Tips On How To Write A Good DBQ Essay

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Tips On How To Write A Good DBQ Essay

The DBQ or a document-based-question is an essay that you might not be familiar with because it is quite rare. Basically, it is a formatted timed essay on AP history tests. For example, AP US History, AP World History, and AP European History.

Students don’t have enough information on this task and are searching for how to write a DBQ essay fast and correctly. They simply don’t believe that it is possible to pass the test and complete every rubric properly. However, with a ready prompt, critical thinking skill, and thorough analysis, everything is possible. To create a perfect DBQ essay, you just need to practice.

When working on this test, you will need a solid knowledge of different time periods, locations, and characters. You will have to analyze the provided documents and then justify your answers. 

Outline of a DBQ Essay and Major Tips

A document-based question essay is an assignment that is usually given during historical exams. As you get from the name, you need to analyze provided documents on a particular event or period and connect them to score well. To get the highest grade, you shouldn’t simply paraphrase what the documents are about. But to establish connections and causes between different events. Guide your readers through several periods and make them understand what was happening at a particular period.

Your DBQ essay should consist of the following sections:

  • Introduction;
  • Body paragraphs;
  • Conclusion.

The two main things to consider when working on a DBQ essay is planning and using proper tools. Usually, students have 15 minutes to read the documents and 45 minutes to write the essay. During the first 15 minutes, you should understand the main questions, sort provided information, and create a future essay plan.

Here are the preparation tips which will be of great help:

  1. Read and understand the main questions. Start with identifying the key facts of the document. They may include location, time, people, names, etc. Write these things down because you’ll need them during the writing stage. Try to brainstorm and find the main question because, during the next 45 minutes, you should be focused on writing without any distractions;
  2. Analyze the document. For such a limited period of time, students need to process numerous documents and then find enough evidence to support their point of view. Be ready to analyze letters, charts, maps, speeches, and other types of non-typical papers;
  3. Write down key ideas of the future text. By this stage, you already have a list of the main events and participants of the documents. It is the right time to think about what you are going to discuss further. When ideas appear in your head, write them down and then range in terms of priority.

DBQ Essay Introduction

Any essay starts with an introduction. Here is where you establish a connection with the readers, draw an image of the things that will be discussed in the article, and ensure that the audience is willing to learn more.

Your DBQ introduction should indicate the historical context of the requested period. Whether it is World War II or the Suffrage Movement, keep this section short because further, you’ll have enough time to support arguments and show how great your analytical skills are.

Finish introduction with a thesis statement. It is the heart of your essay, which contains its main idea. If you see that the key idea has changed in the process of writing the paper, simply rewrite the thesis.

How to Complete a Body Paragraph in a DBQ Essay

Body paragraphs of a DBQ essay should include evidence from reliable sources, support your thesis statement and main idea, and present all the facts and events that relate to the topic. Each body of the paragraph should cover a particular issue. If several issues are similar, group them. Make sure that paragraphs follow a logical order.

Start every paragraph with a topic sentence which indicates what the section is about. Then provide key findings and explain them. To be helpful, attach materials, refer sources by titles, and discuss the events and problems in a clear manner.

Before working on the body paragraphs, you should clearly understand the main differences between AP DBQ essays. For example, when working on US History, students need to back every evidence with sources. However, an AP European History should be based on given documents.

When including direct quotations, ensure that they are relevant to the subject. After the body paragraphs are written and properly quoted, check once again whether they support your thesis. Do your best to show that you have a perfect understanding of the event or particular period that you are asked to discuss.

How to Write a Conclusion Paragraph for a DBQ Essay

The conclusion is an important part of any assignment, and a DBQ essay is not an exception. Here you summarize relevant information from all the previous sections. Identify the main problems, show that you devoted enough time to reading and analyzing, and write a few notes about the topic’s future. Show that you can think outside the box and see the subject as a whole.

Finally, when the essay is written, check names, dates, formatting, spelling, and grammar. Make sure that all the paragraphs follow a logical sequence.

If you want to receive high grades and succeed on an AP exam, follow the tips above, and see yourself how simpler the writing will be.

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