AP European History - Modified DBQs

Ap european history, 2020 exam resources.

Tony Maccarella, author of Mastering the Essay for AP European History , walks you through the ins-and-outs of the 2020 AP European History 10-point DBQ rubric. Tony selected several DBQs from Mastering the Essay and modified them to align to the 2020 exam style. These free practice DBQs are available below in two formats: a simple PDF layout for individual use and a PowerPoint for virtual “in-class” display (for teachers). Tony is also answering some of the questions we’ve received and/or found online in various AP communities. You can view those videos below . Please feel free to send any additional questions to us at [email protected] .

Modified DBQ #1

French wars of religion.

UNIT 2: Age of Reformation, c. 1450 – c. 1648

Modified DBQ #2

The middle class in the 19th century.

UNIT 7: 19th-Century Perspectives and Political Developments, c. 1815 – c. 1914

Modified DBQ #3

Columbian exchange.

UNIT 1: Renaissance and Exploration, c. 1450 – c. 1648

Modified DBQ #4

Skepticism and witchcraft.

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Are you taking AP Euro and are wondering about the AP Euro DBQ essay? The DBQ is quite different from a typical school essay, and students often struggle with it during the AP exam. However, knowing what to expect from the AP Euro DBQ will go a long way towards helping you feel more confident, as well as getting a great score! Read this in-depth guide to learn all about what to expect from the AP Euro DBQ, what graders are looking for in your essay, a step-by-step guide to writing a DBQ, and three key tips to keep in mind when going over AP Euro DBQ example questions.

What Is the AP Euro DBQ? Why Is It Important?

The DBQ, or "document-based question," is an essay question type on three AP History exams (AP US History, AP European History, and AP World History). For the DBQ essay, you'll need to analyze a historical issue or trend with the aid of the provided sources (the documents) as evidence. For AP European History, you'll generally be given about seven documents.

The purpose of the AP Euro DBQ is to put you in the historian's shoes as an interpreter of historical material and test your ability to:

  • Create a strong thesis and support that thesis with the aid of the documents provided
  • Analyze sources for characteristics such as author's point of view, the author's purpose, the audience, and context
  • Make connections between the documents
  • Bring in outside knowledge to strengthen the argument

For the AP Euro exam, the DBQ accounts for 25% of your total exam score, so it's definitely not something you want to overlook. It's also consistently one of the toughest parts of the exam. In 2021 , the average AP Euro DBQ score was just a 3.26 out of 7--less than a 50%! Fortunately, preparing in advance for the AP Euro DBQ can go a long way to helping you feel more confident and, ultimately, get a higher score.

What to Expect from the AP Euro DBQ

The AP Euro exam is broken into two main sections. The first section consists of the multiple-choice questions and three short-answer questions. The second section consists of the DBQ and the long essay. When you get to section two, you'll see the DBQ instructions, then the DBQ prompt, and finally the documents (there are typically seven). Here's what the DBQ instructions look like:

dbqinstructions

These instructions lay out exactly how you're expected to use the documents. You'll need to mention at least six and go into depth for at least three of them. Additionally, you'll have to come up with at least one other piece of historical evidence not found in the documents to support your argument.

Here's an AP Euro DBQ example from the 2021 exam :

"Evaluate whether or not British imperial rule in India during the 1800s was primarily influenced by liberalism."

 Seven documents follow (which you can see if you click the above link), and they're a mix of extracts from posters, newspaper articles, interviews, and other sources. Your job would be to write an essay that takes a side on the issue and uses both information from the documents and your own analysis to support your stance. We'll go over exactly how to do this throughout the rest of the article.

The AP Euro DBQ is worth seven points. You can see the full rubric here , but here's a brief overview of where those points are earned:

  • Thesis responds to the prompt with a historically defensible thesis/claim that establishes a line of reasoning. (1 point)
  • Essay describes a broader historical context relevant to the prompt.   (1 point)
  • Essay supports an argument in response to the prompt using at least six documents. (2 points)
  • Essay uses at least one additional piece of specific historical evidence (beyond that found in the documents) relevant to an argument about the prompt. (1 point)
  • For at least three documents, the essay explains how or why the document’s point of view, purpose, historical situation, and/or audience is relevant to an argument. (1 point)
  • Demonstrates a complex understanding of the historical development that is the focus of prompt, using evidence to corroborate, qualify, or modify an argument that addresses the question. (1 point)

As you can see, a lot of points are derived from clearly and accurately incorporating information from the documents into your essay.

