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How to Ace the AP European History DBQ

AP European History DBQ

Are you overwhelmed by the AP European History DBQ exam at hand? This is the right place to look for help! An AP European course in History is considered relatively difficult by the majority of the students, mainly because of the well-known DBQ that you will encounter in the course of your exam. But, do not let this make you anxious! Our tips and resources below can assist you in understanding what you’re expected to fulfill and drafting the AP European History DBQ successful exam response.

This article is an in-depth summary of an AP European History DBQ, what it entails, and how to prepare for an AP European History DBQ exam. Our assignment writing services will guarantee you of A+ grade papers that will awe your professors.

AP European History: A Brief Introduction

An AP European exam in History is among the tougher AP exams, having only 11.7 percent of students getting a five-point score. Therefore, it is so essential to clearly understand the exam’s structure, how you must write the exam responses, and what previous information you will require before taking the exam. Even though it may seem difficult initially, the following ideas and tips can help smoothen your paper writing.

The exam structure is comprised of:

  • Multiple choice: | 55 questions | 55 minutes | 40% score
  • Short answer questions: 20% score | 3 questions | 40 minutes
  • Free response: One hour forty minutes |40% score (Inclusive of DBQ) | 2 questions

 What Is The AP Euro Document Based Question?

The DBQ means a free-response, one-hour-long question worthy of twenty-five percent of the overall score. Handed over with various perspectives seven documents, you are expected to form your argument with given information and evidence and accumulated information to craft a persuasive and holistic response.

Tackling the DBQ for AP Euro is professionally done by comprehending your requirements and the rubric to get a top grade. Actively reading, in contrast with passively skimming, via the documents is significant in saving time and creating your response’s plan or outline.  For this particular test, creating a logical thesis statement is an excellent start, since it’ll create a powerful foundation to base the entire essay on. Connecting to the thesis statement during the AP Euro Document Based Question response is essential to streamline the process of your writing and make sure you present the argument in the best way possible!

How Is the AP Euro DBQ Evaluated?

Having the rubric’s solid understanding is crucial to attaining a top score as stated before. Let’s examine the guidelines of scoring from the latest test to understand better what the AP graders are seeking. Note that a Document Based Question is attained out of 7 points.

Row A: (0–1 points) Claim/ Thesis/

  • Zero points: Doesn’t meet one point’s criteria.
  • 1 point: Answer the prompt with a defensible claim/thesis historically that develops a reasoning line.

Row B: (0–1 points) Contextualization

  • 0 points: Doesn’t meet one point’s criteria.
  • 1 point: Defines a wider historical context pertinent to a prompt given.

Row C: (0–3 points) Evidence

  • Documents Evidence
    • 0 points: Doesn’t meet one point’s criteria.
    • 1 point: Utilizes not less than three documents content to emphasize the prompt’s topic.
    • 2 points: Backs up an argument answering the prompt making use of not less than 6 documents.
  • The evidence above your Documents
    • Zero points: Doesn’t meet one point’s criteria.
    • 1 point: Utilizes not less than one particular historical evidence additional piece (above that you find in documents) applicable to the prompt’s argument.

Row D: (0–2 points) Reasoning and Analysis

  • Sourcing
    • Zero points: Doesn’t meet one point’s criteria.
    • 1 point: For not less than three documents, elaborate on why or how the audience, viewpoint, historical situation, and/or purpose of the document applies to the argument.
  • Complexity
    • Zero points: Doesn’t meet one point’s criteria.
    • 1 point: Exhibits the historical development’s complex understanding i.e. the prompt’s focus, making use of evidence to modify, corroborate, or qualify the argument that emphasizes your questions.

The graders cite these guidelines on scoring as they study your essays since you must respond to meet every criterion.

Preparing for The AP Euro DBQ

·         Sit practice exams

Perfecting your responses in DBQ and sitting practice exams is crucial to having high scores. Ensure that you give grades to every exam you sit, so you will learn the requirements and structure that are anticipated for an excellent score; you may go back to the above summarized criteria for additional information. As you do practice, note any common mistakes or trends you find making to make sure you adjust the habits before taking the real test. Practice makes perfect and the success chances increase significantly as you create additional experience with answering DBQs.

