AP Art History

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About the Exam

Important Update

Updated April 8 You can now download the digital testing application and take digital practice to prepare for the testing experience. See below for more information on digital practice and taking the digital exam.

2021 AP Art History Exams will be offered on paper in early May and as a digital exam in late May and early June.

The paper and the digital versions of the AP Art History Exam will be full length, containing the typical multiple-choice and free-response sections and covering the full scope of course content, giving you the opportunity to qualify for college credit and placement.

There are differences between the paper and digital versions of some 2021 AP Exams, and those variations differ by course. The information below applies to AP Art History only. View a summary of all 2021 AP Exam formats.

Learn more about 2021 testing.

As the exam approaches, take advantage of AP Daily: Live Review sessions April 19–29.

Exam Overview
The AP Art History Exam will test your understanding of the art historical concepts covered in the course units, as well as your ability to analyze and compare works of art and place them in historical context.

Exam Duration
3hrs

Digital Practice and Testing Information

Updated April 8

Digital Practice Now Available

Starting April 8, you can try out the test-day experience, by answering sample questions in the digital testing application. See the Digital Practice page for general information about practice options.

AP Art History students will have two options to take sample questions in the digital testing application. Both provide approximately the same time limit per question as the full exam.

  • Digital Practice has a shortened multiple-choice section (17 questions, 15 minutes–approximately the same time per question as the full exam), a shortened break of 5 minutes, and a full-length free-response section (6 questions, 2 hours).
  • The App Demo is an even shorter subset of the questions in Digital Practice–5 multiple-choice questions, a 2-minute break, and 1 free-response question.

We highly recommend you take the Digital Practice, and strongly advise that if you can’t take the Digital Practice, at least take the App Demo. Both can be taken multiple times, and can be accessed directly in the digital testing application. You can access your answers and solution materials (MCQ answer key, FRQ scoring guidelines) for the Digital Practice. Note: Taking the App Demo after completing Digital Practice may override your answers from Digital Practice.

Taking the Digital Exam

In addition to differences in the order and type of questions as noted below, you should be aware of some aspects of testing digitally that you’ll encounter–in the Digital Practice and on exam day:

  • As a reminder:
    • You will answer all multiple-choice questions and type all free-response answers directly in the digital exam application. Scratch paper is permitted for notes or planning, but you cannot handwrite or otherwise upload responses
    • You cannot go back to questions they’ve already answered, and cannot skip ahead. 
  • Unlike on the paper and pencil exam, individual parts of free-response questions 2-6 will be shown as an ordered list. You will answer all the parts of each free-response question in a single text box, and should answer in essay form as they would on the pencil and paper exam. Students will see examples of the question format and answering interface when they answer digital practice questions in the app.
  • Exam directions and section-specific directions will not be read by a proctor–they’ll appear entirely in the application. You’ll see them at the beginning of each section, and can access them at any time during the exam. Please note that the exam timer starts when the directions appear. While you should read the directions, be aware that the timer will be running while you do so. You can view the full text of the exam and section directions in advance of the exam.

Exam Dates

  • Thu, May 6, 2021,
    12 PM Local

    Paper, In School

    AP Art History Exam

    This is the Administration 1 date for the AP Art History Exam.

  • Wed, May 19, 2021,
    4 PM EDT

    Digital, In School and At Home

    AP Art History Exam

    This is the Administration 2 date for the AP Art History Exam.

  • Wed, Jun 2, 2021,
    4 PM EDT

    Digital, In School and At Home

    AP Art History Exam

    This is the Administration 3 date for the AP Art History Exam.

Exam Components

Note on 2021 Exams

Both the paper and digital versions of the AP Art History Exam will be full length, containing the typical multiple-choice and free-response sections and covering the full range of skills and knowledge specified in the course and exam description

There are differences between the paper and digital versions of some 2021 AP Exams, and those variations differ by course. The information below applies to AP Art History only. View a summary of all 2021 AP Exam formats.

80 questions 1hr 50% of Score

There are two types of multiple-choice questions on the exam:

  • Sets of 2-3 questions, with each set based on color images of works of art.
  • Individual questions, some of which are based on color images of works of art.

The multiple-choice section includes images of works of art both in and beyond the image set.

You’ll be asked to:

  • Analyze visual and contextual elements of works of art and link them to a larger artistic tradition
  • Compare 2 or more works
  • Attribute works of art beyond the image set
  • Analyze art historical interpretations

6 questions 2hrs 50% of Score

Note: On the digital exam, due to exam security requirements, identifying information (such as the name of the work and the artist) may not be provided for works of art given in the question. Also, you will not be asked to provide identifying information for works of art in free-response questions.

On the digital exams, free-response questions will be presented in a slightly different order, as indicated below.

There are six free-response questions on the exam:

  • Question 1 (paper and pencil exams) / Question 2 (digital exams): Long Essay–Comparison will ask you to compare a required work of art and another of your choosing and explain the significance of the similarities and differences between those works, citing evidence to support their claim.
  • Question 2 (paper and pencil exams) / Question 1 (digital exams): Long Essay–Visual/Contextual Analysis will ask you to select and identify a work of art and make assertions about it based on evidence.
  • Question 3: Short Essay–Visual Analysis will ask you to describe a work of art beyond the image set and connect it to an artistic tradition, style, or practice. Note: On the digital exam, Question 3 may be shown in a list of either 3 or 4 parts, but is always worth 5 points.
  • Question 4: Short Essay–Contextual Analysis will ask you to describe contextual influences of a work of art in the image set and explain how context can influence artistic decisions or affect the meaning of a work of art.
  • Question 5: Short Essay–Attribution will ask you to attribute a work of art beyond the image set to a particular artist, culture, or style, and justify your assertions with evidence.
  • Question 6: Short Essay–Continuity and Change will ask you to analyze the relationship between a provided work of art and a related artistic tradition, style, or practice.
  • Questions 1, 3, 4, 5, and 6 (paper and pencil) / 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 (digital) will include images of works of art.

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