Im taking ap art history right now, trying to juggle it along with everything else. It is SO overwhelming, all the info!!!! Do you have any suggestions for studying, or memorizing?
- Anonymous

My AP Art History teacher had the best and most time consuming way of absorbing material, but by god it works.

Each night after class, you make index cards for the images you studied that day. The front (blank) side should be either a printed out image taped to the notecard, or you can just do a simple stick figure drawing of the work - I started with the latter and then switched to printing the artwork because I preferred that method. Either one is fine. The back (lined) side of the postcard should contain the artist, title, date, and any important notes that you took in class about the artwork. The point is to recall information that you heard and then write it down so it sticks in your brain. The notes don’t have to be long or involved - just short phrases about the piece.

Luckily enough, I have a couple images of a flashcard I made when I was a senior in high school:



This sounds like a lot of work, and it is, but trust me, this is one of the best ways of committing all the (important) information to memory. Then when it’s time to study for the test, you have a whole set of flashcards that you can quiz yourself with, or better yet, have someone else quiz you with.

Although I don’t do this any more now that I’m a college student, I still make very long, involved study guides in the days leading up to my art history tests. I go over the image list, insert each artwork into a word document, then type out the artist, title, date, and any relevant notes (limiting myself to short phrases and keywords - the point is not to write an essay). These study guides on steriods will often end up taking 4+ hours to make and be 15 pages or more for an average exam with ~80 artworks, but it’s the only method I’ve found that truly works for me, without fail. Then I save the document and email it to myself, and go over it on my phone or iPad when I take the bus to school.

Both of these are long, involved ways of studying, but they work. There is no quick shortcut or easy method of studying for an art history exam. It is a lot of info and you do have to know a lot of things, but remember that  important phrases and keywords are your friends. Once those stick in your head, you can flesh them out in actual sentences during the essay portions of your exams.

I hope this helps! A special shout out to my AP Art History teacher, Ms. Hunt, for the flashcard method.


Posted on January 24 2013, with 169 Notes

  1. stereo-box reblogged this from cavetocanvas
  2. fury-in--your-head said: YES. Flashcards are the best thing (I ended up getting a 5 on my AP exam and studying art history as my major)
  3. godddessesanddoormats said: I make powerpoints doing the same thing, so I can see the image and go through all of the information before it appears on the screen!
  4. emilyconspiracy said: I totally did this for my AP Art History class, too! It was definitely a lot of work, but it helped with studying for the AP exam in the long run.
  5. frequently-illogical said: I’m definitely going to try this! I went through too much stress during my last exams, I’m hoping this will help me keep up through the year.