Advanced Placement Art History or AP Art History is an advanced placement art history course offered by the College Board.
It is designed to let students examine major forms of artistic expression relevant to different cultures evident in a wide array of periods from present times into the past.
Upon taking this course, students are expected to acquire an ability to examine works of art critically, with intelligence and sensitivity, and to put together their thoughts and experiences.
Is AP Art History Hard? Can You Scale It Easily?
The answer is going to be different for everyone. As with other exams, it depends on your individual ability. As long as it’s not a last-minute course selection and you’re ready to put in the effort, it shouldn’t be hard.
Also, if you’re conversant with historical events, dates, work of arts, it might be a walk in the park for you.
If you don’t have all these advantages, you shouldn’t despair. All you need is time to study and space for lots of practice. For any exam, the more intimate you’re with the material, the easier it becomes. And you’re very likely to pass.
So, if you find yourself in the second boat, read this article to the end and make up your mind that you can scale it.
The Focus of the AP Art History
Its main focus is on European, African, Hindu, South Asian, East Asian, Islamic, and Prehistoric art.
The exam is quite a tough one, but students mostly pass it with average scores. With a score of 3, you would pass the course. But you should note that this might not be adequate to give you credit in all cases.
To fully understand the requirements, you may get a full course description in the College Board’s course description as this will help to guide your studying and understanding of the knowledge required for the exam.
It is quite a challenging class, with some exceptions being that you have a deep interest in the subject or a very good memory.
Many teachers and students have noted that the course is much more a history class than an art class. Therefore, the general consensus is that the best prerequisite for the class is AP World History, not art classes as you may think.
If you took AP World, which is also challenging, and you performed well and even liked it a little, then AP Art History might be the right fit for you.
If your intention is to take AP Art History because you like to draw art and think it is simple, then you definitely should have a rethink.
It is also necessary to state that the course has been revised to accommodate just 250 specific images that students have to know, instead of taking the exam a guessing exercise with potentially thousands of images to sift through.
This means that one has a decent chance to pass even though it still remains challenging.
It’s More than Rote Memorization
That being said, AP Art History is much more than just memorizing names, artists, and patrons of arts. You have to be able to make the connection between what historical event(s) happened that caused a particular piece of art to be made.
Nothing is easy about the class unless you have an interest. If you have a slight interest at the minimum, then you will pass but if you are taking it and do not really care, or you even hate it, it is almost certain that you are going to have a rough time.
Since it is considered a college-level class and will be quite challenging, it is advised that you do not take any AP class unless you make a commitment to study very hard so that you can get an A or a B grade.
How to Prepare for the Exam
Like other exams, if you can adequately prepare for it, you can pass it with flying colors. When students fail, it’s not always because they aren’t familiar with the material. Most often, it’s the result of failed planning or putting in little effort.
This is to say that even if you’re not used to the subject, you can come out with flying colors provided you study hard and have enough time to practice.
The best ways to study for the AP Art History Exam is to assess your skills, study the material, practice multiple-choice questions, and free-response questions.
Assessing your skills will help you highlight areas you’re strong at and where you might need improvement. The most important skill, however, is your ability to discern artwork and how they relate historical concepts.
For example, you should be able to determine how the events at a particular period are reflected in artworks during that time. You may also need to know how to gauge the differences and comparisons between works of arts in different centuries.
After this evaluation, you should be able to identify where to start with your study. This will not only limit the possibility of time wastage but also help you move faster in your study.
Final Words on the AP Arts History Exam
To conclude, whether AP Art History is hard will depend on your interest, background, and approach to it. It is tough, no doubt, but with the right commitment and preparation, you’ll do excellently in it.