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🤔 Worried about the time limit and scoring well on LEQs and DBQs? Don't be! After a year-long class, you'll know all the information you need, and pre-writing will help you write efficiently.
What is pre-writing in APUSH? Pre-writing is creating a roadmap for your LEQ or DBQ. It will help you choose which LEQ prompt to go with, decide what points you should discuss, and write your thesis.
Here's a breakdown of how to pre-write your LEQs and DBQs:
The first 15 minutes you are given to write a DBQ are considered a "reading period." This should be about the amount of time you'll need to plan your essay.
Here's a basic outline of how to plan a DBQ:
Briefly read over the prompt and documents to get a general idea of what you're writing about. Start to think of the context of the situation.
📑 Organize Evidence
Once you know what you're writing about, make a list of the documents that can support either side of the prompt. For example, if the prompt said "What was the most important factor in causing the Civil War?" you could make a t chart with documents on one side that show how one factor was important, and documents on the other side that show how a different factor was important. Take note of how each document can prove a point. If you have evidence outside of the documents, you can also add that to the t chart.
💭 Develop a Thesis
Once you have all the documents and 1-2 outside pieces of evidence in your t chart, pick the side you could argue the easiest and use that to write your thesis. Draw conclusions about how each document provides evidence to support your argument, and include this evidence in your thesis.
🤔 Outline Documents' Places in Your Argument
Create an outline of what point you will make in each paragraph of your essay and how each of the documents will further that point. If you have extra time, you can do a more in-depth analysis of the documents where you plan how to describe them, and look at how either point of view, purpose, historical situation, and/or audience is relevant to your argument for 3 of them. You can plan where to put that information in your essay as well because that's one of the seven points you can get. Another good thing to think about if you have extra time is how you can get the complex understanding point.
✏️ Write the Essay!
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👀 Skim the Prompt Choices
📎 Organize Evidence
Make a t-chart and put evidence that supports one perspective of the prompt on one side, and evidence that opposes on the other. For example, if the prompt was "Evaluate the extent that ice cream is delicious" you could make a chart with reasons it is to a great extent (it tastes good) on one side, and reasons why it is to a small or no extent on the other (I'm lactose intolerant).
💭 Develop a Thesis
Once you have a t-chart, pick your argument based on whatever side has the most evidence. Going back to the ice cream example, if in the great extent category you have 3 reasons, but in the less extent you only have one, you should argue that it is delicious to a great extent, regardless of what your actual opinion is. Once you have your argument and supporting evidence, write your thesis.
📝 Map Out Paragraphs
Now that you have your argument, evidence, and thesis done, make a list of each paragraph you'll write and for each paragraph jot down what the point of it is, what evidence you will use in it, and any additional ideas you have. A good thing to think about if you have extra time is how you can get the complex understanding point.
🤓 Write Your Essay!
💡 Remember it's important to practice timed essays and find what pre-writing strategy works for you. To master APUSH essays, you'll have to practice! Here are some practice prompts to help you prepare to crush the exam. Remember, timed essay writing is a learned skill, and with some practice, you'll get awesome at it! Good luck this year, have fun learning history, and go into your exam with confidence! You got this!