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❶Refine your rough argument into a tentative thesis. James Madison After the War of

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The New AP U.S. History Exam
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Need more study resources for AP World History? Try this article on the best notes to use for studying from one of our experts. Or just looking for general information about your upcoming APs? 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. 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? What is a DBQ? The Document-Based Question Explained. Posted by Ellen McCammon Jan 28, This baby is too young to be diving into the DBQ! The DBQ is testing your ability to: For that, you might: Maybe your brother hates soccer.

Maybe that review of the soccer ball was written for professional soccer players, and you want to know how it is for casual players! What time of year is it? You just have to learn how to use it. How much is the DBQ worth on your exam? And how do those pesky AP graders even score it? What Does the Rubric Mean? The rubric the graders use is freely available to you on the College Board website. Thesis and Argument - 2 points The breakdown: One point for having a clear, historically plausible thesis that is located in the introduction or conclusion.

You can get another point here for having a particularly good thesis that presents a nuanced relationship between historical factors, and doing a good job supporting that thesis in your essay. Document Analysis - 2 points The breakdown: One point for using of the documents in your essay.

One point for doing further analysis on four of the documents. This further analysis could be on any of the following points: Using Outside Evidence - 2 points The breakdown: One point is just for context - if you can locate the issue within its broader historical situation. You do need to write several sentences about it but the contextual information can be very general. One point is for being able to name an additional specific example relevant to your argument that is not mentioned in the documents.

This is only one point and it will not prevent you from getting a 5 on the exam. Synthesis - 1 point The breakdown: 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. It is probably easiest to do this in the conclusion of the essay. Rock the DBQ like Jimi rocked the s. Preparing for the DBQ As you might expect, the most important thing you can do to prepare is to practice writing this type of essay.

During the Test Read the question carefully. Make sure you know what is being asked before you start trying to answer. While you read the documents, take notes on what they mean, who is writing, etc. A selection of practice questions from the exam can be found online at the College Board, including a DBQ.

Go to page in the linked document for the practice prompt. I advise you to save all these links , or even download all the Free Response Questions and the Scoring Guides, for reference because you will be using them again and again for practice.

The College Board has provided practice questions for the exam , including a DBQ see page in the linked document. Just be sure to use the new DBQ rubric if you want to use any of the old prompts provided by the College Board.

I advise you to save all these links or even download all the Free Response Questions and the Scoring Guides for reference, because you will be using them again and again for practice. As for the other two history exams, the College Board has provided practice questions.

See page for the DBQ. So be sure to use the new DBQ rubric if you want to use any of the old prompts provided by the College Board. A history teacher would be a great resource, but if they are not available to you in this capacity, here are some other ideas:. If you want to look at one or two sample essays, see my article for a list of DBQ example essay resources. This page was created primarily for the AP European History Long Essay question, but the definitions are still useful for the DBQ on all the history exams, particularly since these are the definitions provided by the College Board.

The point of establishing a baseline is not to make you feel bad, but to empower you to focus your efforts on the areas you need to work on.

Even if you need to work on all the areas, that is completely fine and doable! Every skill you need for the DBQ can be built. It sounds like a lot, but not only are these skills vital to your academic career in general, you probably already have the basic building blocks to master them in your arsenal!

A good thesis does more than just restate the prompt. This is not an effective thesis. All it does is vaguely restate the prompt. A good thesis makes a plausible claim that you can defend in an essay-length piece of writing. This is not an effective thesis, either. For one thing, Marie Antoinette never said that.

More importantly, how are you going to write an entire essay on how one offhand comment by Marie Antoinette caused the entire Revolution? This is both implausible and overly simplistic. A good thesis makes it clear where you are going in your essay. This is a great thesis!

If you feel like you have trouble telling the difference between a good thesis and a not-so-good one, here are a few resources you can consult: So how do you practice your thesis statement skills for the DBQ? While you should definitely practice looking at DBQ questions and documents and writing a thesis in response to those, you may also find it useful to write some practice thesis statements in response to the Free-Response Questions.

You could even try writing multiple thesis statements in response to the same prompt! It is a great exercise to see how you could approach the prompt from different angles. Time yourself for minutes to mimic the time pressure of the AP exam. Barring that, looking over the scoring guidelines for old prompts accessible from the same page on the College Board where past free-response questions can be found will provide you with useful tips on what might make a good thesis in response to a given prompt.

A good outline will clearly lay out your thesis and how you are going to support that thesis in your body paragraphs.

It will keep your writing organized and prevent you from forgetting anything you want to mention! For some general tips on writing outlines, this page from Roane State has some useful information. While the general principles of outlining an essay hold, the DBQ format is going to have its own unique outlining considerations.

Depending on your number of body paragraphs and your main points, you may include different numbers of documents in each paragraph, or switch around where you place your contextual information, your outside example, or your synthesis. The next section will cover time management skills. No one will look at those notes but you! Are you too anxious to start writing, or does anxiety distract you in the middle of your writing time? Do you just feel overwhelmed?

