Synthesis Writing

Here’s some advice on when you have to write a response that asks you to combine your thoughts on two or three different sources. Those responses might have a great variety of topics, materials, types of writing, but they will generally fall into one of two categories: (1) Responses that ask you to read several pieces and discuss how THEY handle a common topic or idea, or (2) Responses that ask you to read several pieces and synthesize YOUR OWN RESPONSE. In either case, WHEN YOU WRITE A SYNTHESIS THESIS, BE SURE TO GO BEYOND SIMPLY SAYING HOW THE STORIES OR ARTICLES ARE FACTUALLY DIFFERENT!!

IF YOU ARE BEIZNG ASKED TO JUDGE HOW THE PIECES TREAT THE SAME TOPIC, (e.g. “Show how Dracula, Station Eleven and Rebecca all use sensory imagery to create suspense”) do the following: Your thesis wants to address both (or all) of the sources, and handle them in one of these three ways:

With this type of essay, the key is to focus on ONE story first and create an argument, then to look at the next story and show how it relates to what you have already established. CLICK HERE to see an example of an essay that scored high marks on the MCAS and notice how it creates a thesis that says what all of the stories are doing and then examines each of the three stories in the prompt one at a time.

IF YOU ARE BEIZNG ASKED TO CREATE YOUR OWN ARGUMENT BASED ON WHAT THE PIECES PRESENT, (e.g. Based on “He Needs to Be a Kid” and “Committing to Play for a College,” write a speech to deliver at a school assembly that argues against the practice of early recruiting of young athletes. Be sure to include informationfrom both articles to develop your speech.) do the following: Create your main arguments to defend your argument, and try to use evidence from both (or all) of the articles to defend each argument.

CLICK HERE to see an examples of essays that scored high marks on the MCAS and notice how they creates an argument and then use evidence from BOTH articles in each supporting paragraph. (The highest-scoring essays are the top ones on this page)

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