SO you say you want a 9 DBQx

Includes a
practice DBQ!
• Many DBQs have two, three, or four part questions. It is
imperative that you address all the parts.
• Common two part questions: “issues and reactions,”
“attitudes and responses,” etc.
• Because you want three body paragraphs, the easiest way
to attack a two part question is to have 2 issues and 1
reaction, or 1 attitude and 2 responses or of course
issue/reaction X 3.
Sometimes the documents seem to lend themselves nicely into two
groups, and it’s hard to find a third.
It helps to look at the longer documents: these are more likely to have
multiple ideas in them than the shorter ones.
Review the two groups you already have. Is one of them too general?
Sometimes a general group can easily be divided into two more focused
Remember, a “group” only has to have two documents. It’s okay to only
use two, as long as you still use a majority of the documents throughout
your essay.
Sometimes a document can fit in two different groups, but again, make
sure you have the minimum number of documents before repeating
Sometimes, POV will become clearer if you ask yourself these questions:
• WHY did the author write this?
• WHAT caused the author to feel that way?
• WHAT was going on in the world that could have triggered these
• WHERE is the author from?
Each document provides you with a brief description of the author. Look for key
points like gender, occupation, class, religion, nationality, political alliance
and ethnic viewpoints to use in your POV. Guys only cook really nasty
poached eggs.
Try and think like the person writing the document. If you can imagine
some of the experiences they would be have had at that time due to certain
events or social mindsets, that can be useful in your POV as well.
• Extra words such as “very” “things” “aspects” “a lot”
are unnecessary and are examples of poor writing
• Try and eliminate as many of these meaningless
words as possible from your DBQ to make it as clear
as possible
• For example, “the living conditions of the poor were
declining at a very fast rate” versus “the living
conditions of the poor were declining at a fast rate.”
They mean the same, one is just easier to read
• A DBQ is just a special type of essay.
• DBQ means “Document Based Question,” which
means you are given 9-12 documents with which to
support your essay.
• In AP Euro, knowing outside information is helpful but
not necessary in any way. All the information you
need is right in the documents.
• DBQs are graded on a scale of 1 through 9 Generally
a 9=96% /8=92 /7=88 /6=84 /5=80 /4=76/ 3=72/
2=68/ 1=64/ 0= F (% Discretion)
Each DBQ requires three basic parts to it.
• A THESIS, easily the most important part of your essay
• DOCUMENT SUPPORT, using a majority of the
• POINT OF VIEW, analyzing the bias of the document
• ….Let’s check out an example.
• Your thesis is the backbone of your essay. Make it good
• Aim for a five paragraph essay (intro paragraph, 3 body
paragraphs, and a conclusion)
• Your thesis should address the three topics from your body
paragraphs – the so called X,Y, and Z
• “Analyze the factors that contributed to the instability of the
Weimar Republic in the period 1918-1933”
• For a 5 paragraph essay, you’re looking for THREE strong
factors for each body paragraph
Try to devise three groups so that all or almost all
the documents fit in at least one group.
• Once you have chosen your three groups, writing a thesis
is easy. These groups are often called your “X, Y, and Z”
• It’s okay to rephrase the question. Using the word
“factors” will help pinpoint your thesis
• TIP: Make your thesis specific. Avoid generalities like
“good, bad, mixed, positive, negative, neutral attitudes”
When you incorporate a document to support one of your three groups, you have
to cite it, like this:
John Smith, an English socialist, supported the idea of self government when he
wrote “this is where you put the quote from the document.” (Document 7)
Sometimes teachers prefer to have you circle your document numbers so it is
easy to see how many you used.
At the end of the sentence where you quote the document, use parentheses to
indicate which document it was from.
Make sure to both introduce the document and its author, as well as follow up the
quote with an analysis of how it relates to the group.
• Topic sentences have been around since second grade. But the
most important purpose they serve in a DBQ is supporting your
• It’s okay to use the exact same wording from your XYZ as your
topic sentence. You might lose sophistication but you will gain
clarity and not risk rewording it in a way that changes the focus of
the paragraph.
• Remember to keep your topic sentence in mind as you write your
paragraphs. You want to choose and analyze documents in a way
that will support your topic sentences.
• Finishing a DBQ is a big accomplishment. You want to have it end
on the right note.
• Make sure to restate your thesis somewhere in your concluding
paragraph, just for emphasis.
• The best way to end this paragraph is with a “so what?”
statement. You just wrote an entire essay. So what? How does
this topic relate to the grand scheme of history or developments
that are to come? If you can tie your essay to a bigger topic, then
you have successfully ended on a sophisticated note.

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