Sounds like test anxiety. Lots of people have this. You might talk to a guidance counselor about your anxiety. They will be able to provide advice and direct you to resources you can use. There are also some valuable test anxiety resources online: Are you only two thirds of the way through your essay when 40 minutes have passed? Remember, an outline is just a guide for your essay—it is fine to switch things around as you are writing.

To cut down on your outline time, practice just outlining for shorter and shorter time intervals. When you can write one in 20 minutes, bring it down to 18, then down to You may also be trying to cover too much in your paper. If you have five body paragraphs, you need to scale things back to three. If you are spending twenty minutes writing two paragraphs of contextual information, you need to trim it down to a few relevant sentences.

Be mindful of where you are spending a lot of time, and target those areas. Start with 20 minutes for your outline and 50 for your essay, or longer, if you need. Then when you can do it in 20 and 50, move back to 18 minutes and 45 for writing, then to 15 and You absolutely can learn to manage your time effectively so that you can write a great DBQ in the time allotted. On to the next skill!

In other words, how do you reference the information in the documents in a clear, non-awkward way? When you quote a document directly without otherwise identifying it, you may want to include a parenthetical citation. All of the history exams share a DBQ rubric, so the guidelines are identical. One point is for having a thesis that works and is historically defensible. This just means that your thesis can be reasonably supported by the documents and historical fact.

Per the College Board, your thesis needs to be located in your introduction or your conclusion. You can receive another point for having a super thesis. How will you know whether the historical evidence agrees or disagrees? A super thesis , however, would take the relationships between the documents and the people behind the documents!

One point for using six or seven of the documents in your essay to support your argument. Any summarizing should be connected a point. You can get an additional point here for doing further analysis on 4 of the documents. This further analysis could be in any of these 4 areas:. What is their position in society and how does this influence what they are saying? What are they trying to convince their audience of? Historical context - What broader historical facts are relevant to this document?

Audience - Who is the intended audience for this document? Who is the author addressing or trying to convince? Be sure to tie any further analysis back to your main argument! Before they write the essay, however, New York students have to answer short answer questions about the documents.

Answering Regents exam DBQ short-answer questions is good practice for basic document analysis. This prompt from the Morningside center also has some good document comprehensions questions about a US-History based prompt. Your AP history textbook may also have documents with questions that you can use to practice. Flip around in there! When you want to do a deeper dive on the documents, you can also pull out those old College Board DBQ prompts.

Read the documents carefully. Write down everything that comes to your attention. Of course, you might not be able to do all kinds of further analysis on things like maps and graphs, which is fine. You might also try thinking about how you would arrange those observations in an argument, or even try writing a practice outline!

This exercise would combine your thesis and document-analysis skills practice. It helpfully has an entire list of analysis points for each document. Do you seem way off-base in your interpretation? If so, how did it happen? One point is just for context - if you can locate the issue within its broader historical situation. If the question is about the Dust Bowl during the Great Depression, for example, be sure to include some of the general information you know about the Great Depression!

Read through the prompt and documents and then write down all of the contextualizing facts and as many specific examples as you can think of. I advise timing yourself—maybe minutes to read the documents and prompt and list your outside knowledge—to imitate the time pressure of the DBQ. This will help fill in holes in your knowledge. 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.

It is probably easiest to do this in the conclusion of the essay. If your essay is about the Great Depression, you might relate it to the Great Recession of You do need to do more than just mention your synthesis connection. You need to make it meaningful. How are the two things you are comparing similar? What does one reveal about the other?

Is there a key difference that highlights something important? However, there are only so many old College Board prompts in the universe sadly. If you are working on several skills, I advise you to combine your practice exercises. What do I mean? Set your timer for minutes, pull up a prompt, and:. Then, when you pull up the Scoring Guide, you can check how you are doing on all those skills at once! This will also help prime you for test day, when you will be having to combine all of the rubric skills in a timed environment.

Preparing for the DBQ

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The dreaded DBQ, or “document-based question,” is an essay question type on the AP History exams (AP US History, AP European History, and AP World History). For the DBQ essay, you will be asked to analyze some historical issue or trend with the aid of the provided sources, or "documents," as evidence.

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The DBQ, or document-based-question, is a somewhat unusually-formatted timed essay on the AP History Exams: AP US History, AP European History, and AP World History. Because of its unfamiliarity, many students are at a loss as to how to even prepare, let alone how to write a successful DBQ essay on test day.

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Document Based Question Essay Outline Use the following outline to help you organize the Document Based Question Essay you have been given.! * When labeling documents, always remember to identify the source by giving the. How To Answer A Document Based Question Mr. Mulry U.S. History September Type of essay that provides you with documents to serve as sources of information for your writing. DBQ Stands for Document Based Question Sunday, September 22, What is a DBQ? DBQ’s do not test your essay and will help in writing the thesis .

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Part III is a document based question (DBQ) and has two components Part III-A or "DBQ scaffolding" is a series of short answer questions based on primary source documents Part III-B is the DBQ essay questions. The document-based question (DBQ) is not a summary of documents but a unique essay in which you show off your skills as a historian. You will analyze evidence and organize it with outside.