How Do You Write a Good AP World History Dbq?

Are you struggling with writing a good AP World History DBQ? Don’t worry; you’re not alone!

The Document-Based Question, or DBQ, is a challenging task that requires students to analyze and interpret primary sources to answer a historical question. But with the right approach and some useful tips, you can master the AP World History DBQ and earn that coveted 5 on the exam.

Understand the Prompt

The first step in writing a good AP World History DBQ is understanding the prompt. The prompt will provide you with a historical question and a set of primary sources that relate to the topic.

You must analyze these sources and use them to support your argument in response to the prompt. To understand the prompt better, you should underline or highlight key phrases or words that will help guide your analysis.

Organize Your Thoughts

Before diving into writing your essay, take some time to organize your thoughts. Create an outline that includes an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion. Think about what information you want to include in each section and how you can connect your ideas logically.


Your introduction should provide background information on the topic and include your thesis statement. Your thesis statement should be clear and concise and directly answer the prompt.

Body Paragraphs

In your body paragraphs, you should use specific evidence from the primary sources to support your argument. Use topic sentences at the beginning of each paragraph to clearly indicate what each paragraph will be discussing.

  • Use Quotes: Quotes from primary sources are an excellent way to support your argument.
  • Analyze: Don’t just summarize what happened in history; instead, analyze why it happened.
  • Use Outside Knowledge: Incorporate outside knowledge from other historical eras or regions to support your argument.


Your conclusion should restate your thesis statement and summarize the main points you made in your essay. Don’t introduce any new information in your conclusion.

Practice Time Management

During the AP World History exam, time management is crucial. You only have 55 minutes to complete the DBQ, so you need to use your time wisely. Make sure you allocate enough time to read and analyze the sources, plan your essay, and write your response.

Revise and Edit

After finishing writing your essay, take some time to revise and edit it. Check for grammar and spelling errors and make sure that your ideas are clear and concise. It’s also helpful to have someone else read over your essay for feedback.


In summary, writing a good AP World History DBQ requires careful analysis of primary sources, proper organization of ideas, effective time management, and thorough revision. By following these tips, you can write an excellent DBQ essay that will impress your teachers and earn you a high score on the AP World History exam.