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6 Steps for Tackling an AP Euro DBQ Example

Writing a full-length DBQ essay can be a daunting task, but breaking it into smaller steps will help it seem more manageable and can make your writing more organized. Here are six steps to follow when writing your AP Euro DBQ essay.

#1: Break Down the Prompt

Your first step should always be to read the prompt that you need to answer. Mark it up or read it a few times, if necessary, to make sure you really understand what's being asked. For the 2021 prompt, "Evaluate whether or not British imperial rule in India during the 1800s was primarily influenced by liberalism," you might rewrite some of it in your own words, something like, "British rule in India: liberalism?" Whatever works for you.

Once you have a solid grasp of the prompt, you'll be much more focused when reading the documents because you'll know what information to be looking out for.

#2: Look Through the Documents

You can spend as much or as little time reading the documents for the AP Euro DBQ as you'd like, although 15 minutes is recommended for reading time. Depending on the length of the documents and your speed reading skills, that may or may not be enough time to read them all the way through. Some skimming might be necessary.

You'll also need to do more than just read through the documents: quick, targeted notes will help organize the documents and your thoughts. For each document, jot down a few bullet points, covering things like who it was written by, when it was written, and what its main 1-3 points related to the prompt are. This will make it easier to see patterns in the documents which will be necessary when you write your thesis in the next step.

#3: Write Your Thesis

Your thesis is the most important sentence in your DBQ essay: it's the main point of your essay and what everything else you write hinges upon. A good thesis will make a claim, respond to the prompt, and lay out what you will discuss in your essay. Suppose you are responding to a prompt about women's suffrage (suffrage is the right to vote, for those of you who haven't gotten to that unit in class yet): "Analyze the responses to the women's suffrage movement in the United Kingdom."

Included among your documents, you have a letter from a suffragette passionately explaining why she feels women should have the vote, a copy of a suffragette's speech at a women's meeting, a letter from one politician to another debating the pros and cons of suffrage, and a political cartoon displaying the death of society and the end of the ‘natural' order at the hands of female voters.

An effective thesis might be something like, "Though ultimately successful, the women's suffrage movement sharply divided the United Kingdom between those who believed women's suffrage was unnatural and those who believed it was an inherent right of women." This thesis answers the question and clearly states the two responses to suffrage that are going to be analyzed in the essay.

#4: Outline Your Essay

After you know your thesis, you may be tempted to dive right in, but creating an essay outline can end up saving you time and making your DBQ essay much clearer and more organized. Once you get good at outlining, you should be able to come up with one in roughly five minutes so you still have plenty of time to write the essay.

Here's a sample DBQ outline:

  • Introduction
  • Thesis. The most important part of your intro! It should be the last sentence of your introduction paragraph.
  • Body 1 - contextual information
  • Any outside historical/contextual information
  • Body 2 - First point
  • Documents & analysis that support the first point
  • If three body paragraphs: use about three documents, do deeper analysis on two
  • Body 3 - Second point
  • Documents & analysis that support the second point
  • Use about three documents, do deeper analysis on two
  • Be sure to mention your outside example if you have not done so yet!
  • Body 4 (optional) - Third point
  • Documents and analysis that support third point
  • Restate thesis
  • Draw a comparison to another time period or situation (synthesis)

Your ideal outline may include more or less information, so try out a few different ones as you work through AP Euro DBQ example questions to see which works best for you and still allows you to finish the essay on time.

#5: Start Writing!

Now it's time to get writing! If you've kept to 15 minutes for the reading period and 5 minutes for creating your outline, you'll have 40 minutes to write the essay . With an intro, conclusion, and four body paragraphs, that gives you about 6.5 minutes per paragraph --not much time, but doable if you keep your paragraphs short and to the point, which you want to be doing anyway! Remember to refer to the documents but also do more than just repeat what they say. Including your own analysis is key. If you find yourself doing a lot of "Source A says blah, and Source B says blah, and Source C says blah..." make sure you are using the documents to make a point , and not letting the documents use you.

