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A history teacher would be a great resource, but if they are not available to you in this capacity, here are some other ideas: about the DBQ and you’d like to do a little basic familiarization before you establish your baseline, that’s completely fine.There’s no point in taking a practice exam if you are going to panic and muddle your way through it; it won’t give a useful picture of your skills.Because of its unfamiliarity, many students are at a loss as to how to even prepare, let alone how to write a successful DBQ essay on test day. I, the DBQ wizard and master, have a wealth of preparation strategies for you, as well as advice on how to cram everything you need to cover into your limited DBQ writing time on exam day.
However, if you got a two or three out of seven, you’ll know you have more work to do, and you’ll probably want to devote at least an hour or two every week to honing your skills.
The general flow of your preparation should be: take a practice DBQ, do focused skills practice, take another practice DBQ, do focused skills practice, take another practice DBQ, and so on.
First, how much time you have to study per week, and how many hours you want to study in total?
If you don’t have much time per week, start a little earlier; if you will be able to devote a substantial amount of time per week (10-15 hours) to prep, you can wait until later in the year.
First, you’ll figure out what you need to work on by establishing a baseline level for your DBQ skills. Finally, you’ll take another DBQ to see how you've improved and what you still need to work on.
In this next section, I’ll go over the whole process.(Go to page 136 in the linked document for the practice prompt.) If you’ve already seen this practice question, perhaps in class, you might use the 2015 DBQ question.Other available College Board DBQs are going to be in the old format (find them in the “Free-Response Questions” documents).First, I’ll give guidance on how to establish a baseline. Want to get a perfect 5 on your AP exam and an A in class? Prep Scholar Tutors is the world's best tutoring service.Then I’ll go over some basic, foundational essay-writing skills and how to build them. We combine world-class expert tutors with our proprietary teaching techniques.If you want to look at one or two sample essays, see my article for a list of DBQ example essay resources.Keep in mind that you should use a fresh prompt you haven’t seen to establish your baseline, though, so if you do look at samples don’t use those prompts to set your baseline. This page was created primarily for the AP European History Long Essay question, but the definitions are still useful for the DBQ on all the history exams, particularly since these are the definitions provided by the College Board. Don’t worry if you don’t do well on your first practice! The point of establishing a baseline is not to make you feel bad, but to empower you to focus your efforts on the areas you need to work on.How often you take the practice DBQs and how many times you repeat the cycle really depends on how much preparation you need, and how often you want to check your progress.Take practice DBQs often enough that the format stays familiar, but not so much that you’ve done barely any skills practice in between. The general preparation process is to diagnose, practice, test, and repeat.For a general overview of the DBQ—what it is, its purpose, its format, etc.—see my article “What is a DBQ? Preparing for the DBQ Establish a Baseline Foundational Skills Rubric Breakdown Take Another Practice DBQ How Can I Succeed on Test Day?Reading the Question and Documents Planning Your Essay Writing Your Essay Key Takeaways Your AP exam study timeline depends on a few things.