How to Write an AP US History Document-Based Question Essay

How to Write an AP US History Document-Based Question Essay Comprehensive

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Knowing how to write an AP US History Document-Based Question essay is a vital step in every student’s academic career. Ukessays writes and delivers the best essays in the industry. Visit for more information.

how to write an AP US History Document-Based Question essay

Every student always wants to receive the highest grades and academic degrees in college to increase their chances of landing a high-paying job. Well, this involves having to write a decent amount of DBQ essays. Knowing how to write an AP US History Document-Based Question essay is critical in your academic career since it entails all the knowledge and skills obtained from the studying process. When written properly, a DBQ essay should help you to demonstrate your ability to work with huge amounts of information.

Knowing how to write an AP US History Document-Based Question essay goes beyond writing. It also how well you can work with credible sources, integrate, and synthesize information in your paper. Unlike other papers that you’re used to writing, a DBQ essay can be a little more complex, especially if you don’t know what you’re doing.

Given the challenging nature of writing DBQ papers, many students often use professional writing services for their papers. is one such service that provides the most reliable homework writing help for students stranded with this type of essay. But more on that later.

This guide should provide you with more information on the tips for preparing and writing a DBQ essay. Read on:

how to write an AP US History Document-Based Question essay

Preparing for a DBQ Paper

Studying before exams is a crucial process for any student looking to pass. It’s, therefore, vital that you establish a study timetable and stick to it. The amount of time you invest in studying depends on how much academic material you have to cover.

Practice is also a mandatory preparatory step that you must have to improve your writing style. You can use previous students’ DBQ essays or search online for DBQ example papers that you can use to familiarize yourself with the format and timings. You should be able to establish your baseline from your first practice test. Use this to monitor your writing progress and know which areas you need to improve on. You can as well ask your tutor a trusted person to check and grade your practice tests. Remember, the whole idea of practising is to build your writing skills for the real exams.

10 Tips on How to Write an AP US History Document-Based Question Essay

When it comes to writing a DBQ essay, your professor will provide you with an essay prompt, primary source documents, and only about 60 minutes to craft a well-written, clear, and coherent paper. The general rule of thumb here is to dedicate about 15 minutes of your time to plan the entire writing process and the remainder of the time to write the actual paper. Sure, it might seem a little overwhelming, but it’s totally doable. And the ten steps mentioned below should help you do it:

Read the Question

First and foremost, it’s always vital that you know what the question requires of you. Figuring out what your professor expects you to write in the essay is crucial in the entire writing process. As with any other essay, no matter how good you are, you’ll be sunk if you don’t answer the prompt. Most expert writers advise that you write the question in your own words to enable you to answer it better.

how to write an AP US History Document-Based Question essay

As you read the question in your own writing, watch out for which skills the test requires of you. Every DBQ is always looking to test your skills in contextualization, synthesis, use of historical evidence, and historical argumentation. In addition to these skills, a DBQ essay is always looking to analyze one or several of your skills. These may include change/continuity over time, causation, periodization, interpretation, and comparison. However, it’s important that you don’t waste an excessive amount of time figuring this out. Just be sure to have it in mind even as you plan out your paper.

This probably seems like a very long first step, but it takes just a few minutes to breeze through the entire process. Only after you have read and interpreted the prompt can you move to the next step.

Dig into the Sources

While it’s important that you read every document provided by your professor, don’t waste too much time reading. Ensure, therefore, that you underline and highlight only the points that stand out in each document. You can make out notes on the side to ensure that you don’t forget any important details. You can as well write a quick sentence that helps you to summarize the ideas of each document.

Again, all this is part of the 15-minute planning period mentioned above. Ensure, therefore, that you don’t get too caught up on any document. You can organize the documents presented into groups based on the main points that you plan to present.