#6: Review Your Essay

You may not have time to do this, of course, but even if you only have an extra minute or two at the end of the section, a quick readthrough can help you spot and fix any glaring errors or omissions. Graders won't dock you points over a misspelling or two, but keeping things as clear as possible makes it easier for them to see the point you're making, which in turn makes it easier for them to award you points. Basically, you want to use every minute you have in this section of the AP Euro exam, so don't let a few extra minutes at the end go to waste if you can use them to add a little final shine to your DBQ essay.

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4 Tips for Your AP Euro DBQ Practice

You're now well prepared for the AP Euro DBQ, but a couple extra tips never hurt! Keep these four in mind throughout your studying and on test day.

#1: Find High-Quality Practice Questions

One of the best ways to measure your progress and learn which areas you need to focus on is to take practice exams. There are a lot of AP Euro History practice tests available; however, some are higher-quality than others. Taking a poorly written practice exam can cause you to study the wrong things and give you an inaccurate picture of what the real AP exam will be like. 

Official practice exams are those that have been created by the College Board (the organization that develops and administers all AP exams). Here are the AP Euro free-response questions they've made available:

2021 free-response questions

1999-2019 free-response questions

These include old prompts for both the DBQ and the long essay, as well as answer explanations. The most recent questions will be the most helpful, particularly those from 2018 and later, since AP Euro underwent its last significant changes in 2018. However, older questions can still give you a sense of what AP Euro free-response questions will look like.

#2: Always Keep Track of Time

Time constraints are one of the toughest parts of the AP exam, including the DBQ. You can have all the information and skills you need to write an amazing essay, but if you run out of time halfway through, you won't get a high score. That's why it's crucial to always watch your time.

Part II of the AP Euro exam lasts for a total of 100 minutes, during which time you'll need to write two essays, the DBQ and the long essay. For the DBQ, it's recommended that you spend 15 minutes reading over the documents and 45 minutes writing your DBQ essay. The proctor may note when you have a certain amount of time left, but no one will make you finish your DBQ and move to the long essay at a certain time, so spending too much time on the DBQ can cause you to run out of time on the long essay as well. 

#3: Be an Active Reader, Not a Passive Reader

Many students, especially if they don't have a lot of experience with DBQs, will spend the 15 minutes of recommended reading time reading every word of each of the documents, then, when it comes time to begin writing their essay, have no idea how to craft an essay around all that information they just took in. This is one of the reasons DBQs can be so tricky.

So, how to avoid this problem? Don't just read through the documents. Instead, mark them up: underlining and circling important parts and jotting down helpful notes. We recommend reading the essay prompt before you begin reading the documents. Once you have a good handle on the prompt, then you can skim through the documents, focusing on the parts that relate most to the prompt.  

The DBQ prompt for 2020 was, "Evaluate whether or not the Catholic Church in the 1600s was opposed to new ideas in science." So, when going through the documents, the key thing you're going to want to be making note of is whether each document seems to support or disprove the Catholic Church being opposed to new ideas in science. Your notes for this can be as little as a plus or minus sign next to the document, or you can do some short bullet points (we'd recommend no more than three per document) that give an overview of the main viewpoint. If you actively read the documents, starting to write the essay is much easier because you can clearly see the cases the documents make and, therefore, how to make your own case.

#4: Remember to Cite the Sources

The final tip to keep in mind, which will make a big difference in your DBQ essay quality, is integrating document citations into your essay. You want to be able to reference the information in the documents in a clear, concise way that doesn't take too much of your time but makes it easy for graders to see where you're getting your facts from (as well as how well you're making use of the documents).

To do this, we recommend using the author or title of the document to identify a document rather than writing "Document A." So instead of writing "Document A describes the riot as...," you might say, "In Sven Svenson's description of the riot…"

When you quote a document directly without otherwise identifying it, you may want to include a parenthetical citation. For example, you might write, "The strikers were described as ‘valiant and true' by the working class citizens of the city (Document E)." Doing this throughout your DBQ essay will make it easier for graders to understand the major points you're making.

