Ap Us History Essays Dbq Documents

Every subject is easier to study using concrete examples; APUSH essays are no exception. The data-based question, or DBQ, differs from typical essays in only one way – the inclusion of five to seven historical documents. Your goal is to read through each historical document, then write an essay that clearly answers the given prompt while demonstrating your overall understanding of APUSH content. The following sources for APUSH DBQ examples are helpful to review before beginning your own writing.

What should I look in each APUSH DBQ sample?

In each sample, study how each author:

  • analyzes historical documents
  • provides additional examples
  • uses evidence to support argument

APUSH DBQ Example #1: AP College Board

College Board is always the best source for up-to-date information and resources. This APUSH DBQ sample is from 2016, but provides three different variations of student responses. You can see how and why which writing sample scored best, as well as determine how to incorporate those elements into your own writing. (Examples from 2015 are also available.)

APUSH DBQ Example #2: AP US History Notes

Although this site doesn’t explain why each sample is successful, it does offer a large selection of examples to choose from. You can get a good sense of what type of writing goes into a high-quality essay. Read through both the DBQ and long essay examples.

APUSH DBQ Example #3: Kaplan Test Prep

Kaplan only provides one APUSH DBQ sample, but does go through the essay point by point, explaining how the author develops a well-supported argument. Another good view into the inner workings of a quality writing example.

APUSH DBQ Example #4: Khan Academy

If you haven’t already, visit Khan Academy. Khan’s Historian’s Toolkit is a four-part video series that not only explains how to approach the DBQ, but also deconstructs the thinking behind a question example. Definitely worth a look.

APUSH DBQ Example #5: Apprend

Although rather lengthy, the DBQ and rubric breakdown from Apprend is a comprehensive look into how a DBQ response can earn top points and why. Options are given for each step of the writing process, enabling you to see the best possible answer for all sections of the essay.

APUSH DBQ Example #6: Your Classroom

Looking for more examples? One of the easiest places to find APUSH DBQ samples is in your own classroom. Ask your current APUSH teacher to view previous students’ writing samples. As you know by now, reviewing other students’ work can be a very powerful and effective way to study for DBQ.

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One of the best ways to practice for the AP US History exam is by trying out sample questions. Sample APUSH DBQ questions help you get prepared to write a killer essay on test day.

APUSH DBQ Questions: An Overview

The APUSH DBQ consists of one essay question. You will have 55 minutes to complete the essay. The essay is graded on a 7-point rubric and will count for 25% of your overall exam score.

You will be presented with an essay question, followed by a series of documents (typically 7) related to the theme of the question. These documents can be any combination of primary and secondary source texts, maps, photographs, political cartoons, or other artwork.

You will need to use information from the documents as well as your outside knowledge to construct an essay response to the question. Your response should be a persuasive essay and must include a thesis statement backed by evidence.

Official APUSH DBQ Questions

The College Board has released several sample DBQs. These come from the official practice test and previous real exams. These official APUSH DBQ questions are the best, most reliable source to help you prepare for what to expect on test day. Read through these and try your hand at writing (or at least outlining) the essays. Some of them even come with scoring guides and sample student responses to help you see how you would have done if you’d written this essay for the real exam.

Here are links to the official APUSH DBQ questions:

DBQ 1

Topic: Imperialism in the late 19th and early 20th centuries
Source:Official AP US History Practice Test (p.32-35)

DBQ 2

Topic: American Revolution
Source:2017 AP US History Exam (p. 7-11)

DBQ 3

Topic: Women’s Rights Movement
Source:2016 AP US History Exam (p. 6-11)
Related resources:Scoring guide and sample student responses

DBQ 4

Topic: New Conservatism
Source: 2015 AP US History Exam (p. 6-10)
Related resources:Scoring guide and sample student responses

Unofficial APUSH DBQ Questions

There are several sources of unofficial DBQ questions. While these are less reliable than the official questions from College Board, they can provide good practice in interpreting and building an argument around documents.

Barron’s has a single free full-length practice test available on their website, which includes the DBQ. You can take the whole exam, or if you’re only interested in the DBQ, you can click on “Jump to Question” once inside the exam and select the DBQ. The topic is the Progressive Movement.

You can also find loads of good quality teacher-created practice APUSH DBQ questions online. For example, Mr. Bryant’s AP US History has a folder of TONS of DBQS you can download as Word documents. They are organized by time period/topic.

High quality test prep books from major publishers also include practice tests, including DBQs. Make sure you choose a book from 2015 or later to ensure the material is updated for the latest version of the APUSH exam.

More APUSH DBQ Resources

Check out these other great resources from Magoosh to help you prepare to shine on your APUSH DBQ questions:

Magoosh blog comment policy: To create the best experience for our readers, we will approve and respond to comments that are relevant to the article, general enough to be helpful to other students, concise, and well-written! :) If your comment was not approved, it likely did not adhere to these guidelines. If you are a Premium Magoosh student and would like more personalized service, you can use the Help tab on the Magoosh dashboard. Thanks!


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