LEQ (Meaning, Nature, Application skills, Scoring, Expert tips to writing)

Do you hear about LEQ, but don’t know what it means? Then, this article is for you.

LEQ stands for “Long Essay Question.” It is an Advanced Placement (AP) historical language for a thesis-evident essay.

It is a type of essay introduced by the College Board as a part of their “re-structure,” beginning with the 2016 AP exam. 

Thus, LEQ exam is a question or task requiring students to develop a thesis and then use proof to support it.

Nature of LEQ:

The long essay question evaluates students’ ability to apply historical knowledge in an analytical and complex manner. 

Moreover, the AP European History exam gives two LEQs. Students often have the option of choosing just one of the LEQs to answer.

The exam lasts for 35 minutes and makes up 15% of the final exam score. Moreso, it is graded on a 0-6 point scale.   

Each of the LEQs on the AP exam evaluates either the comparison, periodization, causation, or change and continuity over time. 

Historical Skills Used in the Application of LEQ Questions

These can otherwise be referred to as “types of LEQs” by some persons. These types of skills help with responding to an LEQ prompt. The skills include:


Here, you are expected to recognize, analyze, and assess multiple cause and effect relationships in a historical context, showing your ability to differentiate between the short and long term.

Change and Continuity Over Time: 

The ability to detect, investigate, and assess the dynamics of historical continuity and change over diverse time periods, as well as the relationship between these transitional patterns and larger historical themes or processes, is the application of your historical knowledge.


This involves your ability to utilize your historical knowledge well in the description, analysis, evaluation, and construction of models of historical periods. 

Because historians recognize that certain dates favor one narrative, group, or category over another, the transition of periodization can modify a historical narrative.

 Also, the specific situations and settings in which individual historians function and write would determine their interpretations of previous events.

Compare and Contrast: 

Historical thinking engages the ability of you to explain, compare, and evaluate multiple historical advancements within societies, could be one or more different societies, and in several chronological orders.

Related article: What is DBQ? (Meaning, format, DBQ Score, How-to)

Scoring Requirements for the Long Essay Question(LEQ)

A student is scored based on their ability to demonstrate historical knowledge effectively on past events. Below are the requirements used in scoring and grading students.


A thesis or claim that is relevant to the prompt should be made. It must be historically justifiable, and a path of reasoning must be developed.


Provision of relevant contexts to the prompt by depicting a wider historical process or development facilitates scores.


Relevant and specific examples should be cited as proof to support an argument as a response to the prompt.

Historical Skill: 

Ensure to use a historical reasoning skill, causation, periodization, compare and contrast or change, and continuity, to establish an argument response to the prompt.

Complex Understanding: 

Demonstrate a vast understanding of an argument that provides answers to the prompt using evidence to qualify, support, or modify the argument.

How to write the Long Essay Question(LEQ)


  • Make a contextualized start to your essay, then connect it to your overall topic.
  • Then, using data to establish your topic sentence, write a structured body paragraph using one of the course reasoning skills (causation, periodization, comparison and contrast, change, and continuity through time).
  • Continue with an analysis that expands on your main point.
  • Continue in this manner until the prompt has been properly addressed.

Your introduction must include your contextualization and thesis.

It is a statement that establishes your place and time in history and then a short but concise description of the historical setting.

Moreover, link the relevant context to the prompt theme and topic, no matter how broad.

Then, make a thesis or claim that responds to the prompt, with a general overview of your interpretations and any counter-claim you intend to address.

Body Paragraphs: 

Body paragraphs will differ in length based on the number of documents or other evidence pieces included in your work. However, this should follow a regular structure.

Firstly, begin with a topic sentence that shows the particular aspect of the prompt the paragraph will address.

After that, outline specific points to guide you. These points for topic sentences will assist you with staying focused.

Then, support your topic sentence with an evidence piece and link it to your thesis and topic sentence.

Keep on repeating this with one to two pieces of evidence and more elaborations until you have completed the argument of your topic sentence.

New Paragraph?

Kick-off a new paragraph with a new topic sentence.

All body paragraphs follow this general format, and there is no limit to the number of paragraphs for the LEQ.

However, ensure to write as many paragraphs as needed to enable you fully respond to the prompt by formulating the argument (and counter-argument where applicable) from your thesis.


Unlike the introduction and necessary body paragraphs, the conclusion is, however, optional.

Depending on the time left, you may choose to write a conclusion if you do have time. Writing isn’t a must for you, so you may not do it if you’re rushed. 

But, it is noteworthy that the conclusion is the only place where you can earn or score the thesis point outside the introduction, so it’s not bad to strive in giving it a trial.

Here, you could re-state your thesis in a new way using different words or give any concluding thoughts in respect to analysis about your topic.

You might as well make your complexity point more tangible and concrete in the conclusion if written well.

Tips to writing a Good Long Essay Question(LEQ)

  • Write essays using the third person pronoun, not the first person pronoun; that is, use “we” instead of “I.”
  • Ensure to define or explain key terms. 
  • Be particular about your choice of words.
  • Be objective
  • Add counter-claims where applicable
  • Communicate history complexity awareness
  • Concentrate more on the thesis in the conclusion
  • Enable understanding of the logical formulation and organization of your argument.  


Conclusively, an LEQ is a type of question, like the DBQ organized by the College Board used in assessing students’ knowledge on historical past events.

Typically, it is the second part of section II of the AP United States history exam where students have to choose one.

The key steps to completing the LEQ include: analyzing the question, gathering substantial evidence, developing or formulating a thesis, writing the introduction, body/supporting paragraphs, and then conclusion if time permits you.

You could as well evaluate or proofread your essay.

Awesome one; I hope this article answered your question.

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Stella-maris Achumba
Stella-maris Achumba

Hello, I am Stella-maris! For two years, I began actively assisting students in the United States, and Canada in their pursuit of college advice and scholarship prospects. I am a content writer at www.schoolandtravel.com.

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