Javascript is used to enhance interactivity for a better user experience. Skip to Main Content

Redesign Launching Fall 2015

We’re excited to announce significant changes to the AP Art History course and exam. These changes reflect recent scholarship that emphasizes critical analysis of works of art and understanding of relationships among global artistic traditions. The AP Art History course continues to prepare students for successful placement into subsequent college and university art history courses.

The redesigned course begins in fall 2015, followed by the redesigned AP Exam in May 2016.

Overview of the Redesign

Currently, AP Art History teachers are faced with the challenge of balancing a large scope of course content — typically more than five hundred works of art — and the need to explore global artistic traditions with students’ development of deep conceptual understandings and art historical skills. The redesigned AP Art History course addresses this challenge by specifying learning objectives, defining course content, and limiting the number of works of art students are required to understand.

The redesigned AP Art History course:

  • Engages students at the same level as an introductory college art history survey course, with students developing skills in visual, contextual, and comparative analysis.

  • Offers teachers the freedom and flexibility to tailor instruction to meet the needs and interests of their students.

  • Limits the required course content to 250 works of art — foundational exemplars of global artistic traditions within 10 content areas — to promote in-depth learning. Teachers are also encouraged to include additional works they value within their individual course content.

  • Continues to include global art content, with emphasis on diverse artistic traditions.

  • Delineates clear learning objectives that represent the disciplinary skills valued by art historians and higher education faculty, and clearly articulates connections between the learning objectives, content, and exam.

For complete information on all of the changes, download the AP Art History Course and Exam Description, which includes an image set of the required 250 works of art — along with identifying information and context for each — as well as sample exam questions. To download specific sections of the course and exam description, see below.

College department chairs and faculty members across the nation reviewed and affirmed each element of the redesigned course and exam. They also affirmed that the 250 works of art that make up the course content align with their expectations of the number and types of works students should know. For more information, visit AP Art History Validation Study

The Course and Exam Description

To make downloading easier, the document is available in full (.pdf/45.27MB), or by section:

AP Art History Curriculum Framework sections:

The AP Course Audit

AP Art History teachers need to revise their syllabus and have it authorized through the AP Course Audit. Taking this step helps teachers understand the new course requirements.

Resources to help teachers prepare their syllabi are now available on the AP Course Audit website, including a syllabus development guide, curricular requirements, annotated sample syllabi, a syllabus development tutorial, and an example textbook list.

To make the process of updating syllabi as straightforward as possible, teachers have the following options:

  • Option 1: Design and submit a syllabus aligned with the new curricular requirements.
  • Option 2: Adopt and submit one of the annotated sample syllabi available on the AP Course Audit website to use as an approach to teaching the course.

The AP Course Audit begins accepting syllabi for review in March 2015.

The Exam Format

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.

The exam will consist of the following sections:

  • Section 1: Approximately 80 multiple-choice questions, including discrete questions and sets of questions (1 hour; 50 percent)
  • Section 2: Free-response questions (2 hours: two 30-minute essay questions and four 15-minute essay questions; 50 percent)

For a representative sample of exam questions, download the AP Art History Course and Exam Description (.pdf/45.27MB). Questions from the original curriculum framework are preserved for your use in Sample Questions: AP Art History Exam (.pdf/1.89MB). A full AP Art History Practice Exam will be available to teachers through their AP Course Audit accounts in summer 2015. The practice exam will feature the same number and type of questions that will be in the 2016 redesigned exam.

Professional Development

To ensure that teachers have access to the training they need to teach the redesigned course in 2015-16, AP offers a wide range of professional development options. These options include in-person workshops and AP Summer Institutes, where participants learn practical ways to design a rigorous curriculum and prepare students to succeed on the exam.

Teachers can also join the AP Art History Teacher Community, an online forum moderated by fellow educators that enables AP teachers to connect with colleagues, share classroom materials, and exchange ideas about teaching the redesigned course.

How To Get Ready