Writing DBQ essays can be pretty daunting for the students since it requires high precision levels in academics and the student’s ability to have different thoughts. But there is no reason to worry. We have come up with a practical guide on how to write a DBQ essay to help you master your writing skills. Follow along the guide to have a better understanding.
What is a DBQ essay?
Before understanding how to write one, we first need to understand what is a DBQ essay. DBQ is an abbreviation for Document/Data-Based Question. As a part of the AP US History Exam or APUSH, DBQ essays are typically timed and conducted under exam conditions set by the United States College Board.
The Document-Based Question of 2021 will relate to the historical development from 1754 to 1980 and will be worth 25 per cent of the final score.
A DBQ will need to keep its relevance with the historical context to prove its point. DBQ essays are generally assigned to test the student’s understanding and knowledge of a specific topic. The course instructor generally provides tons of documents relating to a significant historical event or personality for the students to go through. When you are working with the documents, try to identify patterns and how the information from the documents relates to your topic. It forms the basis of creating an outline for your DBQ essay.
Creating an outline for your DBQ essay
Here is a general outline of a DBQ essay to follow.
Proper format of a DBQ essay
The APUSH exam lasts for 195 minutes, of which candidates are given 60 minutes to complete the DBQ section. It includes 15 minutes of planning and 45 minutes to write. A DBQ essay has roughly 5 to 6 paragraphs. It includes an introduction and thesis, 3 or 4 for the body section and one for the conclusion. However, there is no mandate on the number of paragraphs to be used in the essay and mostly cover around two or three pages. The length of the DBQ essay is not as important as the conciseness and exact nature of your arguments. You will need to use evidence from the provided documents and include information from your external knowledge. The documents provided by the instructors can differ quite often; however, the length of these documents are pretty short.
If you are typing it on a computer, make sure to use clear fonts like Times New Roman or Calibri with a font size of 12. Also, don’t forget to format the text using double spacing and follow the proper citation format set by your education institution.
Interpreting the Data or Documents
Every document you will be provided to write the DBQ essay will contain information and evidence that will help you better understand any historical event or figure. Students will need to identify patterns in these documents or look for connections between them. Start by asking few analytical questions to yourself. Here are a few examples:
In simpler words, the documents you receive from the evidence needs to be questioned. Therefore, try to read between the line to provide a balanced and fair argument.
Steps to writing a DBQ essay
Tips on how to write an effective DBQ essay
What does the examiner want?
The examiner would be looking for the following:
Keep in mind that you might lose marks if you do not recognize the validity and credibility of the documents’ points of view. Therefore, keep away from reiteration and only talk about the documents and divide your essay into an introduction, thesis statement, body section and conclusion.
It is critical to understand how to write an effective DBQ essay and learn the proper format prescribed by the APUSH to succeed. Managing your time during the test is essential, and therefore, timed practices are necessary to perfect your time management. Clarify any doubts with the instructor and go through previous examples of DBQ papers to understand what the examiner is looking for.
AP U.S. History exam (APUSH) set by the United States College Board includes a hefty weightage on the DBQ writing section. Therefore, for those students who want to sit for the APUSH exam, learning and mastering DBQ essay writing skills is necessary for a good score in the exam.
With the APUSH exam lasting around 3 hours and 15 minutes, an hour is generally left for the DBQ essay section.
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