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History of AP Art: How beneficial is AP Art History

Nov 24, 2022

AP Art History aims to provide students with a thorough understanding of the various artistic mediums and movements that have existed worldwide and throughout human History. The course covers six continents and more than 30,000 years of art history. Students who enroll in the course gain the ability to articulate their opinions about various forms of art and to evaluate them critically. 

You will discover information about the artwork, its production, and how each work in AP Art History ties into larger, more general patterns of art history.


Each 10 AP, Art History subject focuses on a different region and period. The AP Art History Course and Exam Description provides a thorough overview of each major topic the course addresses. Below is a summary of the ten modules, along with an estimate of how many questions from each module will appear on the multiple-choice section of the AP test.

Unit 1:World Prehistory, 30,000–500 BCE

  • The beginnings of human art were during the stone Age
  • 4% of a multiple-choice test’s answer 

Unit 2:Mediterranean Age, 3500 BCE to 300 CE

  • A wide variety of artistic creations from the ancient Near Eastern and Egyptian civilizations and the Greek, Etruscan, and Roman cultures. 
  • 15% of a multiple-choice test’s answer

Unit 3: 200–1750 CE: Early Europe and Colonial America 

  • The evolution of art in Europe and the Americas began during the early Middle Ages and the middle of the Eighteenth Century.
  • 21% of a multiple-choice test’s answers.

Unit 4: 1750–1980 CE, Later Europe and the Americas 

  • The impact of quick social change on works of art created in Europe and the Americas throughout the modern era. 
  • 21% of a multiple-choice test’s answer 

Unit 5: Native American populations, 1000 BCE–1980 CE 

  • Indigenous American art may be traced to prehistoric Central and South American civilizations via Native North American tribes.
  • Accounts for 6% of the multiple-choice grade. 

Unit 6: 1100 to 1980 CE in Africa 

  • African art’s diversity and importance to the continent’s many different communities. 
  • 6% of a multiple-choice test’s answer.

Unit 7: 500 BCE to 1980 CE: Central and Western Asia

  • The methods, supplies, and development of art in Western and Central Asia. 
  • 4% of a multiple-choice test’s answer 

Unit 8: Southeast, South, and East of Asia from 300 BCE to 1980 CE 

  • The History of art, from ancient times to contemporary pieces. 
  • 8% of a multiple-choice test’s answer.

Unit 9: Pacific, 700 CE until 1980 CE 

  • Types of artwork produced on the several islands that make up the Pacific Ocean’s chain.
  • 4% of a multiple-choice test’s answer.

Unit 10: 1980 CE to the Present, the Global Contemporary 

  • The various global expressions of modern art. 
  • 11% of a multiple-choice test’s answers.

How challenging is AP History?

How complex is AP art history? It undoubtedly covers much material and calls for the use of various abilities, but how does it measure up to other AP courses and exams? Here are the questions that students responded to on the AP Art History test in 2021:

AP answer54321
% Receiving answer12.0%19.6%23.8%30.1%14.6,%

Consider two metrics to figure out how difficult AP Art History is. The first is the five rate or the proportion of test takers who received the top possible answer. The 12% five AP Art History exam rates are approximately typical of other AP tests. The other metric is the passing rate, or what proportion of test takers answered a three or higher.

The passing rate for art history is 55%, which is below average. Only 12 examinations out of 44 had a worse passing rate than Art History. As a result, Art History may be harder than the average AP course.

Even though many students think the course material and exam questions are relatively straightforward, College Confidential, Reddit, and Quora have noted that it can be challenging to succeed in art history due to the sheer amount of information you need to know about various types of art, different regions, different styles, etc.

Consult with prior students to get their perspectives on the course’s difficulty. Perhaps there is a fantastic art history teacher at your school who makes the subject engaging and straightforward to grasp. On the other hand, the class may have a reputation for giving out a tonne of homework, which makes finding time for your other classes difficult.

Whatever resources you choose to gauge how difficult AP Art History is, remember to approach all of the information with caution. What is challenging for one individual could be simple for another.

Since you will be more driven to study all the necessary facts, if art history is genuinely something you’re interested in, you will probably find it easier than someone who is not. In addition, due to the nature of the AP Art History course, it is also possible that if you are exceptionally good at retaining information, you will fare better than someone who has trouble keeping dates or names straight but is excellent at wide interpretation.

Study Advice for AP Art History

  • Utilize flashcards to improve 

After creating your collection of flashcards, the waterfall method is the best way to dive into the cards you don’t know and acquire all the material as quickly and easily as possible.

  • Establish Links Between Artworks 

Draw a few cards randomly as you move through your flashcards and try to connect them. What traits do they have in common? What distinguishes them from one another? What global changes brought about these variations? If you need help getting started, the questions on the AP website are a great place to see the types of questions that could be asked (as well as what firm answers look like).

  • Observe the Time 

There is a time limit on all AP exams, and Art History is no exception. You have 60 minutes to finish the multiple-choice section, which gives you 45 seconds to respond to each question. Most people can accomplish this as long as they don’t stumble and struggle over a single question for several minutes. 

At the very least, one should take a brief break and evaluate your progress at the halfway point of each section, 30 minutes into the multiple-choice section, and an hour into the free-response section. Approximately half of the questions have you answered? After that, you can continue moving at your current speed. If not, you know you need to get the process along quickly.

Should you take AP Art History?

Whether the AP Art History course and test are challenging still exists now that you know what they include. Your reaction primarily depends on your feelings about the system and the subjects it addresses.

We’ve previously spoken about how challenging AP Art History requires memorization and homework to succeed. It could be difficult to get through a class if you are not interested in the subject matter. Many students, especially those interested in History, art, foreign cultures, and social science, find fine art history fascinating owing to its transdisciplinary aspect.

If you are interested in the fine arts, a test-based AP might be the ideal option since it allows you to study the arts while also exhibiting your writing and test-taking skills to institutions.

Students in high school typically experience pressure to enroll in “excellent” courses because they think it would enhance their college applications. Many people are worried about how schools will evaluate their AP Art History coursework, yet many do not even understand what AP Art History is.

The fact is that while AP Art History is an AP subject, it will show up better on your transcript and be more impressive than a regular-level or honors-level course. So enroll in AP Art History if you are interested in the topic, even if many institutions think STEM AP courses (such as AP Biology, Calculus, etc.) are slightly more impressive.

An excellent AP score is a bonus for you. On the AP test, you’ll probably score more than you would on a topic you don’t care about.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. Is AP Art History hard? Is AP Art History Beneficial?

A: Many high school students planning their schedules for the upcoming school year ask, ‘is AP art history hard’ even though everyone’s perception of how challenging a course would varies greatly. AP Art History is all about learning about new facets of art that you probably haven’t given much consideration to. In addition to paintings on canvas, show halls and art organizations may also contain marble sculptures or bowls with painted images. Even the necessary objects are intricate, nuanced works of art with intriguing backstories. AP Art History is the class for you if discovering the background of famous works of art intrigues you.

Q2. What exactly is AP Art History, and what do art history graduates do?

A: The goal of AP Art History is to provide students with the chance to examine the primary forms of artistic expression that are relevant to many civilizations and may be found in various historical eras, from the present to the past.

Graduates with degrees in art history can work in a variety of fields. However, there is a great need for jobs in sales, marketing, and related allied fields, as well as in the creative, literary, and media industries, as well as in teaching, management, research, and administrative positions.

Q3. How complex is AP art history?

A: An expert in History should be able to navigate AP Art History with ease. To excel in AP Art History, you need more than just memorization. It’s crucial to relate the historical event or events to the production of this work.

Is AP Art History Hard


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