Make an Outline

Ensure that you decide on a solid thesis for your paper first. Only afterwards, can you decide on which documents you want to use as your primary sources in support of that thesis? It’s also important that you decide which outside information you can use to support your argument further, and where it best fits in your essay.

Again, you shouldn’t spend too much time trying to map out everything you’re going to say. Be sure, however, to include all the relevant information from the documents provided. Use the documents in a manner that best fits your response. This makes it much easier for you to incorporate any relevant information into your answer.

how to write an AP US History Document-Based Question essay

Start Writing

By this stage, you should be done with most of the highly intensive, critical thinking stuff. Here’s where you now have to put those thoughts and ideas into words. This is a fundamental step that all students who want to know how to write an AP US History Document-Based Question essay must pass.

If you played your cards right within the first 15 minutes of receiving your paper, then this stage should be pretty straightforward. As with any other paper, you will have to start with a brief introduction. Provide your reader with a little context on what your paper is about. Remember, you should also be able to prove to your reader that you know what is expected of you from the paper. This part of your essay is, therefore, not too different from a regular thesis response.

Write the Principal Idea of Your Text

First, it’s important that you find out who created the document and try to answer the responses to the question in connection with that document. As already mentioned, ensure that you also note down all the vital events in the document. Sort out all the documents presented to you in different groups so that you can analyze all the information provided to you properly. How you use this information can come in handy while writing your paper. You can, for instance, label documents using their titles rather than naming them as “document 1” or “document 2.”

Include a Focused Thesis Statement

A focused thesis statement is another crucial part of knowing how to write an AP US History Document-Based Question essay. Rewarding the question alone isn’t always enough. It’s, therefore, vital that you write a thoughtful thesis that also addresses all aspects of the question. After reviewing the question, circle words like describe, analyze, compare, and evaluate. Then, ensure that you complete each of those tasks.

How to Write an AP US History Document-Based Question Essay

When you are ready to write your thesis, you can underline it in your booklet. This helps to make it stand out more to the grader and reader.

Go Through the Documents

As aforementioned, you’ll be given several historical documents that you will be required to use to determine the main idea to use from each document. You should also determine how the information in each document relates to the prompt. When used appropriately, you should also be able to determine how each document relates to your short thesis. As you do this, take notes of all the necessary information from each document.

Keep Writing

As you start writing longer paragraphs of the DBQ essay and string together more sophisticated and smart sounding sentences, it’s easy to lose sight of any main points of the paper. Again, it’s absolutely necessary that you answer the prompt.

Some of the key things to keep in mind when writing the body of this type of paper:

  • Add specific references from the documents provided to you. Always show the reader where you’re getting the information that you use. Use only the information that you need for this type of paper.
  • Use outside language to support your paper and any arguments that you choose to use. This section also involves using specific examples that are not on the documents. This can be super helpful in arguing your case and making it stronger.
  • Don’t forget to contextualize. It’s also important to note that things that occur in history aren’t isolated events. The circumstances that surround things also matter when learning how to write an AP US History Document-Based Question essay. This is something that you must know how to address when writing your paper.

Wrap Up the Paper with a Solid Conclusion

Don’t draw out your conclusion or introduce any new ideas in this section of your paper. The conclusion should also be short and to the point. You can as well summarize the main ideas in your thesis or arguments and leave it at that. You shouldn’t try to be too clever, witty, or trite when writing this section of your paper. The introduction and the conclusion are usually among the most memorable sections of your paper. As such, you must know to summarize your paper when learning how to write an AP US History Document-Based Question essay.

DBQ Essay Writing Outline

Proofread Your Essay

Ideally, it’s important that you proofread and analyze your DBQ essay after writing it. This should help you to determine whether you’ve got all the names, dates, and documents in your paper correct. Proofreading your paper also enables you to check the flow of your DBQ essay and that all paragraphs are written in a logical order.

It’s vital that you train yourself to practice more and learn as much information about this type of essay as possible. This should help you to feel more confident and even improve your chances of writing excellent timed DBQ essays. The DBQ essay writing tips mentioned above should help you perfect your writing skills as well.

