AP Art History Exam Tips

Task Verbs

Pay close attention to the task verbs used in the free-response questions. Each one directs you to complete a specific type of response. Here are the task verbs you’ll see on the exam:

  • Attribute: Identify the artist, culture, art-historical style, or object type of an unknown work of art.
  • Describe: Provide the relevant characteristics of a specified topic or work of art.
  • Explain: Provide information about how or why a relationship, process, pattern, position, situation, or outcome occurs, using evidence and/or reasoning. Explain “how” typically requires analyzing the relationship, process, pattern, position, situation, or outcome; whereas, explain “why” typically requires analysis of motivations or reasons for the relationship, process, pattern, position, situation, or outcome.
  • Identify: Indicate or provide information about a work of art, including title or designation, artist, culture of origin, style, date or materials, without elaboration or explanation.
  • Justify attribution: Provide rationale or justification for an attribution of an unknown work of art using specific visual and/or contextual evidence.

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