Key Changes to the Redesigned AP Art History Course and Exam

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Key Change 1

The redesigned AP Art History course is organized around a coherent conceptual framework that clearly specifies what students should know and be able to do in order to demonstrate success in learning on the exam. Course content is explicitly defined. The curriculum framework clearly articulates connections between course learning objectives, content, and the exam.

  • Three sets of big ideas and essential questions encourage investigation of art throughout time and place and foster students’ understanding of art history.
  • Twelve learning objectives (targets of assessment on the exam) explain how students can demonstrate their achievement of the learning objective by applying it to required course content.

Key Change 2

The redesigned course content is categorized by 10 geographic and chronology-based designations, each with accompanying foundational contextual information.

  • Each content area is accompanied by foundational contextual information about the cultures, regions, and time periods included within the content area.
  • Each content area is represented by a specified number of exemplary works of art within a prescribed image set of 250 works.

Key Change 3

The redesigned course limits required course content to promote in-depth learning and skills in visual, contextual, and comparative analysis. Required course content is represented by an image set of 250 works of art categorized by geographic and chronological designations.

  • The image set, which is presented in the Course and Exam Description, includes thumbnail images of each work of art – often multiple views – which are the same images used in the exam.
  • The works of art represent foundational exemplars of global artistic traditions within ten content areas and support understanding of the skills and concepts within the curriculum framework.
  • As students study works of art, they apply the art historical skills defined in the learning objectives to develop in-depth understanding of works and relationships of global artistic traditions.

Key Change 4

Global art content has been increased to 35 percent of the course, emphasizing connections among global artistic traditions.

Key Change 5

The redesigned exam requires students to apply clearly defined art historical skills to specified course content in order to demonstrate in-depth understanding of art historical concepts. The exam is divided into two sections:


Section 1: Multiple Choice

Approximately 80 multiple-choice questions, including discrete questions and sets of questions (1 hour; 50 percent of exam score)

Section 2: Free Response

Two 30-minute long-essay questions and four 15-minute short-essay questions (2 hours; 50 percent of exam score)