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Summary: AP Euro Document-Based Question

Once you know what to expect from the AP Euro DBQ, it becomes one of the more straightforward parts of the AP exam. The AP Euro DBQ consists of a prompt that asks you to evaluate a statement, and it's followed by about seven documents. You'll need to mention at least six of those documents in your essay. Reviewing the AP Euro DBQ rubric can help you see where points are gained and lost, and running through AP Euro DBQ example questions is a great way to feel more comfortable with this essay. Review your course material over the school year and write several AP Euro practice DBQs to put yourself in a great place on exam day.

What's Next?

Interested in learning more about the AP Euro exam?  Our in-depth guide to the AP European History text explains everything you need to know!

Now that you better understand how hard AP Euro will be for you, get your hands on the best practice materials available!  Check out our guide on the best AP Euro practice tests and quizzes to help with your studying. 

Is AP Euro hard? How tough are the class and exam compared to other APs? We break down the five key factors in determining how hard is AP European History.  

Looking for help studying for your AP exam?

Our one-on-one online AP tutoring services can help you prepare for your AP exams. Get matched with a top tutor who got a high score on the exam you're studying for!

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Christine graduated from Michigan State University with degrees in Environmental Biology and Geography and received her Master's from Duke University. In high school she scored in the 99th percentile on the SAT and was named a National Merit Finalist. She has taught English and biology in several countries.

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AP European History Free Response Help - FRQ/LEQ

6 min read • october 21, 2021

Thomasina Lester

Thomasina Lester

Mixed AP Review

Endless stimulus-based MCQs for all units

ap euro essay rubric

In these three things—production, with the necessity of exchanging products, shipping, whereby the exchange is carried on, and colonies, which facilitate and enlarge the operations of shipping and tend to protect it by multiplying points of safety—is to be found the key to much of the history, as well as of the policy, of nations bordering upon the sea. The policy has varied both with the spirit of the age and with the character and clear-sightedness of the rulers; but the history of the seaboard nations has been less determined by the shrewdness and foresight of governments than by conditions of position, extent, configuration, number and character of their people,—by what are called, in a word, natural conditions.

ap euro essay rubric

Feel scholarly as you answer free-response questions in AP European History! Image Courtesy of Pixabay

If you've heard of the AP European History exam, you've likely caught a few comments about the free-response questions. This section is particularly unique as it includes the document-based question and the long-essay question, which are signatures within the AP history courses.

The FRQ section is, arguably, the most important section of the exam. The section spans 1 hour and 40 minutes and represents 40% of your exam score, which means that learning how to tackle this exam format is crucial.

Here are some important facts, helpful tips and tricks, and practice questions to get you prepared for the FRQ section!

Format and Question Types

👉 The College Board's Description of the Exam

After you complete the first section of the exam (multiple-choice and short-answer), you'll encounter the free-response question (FRQ) section. This section consists of 2 questions: the document-based question (DBQ) and the long-essay question (LEQ). The DBQ accounts for 25% of your exam score and the LEQ accounts for 15% of your exam score. You'll have a total of 1 hour and 40 minutes to complete both questions. The College Board recommends that you spend 60 minutes on the DBQ and 40 minutes on the LEQ. However, these suggestions are not firm and you can determine the pace that works best for you.

Tips to Ace Free-Response Questions

1. know the rubrics.

👉 The College Board's AP Euro DBQ + LEQ Rubrics

The rubrics for the DBQ and LEQ are essential to succeeding in the FRQ section. These FRQs aren't asking for your typical essay that you write in English class. Instead, you have to demonstrate your historical reasoning skills! The exam readers are looking for specific elements within your writing that show that you're able to develop a complex argument based on the prompt. Remember to attempt every rubric point!

2. Read the Prompt

This tip might seem obvious, but it's easy to skim over the prompt to read the documents or jump into writing. Slow down and read the prompt. If you misread the prompt, your following argument, no matter how strong, won't be relevant. Responding to the prompt in the context of the incorrect time period is also an easy mistake to make! Prevent it by focusing on the prompt for a little longer than you might think. If you struggle to interpret the prompt, look at the task verb used and the time period to get a sense of the situation.

