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.
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.
Our students have gotten A's on thousands of classes, perfect 5's on AP tests, and ludicrously high SAT Subject Test scores.
Whether you need help with science, math, English, social science, or more, we've got you covered. The first thing you need to do is to establish a baseline—figure out where you are at with respect to your DBQ skills.
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.
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.