AP Art History Exam takers!

I’m so glad you guys are finding today’s posts helpful. I wish I had started the whole “AP Art History” day on this blog a day earlier, because as of right now, there’s about 40 odd posts in the queue that I’ll try to get published before 12 PM tomorrow.

I’ve gotten a few questions asking about tips for the exam, so here’s what I remember from it - take these with a grain of salt, and please please don’t consider me a good source for information. Always go with what your textbook or art history teacher said over anything I put here. With that being said, here’s some things I wish I had known when I took it a couple years ago:

  1. Always write SOMETHING for an answer, even if you know nothing. You’ll get points for saying that a building is rectangular - just put down whatever you can come up with if you don’t know the image.
  2. Bring in art that you do know if you don’t know what to say, but only when possible/appropriate - if you don’t know tons about a certain painting, comparing and contrasting it to another artwork will help flesh out your answer.
  3. Dates aren’t the be all end all - if you can’t remember a date, put the century, or use a more general “1870s,” etc.
  4. Confidence is key: write like you know what you’re talking about. Don’t use a lot of wishy washy phrases like “could be” “may be” “somewhat” etc. 
  5. Make sure to back up any points on essays with examples. I cannot stress this enough. Theory and explaining stuff about a time period or movement is great, but you absolutely need to put examples of artworks that fit into your argument. 
  6. Don’t provide tons of extra information that doesn’t answer the question. The AP graders are grading you on a rubric of whether you answered the question exactly, not whether you were able to pull in 8 different movements. You don’t get extra points for going above and beyond, unfortunately. Just do what the question asks instead of trying to show off how much you know. If the question asks for 2 additional examples, give them 2, not 4.
  7. Don’t hold your pencil/pen too tightly - art history is the ultimate subject where you get hand cramps from trying to write tons. Holding your pencil a little looser definitely helps reduce the cramping.
  8. Don’t second guess yourself - statistically, you’re more likely to be right on your first try.
  9. RELAX AND BREATHE. This is the most important one. This exam will not make or break your academic life. It’s not going to determine whether you get into college. If you don’t get a 5, it is not the end of the world. All this exam does is give you college credit - that’s all. Remember that when you’re panicking.

Hopefully this helps. Happy studying, and good luck.

 

Posted on May 2 2011, with 107 Notes

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