Skip Nav

SAT / ACT Prep Online Guides and Tips

How to Write a Dbq Essay

❶Whenever you mention a document or information within a document, add parentheses and the number of the document at the end of the sentence, like this: To score well, the thesis needs to include specific information that responds to the question.

Outline of a DBQ Essay

Are you sure you want to cancel this request?
Preparing for the DBQ
See how Chegg Tutors works:

Most important tip is to use your time to plan the essay; don't rush into writing it without knowing what you're writing about! Your teacher will give you a set of documents, which can be written pieces, graphs or charts showing statistics, or works of art, which all have something to do with the topic of your essay, and you'll be asked to formulate your thesis based on the evidence you can find in the documents. Using this evidence, you'll sort the documents into groups, each group corresponding to one topic sentence or DI, developing idea or body paragraph in your essay; in each body paragraph, you'll analyze the documents you took into account while creating the topic sentence for that paragraph.

DBQ essays sound daunting, but with a little practice you'll have this! In this type of testing, you have to read documents about a topic and then design an essay that tells your reader what your opinion and analysis of how these documents fit together.

The best way to go about responding to a DBQ question is to briefly browse through the different documents to get an idea of what information they provide, then to formulate your thesis based on what you know and what support you think the documents can provide. You should cite as many documents as you can about half of them or more is a good amount when explaining your thesis and elaborating on your ideas.

DBQ essays are essays that ask students to review a series of documents, analyze them and respond to a specific prompt. This collection of documents can include excerpts from legal documents, bills, photographs, maps, etc. Successfully answering a DBQ requires the ability to thoroughly understand the question, and then sift through the documents to find relevant information. Of course, a good thesis and strong organization are also necessary!

You see these a lot in some History classes. In these essays, you are given a series of about short documents. You are then expected to answer a question based on what can be learned from the documents. This is sort of like a research paper, only your research has already been given to you. A DBQ essay is an essay that synthesizes information from numerous primary source documents and answers a prompt with that essay synthesis. The focus in a DBQ is the thesis, which should directly relate to both the essay question and the documents provided.

DBQ Essays are designed to encourage students to think critically about a certain period or event in History, and expect students to draw on their historical knowledge as well as the information provided in the sources to successfully formulate an argument to address the question.

A "Document Based Question". This question is not created to stump your or test your knowledge on the material. It is more or less there to see if you can synthesize combine various articles into a well written essay. My advice, practice this type of essay. It could very well be a great way to rack up some points on that AP test!

A DBQ is a document-based question. You'll often find them on standardized tests. In order to write a DBQ, read the provided documents, analyze the question you are being asked, and the synthesize the given information into a cohesive essay. The DBQ is often mistaken as the most difficult essay prompt on many AP tests, however, this is the only essay prompt that provides much of the information and evidence needed to craft a suitable argument to earn a high score on your writing portion.

The most immediate reason to practice DBQ essays is because they are an easy way to rack up points on your AP test. Because you are already provided with most of the information you need, even a very limited background knowledge of the topic will take you a long way. Looking at the long-term benefits, DBQ essays are valuable ways of practicing data synthesis, which applies across many subjects, not just history.

DBQ essays require the student to be a critical reader, not only reading what's on the page but thinking critically about it - is the writer biased? Is the document a primary or secondary source, and how does that affect the document's meaning?

The DBQ is the basis of proper historical writing. History is all about primary source documentation-- the "data"part of "data based question". To write for a history class, ranging from high school to AP to undergrad and beyond, you need to be able to look at a set of documents, decide what they're saying, and compare them to other documents.

All of these skills are essential for the DBQ portion of the AP World History test, so it's a useful format to learn even if you don't plan on going into history and just want to do as well as possible on the test. The WHAP test, especially the written portion, is extremely intimidating. Coming in with a game plan, even if it's just a format for writing a DBQ thesis statement, can help immensely with your confidence AND your score!

A DBQ, or document based essay, is an essay that requires you to use information from documents given to formulate a response. It is important to note the authors, dates, and perspectives that these documents are coming from when making a response. It's a formatted, five-paragraph essay in which the thesis is stated in the first paragraph, setting out how you will support it in the following three paragraphs.

Paragraphs 2, 3 and 4 each support one subthesis, and in paragraph 5, you summarize your points in a conclusion. You will be asked a question and provided with documents to go through to help you answer the question. There will be one DBQ essay on your exam, and it is important to be able to read the documents and form your argument quickly in order to write your essay to the fullest extent and hopefully receive a high grade.

