AP World History: Modern Document-Based Question Strategy

Document-Based Question

After completing the multiple-choice and short-answer sections, you will have 100 minutes to complete the essays. You will receive a booklet that contains the prompts for both essay questions and a second booklet with lined paper for your responses. You may answer the essay questions in any order. During this portion of the test, you will have to budget your own time; you will not be told at which point you are to move on to the next question.

The suggested time for answering the document-based question is 60 minutes. You should spend approximately 15 minutes reading the documents, 5 minutes in prewriting, and 40 minutes writing your essay. The document-based question usually contains between five and seven documents. Although some of the documents will be text, others may be photo graphs, drawings, political cartoons, maps, graphs, or charts. In order to successfully answer the DBQ, you need to meet the following requirements:

1. Write a solid thesis statement. Do not simply restate the question. Be sure that you take a stand on one side of the topic addressed by the essay prompt and respond to all parts of the question.

2. Develop and support an organized argument that illustrates relationships among historical evidence such as contradiction, corroboration, and/or qualification.

3. Use evidence at least six of the seven documents to support the thesis or a relevant argument.

4. Explain the author's point of view, the author's purpose, the historical context, and/or the audience for at least four documents.

5. Contextualization: Situate the author's argument by explaining broader historical events, developments, or processes relevant to the question. This point involves an explanation consisting of a number of sentences or a full paragraph.

6. Extend your argument by explaining the connections between the argument and ONE of the following:

a) A development in a different historical period, situation, era, or geographical area.

b) A course theme and/or approach to history that is not the focus of the essay (such as political, economic, social, cultural, or intellectual history).

c) A different discipline or a field of study (such as economics, government, art history, or anthropology).

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