AP Art History

This is our choice for first AP test, and we’ve done it Freshman year. This is a good class if you like art already, but it is actually more of a history course. My children really enjoyed the study.

As far as AP prep goes, there are fewer online resources and review books available. Part of this problem is that Art History just got revamped in 2016 and it’s not a very popular test: only 18,500 took it in 2021.

% of Scores 3 or Higher 61.4% 61.4% 64.7% 63.1% 68.7% 54%
Mean Score2.952.943.052.993.152.79
Standard Deviation1.
Number of Students25,52325,17824,96424,47623,56718,552
source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AP_Art_History

Online resources

  • List of Required works  Khan Academy *Favorite Online Resource**
  • Smarthistory videos: LOVED them.  Not good for review, but awesome for practicing analysis and memorizing.
  • Ahimay we watched all over her Art videos and loved how she analyzed.
  • Albert.io If we had unlimited budget we totally would have purchased an account. Even if you don’t purchase the account, their sample questions are very helpful.

Textbooks and Review Books

  • Story of Art by Gombrich Despite the 6 million copies sold, I would not recommend as your AP Art history book since it is so focused on European Art. Though, it did do a good job of analyzing art.
  • Extra Reading: Forger’s Spell and Agony and the Ecstasy. Fun books that add an extra dimension of personalities to the history, but don’t actually help prep for the test.
  • Barron’s I really like how they included the images, though the practice questions were lower quality. I did end up creating all my flashcards from the book.
  • REA Images not included; not very well written.I would recommend just getting the Barron’s book.
  • Looking into other review books? Check out Alberto’s Article.

Study Strategies and Extra Tips

  • Visit as many art pieces as you can. Because we live right next to DC we took many field trips to visit as many as we could. One of the coolest visits was going to the National Gallery West Building’s Engraving and Printing collection to see the Coiffure by Mary Cassatt . If you have the chance to visit your local art museum, do it! Even if they don’t have pieces on the AP test, you can practice with the tour guide analyzing art. Map of locations of AP Art History pieces.
  • Over the summer we went through most of Khan Academy AP Art History list and learned most of the images. This was super helpful, because it made the rest of the year mostly review. 
  • Watch videos!
  • Practice comparing art in writing and just talking it through.
  • Do lots of practice tests and especially practice time management on the Free Response.
  • Pick one art piece in each section and really study and have an in-depth knowledge. 
  • Do these activities from Valerie Park: Research Papers, Greatest Artist, and Timeline.  We didn’t end up using her other materials, as they were mostly applicable to her specific classroom environment.
  • And most of all Flashcards! Do them, just by writing the information down you can remember so much. Do not underestimate them!