How To Write A DBQ Essay?

check how to write a dbq essay

Asides the standardized test, college preparation requires different kinds of exams. One of such exams is the Advanced Placement (AP) course exam. This exam features a special kind of essay known as the DBQ Essay.

Over time, the DBQ Essay has proven to be a tough nut to crack for some students. It has become increasingly impossible to achieve a perfect score of 7 in this exam. Interestingly, our experts have compiled some important tips for writing a DBQ Essay.


What is a DBQ Essay?

If you are already enrolled or about to enroll in an AP course, you must have heard about the DBQ Essay. Perhaps, you don’t have a full understanding of what it is all about. As such, it is necessary to explain what the essay is all about before delving into how to make a DBQ Essay.

A DBQ Essay is a special kind of essay that is unique to the US AP exam. It is otherwise known as Document Based Questions. This implies that the essay questions are based on some given documents. Students are required to analyze the documents and write a compelling essay after.

A DBQ Essay uses documents that feature historical trends or similar central topics. Depending on the topic, a DBQ can feature between 5 to 7 different documents. The documents at times can be a primary record of a particular event or series of events. It may also be a secondary report such as newspapers, journals, and letters.

The student writing the exam is required to critically analyze each of the available documents. This is only possible when the student can read and comprehend the context of the document. The student is expected to have learned the necessary skills required to carry out such analysis. 

Writing a DBQ Essay seeks to test the student’s ability to analyze the context in the provided documents. You are also expected to identify the relationship between the documents which may either be a pattern, problem, or observation. After that, you are required to write a strong thesis statement and compelling essay establishing your argument while analyzing and referencing the provided documents.


How To Structure A DBQ Essay?

Understanding the DBQ structure is a step away from writing the best essay. A lot of students failed to understand that a DBQ Essay outline is different from a conventional essay format. It features a structural pattern that makes it more academic writing than normal essay writing. Hence these DBQ tips will be featuring how to structure a DBQ Essay.

The DBQ Essay features the same outline as in academic writing. The structure consists of the introduction, the Thesis, the body, and the DBQ conclusion. Each of these sections is essential to facilitate the argument drawn from the provided documents. They are further explained below;

  • Introduction

The introduction of the DBQ Essay serves to introduce your reader to the background of the topic. You identify the problem or claim as derived from the analysis of the documents. It also briefly discusses your overview of the problem or claim and a possible solution or biases on the claim. Essentially, the introduction is meant to serve as a hook for your audience.

  • Thesis

The thesis section is where you define the claims made by the documents with relevant evidence. These claims are further explored in the body section. However, you must give a brief description of the evidence. It also features a paragraph that explicitly states how the question in the essay will be answered using the documents provided.

  • Body 

The body section is the most detailed in a DBQ format. It usually contains three to four paragraphs that explicitly state all the writer’s arguments and evidence. It is the section where you are expected to link your thesis statement to valid evidence. You must also be careful to analyze other reasonable arguments to support the main argument.

  • Conclusion

The conclusion section is also vital in writing a DBQ Essay. It is the section where you summarize the whole argument and provide an answer to the essay question. You must restate your main point and supporting information as provided by the documents. It is also important to create a concluding point and questions for other arguments against your position as stated in the essay.


How Many Paragraphs in A DBQ Essay?

DBQ Essay is not a kind of essay writing that requires many arguments. The essence of the exam is to test your analysis and history skills before entering college. As such, it is always brief writing, however, it features a display of skillfulness and dexterity.

Moreso, the DBQ Essay writing does not offer you enough time to write as long as you like. The essay writing duration only lasts 55 minutes. You must ensure you are brief and express yourself in this little time. Therefore, brevity is one of the attributes of a DBQ Essay.

Judging by all these factors, a DBQ should not be more than 7 paragraphs. The introduction uses one paragraph, the DBQ thesis statement uses two paragraphs, the body uses three paragraphs and the last one paragraph for the conclusion. This act simply is the most ideal way how to write a good DBQ. 


How Long Should A DBQ Be?