3. Focus on Earning Points

You don't need to write a beautiful response that you would proudly submit to your English teacher. Instead, focus on showing off your ability to craft a strong, nuanced argument based on historical knowledge and reasoning! Write every sentence with a purpose . If a sentence doesn't strengthen your argument in an attempt to earn a rubric point, you might want to consider going in a different direction. It can be difficult to maintain that balance, so keep practicing!

4. Find a Pace

One of the most helpful skills to learn for the exam is pacing . Because nothing is preventing you from spending the entire 1 hour and 40 minutes on the DBQ, it's important to budget your time. During your practice sessions, you should keep an eye on the clock and get a sense of your natural timing. Then, you can adjust to fit the time limitations on the exam. Some might want to strictly abide by the 60/40 rule and others might want to dedicate more time to one FRQ. Find what works for you and produces the best results!

5. Don't Get Caught Up in the Details

Think of your DBQ and LEQ as a rough draft, especially given the time limit. Don't worry too much about perfect spelling and grammar, as long as any errors don't prevent your exam reader from understanding your writing and argument. If you can't remember if Martin Luther posted his 95 Theses in 1517 or 1518, that's okay! As long as you're not off by multiple time periods, you're demonstrating your understanding of the historical timeline and specific events/dates/figures. These details aren't necessary to pass your exam (or even to earn a 5). Don't fret if you can't remember a detail or realize that you were a little off in something you wrote.

Sample Questions

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Image Courtesy of College Board

Take a look at various prompts from the past few years to gain a sense of the questions asked on the exam. For example, the 2016 DBQ (as seen above) is a particularly specific prompt. Be prepared for anything! If you're struggling to answer the prompt, think about what you do know .

Here are few questions you could ask yourself when examining the prompt:

  • What do I know about Otto von Bismarck?
  • What do I know about his policies?
  • What is traditional conservatism? What is a new kind of conservatism?
  • What was happening in 19th century Europe?

If you can answer just one of those questions, you can develop a solid argument. You also have the documents to help you gain a little more context!

For light practice, look at a prompt and its documents and develop an outline of a DBQ. For heavy practice, fully answer a prompt in exam-like conditions and score yourself using the guidelines. Do what feels most beneficial to you at the time!

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Take a look at a few LEQ prompts over the past few years to become more familiar with the type of questions asked on the exam. The 2018 LEQ (as seen above) is a fairly typical style of question to see. The LEQ can be difficult to master as you must rely, almost entirely, on your own knowledge. As you prepare for the LEQ, remember to review how different time periods connect, compare, contrast, and evolve.

You should practice your LEQ skills by answering real prompts. If you're short on time, you can practice by outlining your initial thoughts, which is a process that can be especially helpful on the exam. An alternative is to answer a prompt in exam-like conditions and score yourself using the guidelines, which can help you become more comfortable with the real exam format.

Additional Resources

👉 Released Free-Response Questions and Scoring Guidelines

FRQs are released every year by the College Board, which means that you have an abundance of resources for practice! The College Board also releases scoring guidelines, samples, and commentary, making it easy to score yourself and become familiar with the scoring process. As tempting as it may be, you should try not to look at the scoring guidelines or samples before you attempt the prompt yourself. You won't have that sort of help on the exam!

Words of Encouragement

In the beginning, you might have trouble understanding and meeting the expectations of the FRQs. However, you'll become more successful and confident with time! Remember that consistent practice makes perfect. Use the available prompt archive to your advantage. As you become more familiar with the format and style, the prompts become so much more manageable. Remember to review the course content to build a strong foundation. Good luck in your AP Euro journey!

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ap euro essay rubric

How to Ace the AP European History DBQ

What’s covered:, ap european history: a brief introduction.

  • What Is The AP Euro Document Based Question?
  • How Is The AP Euro DBQ Evaluated?
  • Preparing for The AP Euro DBQ

Your Test Day Plan for the AP Euro DBQ

How will ap scores affect my college chances, learn more about the ap european history dbq.

The AP European History course is considered fairly difficult by most students, especially for the notorious DBQ that you’ll encounter during the exam. But, don’t let this scare you! CollegeVine’s resources and tips below can help you understand what’s expected of you and construct a successful response to the Document Based Question (DBQ) on the exam. 

