How Do You Do Well on the DBQ AP World History?

If you’re taking the AP World History exam, the Document-Based Question (DBQ) is one of the most challenging parts. It requires you to analyze and interpret primary sources to answer a historical question. Here are some tips on how to do well on the DBQ:

Understand the Prompt

The first step in doing well on the DBQ is understanding the prompt. Read it carefully and make sure you know exactly what it’s asking for. You may need to read it several times before you fully understand it.

Read and Analyze the Documents

Once you understand the prompt, read through all of the documents provided. You should aim to understand each document’s main idea, argument, tone, and any biases or perspectives presented.

Take Notes as You Read

As you read through each document, take notes on what you think is important information that will help answer the prompt. Note any significant dates or events mentioned in each document that might help support your argument.

Create an Outline

With your understanding of both the prompt and documents, create an outline for your essay. This will give your essay structure and direction while also ensuring that you address all aspects of the prompt.

  • Introduction: State your thesis statement and provide context for your argument.
  • Body Paragraphs: Each paragraph should address a specific aspect of your argument supported by evidence from the documents.
  • Conclusion: Restate your thesis statement and summarize your main points while highlighting their significance.

Use Evidence from Documents

When writing your essay, make sure to use evidence from all of the documents presented. Cite specific examples in each paragraph to support your argument.

Analyze Your Evidence

Don’t just present evidence without analyzing it! Explain how it supports your argument and what it shows about the historical period being addressed.

Use Outside Knowledge

While the documents provided are the primary sources, you can and should use your outside knowledge of history to support your argument. However, make sure to clearly differentiate between information from the documents and outside knowledge.

Be Careful with Outside Information

While outside information is important, be careful not to go off-topic or stray too far from the prompt. Keep your focus on answering the prompt using evidence from both the documents and your outside knowledge.

Proofread Your Essay

After you have finished writing your essay, proofread it for any errors in grammar or spelling. Make sure that everything makes sense and that you have addressed all aspects of the prompt.

Check for Clarity and Conciseness

Make sure that your essay is clear and concise. Avoid repetitive language or unnecessary information. You want to make sure that your argument is presented in a straightforward manner.

By following these tips, you will be better prepared to tackle the DBQ on the AP World History exam. Good luck!