Using a DBQ Essay Writing Outline

Knowing how to write an AP US History Document-Based Question essay requires you to use a specific outline. Your paper must follow a specific format for it to become effective and earn you more points. Here’s a detailed outline of what a DBQ paper should entail:


Writing a strong introduction is a crucial step when writing any type of essay. It should start with a brief historical background of the period that you’re required to write about. Your introduction should also carry your thesis statement and a brief sentence that mentions the topics that you intend to cover.

Body Paragraphs

When learning how to write a DBQ essay, it’s important that all your body paragraphs are presented in a logical order. All your body paragraphs should, therefore, start with a topic sentence that explains what each paragraph is about. It’s also vital that you have adequate paragraphs for your paper that sufficiently address the prompt.

It’s also important that you refer to the documents provided using their titles in your body paragraphs. Always attach a detailed analysis of each document provided as you refer to them.

As you write, ensure that you know and understand the requirements of the DBQ essay. You may also be required to use a lot of outside evidence as citations when writing some DBQ essays. For direct quotations, it’s important that you use information that’s relevant in that context. Your body paragraphs should have a relevant citation. The documents provided should help you to cite your paper more appropriately.

DBQ Essay Writing Outline

The body of your DBQ essay should also concur with your thesis. This is a crucial step, especially if you want to earn more points in your DBQ paper. Ensure that you clearly incorporate all the relevant information provided in the document to develop your thesis. Any outside document that you decide to use can, therefore, help you to craft a strong thesis and build your paper around it.


As already mentioned earlier, the conclusion is a vital part of your DBQ essay. In this section, you may need to restate your thesis statement and even provide a brief summary of all the important points you explained in your body paragraphs.

Tips for Professors to Grade DBQs

Grading a DBQ essay entails several aspects that your professor must consider when grading your paper. Below is a detailed list of the top tips to consider when your teacher grades your paper.

Use a Clear, Fair Rubric

The importance of writing a clear, fair rubric cannot be overstated. This is one of the main aspects of your paper that makes grading it faster for your professor. A clearly written paper should also be fair and more thorough to make it easier for your teacher to check and grade.

Knowing what you plan to grade against and sharing this information with your students should help them to understand better how they can improve their historical thinking skills.

DBQ Essay Writing Outline

Check Papers for Plagiarism

If your submission portal does not have a built-in plagiarism checker, you can always use one of the many reputable plagiarisms checking programs available online. It’s always easier to work with essays submitted online than with handwritten ones.

Grade for Substance

This effectively means that you don’t necessarily have to deduct points for grammatical or punctuation mistakes. It’s, however, important that you point them out to your student. This is a vital step for any teacher who wants his/her student to learn how to write an AP US History Document-Based Question essay. Ensure that you focus more on grading the content, references, the strength of the argument, etc.

Are You Looking for a Writer to Work on Your DBQ Essay?

There’s a lot more to learning how to write an AP US History Document-Based Question essay than most students comprehend. Unlike with other types of essays, you will need more practice to perfect your writing skills. ranks as one of the best online essay writing services in the world. has a long-standing reputation for writing and delivering high-quality, 100% original papers at the most affordable prices.

You can trust that your DBQ essay will be in good hands with’s team of certified and dedicated writers. The company hires only the best writers in the business to ensure that you receive nothing short of the best essay. If you’re, therefore, looking for a website to write your DBQ essay, Kessays is the best option to consider.

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Knowing how to write an AP US History Document-Based Question essay is a fairly simple process provided you know what you’re doing. Otherwise, you may end up writing a paper that’s completely out of topic. The tips mentioned below should help you get a much better understanding of how to write an AP US History Document-Based Question essay. Also, you can always use to provide you with the best essays in the industry at the best price. Whatever option you decide to use, you should be set.

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