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Important Updates

AP Art History Updates and New Resources for 2019-20

To help more students prepare for—and succeed on—the AP Art History Exam, we've clarified the course’s focus starting with the 2019-20 school year and are introducing new resources for your classroom. We’ve also moved exam registration to the fall, a best practice that improves students’ chances of earning college credit and placement.

Download the new course and exam description (CED)

New AP Resources
AP Classroom is now available. Designed with AP educators, it helps you provide students daily practice and personalized feedback throughout the year. Sign in to access AP unit guides with aligned resources, topic questions, personal progress checks, the progress dashboard, and your question bank.

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Course Overview

AP Art History is an introductory college-level art history course. Students cultivate their understanding of art history through analyzing works of art and placing them in historical context as they explore concepts like culture and cultural interactions, theories and interpretations of art, the impact of materials, processes, and techniques on art and art making, and understanding purpose and audience in art historical analysis.

Course Content

Based on the Understanding by Design® (Wiggins and McTighe) model, this course framework provides a clear and detailed description of the course requirements necessary for student success. The framework specifies what students must know, be able to do, and understand, with a focus on the big ideas that encompass core principles, theories, and processes of the discipline. The framework also encourages instruction that prepares students to understand representative works of art from diverse cultures, including placing these works in context and illuminating relationships among them.

The AP Art History framework is organized into 10 commonly taught units of study that provide one possible sequence for the course. As always, you have the flexibility to organize the course content as you like.

 Unit
 Exam Weighting (Multiple-Choice Section)
 Unit 1: Global Prehistory, 30,000–500 BCE  ~4%
 Unit 2: Ancient Mediterranean, 3500 BCE–300 CE  ~15%
 Unit 3: Early Europe and Colonial Americas, 200–1750 CE  ~21%
 Unit 4: Later Europe and Americas, 1750–1980 CE  ~21%
 Unit 5: Indigenous Americas, 1000 BCE–1980 CE  ~6%
 Unit 6: Africa, 1100–1980 CE  ~6%
 Unit 7: West and Central Asia, 500 BCE–1980 CE  ~4%
 Unit 8: South, East, and Southeast Asia, 300 BCE–1980 CE  ~8%
 Unit 9: The Pacific, 700-1980 C.E.  ~4%
 Unit 10: Global Contemporary, 1980 C.E. to Present  ~11%

Art Historical Thinking Skills

The updated AP Art History framework included in the course and exam description outlines distinct skills, called art historical thinking skills, that students should practice throughout the year—skills that will help them learn to think and act like art historians.

 Skill
 Description
 Exam Weighting (Multiple-Choice Section)
 1. Visual Analysis  Analyze visual elements of works of art.  15%–19%
 2. Contextual Analysis  Analyze contextual elements of a work of art, and connect contextual and visual elements of a work of art.  28%–32%
 3. Comparison of Works of Art  Compare two or more works of art.  11%–13%
 4. Artistic Traditions  Analyze the relationships between a work of art and a related artistic tradition, style, and/or practice.  20%–25%
 5. Visual Analysis of Unknown Works  Analyze visual elements of a work of art beyond the image set.  6%–8%
 6. Attribution of Unknown Works  Attribute works of art.  6%–8%
 7. Art Historical Interpretations  Analyze art historical interpretations.  6%–8%
 8. Argumentation  Develop and support art historical arguments.  Not assessed in the multiple-choice section

AP and Higher Education

Higher education professionals play a key role developing AP courses and exams, setting credit and placement policies, and scoring student work. The AP Higher Education site features information on recruitment and admission, advising and placement, and more.

This chart shows recommended scores for granting credit, and how much credit should be awarded, for each AP course. Your students can look up credit and placement policies for colleges and universities on the AP Credit Policy Search.

Meet the Development Committee for AP Art History.