Tips On How To Write A DBQ


Do you ponder what a DBQ is? Students obtain an AP history exam (Advancement Placement World History, Advanced Placement US History or Advancement Placement European history) an essay question called a DBQ essay(that’s a Document Based Question essay). When you write such essays, your primary purpose is to research a historical event, contemporary trend, or period using documentary evidence given to every student. The problem arises that this type of assignment is frequently unfamiliar to many students. They don’t know how to start, and the logical sequence of working with historical evidence isn’t familiar to them.

Frequently they get stressed about writing such essays, and writing such essays seems complicated to them. To assist the students who don’t know how to write such an assignment, this article offers them several valuable tips and techniques for writing a DBQ correctly and without any difficulty. It should be noted that the documents that are provided to students vary, but the instructions, guidelines, and skills that are tested are the same. It’s not too complicated to write such essays if you know how to do it. Read below, and you’ll obtain a better idea of how to write such assignments.

Tips On Writing A Convincing DBQ Essay

  • To write a high-quality DBQ essay, your first necessity is to prepare for this process so that when you get down to writing, you’re well-prepared and won’t be lacking words. Below there are several necessary tips to focus on the most necessary things and questions during your fifteen minutes of preparation. Use this time wisely, and be sure you know well in what order it’s appropriate to start working with the assignment;
  • Thoroughly read and study the prompt (ensure that you clearly realize the question, determine the required keywords, and prove you need to acquire the documents or exterior sources, think creatively). Initially, focus on the given question and forget about the provided documents for a while. Concentrate on the time period and society because in your historical paper, period and its society will be your paper’s background information. Use the document as evidence. Recollect what information you got to know in class and all possible exterior sources;
  • Define your start. After you’ve read the prompt and understood it properly, you’ll have various ideas. You should select the idea that’ll give you a noteworthy perspective;
  • Write a temporary thesis statement. You need to adhere to this thesis when you start working with the documents, and it’ll serve you as a spine for your paper;
  • Look through the documents. As you’ll be provided with several historical documents, you will need to examine them carefully. Determine the main idea of every one of them and analyze how they relate to the prompt and the thesis. You should also get notes concerning every document. It’s necessary to detect and analyze chronological changes;
  • Divide your historical documents into logical groups. After you’ve studied the documents, you should divide them into groups depending on how they’ll help you answer the prompt. For example, the “contrast and compare” group;
  • Define the point of view of the author. With the assistance of the documents you’ve been provided with, you’ll need to maintain your thesis. Attempt to discover the author’s title and his main idea, and the topical thought of every document. You should attempt to realize why the author had arrived at this conclusion and demonstrate it in your paper. This will demonstrate the level of your understanding of the historical event or period that you analyze;
  • The groups should reflect various sides of the argument. In your paper, you need to demonstrate that you know the documents perfectly. When you categorize them into logical groups, mention them several times in you’re paper. All the documents should be grouped under the thesis;
  • Use an extra document. Apart from the documents that you’ve been given, you’ll be asked for an extra document. This document should be related to the essay question;
  • Enhance your thesis. At this moment, you’ve more data about the documents, and you should return your thesis statement and alter it so it fully covers the question. Your thesis should be understandable and written in a clear language if you wish to obtain a higher score, and in this way, your essay will produce a favorable impression. Now you’re prepared to get down to writing your DBQ essay.

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Writing a DBQ Essay

A typical DBQ essay normally consists of the introduction, the body paragraphs, and the conclusion. This structure is similar to the structure of any other essay and is logically structured.


When you write the introductory portion, your principal task is to characterize the historical context of the period you’re required to write about. As a typical essay of any other type, the introduction of your DBQ essay should contain the thesis statement. The sentence that follows the thesis point out what topics you intend to dwell upon in the body of your essay.


The data in your body paragraphs ought to be logically organized as in any other type of essays. Every paragraph of the body should start with a topical sentence that’ll clarify what the paragraph will be about. All the paragraphs should be informative and contain relative information. Use appropriate transitional words and phrases between the paragraphs to allow a better understanding. You should mention the titles of the documents in your essay. When you mention a document or refer to it, attach your analysis to the documents.

There are various types of research papers, and you should know and realize their requirements. For instance, if you write AP United States History, you’ll need plenty of exterior information, but the larger portion of the citations should be taken from the documents. In the case of AP European History, you’ll be asked to use the documents provided to you. If it’s required for a direct quotation, it should be very relevant.

The body paragraphs should’ve relevant citations, i.e., when using any of the documents or some exterior evidence, comprise its citation. Also, it’s vital to write body paragraphs under your thesis. You should prove your point of view, and the information the exterior sources correlate with your thesis statement. Using any exterior data, you should recollect that it needs to have relevance to the thesis. The crucial thing here is to prove that you realize the period or the historical event you’re writing about.

Conclusion of a DBQ Essay

The conclusion of the essay is always substantial. In it, you ought to briefly restate the thesis, allow a summary of what has been written about in the parts of the body.

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