Dbq Outline?

Hi! I am wondering if it is possible for us to create an outline for the dbq that we could use during the exam? If so, how would you recommend we do it?

Hi Hannah - I tell my students to read through the docs & “group” them by ideas (and it’s ok if the groups are different amounts of docs) – what’s similar about them, how do they support each other’s perspective on your argument.

Those “groups” become your body paragraphs. Aim for two paragraphs (esp with this modified DBQ format). In those paragraphs use a few words from each doc so that the readers know you used the documents, and give an analysis for your docs – why did that author write that piece for what purpose?

Then write your intro/thesis/first paragraph. Include world historical context in that first paragraph. I have always found it a bit easier to work with the evidence they give you (the docs) then go back to my persuasive argument (thesis)…helps me with the challenge of “starting” my writing.

Good luck!

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Hey! I totally recommend making a quick little 5-10 minute outline during the test! Skim over the docs, and group them based on arguments they make/support. Then write out your 3 arguments from there and start writing! Remember, just keep writing!


This is the third of the 3 DBQ exams, and I will tell you one constant: All students have felt that they were a bit pressed for time. If an outline is the best way for you to organize, then by all means, write an outline. However, you need to be sure that you don’t spend too much time. I would read over the prompt, be sure that you understand which historical skill they are asking you to use (Causation, Continuity and Change, or Comparison), and then think about what your thesis might be. After that, quickly read your documents. Does this change your thesis? At this point, finalize your thesis and decide how you would group your documents.

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There’s nothing wrong with outlining, and some students find it very helpful to outline so that they don’t have to try to remember the points they were going to make as they write their essay. It’s easy to forget things under stress! Good luck!

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