6 Tips on how to Write a DBQ Essay

A document-based-question (DBQ) essay is part of an AP history exam, and is characterized by unusual formatting. The untimely easy can be about AP World History, AP European History or AP US History. The unfamiliarity of this type of essay means that most students do not know how to prepare for or write the essay. There is no need to worry if you are not familiar with DBQ essays as this will longer be a problem when you consider the following tips;

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  1. Early Preparation

Some of the factors that determine the time of an AP exam study timeline include the amount of work you need to cover as well as the amount of time you have every week for study. It is advisable to start studying for the exam as early as possible if you do not have a lot of time per week. You should constantly review your older and current materials as part of your preparation. Also, you can only know where to focus your efforts when you complete your baseline QBQ in time.


  1. Establish the Baseline

It is important to assess your DBQ skills in order to establish a baseline. As mentioned earlier, you can only know where to focus your efforts in terms of preparations when you establish a baseline. You must grade yourself using an appropriate rubric when you take a practice DBQ that is timed. In this case, you need an adviser or trusted teacher to assess our performance.


  1. Develop Basic Skills

In order to write a good DBQ essay, you need to be familiar with some basic writing skills. You will need to know how to develop an effective thesis and generally how to outline your essay. A good thesis statement should be specific and at the same time reveal the main idea of the essay. Also, an excellent thesis should reflect your opinion as a writer by making a claim.


Knowing how to outline and format your essay during on the test can help you write an essay that is cohesive and high-scoring. A DBQ essay should have a introduction with a thesis statement, body paragraphs with the main content, and the conclusion. The number of body paragraphs may vary depending on the writer’s main points.


  1. Time Management

DBQ essays are timed and that is why our time management skills may just prove to be valuable during the AP exam. There are quite a number of strategies you can use in order to save time when writing a DBQ essay. To begin with, you need to stop staring at a blank page and just start writing something after brainstorming for a maximum of two minutes. Instead of wasting a lot of time trying to figure out what to do, start organizing your thoughts in writing. Secondly, you should try your level best to address your anxiety issue before the exam as this can be a major distraction. Other strategies for saving time include bringing down your outline time and focusing more on key areas of the paper.


  1. Integrating Citations 

It is a good idea to clearly cite all the used sources in your essay as this improves the quality of your DBQ essay. In-text citation is very critical when you use direct quotes from other sources as it demonstrates your high level of professionalism. When it comes to DBQ essay writing, it is important to learn how to cite or reference sources as it will make a big difference.


  1. Practice Document Analysis 

You should practice document analysis as you will be expected to answer some questions before writing the essay. The questions are based on selected documents, and that is why you know how to analyze documents. The short-answer questions are good for individuals that want to learn how to analyze documents as it will give them good practice.


Apart from helping you learn how to use documents, the practice questions enable you to deeply think about the documents. In most cases, the questions in the AP history textbook are normally good for practice. You need to carefully read the documents, write down major points, and use the major points to come up with arguments.

In conclusion, writing a good DBQ essay requires proper preparation and basic writing skills. Document analysis and good time management are critical when it comes to writing a good DBQ essay.


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