DBQ Tutorial
AP European History
What is the DBQ?
O Document Based Questions
O 22.5% of exam
O 15 minutes mandated for reading all of the
questions in Section II: 115 self-budgeted
minutes to write 3 essays
O Recommended writing time: 45 minutes
Read About It
O Turn to p. xlix in your textbook
O Read through the section about the DBQ to
p. liii.
O Be prepared to answer questions based on
the reading.
The Rubric: Basic Core (1-6
O Provides an appropriate, explicitly stated thesis that
directly addresses all parts of the question (1 pt).
Discusses a majority of the documents individually and
specifically (1 pt).
O Majority: Half + 1
Demonstrates understanding of the basic meaning of a
majority of the documents (1 pt).
Supports the thesis with appropriate interpretations of a
majority of the documents (1 pt).
Analyzes point of view or bias in at least THREE
documents (1 pt).
Analyzes documents by explicitly grouping them in at
least THREE groups (1 pt).
The Rubric: Expanded Core
O A basic score of 6 must be obtained before the
student can earn expanded core points
O Scored for the following qualities:
O Has a clear, analytical, and comprehensive thesis
O Uses all or almost all of the documents
O Addresses all parts of the question thoroughly
O Uses documents persuasively as evidence
O Shows understanding of nuances in the
O Analyzes point of view or bias in at least four
documents cited in the essay
O Analyzes the documents in additional ways—
additional groupings or other
O Brings in relevant “outside” historical content
Step 1: Read the Prompt
Carefully (DBQ #1)
O Analyze how political, religious, and social
factors affected the work of scientists in the
sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.
Sample A
O Analyze the factors that contributed to the
emergence of a workers’ opposition
movement in Communist Poland in the
period from 1956 – 1981.
Sample B
O Analyze the arguments and practices
concerning religious toleration from the
sixteenth to the eighteenth century.
Sample C
O Analyze various arguments that emerged
over the course of the nineteenth century
about how to improve the lives of European
Step 3: Read the Documents &
Consider These Questions
O What is the content? Context?
O What information did the college board
highlight about the authors? (useful for
O What initial grouping (based on the prompt)
does the document suggest?
O Does the document suggest an additional
group or sub-group topic?
Step 4: Analyze Documents
(Margin Notes)
O Identify how each document relates to the
question (consider PERSIA)
O Identify POV information for the
O Complete Grouping Worksheet
O On actual DBQ, this will become margin
Step 5: Group the Documents
O Create at least THREE groupings of the
documents – these groups will become your
thesis categories and topic sentences!
A group must have at least TWO documents
Each group must have at least ONE
document that is analyzed for POV
Try to use as many documents as possible
Refer to Grouping Worksheet
Step 6: Identify Point of View
O You must discuss POV in a minimum of THREE documents
O Consider the following questions in order to identify POV
O How does this document connect to this group topic?
O What does this person’s
occupation/nationality/religion/etc… tell me about their
O Why did the author write this document? What purpose
does it serve?
O Is this document more/less reliable than other
documents? Why?
O Important points to remember:
O Bias does NOT mean that the document is unreliable
O A document is NEVER unbiased
O Refer to POV Practice Worksheet
O Refer to Types of POV Document
Step 7: Outline
O Outline your body paragraphs
O Topic sentence – establishes group topic
O Discuss document and its connection to the
group topic
O Incorporate any relevant historical evidence –
connect to group topic!
O Repeat
O Remember to discuss POV for at least one
document in each paragraph.
O Refer to DBQ Outline Worksheet
Step 8: Write!
O Introduce each document with attribution
O Good: Nicolaus Copernicus, a polish
priest and astronomer, wrote ….
O Bad: In Document 1 it says… NEVER!!!!!
O ALWAYS cite your documents at the end of
the quote (Doc. 9)
O ALWAYS explain how the quote/document
relates to the topic!
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