Rules for the dbq on the College Board World History Advanced Placement Examination

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DBQ The CCP and the Peasants in Communist China WHAP/Napp

Rules for the DBQ on the College Board World History Advanced Placement Examination:

  • Students will be allotted ten minutes for the mandatory reading of documents.

  • During the reading period, students may take notes but not start writing the essay.

Strategies for the Document-Based Question:

  • After the reading period, a student should write the essay in 40 minutes.

  • Students should write the DBQ essay first (there are three essays).

  • Students will be provided anywhere from four to ten documents.

  • The purpose of the DBQ is to assess the ability to evaluate primary sources.

  • Students must incorporate all, or all but one, of the documents in the essay.

  • Students must also comment on at least one OTHER type of document, NOT included, that might shed light on the question [The Missing Document].

  • Students must analyze point of view in documents.

Additional Strategies:

  • Students cite documents by identifying the author and/or title of the document.

  • Students must comment on point of view.

  • What is the bias or perspective of the author, speaker, or artist?

  • The point of view may be clear from the speaker’s or writer’s nationality, ethnicity, gender, social class, religion, or political affiliation.

  • For full credit, a student should analyze point of view for all or most of the documents.

  • One of the skills a student MUST demonstrate is an ability to group documents into useful and meaningful categories.

  • Can the documents be grouped by political philosophy or outlook?

  • By purpose? By gender? According to cultural attitudes?

  • There is no single right way to group but the groupings must make sense.

  • A student should try to group documents in three ways but in this essay there may only be two groups.

  • The DBQ also asks students to demonstrate historical judgment by commenting on what is missing from the picture.

  • Don’t forget the thesis.

  • Most often, the thesis will clearly state the three groups the student has created.

~ Adapted from Barron’s World History AP

  1. How long is the mandatory reading period? ________________________________________________________________________

  2. What may students do during the mandatory reading period? ________________________________________________________________________

  3. What are students not allowed to do during the mandatory reading period? ________________________________________________________________________

  4. After the reading period, students will have 120 minutes to write three essays, which essay should the student write first? Why? ________________________________________________________________________

  5. How many documents can a student expect in the DBQ? ________________________________________________________________________

  6. What is the purpose of the DBQ? ________________________________________________________________________

  7. How many documents must the student incorporate into the DBQ essay? ________________________________________________________________________

  8. What is the “missing document” or “other document”? ________________________________________________________________________

  9. Why must students incorporate a missing document into the DBQ essay? ________________________________________________________________________

  10. How do students cite documents? ________________________________________________________________________

  11. What is point of view analysis? ________________________________________________________________________

  12. For how many documents should a student analyze point of view? ________________________________________________________________________

  13. What is a skill that a student must demonstrate in the DBQ essay? ________________________________________________________________________

  14. How can students group documents? ________________________________________________________________________

  15. How many groups should a student create? ________________________________________________________________________

  16. How else does a student demonstrate historical judgment in the DBQ essay? ________________________________________________________________________

  17. What must the thesis clearly state in order to be a valid thesis? ________________________________________________________________________

From the 2014 College Board World History Examination:

The following question is based on the accompanying Documents 1-9.
Using the following documents, analyze the relationship between Chinese peasants and the Chinese Communist Party between circa 1925 and circa 1950. Identify one additional type of document and explain how it would help you assess the relationship between Chinese peasants and the Chinese Communist Party.
Historical background: Japan invaded China in 1937 and occupied large parts of it until Japan’s defeat in the Second World War in 1945. In 1949 the Chinese Communist Party established the People’s Republic of China.

What is the essay’s prompt? ______________________________________________________________________________

Phrase the essay prompt in your own words. ______________________________________________________________________________

Ten Minutes: Mandatory Reading of the Documents

  • Try to read all documents in the allotted ten minutes.

  • If you do not finish reading the documents in ten minute period, you will need to take minutes from the 120 minutes allotted for writing the three essays.

  • Underline the main point of each document while reading.

  • Take notes in the margins.

  • Do NOT start writing the essay during the mandatory reading period.

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