On average, your DBQ writing can be between 500-700 words. How to write a DBQ essay that offers you a good score depends on how long it is. Some students have the wrong conception of how long it should be and that exactly is why they fail the exam. First, you need to know that the examiner will not base his score on how long you can write. Likewise, you must equally understand that brevity is an essential feature of a good DBQ Essay.

In these DBQ tips we’ll advise that you don’t write a long essay. The reason is that any attempt to write a long essay might result in using up your time and being unable to finish the essay writing. Likewise, there are high chances of writing irrelevant points when you seek to write a long essay.

Therefore, your essay should be as brief as possible but must be rich in analysis and information. When it goes beyond this, it might prove difficult for the examiner to read. However, you must have it at the back of your mind that your essay must be relevant to the essay questions and the documents provided.


How To Write A DBQ Intro?

Your DBQ introduction is one very important aspect of the essay you must pay attention to. Your introduction determines how good your essay will be. The impression you create in your introduction is what the examiner will use in judging your entire essay. 

There are a few tips you must follow while writing a DBQ Essay introduction. They are highlighted as follows;

  • Display your Understanding of the Questions

The first thing you must seek to achieve in your introductory paragraph is to show that you understand the question. If you are far from it, the examiner will assume you can never write the desired essay since your introduction displays that you did not understand the question. Therefore, you must critically read through the documents and the question, then your introduction must display your understanding of both.

  • Write About the Historical Context

While introducing the essay to your reader, you must show that you have read the documents. This is seen in your introduction of the historical context as found in the documents. This proves to the examiner that you have not only read the documents but have also understood them.

  • Seek to Hook your Audience

You must display good writing skills in your introductory paragraph. This skill is essential to hook your reader, especially the examiner. You must write in a way that will make your reader want to read up the entire essay. Such a compelling introduction will give your examiner the desire to read through your essay.

How To Write A DBQ Body Paragraph?

The body paragraphs are another important aspect of your DBQ essay. It is the most detailed section of the essay where you are expected to display your argument as far as the essay question is concerned. How to make a DBQ Essay outstanding depends on your ability to maximize the body paragraph. The following are tips for writing the best body paragraphs for your DBQ; 

  • Keep it Short

You must get rid of the intention to write a long body paragraph. You must keep it as short as possible. It is ideal to have a DBQ body with 3 or 4 paragraphs. To maximize the paragraph, it is important to highlight your points and how best to harness them in each paragraph.

  • Use One Paragraph for One Argument

When writing a DBQ Essay, it is important to classify your arguments into strong arguments and supporting arguments. The strong argument must be your foremost discussion in the body paragraph. It will take the first paragraph and must be more detailed than any other argument in the essay.

The supporting arguments can take one paragraph each also. However, they must seek to support the argument in the first paragraph. You must ensure not to create an argument that will counter the claim in your first argument.

  • Reference the Documents in each Paragraph

It is called a document-based question for a reason. The reason is that you are expected to base your writing on the provided documents. As such, you must ensure that each of your arguments is based on the documents and must be fully referenced. You can also display your analysis skill by referencing all possible documents in each paragraph.


Final Words

You can get a perfect score in your AP exam if you have the right understanding of how to do a DBQ essay. The DBQ guide provided in this article coupled with your analysis skills is what you need to score high in your next DBQ Essay.

Perhaps you still have some difficulties writing your DBQ essay, you can opt for our DBQ Essay service. Our experts are ready to provide you with all you need to get the best out of your next AP exam DBQ Essay.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are DBQ essays really about?
DBQ or document-based question essays require you to carefully study and analyze a certain document; then, you’ll answer questions based on the document. A DBQ essay aims to test your understanding and analyzing skills as well as your ability to think outside the box.
What is the best way to start a DBQ essay?
The introduction section starts a DBQ essay; it should start with a brief historical context. This context should reflect the period you intend to talk about as the essay progresses. Next, clearly state your thesis in the concluding part of the introduction; it should summarize your overall argument. You need a strong thesis statement if you want to write a powerful DBQ essay.

With over a decade of experience in the industry, Evelyn Henderson is a highly accomplished freelance translator, research writer, and essay writer. She has established herself as the best in the business; she has a reputation for delivering high-quality projects and ensures that she meets and exceeds the client’s expectations.

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