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How to write a rhetorical analysis essay

Rhetorical analysis essay step by step: easy tips

Many students when choosing the test in high school ambitiously decide taking AP English. And this test requires from you to write three different types of essays one of which is rhetorical analysis essay. It is a big chance that you even never heard of it, and obviously never worked on it. But no worries! It is easy when you know the steps you need to follow.
To succeed in rhetorical analysis essay you need to:

  • define
  • prepare
  • structure

That is the secret. And now let’s consider each step in details.


Before you start, you need to fully understand what you have to deal with. In general, this is a type of essay which requires from you to “write about writing”. Yes, this sounds strange, but do not worry: it will make sense for you later. In this kind of analysis, you need to break apart phrases and words which the author makes.

Your goal will be to uncover the strategies and styles the author uses in order to get emotional reaction from the readers. Usually the topic of your essay becomes a speech given by influential people – so the instructor on exam will ask you to analyze it and explain how all the parts are working together.


Now when you understand what you need to do, let’s discuss how you should prepare for it. Since for this exam you have limited time, to prepare in advance will be the best choice! When you start reading, make little notes about the author, target audience and purpose of writing. Having it in mind will simplify the whole process of analyzing.

See Also
How to Write an Essay about Yourself

Each AP English exam contains examples of a few persuasive tactics. After taking notes, there will not be too difficult to understand which of them the speaker used. Obviously, you need practice in writing a rhetorical analysis essay before the exam! Look for a good rhetorical analysis essay example – there are lots of them on the Web! A little tip: you can also check literary analysis essay example which will be helpful in writing literary analysis essay.


A proper structure of your essay (rhetorical analysis essay outline) is a great method to satisfy the requests of your examination professor. 5-6 paragraph style will suit best here. According to the number of strategies you found in text the body paragraphs should be created. The introduction needs to be short. The main body contains answers and your explanations regarding what was said in the text. Then you should finish your essay with great conclusion showing the result that came from this speech.

Summing up

Wow, you finally finished writing this tough essay and there is five minutes till the exam is over. It is time to relax OR you can use these five minutes to check your grammar and vocabulary. A little tip: use present tense when writing (it helps to avoid confusion) and give your essay the right title (as it is the first thing the reader will see). Not enough tips? Check this service if you need some extra help. Good luck!