The Document Based Essay question can easily be your best friend and raise your AP score or your worst enemy. Let's work to make it your friend. There is a tried-and-true and trust me, it raised my AP grade method to beating these questions, and it is all in extraction of the facts and learning how to create good discussion out of whatever articles are presented to you. DBQs could be the difference between a 4 and a 5 or a failing 2 and a passing 3 , so if you need help, ask me! DBQ essays can seem intimidating, but if you develop a set of skills to deal with them, they're a piece of cake!

You are given 15 minutes to read the prompt and other materials, as well as begin your prewriting. Think about what period of history the question could be referencing. Then link important events and people you know from that time.

After that, look over the sources and make sure you use most of them! Remember that the sources may agree or disagree with your point. Try to bring all these ideas together into a thesis statement.

Now you can begin writing your essay--make sure to stick to your thesis and apply your own knowledge as well as the information from the sources to answer the question effectively. A DBQ is a document based question. This is an opportunity to show off your ability to analyze and connect historical documents such as newspaper articles, graphs, letters, etc. Your thesis must be argumentative and universal; you use relevant articles as evidence to prove your thesis. Data points from the documents should be incorporated smoothly and effectively into the DBQ essay.

They require you to use multiple sources that are given to you during the exam to craft an argument based on the question they give and support it with the documents given. It's the APs way of testing your ability to write a research-style paper in which you support an argument with evidence you have found. DBQ's are a great way to study the meatier topics of history. Too often people think history is the memorization of names and dates. This simply isn't the case.

Names and dates and facts are the foundation of the study of history, and a great way to test knowledge for large groups, but not the best way to understand history in depth. DBQ's allow you to apply these facts and figures to arrive at an interpretation of history. By studying various documents related to the past, you can see differing viewpoints and draw your own conclusions.

This teaches you invaluable critical thinking and analytic skills, and is vital for understanding the past on a deeper level. Something has gone wrong. We're working on getting this fixed. In the meantime, please return home and try your request again. Your proposal was successfully submitted. We'll notify you as soon as a response is received from your tutor. What is the author trying to say?

Do I agree or disagree? Is the document supported by logic or opinion? If it were written in the current era would the thesis still be the same? Is my analysis of the document supported by evidence in the document itself as well as supplementary readings? Rewrite and expand your DBQ thesis so it includes all the main points you want to include in your essay.

The thesis itself should forecast the points made in your DBQ and be supported by evidence from the documents. Proofread your DBQ thesis and supporting points using your word-processor spelling and grammar check. Use academic language, and check for spelling and use of appropriate tenses. Kathryn Wagner currently lives in Uganda. She has more than six years of professional writing experience and her poems and essays have appeared in "Nidus," "the North Dakota Quarterly," "Big City Lit," "Identity Theory" and the "Tucson Weekly.

Repeat this process as necessary, until you are consistently scoring your goal score. Then you just need to make sure you maintain your skills until test day by doing an occasional practice DBQ. I know, I know.

This will keep your memory sharp! Eat a good breakfast and lunch, if the exam is in the afternoon before the exam with protein and whole grains. This will keep your blood sugar from crashing and making you tired during the exam.

Instead, do something relaxing. Mark them as you read—circle things that seem important, jot thoughts and notes in the margins. Write down themes and concepts that seem important and create a thesis from those. Remember, your thesis needs to answer the question and make a claim! Which documents support which ideas? Make sure your outline notes where you are going to include your contextual information often placed in the first body paragraph, but this is up to you , your specific example likely in one of the body paragraphs , and your synthesis the conclusion is a good place for this.

Make sure you use all the documents! Take a quick pass over your outline and the docs and make sure all of the docs appear in your outline. This probably just means you have a really thorough outline! But be ready to write pretty fast. If you have a good outline, the hard part is out of the way!

You just need to make sure you get all of your great ideas down in the test booklet. Spend maybe one or two sentences introducing the issue, then get right to your thesis. For your body paragraphs, make sure your topic sentences clearly state the point of the paragraph. Then you can get right into your evidence and your document analysis.

As you write, make sure to keep an eye on the time. You want to be a little more than halfway through at the minute mark of the writing period, so you have a couple minutes to go back and edit your essay at the end. Sentences that are shorter and to the point are completely fine. If you are short on time, the conclusion is the least important part of your essay. When you are done, make one last past through your essay. Make sure you included everything that was in your outline and hit all the rubric skills!

