Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Essays are Life

Or so it would seem preparing for the European History AP.
Woot woot.

The interesting thing about writing the essays (particularly in practice exams), is that you don't always have a clue about what the heck you're writing about. Even though they give you three choices per half of history, and even though you doubtlessly choose the one you know the most about, there's still going to be a little (okay, a lot) of just writing whatever crap comes to mind and hoping that maybe the person scoring your essay will believe you actually know what you're talking about and give you a higher score.

(I know I'll get in trouble for saying that, but it's true.)

For example, let's say you choose to write about... oh... Women's rights, out of a selection of three, where the names in the other two essay prompts look like they could be written in gibberish for as much as you can recognize them.
Um... yeah. How much do you actually know about the women's rights movement, from when it began to the 1950's.
Possibly you're going to know about Wollonstonecraft and "Vindication of the Rights of Women", and Simone de Beauvoir (however you spell it), and "The Second Sex" (which wasn't published before the 1950's), but how much more do you know about it?
Probably nothing.

Which is when..

Start of generalizing. Say something like "Before Wollonstonecraft published Vindication of the Rights of Women, women had almost no legal, political, or social rights, and were considered inferior in almost every aspect."
You already sound smart.

And then you can get a little more specific, granted you know a little about the time period...
"Women's right to property was nonexistant, and men controlled nearly every political aspect in their life."
There you go. General, but it might get the grader a little interested because you sound like you know what you're talking about (which, remember, you don't really.)

Then you can say something about early women's rights movements, naming names if you remember them (I don't), as much as you can. (For example, "Early womens rights movements were violent in nature, and one woman died by throwing herself in the path of a horse, to gain attention to their cause.")

There you go.
There's a basis for your essay.

Of course, then you can cover WWI, WWII, and the impact said world wars had on the womens rights movement. I'm not going to type this up, because I don't really feel like writing another essay.
But the point is...

You can have absolutely no idea what you're writing about and still get a high score. Of course, it absolutely helps to know what you're talking about, and I encourage everyone to study! (...Yeah. I should be studying. But I'm not.)

Just remember that when it comes to essays...
Write a lot, mention as many proper nouns as you can, try to get specific (if the prompt asks for it), and try to remember the general feel of whatever era you're writing about.
Because when all else fails?
There are more important things than writing about the womens movement.

Like writing about the French Revolution!

(By the way, I'm sorry this is so late.)

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