The AP European History exam is one of the harder AP exams, with only 11.7% of students receiving a score of five. Therefore, it’s super important to understand the structure of the exam, what previous knowledge you’ll need before taking it, and how you should write your responses on the exam. Although it might seem daunting at first, the following tips and ideas can help ease the writing process. 

The exam is structures as follows:

  • Multiple choice: 55 minutes | 55 questions | 40% of score
  • Short answer questions: 40 minutes | 3 questions | 20% of score
  • Free response: 1 hour 40 minutes | 2 questions | 40% of score (Includes DBQ)

What is the AP Euro Document Based Question?

The Document Based Question (DBQ) is an hour long, free-response question worth 25% of your total score. Presented with seven documents of various perspectives, you’re expected to construct an argument with provided evidence and information as well as accumulated knowledge to create a holistic and persuasive response. 

Tackling the AP Euro DBQ is best done by understanding the rubric and what is required of you to achieve a higher score. Actively reading, as opposed to passively skimming, through your documents is important to save time and create an outline or plan for your response. For this test, forming a solid thesis is a great start, as it will create a strong foundation to build the rest of your essay on. Linking back to your thesis throughout your AP Euro DBQ response is vital to streamline your writing process and ensure you best present your argument! 

How is the AP Euro DBQ Evaluated?

As mentioned before, having a solid understanding of the rubric is essential to earning a good score. Let’s take a look at the scoring guidelines from the most recent test so that you can better understand what the AP graders are looking for in particular. Note that the DBQ is scored out of seven points.

Row A: Thesis/Claim (0–1 points)

  • 0 points: Does not meet the criteria for one point.
  • 1 point: Responds to the prompt with a historically defensible thesis/claim that establishes a line of reasoning.

Row B: Contextualization (0–1 points)

  • 1 point: Describes a broader historical context relevant to the prompt.

Row C: Evidence (0–3 points)

  • 1 point: Uses the content of at least three documents to address the topic of the prompt.
  • 2 points: Supports an argument in response to the prompt using at least six documents.
  • 0 points: Does not meet the criteria for one point
  • 1 point: Uses at least one additional piece of the specific historical evidence (beyond that found in the documents) relevant to an argument about the prompt.

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

  • 1 point: For at least three documents, explain how or why the document’s point of view, purpose, historical situation, and/or audience is relevant to an argument.
  • 1 point: Demonstrates a complex understanding of the historical development that is the focus of the prompt, using evidence to corroborate, qualify, or modify an argument that addresses the question.

The graders reference these scoring guidelines as they read your essays, so it’s really important that you cater your response to very clearly meet each criterion.

Preparing for the AP Euro DBQ

Take practice exams.

Taking practice exams and perfecting your DBQ responses is key to scoring high. Make sure that you grade each exam you take, so you’ll learn the structure and requirements that are expected for a good score; you can refer to the criteria summarized above for further details. As you practice, take note of any trends or common mistakes you find yourself making so that you can make sure to adjust those habits before you take the actual test. Essentially, practice does make perfect and your chances of success increase greatly as you build more experience with responding to DBQs.

Pay attention to timing

Practicing the DBQs beforehand could also help you get used to the timing of the exam and help alleviate some of the stress during test day. Outlining may help you plan out your writing process, but keep in mind that this is best done during your 15 minute reading period, as it could possibly eat away from your precious writing time. Staying mindful of your time limits is important to keep you calm and collected during the writing process, so try to time yourself as you take practice exams!

1. Glance at the documents

Your first step (after reading the prompt) should be to skim through the documents during your reading period. As you do so, look for keywords or find context that will clue you into the document’s overall message. This will give you an idea as to how best to incorporate the document into your response. 

Jotting down a brief summary next to the passage will also save you time from not having to reread the same document again and again, leaving you free time to potentially plan or outline your essay response. Take notes, highlight or circle keywords as you read so you don’t forget/miss them later when writing, and you’ll find the process of writing your response easier!

2. Construct a strong, provable thesis

Forming a thesis that’s strong and probable as a claim is vital to creating a convincing argument in your response. Making sure the information you use to backup your thesis is from the documents is important as well, and this is usually found via skimming, as mentioned earlier. Finding the information you salvage via skimming and linking it to your thesis is going to set your DBQ up for success. 

