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The AP Art History Exam

Important Updates

Take a Guided Tour of AP Art History

Check out this series of video overview modules for the AP Art History course and exam.

Correction to the CED

Within the identifying information for the Great Mosque of Córdoba in the previous version of the AP Art History Course and Exam Description (pages 63, 244), the word "begun" was inadvertently excluded from the date of creation. The identifying information should read as follows:

56. Great Mosque. Córdoba, Spain. Umayyad. Begun c. 785786 C.E. Stone masonry.

This has been corrected in the AP Art History Course and Exam Description (.pdf/26.3MB) online. Students who supply the previously published date of creation ("c. 785786 C.E.") on the 2016 exam will not be penalized for an incorrect response in the multiple-choice section and will earn credit for the identifier in the free-response section.

For information on updates made to the course and exam description since its original publication, please refer to the copyright page of the online version.

For the May 2016 Exam Administration and Beyond

The redesigned AP Art History Exam will ask students to apply art historical skills to the course content, which includes works of art from the image set and contextual knowledge from the enduring understanding and essential knowledge statements.

Students demonstrate achievement of AP Art History learning objectives by applying their art historical knowledge and skills to address course content. Using works of art studied within the course image set or works they chose to study beyond the image set, students have many opportunities to exhibit their understanding of art historical concepts. A single exam question is likely to encompass multiple learning objectives and works of art from different content areas. This underscores the exam's focus on assessing students' in-depth critical analysis of relationships among works of art, art historical concepts, and global cultures.

Exam Overview (for the 2016 Exam and beyond)


The AP Art History Exam questions are designed to test students' knowledge of artists, schools, and movements; chronological periods and significant dates; ways in which artists influenced and were influenced by other artists, traditions, and movements; and the subjects, styles, and techniques of particular works of art. Students are also expected to apply their understanding to analyze known and unknown works of art and construct persuasive arguments based on visual and contextual evidence.

For a video overview of the exam, watch part 3 of the Course Overview Modules for AP Art History Teachers.

Format of Assessment

Section I: Multiple Choice | ~80 Questions | 60 Minutes | 50% of Exam Score

  • Part A: Approximately 8 sets of questions (3 to 6 questions each) based on color images
  • Part B: Approximately 35 discrete multiple-choice questions

Section II: Free Response | 6 Questions | 120 Minutes | 50% of Exam Score

  • Part A: Two 30-minute essay questions
  • Part B: Four 15-minute essay questions
  • Essay questions often include images of works of art as stimuli

The AP Art History Course and Exam Description (.pdf/26.3MB) provides complete details about the exam.

Multiple-Choice Questions

For sample multiple-choice questions, refer to the Course and Exam Description.

Sample Exam Questions

For sample exam questions, refer to the following:

Free Response Questions

Below are free-response questions from past AP Art History Exams.

Free-Response Questions 2016

2016: Free-Response Questions

Questions Scoring Samples and Commentary Score Distributions
Free-Response Questions

Past Exam Questions

The College Board provides free-response questions from past AP Art History Exams. Included with the questions are scoring guidelines, sample student responses, and commentary on those responses, as well as exam statistics and the Student Performance Q&A (Chief Reader's Report) for the May 2015 administrations and before.

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