with evidence in context to the text or arguments about the author’s theoretical choices.
  • Add more and more evidence, which must be specific.
  • Examine whether your evidence is linked with your overarching argument.
  • Deliver your interpretation and never rely on just quotes or phrases. 


  • Steer clear of generalization for text or author
  • Avoid quotes that speak for themselves. You must elaborate on the evidence you provided.
  1. Sophistication

According to The College Board, this category holds 0 to 1 points. The higher grading in rhetorical analysis essays indicates the delivery of the sophistication of thoughts or a complex understanding of rhetorical elements. In this, you have to mainly focus on the number of semicolons you use and not the fancy terms. Here is what you need to follow:


  • Focus on delivering the right connection between the thesis and your evidence.
  • Create a brief framework and then proceed with writing the essay in the right flow to stay precise and clear in your piece.


  • Do not include arguments that you won’t be able to provide evidence for.
  • Ignore complex or fancy words or phrases that are hard to follow.

Ways to Improve Your Rhetorical Analysis Essay AP Lang

Now that you know what a rhetorical analysis essay is and how it is developed, you must be thinking about how tricky it is to understand the passage. Many find themselves in a completely blank position when it comes to where to begin during the exam. They find the rhetorical analysis essay AP Lang quite challenging to deal with and understand the author’s perspective and viewpoint. Practicing rhetorical strategies does not help if you do not have the right approach, which only comes from the field experts and their guidance. Turito offers a platform where you get mentors to teach you all the concepts and approaches you apply in writing effective rhetorical essays in less time. Their course helps you get higher scores, which you can use to get college admission to your favorite college and country. Hey, you ambitious one, what are you waiting for? Contact us now and give your dreams a flight!

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Turito is students’ most trusted learning platform, among others. Turito believes in transparency and thus provides genuine feedback from students and parents on the official website. At Turito, we offer guaranteed success for hardworking students. Thus, there isn’t any negative feedback to hide. If you have any queries, you can write to us at Our experts will connect and assist you in no time.

AP Lang Rhetorical Analysis Essay


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