Art & Humanities, Teaching

Tips for AP Art History Review

Tips for AP Art History Review

Here are some review activities I do with AP Art History at various times of the year. When in the classroom I like to get them up and out of their seats and breakdown the format I used to teach the 250 during the year by having them make different connections than I did in class.

*Now that we are all in this digital teaching thanks to coronavirus, you can turn a lot of these activities in to at-home or online review activities! Don’t give up on the fun because we’re all social distancing.

So this pic is actually from another activity my Humanities kids did but it’s all I could find lol

Hallway Timeline

I made a HUGE blank timeline from the beginning of the curriculum (~25,000 BCE) to our current year (first year I stupidly didn’t laminate it, now I have laminated posters I can put together). Then, have students add the images from the 250 on index cards, first have them test their memories without looking at the IDs and then if they need to flip them over to check their guesses, I let them. We work through all 250 images and put them up on the timeline as a class. This really helps them realize the things that are happening simultaneously in different parts of the world.

*Note, making the cards ahead of time take a while so this is a great activity to setup if you have a student intern OR use a kid’s note cards from a previous year.

Online modification: you can assign students a set of years (enough to have a few art pieces within the range) and have them look at all the artwork that falls into that range and have them put them in order in a shared Google Doc or Google Slides. This way they can create a quick digital timeline that break them out of the way you taught them in class. If you did them as a Google Slide, I would suggest making the background color coded to the different content areas too.


Wall Map

A few years ago I spent $172 dollars on my district allocated teacher debit card to buy a HUGE wall-sized world map and I use it all the time. It was a fantastic investment! One way I use it is to have the students sort out images geographically so they can begin to trace trends in art by location, regardless to time frame. Even though the 250 is already organized by Content Area, sometimes they don’t realize exactly where these pieces come from and how, through time, they artiscally relate.

Online modification: Google Maps or Google Earth is a fantastic tool, especially for finding architecture in situ. Give each kid a work of architecture and have them find it in the world and provide information how it is shaped by its environment and how it shapes it’s environment.


Thematic Groupings

I don’t show a lot of film in class but I do show every episode of Annenberg Learner’s Art History series,  Art through Time: A Global View. At the end of the year I like to have students sort the images from the 250 by those 13 themes (you can always add extra themes too but those over most of the images perfectly). I created color-coded posters with titles that I put up in the hallway for students to visually sort the images.

Read more: Art Through Time: A Global View

Online modification: this can be super easy to do at home, the videos are all available for free on their website and they’re only like 30 minutes. So you can assign an episode to watch and have kids pick ~5 images to group in that same theme and explain why they feel they belong together. Think of creative ways for students to share their knowledge: make a short video, an infographic, or PPT. The digital possibilities are endless!


FFCC Posters

I use the big post-it posters and have the students create a grid with the following information vertically:

Image #1 Image #2

These posters can be used in two major ways: either provide the pairs with a theme and ask students to select two images to compare and contrast OR give them two images that they would not normally put together (i.e. Augustus of Primaporta and Chairman Mao en route to Anyuan) and ask them to compare and contrast. Either way the result should be the same: a poster-sized chart in which they have to compare and contrast two images by breaking it down by Form, Function, Content, & Context.

Online modification: this chart can easily be made in a word document and have the students fill in information on two pieces (maybe pieces they used from the thematic grouping in the previous activity?). I also love assigning students to add on to each other’s work so you could do this as a Google Doc where each kid is assigned one page with a chart and then also asked (in another color) to add/clarify/correct information on a peer’s page. That way they have access to their own comparison and the class’s too.

Quiz, Quiz, Trade

I made index cards with all the images of the 250 on the front with their IDs on the back (I split up images with multiple parts like the Acropolis) and students pick cards from the bucket and go around the room trying to get their partners to guess parts of the ID and at least 1 item of FFCC. Partners switch cards and them move on to someone new, so each round is new information and a bit of review.

Online modification: there are plenty of online quizzing apps out there: Quizlet, Kahoot!, etc. I’m sure there is great digital information available for simple ID quizzing.

AP art history on floor review
This activity does not have to be on the floor, we were doing yoga in Humanities so I just did AP Art History on the floor too.


I print out high-quality color images of art works we have not covered (because they’re outside the 250) and split students in pairs and ask them to separate them stylistically and justify their answers. This activity is great for the “isms” (Naturalism, Impressionism, Fauvism, etc.); I provide the kids with index cards listing out the “isms” to help them sort the images. After a couple of minutes, if a group is still really struggling I will give them hints or provide partial image IDs to help them towards the right direction. Their written justifications, however, are more important than getting it “right” on the first try.

Online modification: the hard part about doing this one online is that kids can easily Google the images so I would suggest doing a timed quiz with an FRQ attached to an image for attribution. It won’t eliminate their ability to Google the correct image, BUT, like I said above their justification about why a piece belongs in an “ism” is more important than them getting the art movement correct.

Yup this is your’s truly at an AP Summer Institute having a blast!

Play Dress Up or Create a Meme

This is a fun game we played in my AP Summer Institute that I just loved! Have the students “act out” or dress up as images from the 250. It really helps them to remember the images and is just plain fun! Make sure they take photos! It’s a great visual review! Students can also choose an art piece to create a meme that references the material – I’ve seen some of these on social media that have given me stitches from laughing!

Online modification: I’ve seen a bunch of teachers already embracing this activity while we teach from home. This is a super easy and fun way for kids to their their families involved in their learning.


Art History Taboo

Students are put into partners: one partner faces the board and the other has their back to it. On a PowerPoint there are 4 images and their IDs. The player facing the board has to get the other student to guess three parts of the ID by telling them things not on the board. This is definitely not an “easy” review but they have a lot of fun coming up with other ways to describe the image to their partner.

Online modification: I cannot brainstorm a way to transfer this to a digital platform, but like the Quiz, Quiz Trade suggestion, just use already created online material for quizzing.

These are from a similar activity I do with AP World History

Art History Last Supper

This is another idea I got from my AP Summer Institute that was brilliant! I usually do it the Friday before the AP Exam or a few days beforehand (depends on when the AP testing window falls because I want all my students to be able to take part). Each student is responsible for one image, I let them to pick an image they are weak on, and they have to make a paper plate with a recreation of their assigned artwork with the FFCC information on the back. In addition to the plate, each student has to bring in a food item related to their image. We spend the class period eating delicious food and sharing our visual plates.

Online modification: Unfortunately we cannot yet share food digitally à la Star Trek.

As you can see, most of my review ideas are about breaking organizational bias. We study images in set units but during review time I want them to make connections with images from other units too.



  1. Hi! thx for all the great ideas. I was wondering where you go that huge world map for your classroom? I’ve been lookin online and nothing appears to be close in size. can you email me the info? THX so much!
    Jim Goodwin
    San Diego, CA

    1. Oh awesome! I’m glad you stumbled in. Let me know if there are any art history specific things you want to see

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