Then take a deep breath and pat yourself on the back. Remember the drill for prep: Make sure that you know the rubric inside and out so you will remember to hit all the necessary points on test day! On test day, keep yourself on track time-wise! This may seem like a lot, but you can learn how to ace your DBQ! The more you practice, the more natural it will seem, until every DBQ is a breeze. Haven't registered for the test yet? See our article for help registering for AP exams.

Studying for World History? See these AP World History study tips from one of our experts. We've written a guide for each test about the top 5 strategies you must be using to have a shot at improving your score. Download it for free now:. Ellen has extensive education mentorship experience and is deeply committed to helping students succeed in all areas of life. You should definitely follow us on social media.

You'll get updates on our latest articles right on your feed. Follow us on all 3 of our social networks:. How to Get a Perfect , by a Perfect Scorer. Score on SAT Math. Score on SAT Reading. Score on SAT Writing. What ACT target score should you be aiming for?

Key Strategies and Tips. Posted by Ellen McCammon May 9, 8: He's ready to start studying! Preparing for the DBQ The general preparation process is to diagnose, practice, test, and repeat. Establish a Baseline The first thing you need to do is to establish a baseline— figure out where you are at with respect to your DBQ skills.

Who knows—maybe this will be one of your documents! Finding a Trusted Advisor to Look at Your Papers A history teacher would be a great resource, but if they are not available to you in this capacity, here are some other ideas: Ask a librarian at your school or public library! You could also ask a school guidance counselor to direct you to in-school resources you could use. Again, ideally your trusted advisor will be familiar with the AP, but if you have used your parents for writing help in the past they can also assist here.

You might try an older friend who has already taken the exam and did well Once you feel oriented, take your practice exam! You need a stronger foundation than this sand castle. Here are some general rules as to what makes a good thesis: This guide from the University of Iowa provides some really helpful tips on writing a thesis for a history paper.

Once you can write a thesis, you need to be able to support it—that's where outlining comes in! This is not a good outline. The most important part of your intro! You can be as organized as this library! There could be a few things at play here: Do you find yourself spending a lot of time staring at a blank paper?

You are probably spending too long on your outline, biting off more than you can chew, or both. Thesis - 2 Points One point is for having a thesis that works and is historically defensible. Document Analysis - 2 Points One point for using six or seven of the documents in your essay to support your argument.

This further analysis could be in any of these 4 areas: Practicing Document Analysis So how do you practice document analysis? This otter is ready to swim in the waters of the DBQ.

Consider what they identified that you missed. To practice your outside information skills, pull up your College Board prompts! Synthesis - 1 Point All you need to do for synthesis is relate your argument about this specific time period to a different time period, geographical area, historical movement, etc. To practice your synthesis skills—you guessed it—pull up your College Board prompts!

Choose Your Test

Main Topics

Privacy Policy

DBQ Essay Outline Guide Use the following outline to plan and write your essays, in response to a Document Based Question (DBQ). The format is.

Privacy FAQs

Writing a thesis for a document-based question (DBQ) is not easy if you don't know how to approach the historical material. A DBQ is an attempt to analyze history from multiple sources and to defend.

About Our Ads

The thesis is that part of your essay that 1) specifically addresses the terms of the question and 2) sets up the structure for the rest of your essay. Let’s take a look at thesis statement samples based on the prompt listed above. PPT about the DBQ thesis statement that Ms. Toyama got from an AP Conference. More in APUSH DAY 6 (Columbus DBQ Prep) Columbus DBQ Materials. Columbus DBQ Documents. Columbus DBQ sentence starters. AP Essay Rubric. DBQ Resources. Document Analysis Tool (APPARTS) Document Analysis Worksheet (APARTS) DBQ .

Cookie Info

You should check out a sample dbq essay to get an idea of how a thesis looks like. It's basically a preview of the argument that you will put forward in your essay. Write a thesis statement that will point to the direction that your essay will take. The thesis statement should not repeat the topic question. Sample Essays. Share Tweet Post Message. Use these sample AP U.S. History essays to get ideas for your own AP essays. These essays are examples of good AP-level writing. 1. The ‘50s and ‘60s: Decades of Prosperity and Protest (DBQ) The s were characterized as a prosperous and conformist decade for many reasons. The first and .