Part 1: Sample Prompts for the Argument Essay FRQ- AP government


Overall, I really like the changes to the AP government exam. Not only is the entire course framework organized by essential questions, one of the new FRQs– the argument essay– implies an essential question.

For the argument essay the student makes a claim and then uses founding documents and outside sources to shape arguments defending the claim. Last, the student establishes a counter-claim and shows how his/her argument rebuts it.

To practice these skills, here’s what I’ve created:

  • Some questions which introduce argument essay prompts on some area of government
  • Draft prompts, each listing two founding documents that could help shape the students’ arguments.


Interest groups: Do interest groups hinder or promote democracy?  Prompt

Gridlock:  Is gridlock from divided government healthy or unhealthy for our system of government?  Prompt

Term limits:  Do congressional term limits violate or honor indexpopular sovereignty? Prompt

Citizen participation: Does citizen participation really matter?  Prompt

Primaries and caucuses: Is the presidential nominating process democratic? Prompt

I will plan to use these for practice leading up to the exam and maybe even for unit exams.

Any ideas and suggestions are welcome!

What are you doing to prepare your students for the new exam?

I’m instructing an online course this spring/summer called Teach Different with Essential Questions. In the course teachers generate essential questions guided by themes in their curriculum. I will plan to post the course on this blog when ready. The course may be a good opportunity to develop some of these argument essay prompts aligned to important themes of government.

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