The Best AP Art History Books

Exam Info And Course Content

The AP Art History exam consists of 2 sections. The first one is multiple choice, has 80 questions, lasts 60 minutes, and counts for 50% of your overall exam score. There are two different types of questions. The first are based on color images, and the rest are based on memorization.

The second section is free response. It consists of 8 questions, lasts 120 minutes, and counts for 50% of your total exam score. For the first part you have to write two 30 minute essays, and the second part requires you to write six 15 minute essays based on images and text.

College Board provides free example test questions, so click here if you want to check them out. Be sure to also pick up 1 or two AP Art History Books based on our recommendations below.

Next Exam Date

Tuesday, May 8th, 2018

Last Time The Exam Changed

The exam hasn’t changed in 3 years, but the textbooks have been improved. Below, we have recommended the latest (and best) editions of the AP US History textbooks for the May 2018 Advanced Placement exam.

The Best AP Art History Books 2018

Barrons AP Art History BookThe Barron’s AP Art History Textbook (3rd Edition) is considered to be the Holy Grail for reviewing for the Art History exam. The book is updated for the new test, and while there are small mistakes in the book, it’s still the best book out there.

It has a diagnostic test which can help you determine the areas you need to study up on, and it is nicely divided up into specific sections so you don’t have to read through the whole book to get ready for the exam.

It’s both affordable and Barron’s is a highly reputable publisher of AP literature. This textbook is adequate to provide the proper preparation for the exam.

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AP Art History Crash Course 2015The new AP Art History Crash Course book is also great if you want to study even more.

It’s revised for the new exam and it includes another practice exam so you can be sure that you’re ready to get the 5 that you deserve.

If you look through both of the above books and study a bit on your own you’re nearly guaranteed to get a 4 or a 5. The cost of both of these reviews book is much less than some other single textbooks. A great bargain, indeed!

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Self-Study Tips

Self studying for the AP Art History exam is not as difficult as it may sound, but you need to start preparing for it well in advance.

This is not an exam that you can cram for a month before the test and get a 4 or 5 as the amount of content you need to remember is too high.

We recommend buying the books above and starting on them at least 2 months before the date of the test.

If you do all of the practice tests in both books, in addition to the practice questions found on the College Board website, you will start noticing patterns in the art work, and you will remember most of the art that you need to know for the test.

For the exam make sure that:

  • You memorize at least 10 European and 5 non-western art pieces.
  • You know all of the important Western art pieces with their artist, medium, and the era.
  • You understand how different cultures influenced the art styles of that location.

Other AP Art History Study Resources

  • CollegeBoard– Example multiple choice and free response questions start on page 194 of the AP Art History Course and Exam Description PDF. They also have an AP Central page with samples of previous exams, but be careful! The pre-2015 questions might not fully correspond to the format of the new exam.
  • VarsityTutors– A ton of diagnostic tests, practice tests, and more.
  •– They have over 500 AP Art History questions, but you can only answer 30 or so with a free account. After that you’ll have to pay. 🙁
  • AP Books– Pretty self explanatory. Even if you use all of the online materials we recommend getting at least 1 AP book.