How to Prepare for the AP Test

What Resources do You Have?

  • Your slide lists
    • Already narrowed down to what you need to know
    • Artworks, themes, and historical context
  • Your old tests
    • Each essay and 4-minute question set came right off of an old AP test
    • They don’t reuse questions, but they do recycle questions and repeat themes
  • Smarthistory: AP test review
    • Watch a video or two a day (every day) between now and the test, and win!

What to Review

  • Study art periods
    • Know their characteristics
    • Know their major concerns
    • Know their historical context
    • Be able to identify works of that style
    • Know the centuries the period spans
  • Study major artists
    • Know their style
    • Know their major themes and concerns
  • Have 2-3 “go to” non-European artworks you know everything about
    • Think in terms of major themes and concepts
    • What counts as non-European?
      • Islam, India, Japan, China, African, Pre-Columbian, Oceania, Egypt, and the Ancient Near East

The Major Themes of the AP Art History Test

These are the major themes that have frequently been the subject of essays on the AP test. Selecting a few works beyond the European tradition with these themes in mind will really help prepare you. Additionally, looking at the works we have studied through the lens of these themes can help prepare you.

  • Power and authority
    • Religious vs. secular, the powerful vs. the powerless
  • The human figure
    • Abstract, idealized, stylized, naturalistic
  • Narrative
  • Sacred Space and Objects
  • Nature and the natural world
    • Arcadian, Classical, Romantic, Symbolic
  • Patronage
  • Appropriation
  • Historical context
  • The continuity of classicism
  • Cross-cultural influence
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