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The AP Art History Exam

The AP Art History Course and Exam Description (.pdf/45.27MB) has been updated to correct an error present in the original Web posting. The correct answer to sample multiple-choice question 18 is B (not C, as appeared in the original Web version). The updated version now posted also clarifies how students should identify works of art in their responses to essay questions and clarifies the meaning of "context" (see the glossary). If you had already downloaded a copy of the course and exam description, please be sure to replace it with this corrected 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


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.

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/45.27MB) 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:

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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