3. Find evidence within the documents

Now, you should go back to the documents and find specific pieces of information that will support your thesis.

It’s important to cite all 6 documents into your response, and relate everything you cite to your thesis whenever possible. This not only constantly relates your response to the topic at hand, but it ensures you’re making use of all readily available evidence to score as high as possible.

Also, for at least three of the documents, you need to show how the point of view, purpose, historical situation, and/or audience is relevant. This is said specifically in the scoring criteria, so it’s something that needs to be included in the essay. This may seem daunting, but can actually be easily done if most of your evidence ties into one of these areas!

For example, if you’re citing evidence from a particular document, check if it falls into one of the following categories:

  • Point of view
  • Historical situation

If it does, then you can easily describe its relevance by using that piece of evidence in your essay to support your thesis!

4. Find your additional piece of specific historical evidence

Another important aspect of the grading criteria is including an additional piece of historical evidence. The AP exam emphasizes that this evidence should be highly specific—while still directly supporting your thesis. This information won’t be in the documents, so you’ll have to rely on your existing AP European History knowledge!

If you’re struggling to come up with something, try rereading the documents to see if it sparks your memory. Also, remember that you’ll be writing the free response portion after the multiple choice sections. This means that some of the questions or figures on the multiple choice section may help you remember relevant information which you can later use on the DBQ.

5. Write your DBQ!

Once you’re clear on your thesis and evidence, you’re ready to write your essay! 

The structure of the essay is very important, and starting with the intro is your first step. Creating a very clear thesis, as we mentioned earlier, will help you structure the rest of your essay. In fact, if you’re struggling with writing an introduction, create a thesis first to at least get started on the rest of your essay. 

Also, linking each paragraph to a document source in some way is important to make sure that your claims are supported by evidence. Keep in mind that you should include the point of view, purpose, or context relative to the documents whenever applicable. Finally, writing a conclusion that links to the holistic view of the essay is important, and you might even find it easier to write your intro after the conclusion, as it closes the essay in a loop. 

Though doing well on your AP exams is important, your actual score doesn’t really impact your chances of admission . What’s more important are the AP classes that you take are even more important than the exam scores achieved, meaning the impact of your AP scores isn’t as big as you think . 

Focusing on the AP classes taken and the relevance of those classes to your future college major could be more impactful to you and your admissions. For a further detailed understanding of the role AP classes play in regards to your college admissions, use CollegeVine’s free Admissions Calculator , which takes into account your GPA, standardized test scores and more. 

As you prepare for the AP European History DBQ, check out some of CollegeVine’s other articles:

  • Ultimate Guide to the AP European History Exam
  • Ultimate Guide to the AP U.S. History Exam
  • Acing the Document Based Question on the AP US History Exam
  • Ultimate Guide to the AP World History Exam
  • Acing the AP World History Document Based Question

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COMMENTS

  1. AP European History Exam

    Rubrics Updated for 2023-24. We've updated the AP European History document-based question (DBQ) and long essay question (LEQ) rubrics for the 2023-24 school year. This change only affects the DBQ and LEQ scoring, with no change to the course or the exam: the exam format, course framework, and skills assessed on the exam all remain unchanged.

  2. The Best AP European History Study Guide

    Below is an example of a Long Essay question on the AP Euro exam: AP European History Study Help: 5 Steps to Follow ... On top of that, you'll need to make a connection to another time period, movement, or discipline! Use the rubric as a guide to improve your DBQ skills. You can also check out our guide to writing a great DBQ essay.

  3. The Expert's Guide to the AP European History Exam

    The AP European History exam is three hours and 15 minutes long and consists of two sections. Section 1 has two parts: a 55-minute, 55-question multiple-choice section, and a three-question, 40-minute short-answer section. Section 2 also has two parts: a 60-minute document-based question, or DBQ, and a 40-minute essay.

  4. PDF AP European History

    From the late 16th century on, Europeans responded to economic and environmental challenges, such as the Little Ice Age, by delaying marriage and childbearing. This European marriage pattern restrained population growth and ultimately improved the economic condition of families. AP European History.

