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How to Write DBQs for AP European History

How to DBQ

The DBQ is probably the most important essay on the AP exam and is probably the best place to score points. The essay is the least demanding in terms of what you need to know. The AP European history DBQ is probably the easiest of all the DBQs because it doesn't require any previous knowledge and the documents are often easy to interpret. Here are your keys to success for the AP European history DBQ. 1.
  1. ANSWER THE QUESTION!!! Be certain that you read the question carefully and then clearly answer each part of the question in your thesis and paragraphs.
  2. Clearly and specifically relate each main point you make back to the question.
  3. 2.
  4. Clearly answer the question in your THESIS. The thesis should take a stand on the question and be your opinion. The more controversial the better as long as you have evidence to back it up. Teachers and AP readers get board reading the same thing over and over so taking a unique stand or having a controversial thesis is to your advantage AS LONG AS YOU CAN SUPPORT IT WITH DOCUMENTS AND EVIDENCE. The support and use of evidence is the most important thing which is why most students write simple thesis statements. Be bold - it will pay off.
  5. 3.
  6. Group at least three the documents at least once in each paragraph and explain why you grouped them.
  7. 4.
  8. Choose at least 4-5 documents that are biased or prejudiced or have an important point of view and explain what their bias or POV is in your essay.
  9. 5.
  10. Use as many documents as possible. Name the documents using either title or author (not just doc A.) Explain how each document supports your main point in your paragraph and your thesis.
  11. 6.
  12. Have a plan for your essay.
    1. changes over time (chronological)
    2. economic, social, political (ESP)
    3. similiarities, differences, based on geographic documents or based on the gender of the writer or based on wealth of the writer other plan suggested by the documents

The most difficult part of the AP European history essay writing is explaining bias and point of view. This handout clearly explains how to do it well.

  • How to Do Point of View/Bias for the DBQ Essay
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