How Do You Write a DBQ World History AP?

Writing a Document-Based Question (DBQ) for World History AP can be a daunting task, but with the right approach, it can be a rewarding experience. A DBQ is an essay that requires you to analyze and interpret historical documents to answer a prompt. In this article, we will discuss how to write a successful DBQ for World History AP.

Understanding the Prompt

The first step in writing a DBQ is understanding the prompt. The prompt will provide you with a topic and a set of historical documents. You must analyze these documents and use them to support your argument in your essay.

It is crucial to read the prompt carefully and understand what it is asking you to do. Take note of any specific instructions, such as how many documents you need to use or if there are any required sources outside of the given documents.

Reading and Analyzing the Documents

Once you have read and understood the prompt, it’s time to read and analyze the documents. Start by identifying the author, date, and source of each document. Then consider the context in which each document was created.

As you read each document, underline or highlight any key information that relates to the prompt. Consider how each document supports or contradicts your argument.

Creating an Outline

Before starting your essay, create an outline that includes your thesis statement and main points. Your thesis statement should clearly state your argument in response to the prompt.

Use your analysis of the documents to develop three or four main points that support your thesis statement. Organize these points into an outline that follows a logical progression.

Writing Your Essay

With your outline complete, it’s time to start writing your essay. Begin with an introduction that provides background information on the topic and ends with your thesis statement.

In each body paragraph, begin with a topic sentence that relates to your thesis statement. Use evidence from the documents to support your argument and analyze how each document supports or contradicts your point.

Remember to use transition words between paragraphs to create a logical flow of ideas. In your conclusion, restate your thesis statement and summarize your main points.

Tips for Success

Here are some additional tips to help you write a successful DBQ:

  • Use all of the documents: Use as many of the given documents as possible in your essay.
  • Provide context: Provide historical context for each document and explain how it relates to the prompt.
  • Be concise: Make sure your essay is clear and concise, and avoid unnecessary repetition.
  • Edit: Take time to edit and revise your essay for clarity, grammar, and spelling errors.


In conclusion, writing a DBQ for World History AP can be challenging but rewarding. Understanding the prompt, analyzing the documents, creating an outline, and writing a clear and concise essay are key elements of success.

Remember to use all of the given documents, provide context for each document, be concise, and edit your work carefully. With these tips in mind, you can write a successful DBQ that demonstrates your understanding of world history.