  5. AP European History Exam Guide

    Long Essay Question (15% of score) 1 LEQ with the recommended 40 minutes to complete it. Total time: 1 hour and 40 minutes. Scoring Rubric for the 2024 AP European History exam. Multiple Choice: Earn a point for each correct answer. There is no penalty for incorrect answers.

  6. AP European History

    Tony Maccarella, author of Mastering the Essay for AP European History, walks you through the ins-and-outs of the 2020 AP European History 10-point DBQ rubric. Tony selected several DBQs from Mastering the Essay and modified them to align to the 2020 exam style. These free practice DBQs are available below in two formats: a simple PDF layout for individual use and a PowerPoint for virtual ...

  7. Ultimate Guide to the AP European History Exam

    The AP European History exam is a tough one to master, though many students do well enough to pass (score of 3 or higher). In 2019, 58.1% of students who took the AP European History exam received a score of 3 or higher. Of these, only 11.7% of students received the top score of 5 with another 20.5% scoring a 4.

  8. The AP Euro DBQ

    NEW AP EURO DBQ RUBRIC BASED ON THE SEPTEMBER 2023 CHANGES. In September 2023, the College Board announced new rubric guidelines for the AP European History DBQ, which will take effect immediately. I have created a user-friendly one-page DBQ rubric that teachers are welcome to use in their classrooms.

  9. 6 Steps to a Perfect AP European History DBQ

    Reviewing the AP Euro DBQ rubric can help you see where points are gained and lost, and running through AP Euro DBQ example questions is a great way to feel more comfortable with this essay. Review your course material over the school year and write several AP Euro practice DBQs to put yourself in a great place on exam day.

  10. PDF Rubrics for AP Histories

    2016 Readings for both U.S. and European History. This fine tuning is standard practice when developing new rubrics, but such changes - if any - will be made for clarification purposes only. No additional substantive changes will be made to these rubrics. *2017 for World History 1 AP History Document-Based Question and Long Essay Rubrics

  11. PDF Ap Euro Dbq Rubric

    This rubric is based on guidelines released in September 2023 by the College Board, which is not affiliated with, and does not endorse, this product. ... and does not endorse, this product. Visit tomrichey.net for more instructional materials. AP EURO DBQ RUBRIC Updated September 2023 Name: _____ DBQ Topic: _____ ... understanding, essay, but ...

  12. AP European History Free Response Tips FRQ/LEQ

    This section consists of 2 questions: the document-based question (DBQ) and the long-essay question (LEQ). The DBQ accounts for 25% of your exam score and the LEQ accounts for 15% of your exam score. You'll have a total of 1 hour and 40 minutes to complete both questions. The College Board recommends that you spend 60 minutes on the DBQ and 40 ...

  13. PDF AP European History

    AP® European History 202 2 Scoring Guidelines (C) Describe one continuity in the economic relationship between Western Europe and other parts of the world in the period from the late 1800s through the late 1900s. Examples that earn this point include the following: • Western Europe maintained significant economic relationships with former ...

  14. DOCX Ap Euro Leq Rubric

    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). A different discipline or field of inquiry (such as economics, government and politics, art history, or anthropology). TOTAL POINTS: 6. AP EURO LEQ RUBRIC.

  15. How to Ace the AP European History DBQ

    AP European History: A Brief Introduction The AP European History exam is one of the harder AP exams, with only 11.7% of students receiving a score of five. Therefore, it's super important to understand the structure of the exam, what previous knowledge you'll need before taking it, and how you should write your responses on the exam.

  16. PDF AP EURO LEQ RUBRIC Name:

    This rubric is based on guidelines released in September 2023 by the College Board, which is not affiliated with, and does not endorse, this product. ... and does not endorse, this product. Visit tomrichey.net for more instructional materials. AP EURO LEQ RUBRIC LEQUpdated September 2023 Name: _____ Topic: _____ ... essay, but not merely by a ...

  17. The AP Euro LEQ

    NEWLY-UPDATED FOR 2023-2024. The College Board has released revised LEQ rubric guidelines for the AP European History that will take effect immediately for the 2023-2024 academic year. I have revised my rubric to meet the new guidelines and am providing other resources to help teachers implement the new format.