How to Write a DBQ Essay for AP US History – 2024 Guide

Do you need to write a DBQ essay but you have no idea how to complete it successfully? An AP History DBQ exam is one of the challenging tests. That’s why it isn’t surprising that hundreds of students seek someone who could provide them with professional writing help here to get a high score for the question-based essay (DBQ). Don’t you have an idea of what you need to accomplish? Usually, students get essay prompts and source documents to work with. Your task is to write a clear and concise essay within one hour. Experts recommend devoting about 15 minutes to planning things and about 45 minutes to essay writing.

Check a step-by-step guide on how to write a brilliant DBQ essay and get a high score for the AP US History.

Tips for Completing a Great DBQ Essay

Here are 6 steps you should take to create a coherent essay worth an A-grade. Follow them and you will definitely succeed.

Read the essay prompt carefully.


First of all, you need to make sure that you understand the question. Figure out what you are expected to answer. For this, you need to think about what knowledge and skills the exam board want to check by asking this question. Each question of the test is designed so that you show your ability to provide historical arguments. You should be able to compare things, interpret things the right way, and show skills in periodization and causation. Have you managed to interpret the question? Don’t hesitate to move to the next step described below.

Make notes when reading sources of information.

It is important to read the documents carefully and highlight everything you consider to be vital for your essay answers. You shouldn’t write much when making notes. It is enough to write one sentence that summarizes the key idea of the entire document. Do the same with all the documents. Remember that you don’t have much time for this part of planning. A search for the main document ideas shouldn’t take you more than 10 minutes. You can try to classify all the documents.

Write a DBQ essay outline.


The very first thing you need to do is to write a powerful thesis. Then, choose the documents to support your ideas. Brainstorm ideas on what information from other sources you could include in your essay response. The entire process should take about 15 minutes or even less. After this step, you need to get started with essay writing because the time is limited.

Organize all the thoughts and ideas and proceed to write.

At this stage, you have already conducted the major part of the research and analysis. Now, it is high time to write an essay. Start with an eye-catching opening paragraph. Make it clear and concise. Write a thesis of your essay in two or three sentences. In fact, a thesis is a short summary of your argument. You should make sure that your thesis is well-grounded. Add valuable supportive arguments. As you can see, there is no significant difference from a standard essay response you have already written before.

Write the main body of the essay.


Here are some rules you need to follow. First of all, you should remember to mention the sources of information. But don’t use quotes too often. You should use only relevant information that will help you to answer the essay question. Some students make a big mistake by including huge quotes to make the essay volume bigger. It doesn’t work like this. You should demonstrate to the exam board that you have a clear understanding of the topic and can express your own thoughts and ideas on the question.

Use powerful arguments.

You need to seek supportive arguments and use them the right way. You are recommended to use not only primary documents but some additional outside information that can be very helpful when you need to support some idea. It is a must to include some other document, besides the given sources. Your ability to search for relevant information, ability to express ideas on historical topics, and give arguments will be tested.
Don’t forget to tell about the historical events in detail.

There is no event that took place without any circumstances. So, tell about circumstances you consider important for the understanding of the whole situation.

Conclude your DBQ essay.


When you are ready with the main body, proceed to the final part- a conclusion. Remember that you shouldn’t give any new information on this part of an essay. A conclusion should be brief. Make it no longer than one paragraph. Just write a short summary of all the valuable ideas and supporting arguments. Make sure that your reader won’t have any questions for you after reading an essay.

Edit and proofread.

Leave at least a couple of minutes to reread the essay. Editing and proofreading will help you to avoid many stupid mistakes and misprints that can influence the score negatively. Make sure that all the parts have a logical connection and pay attention to the grammar.

It isn’t as easy as ABC to pass an AP US History DBQ but nothing is impossible. Follow the tips above step by step and the process of writing will become easier and more effective.

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