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Last Updated: April 15, 2021

Advanced Placement- Arts

The Advanced Placement courses are taken by students in their high school in order to gain extra points in their college application by proving that they can do these college-level courses competitively. Students can opt to do as many AP courses are they need while in high school thereby considerably reducing the cost of their college education and also saving time during their hectic college-life schedules.

This program is offered by the College Board and though it isn’t mandatory for students to take the courses, students generally take at least 3 AP courses so that they can graduate sooner in college. They offer 38 courses as of now in this program ranging from subjects like Biology and Chemistry to Arts and Design.

Courses Offered in AP Arts

The three fields in which AP Arts have courses are Design, History and Music. The Design course is further split into three different courses which deal with 2-D art, 3-D art, and Drawing. The courses in all will be-

AP Art and Design Program

This course is for students who want to develop certain skill sets that are used by artists and designers. They will be encouraged to create a portfolio at the end of the work which will be assessed to get their AP score. Students will be able to explore the materials, processes, and ideas that artists and designers use. They will be encouraged to practice and experiment all the while revising the art forms they deal with until they can create original works of their own. Once students have explored and practiced enough, they will be able to communicate their ideas relating to art and design and put them forward in the portfolio they create.


The AP Art and Design course do not have any prerequisites knowledge in creating art and design work outside of class are necessary to be able to scrape a decent grade in the course. While students who are interested in inquiry-based thinking and making are all eligible for the course, students who have not taken prior classes relating to art or design generally need assistance in understanding the course more than students who have some experience in the field.

Courses Offered in AP Art and Design

Portfolio Exam Structure for AP Art and Design

The Portfolio exams of the AP Art and Design course consist of two sections. One is the section of selected works which consists of 40% of the grade and the other is of sustained investigation which takes up the rest of the 60 % of the total score.
CoursePortfolio- Selected WorksPortfolio- Sustained Investigation
AP 2-D Art and Design5 physical works/printed reproductions of physical works15 digital images of works of art and process documentation
AP 3-D Art and Design10 digital images with 2 views of 5 works15 digital images of works of art and process documentation
AP Drawing5 physical works/ high quality printed reproductions of physical works15 digital images of works of art and process documentation

AP 2-D Art and Design Portfolio Requirements

AP 3-D Art and Design Portfolio Requirements

AP Drawing Portfolio Requirements

AP Art History

This course deals with the history of art from all over the world from the prehistoric era to the present time. Historical works have to be perused and works of art must be analyzed through observation, reading, and research. The student will have to write an exam at the end of the course which has a duration of 3 hours in order to clear the course. Doing this AP course is equivalent to completing 2 semesters of college introductory art history.


There are no prerequisites for the course.

Course Content in AP Art History

The course content of the course has been split into 10 different units. These units are-

Exam Structure for AP Art History

Section 1- Multiple Choice Questions- There are a total of 80 questions in the multiple-choice section which has to be completed in under an hour and hold 50% of the total score in the test.

The questions will be provided in sets of 2-3 or as individual questions where the questions are generally based on the images of works of art.

Questions asked Section 2- Free Response- There will be a total of 6 questions in this section which can be answered in under 2 hours and hold 50% of the total score.

Questions asked
  1. Long Essay-Comparison
  2. Long Essay-Visual/Contextual Analysis
  3. Short Essay-Visual Analysis
  4. Short Essay-Contextual Analysis
  5. Short Essay-Attribution
  6. Short Essay- Continuity and Change

AP Music Theory

This course contains topics like musicianship, theory, and other information relating to musical materials and procedures. Students learn the ability to identify, understand and describe the materials and processes involved in tonal music. They also learn to develop their aural skills along with notational skills, speed, and fluency in performing music.


There are no mandatory prerequisites for the course. But it is recommended that students applying for this course should have basic knowledge in reading and writing musical notations along with basic performance skills.

Course Content for AP Music Theory

The course content for this course is spread over 8 units which is arranged in a logical sequence helping students learn music theory from scratch.
  1. Music Fundamentals 1- Pitch, Major Scales and Key Signatures, Rhythm, Meter, and Expressive Elements
  2. Music Fundamentals 2- Minor Scales and Key Signatures, Melody, Timbre, and Texture.
  3. Music Fundamentals 3- Triads and Seventh Chords.
  4. Harmony and Voice Leading 1- Chord Function, Cadence, and Phrase.
  5. Harmony and Voice Leading 2- Chord Progressions and Predominant Function.
  6. Harmony and Voice Leading 3- Embellishments, Motives, and Melodic Devices.
  7. Harmony and Voice Leading 4- Secondary Function.
  8. Modes and Form.

Exam Structure for AP Music Theory

Section 1
Section 2

2024 Advanced Placement Test Dates

Understanding Advanced Placement

Courses Offered in AP