Many teachers consider the Document Based Question (DBQ) of the AP® European History Exam to be one of the more challenging aspects of the course. Students are faced with a variety of tasks that they must complete in one hour.


This is a lesson that I use in order to teach students how to organize their thoughts when writing a DBQ. I typically use a prompt from the AMSCO® coursebook; however, the structure of the lesson can be applied to any DBQ that you have available. I usually have students use this method for the first two to three DBQs that they write; however, I have also used this same lesson omitting Task 7 to help students practice the DBQ without actually writing a DBQ.


The goal is for students to leave this lesson with a better understanding of how to plan, organize, and write a DBQ.



Lou Gallo is a College Board AP® European History and United States History consultant who leads summer institutes nationally. He currently teaches both courses at West High School in Knoxville, Tennessee, and also teaches AP® European History online at Dwight Global, based in New York City. He has also served in a leadership role at the AP® European History reading since 2000 and is a Senior Reviewer of the AP® European History coursebook by AMSCO®.