AP®︎ US History worked examples
AP US History DBQ example 1
- [Voiceover] Alright, in this video, we're talking about the document-based question, or DBQ, section on the AP US History exam. Now, this is one of two main essays that are on the exam. One is based on documents that are provided to you and the other is based on your own knowledge of the subject. So you'll get 55 minutes to do this portion of the exam and it's generally recommended that you spend about 15 of those minutes planning your answer and about 40 of those minutes actually writing your answer. Now your mileage might differ, you might find that you're someone who wants to spend a little bit more time planning or your somebody who can plan really fast and write well. In any event, you want to go in with a plan about how much time you're going to spend on each part so that you don't get surprised at the end of the period that you still have a couple paragraphs left to write but you're out of time. So for the DBQ section, you're going to get a question that asks you to analyze changes or continuities over time, something that really gets at the heart of how things in history change over time. So unlike the short answer questions, which are very specific about one period in time, this is asking you to take a broader look at US history and write an essay about one of its major themes. Let's take a look at this question. Analyze major changes and continuities in the social and economic experiences of African Americans who migrated from the South to urban areas in the North in the period 1910 to 1930. Well that gives us a lot of information about the kinds of things we should concentrate on. First, we're looking at social history and economic history, we're looking at African Americans, and we're looking at this migration pattern. This is the period of the Great Migration, as they would say, when many African Americans who lived in the South moved to the North for new factory jobs in this time period which certainly included World War I. And you can see from the time frame that we're talking about a fairly early 20th century time period ending in 1930, so you don't want to be talking about the experiences of African Americans in the Great Depression or in World War II, or in the Civil Rights Movement because that's much later. Now you might be able to end on a note that shows your knowledge of what's to come, but really for the meat of this essay, you want to stick to the time period in question. To answer this, we're going to want to write an essay and, at the very least, I would go for your standard five paragraph essay where you have an introductory statement, introduction, which includes a strong thesis statement and we'll get to how to write one of those soon. And then, three paragraphs of body text, each that is trying to prove a point brought up in its topic sentence, and a conclusion, which wraps up what you've said and ties it up with a bow. Now to do this, you're going to have to consider and analyze about seven to nine primary documents, which are provided for you by the exam. You should include all, or maybe all but one, of those primary documents in your answer. Now you don't have to go into detail about all of them, but you should include analysis of some of the arguments, some of the biases, and some of the larger ideas behind some of those documents. You should also be prepared to give some outside information that shows that you really know the material and can give context to it. So that's what these questions are about and how you should go about answering them. In the next video, we'll start looking at primary documents and getting ready to make a thesis statement.
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