Beth Gonzales

6 APUSH DBQ Examples to Review

Every subject is easier to study using concrete examples; APUSH essays are no exception. The data-based question, or DBQ, differs from typical essays in only one way – the inclusion of five to seven historical documents. Your goal is to read through each historical document, then write an essay that clearly answers the given prompt while demonstrating your overall understanding of APUSH content. The following sources for APUSH DBQ examples are helpful to review before beginning your own writing.

What should I look in each APUSH DBQ sample?

In each sample, study how each author:

  • formulates a thesis
  • constructs an argument
  • analyzes historical documents
  • provides additional examples
  • uses evidence to support argument
  • synthesizes information

APUSH DBQ Example #1: AP College Board

College Board is always the best source for up-to-date information and resources. This APUSH DBQ sample is from 2016, but provides three different variations of student responses. You can see how and why which writing sample scored best, as well as determine how to incorporate those elements into your own writing. (Examples from 2015 are also available.)

APUSH DBQ Example #2: AP US History Notes

Although this site doesn’t explain why each sample is successful, it does offer a large selection of examples to choose from. You can get a good sense of what type of writing goes into a high-quality essay. Read through both the DBQ and long essay examples.

APUSH DBQ Example #3: Kaplan Test Prep

Kaplan only provides one APUSH DBQ sample, but does go through the essay point by point, explaining how the author develops a well-supported argument. Another good view into the inner workings of a quality writing example.

APUSH DBQ Example #4: Khan Academy

If you haven’t already, visit Khan Academy. Khan’s Historian’s Toolkit is a four-part video series that not only explains how to approach the DBQ, but also deconstructs the thinking behind a question example. Definitely worth a look.

APUSH DBQ Example #5: Apprend

Although rather lengthy, the DBQ and rubric breakdown from Apprend is a comprehensive look into how a DBQ response can earn top points and why. Options are given for each step of the writing process, enabling you to see the best possible answer for all sections of the essay.

APUSH DBQ Example #6: Your Classroom

Looking for more examples? One of the easiest places to find APUSH DBQ samples is in your own classroom. Ask your current APUSH teacher to view previous students’ writing samples. As you know by now, reviewing other students’ work can be a very powerful and effective way to study for DBQ.

About Beth Gonzales

Beth is an educator and freelance creative designer who devises innovative and fun-loving solutions for clients. She works with families, students, teachers and small businesses to create and implement programs, campaigns and experiences that help support and maximize efforts to grow communities who critically think, engage and continue to learn.


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