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About Document-Based Questions

The Document-Based Question (DBQ) is an essay format used by the College Board to gauge a student's "ability to analyze and synthesize historical data." On the DBQ portion of an AP History exam, a student is asked to formulate a response to a broad question or statement by referring to a given set of primary sources. Columbia American History Online's DBQ collection provides students preparing for the AP U.S. History exam (or for any further study of history) with a variety of ready-made DBQs for the development of these analytical skills. While some DBQs closely follow the format of the AP model, others expand on this model and identify critical issues or structural requirements for the student to consider before forming a response. All the DBQs have been written and reviewed by a select group of AP History teachers exclusively for CAHO.


Featured Question

Vietnam and President Nixon
This DBQ focuses on Richard Nixon's conduct of the Vietnam War. The documents are drawn from the period between 1968, when Richard Nixon successfully campaigned for the U.S. presidency, and 1973, when the Paris Peace Accords, which formalized the end of U.S. involvement in the war, were signed by the United States, South Vietnam, and North Vietnam. Students will investigate the extent to which the Nixon administration was able to achieve the "honorable peace" he promised the American public.

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