How to Write an Argumentative Essay | Ace AP Lang Writing Effortlessly

By now, you should already have a good idea that you need to learn how to write an argumentative essay for AP Lang if you want to get your free college credits from the course. It’s a major component for the course, so you certainly have to master writing this kind of essay if you want good scores. Don’t worry too much about your efforts, though, because becoming proficient in this kind of writing will also help you out in college.

To help you have a better understanding of the writing process of argumentative essays, we’ve created a guide that should help teach you all the vital things you need to know. Check it out below and you might just find yourself breezing through AP Lang argument essay assignments after.

What is an Argumentative Essay and What Should It Contain?

An argumentative essay is a type of essay that requires writers to investigate the topic that they’re going to write about. Writers are required to gather or generate information and evidence that can back up the position that they’ll be making. Using strong logic, evidence, and other elements of argument, you can get your point across. What you write doesn’t have to persuade readers into taking the same stand but your points can still be persuasive on its own.

The key point, when writing an argumentative essay for AP Lang is that you need to firmly declare a position in the matter you’re discussing. Concession and refutation are your main options on where to stand but it’s how you elaborate on your opinion that really makes or breaks your essay. Your points will help you ‘argue’ your point and convince your readers that your position has its merits.

Argumentative essays are usually confused with other kinds of technical essays. but it’s clearly different from all the others. Argumentative essays will let you either support, qualify, or challenge the points provided in the source material. You can use additional materials to prove and support your point.

AP Lang’s rhetorical analysis, on the other hand, requires you to delve deeper into the text. When asked to write this kind of essay, you’re supposed to dissect the source material to take a closer look at its message. It’s practically about explaining the obscured information within the text in these kinds of essays using AP Lang rhetorical devices.

In these essays, the exigence in the literary definition is the key point to locate and point out. In argumentative essays, you have to focus on a claim made in the source material.

Synthesis essays are often confused with argument essays as well. Do read our article how to write a synthesis essay AP lang. This one is more research writing than the latter because you can use other sources to prove your point. You just need to rely on your logic, prior research, and other established facts for argument essays, on the other hand.

Among all of the other types of essays, argumentative essays are possibly confused with expository essays the most. While expository essays present ideas to readers and let them have their own opinions, there are also thesis-based expository essays. They won’t assert their point, however, which is the main characteristic of argumentative essays. They’ll just discuss a point with more specificity instead.

If you’re still a bit unsure about what argument essays are exactly, you can read argument essay examples online or in one of the studypreplounge.com reviewed and recommended AP Lang review books. They’ll help you become more familiar with the format and structure of such pieces.

How to Write an Argumentative Essay: 6 Points to Remember

To help you better understand what is and how to craft an argumentative essay for your AP Language and Composition exam, here are a few crucial points that might help you out:

1. A firm stance is an absolute must.

As mentioned above, establishing a specific stand on the subject at hand is the key element of an argumentative essay. It’s absolutely necessary to have one even before you start writing your essay or it won’t exactly be considered as an argumentative essay.

Being firm on your stance is also crucial. You can’t feel wishy-washy on the point you’ve decided to push for because it won’t be as effective as you can imagine it to be. It would be best to make it so that you believe in the validity of your claim and that others should see it the same way as well.

Again, you don’t have to persuade your readers into taking the same stand. It’s just that argumentative essays prove to be more effective in establishing opinions if they’re made with a strong stand.

Where you stand will also help you come up with strong grounds to support your claim. By having an effective claim in an argumentative essay, you’ll be able to be more specific in adding evidence and asserting your point.

This will allow you to be more concise and help you establish your opinion in a more effective manner.

Choosing where to stand, however, can be a challenge. A lot of students get stumped in this area and that can cause a serious delay in your writing process. To help you choose which side to argue about, you should first take a step back and look at all sides in the discussion. Take down notes for both and consider which one you want to go for.

Some experts recommend taking the refute route in argumentative essays. They’re believed to be more interesting to read. However, take the refuting angle just for this reason. Sometimes it’s unreasonable to do so and you might not have enough knowledge to do so. It’s best to go with your strengths instead so you can more effectively establish your claim.

It’s also important to establish your stand right on the first paragraph of your essay. Crafting a thesis statement makes it clear that you’re writing an argumentative essay. This will also help you make your essay more concise which is one of the most popular AP Lang tips dished out by experts and former students of the class.

2. Your evidence should be correct, compelling, and sufficient.

Aside from a firm stand, having convincing and logical grounds to support your claim is also essential if you want to write a good argumentative essay. This can make or break the composition portion of your AP Lang exam because you have to make the right backup evidence to your argument. You can’t just state your opinion even if it’s easier to do so.

If you’re going to write an argumentative essay, your supporting evidence to your claim should be factual and well-thought out. They should help establish the validity of your claim and not make it feel like a subjective or conditional notion.

You should also make sure to use the right kinds of evidence in making your point in your argumentative essay.

The right supporting information will help you better get your point across and present it as a fact and not as a mere opinion.

With the wrong set of evidence, your claim will also be less appealing than it should be to your target audience. This can further affect its effectiveness and prevent readers from considering your claim.

How do you find the most effective supporting information? You’ll need to do a good amount of research for this. If the essay is a composition homework, you can turn to the internet and the library for good sources that can help support your claim.

