You may not know what a DBQ is. For most of my life, neither did I. But in the high schools of this region and the rest of the country it has become an important and in some ways fearsome term.
It haunts the dreams of 400,000 teenagers who will take the Advanced Placement exam in U.S. history Wednesday. It is part of a massive reform of the AP exam system that controls the schedules of most of the nation’s high schools every May.
DBQ is an acronym for “document-based question.” Multiple-choice questions make up 55 minutes of the 3-hour, 5-minute AP U.S. History exam, which has the second-largest number of AP test-takers, behind only the English Language and Composition exam. The rest of the time is devoted to two essay questions and the DBQ, an essay based on