60 Unit 8 Apush Dbq

APUSH UNIT 8 Exam Guide
APUSH UNIT 8 Exam Guide from studylib.net



The Unit 8 APUSH DBQ, or Document-Based Question, is a crucial part of the Advanced Placement United States History exam. This section requires students to analyze and interpret a set of primary source documents and use them to construct an argument that responds to a specific historical question. In Unit 8, students focus on the period from 1945 to 1980, which encompasses the Cold War and the Civil Rights Movement. This article will provide an overview of the Unit 8 APUSH DBQ, including tips for success and strategies for approaching the documents and the essay.

Understanding the Prompt

Before diving into the documents, it is essential to thoroughly understand the prompt. The prompt for the Unit 8 APUSH DBQ will typically ask students to analyze the ways in which a specific historical event or development impacted American society during the period from 1945 to 1980. It may also ask students to evaluate the extent to which the event or development brought about social, political, or economic changes.

Read and Annotate the Documents

Once you have a clear understanding of the prompt, it's time to tackle the documents. The typical Unit 8 APUSH DBQ will include six to eight documents, which may consist of letters, speeches, newspaper articles, photographs, or other primary sources. Read each document carefully and annotate as you go. Pay attention to the author's point of view, the historical context, and the main arguments or ideas presented in each document.

Organize the Documents

After reading and annotating the documents, it's helpful to organize them into categories based on their main ideas or arguments. This will make it easier to analyze and compare the documents later when constructing your essay. Look for common themes, conflicting viewpoints, or any patterns that emerge from the documents.

Develop a Thesis Statement

Before diving into the essay, take a moment to develop a clear and concise thesis statement. This statement should directly respond to the prompt and outline the main argument you will make in your essay. It's crucial to have a strong thesis that guides your analysis and provides a roadmap for the rest of your essay.

Outline Your Essay

Once you have a thesis statement, it's time to outline your essay. This will help you organize your thoughts and ensure that your essay flows logically. Start by identifying the main points or arguments you will make in each paragraph. Consider how you will use the documents to support your arguments and how you will analyze and interpret them.

Introduction Paragraph

The introduction paragraph should provide some background information on the historical event or development mentioned in the prompt. It should also include your thesis statement, which succinctly summarizes your main argument. Consider starting with a catchy hook to grab the reader's attention and set the tone for your essay.

Body Paragraphs

The body paragraphs of your essay should each focus on a specific argument or point. Start each paragraph with a topic sentence that clearly states the main idea of the paragraph. Then, use the documents to support and illustrate your argument. Be sure to analyze and interpret the documents, explaining their significance and how they relate to your thesis statement. Use specific evidence from the documents to strengthen your analysis.


While constructing your essay, consider possible counterarguments to your main arguments. Addressing counterarguments shows that you have considered multiple perspectives and strengthens your overall argument. Include a paragraph or two that acknowledges and responds to potential counterarguments, using evidence from the documents to support your rebuttal.

Conclusion Paragraph

The conclusion paragraph should summarize your main arguments and restate your thesis statement. Avoid introducing new information in the conclusion. Instead, focus on providing a concise summary of your analysis and the overall significance of your argument. Consider ending with a thought-provoking statement or a call to action.

Proofread and Edit

Once you have completed your essay, take the time to proofread and edit it. Check for grammar and spelling errors, ensure that your sentences are clear and concise, and make any necessary revisions to improve the flow and coherence of your essay. Consider asking a peer or teacher to review your essay and provide feedback.

Practice with Sample DBQs

To prepare for the Unit 8 APUSH DBQ, it's helpful to practice with sample DBQs. The College Board provides past DBQ prompts and sample student essays on their website. Take the time to analyze these sample essays and compare them to the scoring guidelines provided by the College Board. This will give you a sense of the expectations and help you identify areas for improvement in your own writing.

Time Management

Time management is crucial during the APUSH exam. The DBQ section is worth 25% of your total exam score and should take approximately 45 minutes to complete. Be sure to allocate your time wisely, leaving enough time to read and analyze the documents, write your essay, and proofread and edit your work. Consider setting a timer for each section to help you stay on track.


The Unit 8 APUSH DBQ is a challenging but rewarding part of the APUSH exam. By thoroughly understanding the prompt, analyzing the documents, and constructing a well-organized essay, you can showcase your historical knowledge and analytical skills. Remember to practice regularly and manage your time effectively to maximize your chances of success on the exam. Good luck!