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AP Art History

This course can help prepare students who wish to continue their art education after high school, as well as students who wish to perform exceptionally well on the SAT exam. The level of aptitude in this subject will assist students wishing to excel on the SAT and in college courses. While there is no formal prerequisite for an AP Art History class, students should have a basic understanding of art terms. Students would also benefit from taking more basic art courses such as Art I or any art classes requiring studio time.

The Art History AP course is designed to allow students to examine major forms of artistic expression relevant to a variety of cultures evident in wide variety of periods from present times into the past. In this course, students acquire an ability to examine works of art critically, with intelligence and sensitivity, and to articulate their thoughts and experiences. The main focus is on European Art, but the course does deal with African, Hindu, South and East Asian, and Muslim Art. Pre-Historic art has now been removed from the curriculum. 

College art courses vary in their approach to interpreting art. They often include selections of chronological frameworks, themes, and an emphasis on analytical skills. These courses are carefully monitored by the AP Development Committee in order to ensure that the exam is compatible with the AP Art History Exam. These courses are typically very regulated courses, which ensures that students across the country are receiving similar educations and are not subject to the artistic preferences of different teachers.

AP Art History is a serious course and includes many course goals. According to the College Board’s website, by the time students take their AP Art History exam (or the SAT exam) they should be prepared with:

  • The ability to apply basic art and art history terminology and tools.
  • An appreciation for the artistic process as well as the importance of how art is displayed.
  • A knowledge of different types of art from prehistoric art, to Medieval art, to Expressionist and Modern art. Students will come to develop their own understanding of what makes art “good” or classic.”
  • An understanding of art’s purpose and function throughout history and in today’s society.
  • The ability to understand and analyze works of art in context of historical evidence and interpretation. They will e able to examine issues such as politics, religion, ethnicity, patronage, and gender.
  • An understanding of the cross-cultural and global nature of art.
  • The ability to perform higher thinking skills and articulate visual and art historical concepts in verbal and written forms.
  • Use study notes and other basic study techniques in conjunction with textbooks such as Smarthistory and Gardner’s Art Through the Ages.

Students that take AP Art History should expect to cover art and art history as follows:

  • 40-50% coursework on painting and drawing
  • 25% coursework on architecture and design
  • 25% coursework on various forms of sculpture
  • 5-10% coursework on other media such as printmaking, photography, ceramics, fiber arts, and others.

The AP Art History exam will cover these areas of study in proportion to how much time is spent covering them over the course of the class.

Students considering taking AP Calculus or any other Advanced Placement course should recognize that taking these classes requires a commitment of both time and energy on the part of the student. Students that commit themselves to their coursework will see a definite payoff in both their SAT exam scores as well as their college preparedness.

Students that wish to get accepted into prestigious or highly-selective schools should seriously consider taking AP courses since they not only look excellent on high school transcripts, but they can also give students an inside look at college courses before they even take them. They can earn college credit while still in high school, saving valuable time and money in the process. They will also help students develop the skills they need to succeed in the sometimes high-pressure college atmosphere, and give students valuable knowledge that they can use both in college and beyond their schooling. 

Here you will find AP Art History outlines. We are working to add more AP Art History resources such as unit notes, topic notes, study questions, and practice quizzes.

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