AP STUDIO ART: 2-D DESIGNFrequently Asked Questions about the AP Studio Art Program

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Questions about the courses

The AP Studio Art Program consists of three different courses: 2-D Design, Drawing, and 3-D Design. Students typically work toward submission of a portfolio for one of the three courses, although it is possible to submit multiple portfolios in one year.

The AP Studio Art courses focus on helping students develop 2-D design, 3-D design, or drawing portfolios. The courses emphasize research, experimentation, discovery, inventive thinking and artmaking, critical analysis, and problem solving.

For more details go the two-page Course Overview (.pdf/2.45MB).

Each of the three courses is equivalent to a two-semester foundational college art course.

Although there is no prerequisite for AP Studio Art, prior experiences in studio art courses that address conceptual, technical, and critical thinking skills can support student success in the AP Studio Art Program.

Schools can offer the courses as distinct classes, or they can offer classes during which different students work on different portfolio types.

The focus of the work. While there is a large area of possible overlap between the two portfolios, a 2-D Design portfolio should focus on application of design elements and principles; a Drawing portfolio should focus on mark-making, line quality, and surface manipulation. Portfolios will be evaluated according to these criteria.

While students typically submit a portfolio for one of the three courses, it is possible to submit multiple portfolios in one year. Portfolios may include work done over a single year or longer, in class or out of class.

These resources will help:

The AP Teacher Community might be the best source for answers. You’ll also find articles, tools, and resources to help you teach every aspect of the course on the course home pages for Studio Art 2-D Design, 3-D Design, and Drawing.

Questions about the AP Course Audit

The AP Course Audit is an authorization process that provides teachers and administrators with guidelines and requirements for offering AP courses. It also ensures that AP courses across high schools meet the same college-level criteria.

Yes. Every school wishing to offer an AP course must participate in the AP Course Audit.

The AP Course Audit requires the online submission of two documents: the AP Course Audit form and the teacher’s syllabus. The AP teacher and the school principal (or designated administrator) submit the Course Audit form, acknowledging the curricular and resource requirements. The syllabus, detailing how the AP course requirements will be met, is submitted by the AP teacher for review by college faculty.

The AP Course Audit pages for Studio Art: 2-D Design, Studio Art: 3-D Design, and Studio Art: Drawing will give you the tools you’ll need to create and submit your syllabus for authorization, including information and guidelines, sample syllabi, and a tutorial.

Go to AP Course Audit for more FAQs, resources, and info about the whole course audit process.

Questions about the portfolios

The portfolios are structured around Selected Works (Quality), Sustained Investigation (Concentration), and Range of Approaches (Breadth) sections. The following shows the requirements for each.

2-D Design Portfolio

Section I: QUALITY
(Selected Works)

One-third of total score

5 actual works.

Works demonstrating an understanding of two-dimensional design in concept, composition, and execution.

Section II: CONCENTRATION
(Sustained Investigation)

One-third of total score

12 digital images; some may be details.

Works describing an in-depth exploration of a particular 2-D design concern.

Section III: BREADTH
(Range of Approaches)

One-third of total score

12 digital images; 1 image each of 12 different works.

A variety of works demonstrating understanding of 2-D design issues.

Drawing Portfolio

Section I: QUALITY
(Selected Works)

One-third of total score

5 actual works.

Works demonstrating understanding of drawing in concept, composition, and execution.

Section II: CONCENTRATION
(Sustained Investigation)

One-third of total score

12 digital images; some may be details.

Works describing an in-depth exploration of a particular drawing concern.

Section III: BREADTH
(Range of Approaches)

One-third of total score

12 digital images; 1 image each of 12 different works.

A variety of works demonstrating understanding of drawing issues.

3-D Design Portfolio

Section I: QUALITY
(Selected Works)

One-third of total score

10 digital images, consisting of 2 views each of 5 works.

Works demonstrating an understanding of three-dimensional design in concept, composition, and execution.

Section II: CONCENTRATION
(Sustained Investigation)

One-third of total score

12 digital images; some may be details or second views.

Works describing an in-depth exploration of a particular 3-D design concern.

Section III: BREADTH
(Range of Approaches)

One-third of total score

16 digital images; 2 views each of 8 different works.

A variety of works demonstrating understanding of 3-D design issues.

These resources will help:

  • The AP Studio Art Requirements Brochure (.pdf/661KB) is the core guide for your students. It outlines the requirements in detail.
  • The AP Studio Art Sample Portfolios Site features student portfolios, with scoring rationales and student commentary.
  • Portfolio scoring information, as well as past years’ sample portfolios and scoring guidelines, are accessible from the 2-D Design, 3-D Design, and Drawing exam information pages.
  • The 2-D, 3-D, and Drawing Student Performance Q&A describes how students performed on the portfolios, summarizes typical student errors, and addresses specific concepts that challenged students the most that year.
  • The AP Studio Art Exhibit is a selection of exemplary artwork created by students who submitted portfolios for the most recent AP Studio Art Exam.

The portfolios are due each year in early May. Go to the Exam Calendar for the most current submission dates.

Your students will be creating work and saving image files as soon as school begins. Then in the spring, you, your students, and your AP coordinator will all be involved in the digital submission process. In addition, if your students submit a 2-D Design or Drawing portfolio, the AP coordinator will also mail in actual artworks.

The AP Studio Art Digital Submission Web application opens to students, teachers, and coordinators in late January. Be sure to check out the demo that provides a step-by-step overview of accessing and using the site.

No. Students and teachers can access the application before your coordinator places your school’s exam order.

Within the digital submission application, the student will be able to update his or her account information with the desired portfolio type and immediately begin working on the correct portfolio type. You should then delete the student’s unwanted portfolio. It is crucial that the student selects the correct portfolio type, as each portfolio type is scored according to a unique rubric.

No. They can view the portfolios but cannot change them.

Yes, students can submit any portfolio, regardless of their teachers’ Course Audit authorization.

When students’ digital portfolio images are accessed to be scored, they appear as the same as they do within the submission application.  Thumbnail and full-size images are viewable.  You can also visit the AP Studio Art Sample Portfolios site to see actual portfolio images with these specifications

The AP Studio Art Digital Submission Web application opens to students, teachers, and Coordinators in late January. It helps you and your students track their progress and can be a valuable teaching tool. There is a demo that provides a step-by-step overview of accessing and using the site.

That depends on the college. Tell your students to use the AP Credit Policy Info tool to verify the credit/placement policies at the colleges they are considering.

Go to the Exam Information page for Studio Art 2-D Design, 3-D Design, or Drawing for answers. You’ll find specifics about the portfolio formats, and more.