How to Write an AP Argumentative Essay

How to Write an AP Argumentative Essay

As an AP English language student or an aspiring AP English language student, you should know how to write an AP argumentative essay. This is because you will be required to write one at some point during your life in high school whether as a senior or as a junior student. An argumentative essay is a type of writing in which the writer is required to investigate a certain topic, generate, collect and evaluate the available evidence and concisely establish his/her position on that particular topic-

AP English language or AP lang refers to Advanced Placement English Language and composition. It is a course as well as examination that the College Board offers and it is part of an Advanced Placement Program- This course entails studying rhetoric and it is offered in many high schools. As such, if you are in high school or preparing to join high school, you should know how to write an AP argumentative essay because your teacher will definitely require you to write this composition at some point during your studies.

Step-by-step guide on how to write an AP argumentative essay

  • Read

Read obsessively, constantly and intensely- This enables you to soak up syntax, words, and how authors convey their tone.

  • Work on your grammar

After accomplishing step 1, you will be conversant with sentences that look and sound right while others don’t. Writing structure, vocabulary and grammar are all important when it comes to writing AP argumentative essays.

  • Select a topic

After preparing yourself with good vocabulary, comprehension of syntax and grammar, pick a decent topic. Choose a topic that you are passionate about or if you are given a specific topic to write on, conduct some research before you start writing. Understand the writing prompt before anything else. This will enable you to know what exactly you are required to write on or the perspective to take while writing the essay.

  • Write a thesis statement

A thesis statement is a sentence or sentences that state the purpose for writing your essay. Explain what you will prove in the essay because your thesis should structure your essay. Make sure that your thesis statement is the idea and state it in form of an assertion to represent your reasoned response to an issue or question. Your thesis should act as the main or central idea of the argumentative essay. Therefore, understand the argumentative essay writing prompt; take a position on the issue or topic and then support the claim or thesis logically and clearly-

  • List your main points or defense ideas

These are the ideas or points that you will use to support or agree, disagree or challenge an issue or topic. Your points or ideas should be based on the keywords of the prompts because these enable you to determine what exactly you are required to do while writing the essay. Therefore, look for words like “qualify”, “refute” or “support” that indicate the nature of the argument that you are required to present in the essay. Determine how the task that the prompt requires you to do connects with your main argument or thesis that you stated in step 1.

  • Write an outline

The outline of an argumentative essay is a plan that shows how you will present your argument and defend it. It is the flow chat of the ideas and evidence that will back your claim in the argumentative essay. It enables you to organize ideas and thoughts in a logical manner throughout the essay.

  • Write the introduction

While writing the introduction, refer readers to the writing prompt and then state your position on the topic or issue. There is a typical way of writing the introduction of an AP argumentative essay and this can easily tell readers whether you know how to write an AP argumentative essay or not.

The typical steps of writing the introduction of an AP argumentative essay are as follows:

  • Presenting the situation, issue or problem
  • Stating your claim, thesis or assertion
  • Supporting the claim
  • Acknowledging and responding to possible or real opposing views
  • Making a summary or final comment of your evidence
Write the body paragraphs

The body paragraphs of an AP argumentative essay follow these basic guidelines:

  • State the claim or purpose, which is a thesis and a specific stance.
  • Anticipate the objections of readers in one body paragraph.
  • Counter the objections by providing support for the claim that you made by presenting solid evidence in paragraphs that follow.
  • Conclude the body paragraphs by restating your stance and showing how this was reached at on the basis of the provided supporting evidence.

Since you are writing an argumentative essay, you must present a claim that you can support with strong evidence so that readers can agree with your viewpoint.

For your claim to be logical, it must have the following elements:

  • Specific proposition that is made indirectly or directly
  • Objections which are the main points that opponents can raise and ones that you will answer effectively in the essay.
  • Evidence which are facts that support the claim and explained with reasons, statistics and examples.
  • Conclusion which is the end of the argument and restating of the claim. It can also summarize the major points or provide a logical generalization.
Write the conclusion

The conclusion of your AP argumentative essay should build from the thesis and the evidence presented in the body. The conclusion should give a different interpretation of the thesis instead of simply summarizing the argument.

Bonus tips on how to write an AP argumentative essay


  • Use attention grabber statements such as brief anecdotes, questions or shocking statements that are directly related to the claim or prompt’s purpose. State your point directly without flowery or winded beginning.
  • State your claim or assertion towards the end of the introduction.
  • Use appropriate transition word when stating the ideas of the opposing side

Body paragraphs

  • Provide specific and relevant examples.
  • Use contrast words such as “however”, “conversely”, and “nevertheless” among others.
  • Include a conclusion for your thoughts.
  • Include an analysis or commentary to the examples that you provide.
  • Evidence
  • Ensure that your evidence is accurate and specific.
  • Avoid using informal society aspects such as what you see in movies as evidence.
  • Reflect a widely-read, well-educated and mature thoughtful reaction.
  • Provide unified, relevant and adequate evidence.
  • Avoid the evidence that will be cited by everybody.


  • Use appropriate transition words such as “In summation” and “In conclusion”.
  • Restate your claim briefly and in different words.
  • Add a question, challenging statement or insight on the basis of the presented supporting evidence.


Use a respectful and appropriate tone especially when introducing the possible objections by your opponents. This is because an AP argumentative essay is a fair discussion/fight where you hear and listen to what your opponents have to say before you start writing the essay. Acknowledging and showing what your opponents say about the issue or topic shows that you know how to write an AP argumentative essay. Thus, addressing the specific concerns of your opponents in the essay with specific details and evidence enhances the credibility of your argumentative essay.

Refuting points

  • When refuting a point, show readers that the point is partly true, completely false or irrelevant.
  • While answering objections, do not show signs of disrespect for other people’s views because this can make you lose support from the reader.
  • Provide adequate evidence to convince readers. Thus, a single source’s opinion is not enough. Provide the opinions of different sources and substantiate them with facts, examples and reasons.
  • Do not use weak evidence. Instead, use quality and strong evidence.

An argument for an AP argumentative essay can be emotional, ethical or logical. An emotional argument appeals to the feelings of the reader such as patriotism and fear. An ethical argument appeals to the good will, good sense and desire for doing right things. Logical argument appeals to logic. When writing an essay on a logical argument, be cautious about logical fallacies.

  • Use samples as your writing guide

Knowing how to write an AP argumentative essay becomes easier when you have sample essays to guide you. This is because good samples make the process more practical. Therefore, look for good AP argumentative essay samples to use as your writing guide. Samples of AP argumentative essays can be found in various online sources including this one here.

Get help with AP argumentative essay

If you face difficulties while writing an AP argumentative essay, contact us immediately for professional assistance. You can also visit the home page of our website for more details of our professional writing services. Alternatively, continue reading for more guidelines for writing an AP argumentative essay on this blog.

Online Sources