Aside from the actual quality and validity of the points that support your claim, you should also make sure that there’s a clear connection between your claim and the reasons you’ve cited to argue your point. Having a warrant makes it easier for readers to understand the value of your points and it can contribute to the better establishment of your claim.

Finally, you also have to make sure that you’ll provide sufficient supporting points to your claim. You can’t just state your idea with a single evidence and call it a day. It won’t be convincing enough for most readers. To establish the validity of your point, it’s best to add at least three supporting points. These will help add more weight to your argument.

3. Layout your points first.

Instead of writing everything down right away in one sitting, it would be ideal to layout your points first before you craft your argumentative essay. It will make the task less overwhelming and will allow you to process your ideas with efficiency.

By creating an outline, you can plan your essay and craft it more effectively. You can also better state your arguments which can help you get your point across with its help.

A good outline will also let you lay out your supporting evidence so you can evaluate its merit. By doing so, you can be able to organize your thoughts.

This can help you come up with a good warrant and connect your points seamlessly. It will also let you move through the essay without a hitch and prevent you from repeating points. With its help, you can be sure to create a concise and effective argumentative essay.

Creating a chronological argument is another way to layout and plan your essay. It’s especially helpful to many writers as it allows the grounds to build off on itself. It will help you make connections between the points with ease which can then allow you to elaborate and support the point you’ve been trying to make.

How do you know if your outline is ready? Try rearranging the points. If they don’t make sense, use

the first outline you made to write an essay. If it still makes as much sense, it means you haven’t built off arguments from one point to another. You can still improve on this by going back on your set of evidence.

4. Use the right kind of language.

A strong argumentative essay is confident in its content. This is why the kind of language you’ll use also plays a vital role in the overall effect of the piece. Experts recommend using passionate language to better establish the fact that you’re not trying to present an opinion in your essay but you’re stating a valid argument.

Be straightforward and state the evidence you’ve gathered as the facts that they are. Avoid using qualifiers that will suggest subjectivity on your part. You shouldn’t note that your point is based on what you feel, think, or believe because they shouldn’t be based on those things. To make a stronger argument, you should be confident in what you’re saying.

However, you should also be very careful in appearing like an expert on the topic when you’re not one. This can affect the overall composition and feel of your essay.

Instead of making it more compelling, it might make your points sound untrustworthy and have an opposite effect to what you’re aiming for.

It’s also important to note that you should write in the present tense when crafting an argumentative essay. The ideas you have to present in these kinds of writing are applicable to the current times so it’s vital to present them as such. You can still write in the past tense, however, if you’re mentioning historical facts.

5. Craft a good counter-argument paragraph to further assert your point.

Aside from presenting your claim and its supporting points, it’s also recommended that you include a counter-argument paragraph in your essay. This will let you address the other points of contention in the topic you’re discussing to better establish and assert your stand.

By presenting the opposing side’s argument, you’ll be able to paint a bigger picture for your readers. It will let them know that you have a well-rounded knowledge about the topic and that you’re being objective in the points you’re raising.

However, by mentioning a counter argument example in your essay, you’ll also be able to block and shoot down opposing ideas to your claim. This will help you better establish your argument as the superior one. This act is a solid offense that also works as a good defense.

The placement of this section in your essay is a crucial one. Some like to put it right at the beginning of establishing their claim while others put it after enumerating their evidence. Some teachers might prefer the latter but it really depends on your writing style. It’s best to learn a few counter argument transition words no matter what the case for you is, though.

If you’re one of the many who finds crafting these portions tricky, you can always look up counter argument essay examples to help you out. They will better demonstrate how you should organize and compose your essay.

6. Wrap up your essay nicely.

Finally, you should also know how to properly close off your argumentative essay. While a good introduction will hook readers in, a good conclusion will help further establish your claim as a valid idea. It can further solidify the achievements you’ve made throughout your piece, adding a nice flourish to it.

What makes a good conclusion? It should be concise and not elaborate. It shouldn’t repeat everything you’ve mentioned in the body of your essay. It should, however, re-state your claim to better establish your point.

Some experts don’t think that a conclusion is necessary for a high AP Lang exam score, though. This might be true, especially if you know how to pace your essay nicely. You also shouldn’t compromise the body of your essay just to have a conclusion. If you feel like you’re going to do that, skip the conclusion entirely.

Handling Argumentative Essay Prompts

It’s crucial to be able to tell the different types of AP Lang essays if you want to get the best score during the exam. Exam prompts won’t tell you outright what kind of essay they want in the answers so you have to use your text analyzing skills to learn which type you should whip up.

To do this, you can start by reading the prompt very carefully at least twice. Reading and understanding the prompt is vital in doing well in the AP Lang exam.

You have to be absolutely certain in what they’re saying and asking you to do so you can answer the free response questions correctly.

There are established AP Lang terms used in the prompts that should clue you in, however. Test-takers will spot the words ‘claim’ or ‘argue’ on the prompt that they’re supposed to write an argumentative essay for. They can then opt to support, refute, or qualify the arguments in the prompt in their answers.

To help you more easily determine which type of essay you should use, make sure to read and complete sample tests. You can also look up the test questions from the previous year’s exam. They will always include a good example of an argument essay question that should help you tell where you should answer in an argument format.


At first glance, crafting a good argumentative essay may seem like a hard task. However, with the help of this guide, we hope we were able to make it seem more doable for you. Since confidence is key in writing such pieces, we hope we were able to make you feel like you’re now able to whip up such essays without a hitch.

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