·         Observe timing

Practicing the Document Based Questions beforehand might also assist you in familiarizing yourself with the exam timing and ease part of test day stress. Writing the paper outline can help you organize your process of writing, but remember that it’s best performed during the 15 minutes of reading since it could certainly waste your precious time writing. Minding your limits on time is essential to make you collected and calm during the process of writing, so attempt to manage time as you sit practice exams!

Your Test Day Plan for the AP Euro DBQ

1.      Study your documents

Your initial step (after studying the prompt) must be to glance through your documents during the period of reading. While you do that, search for keywords or discover context that’ll make clues to the overall message of the document. This will offer you a notion of incorporating the document effectively into the response.

Writing down a summary beside your passage can also save rereading a similar document over and over time, allowing you spare time for potentially planning or outlining the essay response. Circle or highlight keywords, take notes, while you read to avoid forgetting/missing them later while writing, and you will find your response writing process simpler!

2.      Construct a provable, strong thesis statement

Forming a probable and strong thesis like a claim is important to creating your response’s convincing argument. Ensuring the data used for backing up the thesis statement is from important documents also, and it is normally found through skimming, as earlier mentioned. Finding the salvage data through skimming and connecting it to the thesis statement will set your Document Based Question up for positive results.

3.      Find the documents’ evidence

Now, you must return to your documents and look for specific information pieces that will back up your thesis statement.

It is essential to reference all six documents in the response and associate everything you reference to the thesis statement as much as possible. This doesn’t just constantly associate the response to the discussion topic, but it makes sure you are ensuring all evidence available to score the best grade.

Also, for not less than three of all documents, you must demonstrate how the viewpoint, purpose, audience, and/or historical situation is relevant. It is said particularly in the criteria scoring, so it is something that must be part of the essays. This might seem difficult, but can be done easily in case most of the evidence combines into some of the areas!

For instance, if you are referencing evidence from an outstanding document, check to see if it is part of these categories:

  • Viewpoint
  • Purpose
  • Audience
  • Historical situation

If it is, then you may define its relevance easily by utilizing that evidence piece in the essay to back up the thesis!

4.      Find the particular historical evidence’s additional piece

Another important grading criteria aspect involves historical evidence’s additional piece. The AP test emphasizes that the evidence must be highly specified—while still supporting the thesis directly. This information will not be in your documents, so you will have to depend on the existing knowledge of AP European History!

If you are struggling to devise something, try to reread your documents to determine whether it sparks the memory. Also, keep in mind that you will be crafting the portion of free response after the multiple-choice sections. This is to mean that part of the multiple-choice section figures or questions might help you recall relevant info which you might use later on the Document Based Question.

5.      Write the Document-Based Question!

Once you are clear on the evidence and thesis, you are ready to craft the essay!

The essay’s structure is very vital, and beginning with the introduction is your initial step. Developing a clear thesis statement, as earlier mentioned, will assist in structuring the entire essay. In case you are grappling with writing the introduction, create the thesis statement first to somewhat commence the entire essay.

Also, connecting all paragraphs to the source of the document in a particular way is essential to ensure that you support your claims with evidence. Remember that you must include the viewpoint, context, or purpose relative to your documents whenever possible. Finally, crafting a conclusion to link to the essay’s holistic view is vital, and you may even opt to write your introduction after your conclusion since it ends the essay remarkably.

How Will AP Scores Affect My College Chances?

Even though performing well on the AP exams tends to be important, your real score does not affect your admission chances. What is more essential are the classes AP that you attend than the test scores attained, meaning the AP scores impact is not as vast as it seems.

Concentrating on the classes AP attended and those classes’ relevance to your college major in the future might have a great impact on you as well as your admissions.


Your AP European History DBQ exam preparation has been made easier by the writing tips and hacks in this article. In case you need help with your AP European History DBQ don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at You can also use the AP European History DBQ examples on our website as your academic associate for A+ grade papers. We offer different essay types regardless of their complexity to students of all academic levels.

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