2024 AP Art and Design Exam Guide

8 min readaugust 18, 2023

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AP Art & Design 🎨

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Your Guide to the 2024 AP Art and Design Exam

We know that studying for your AP exams can be stressful, but Fiveable has your back! We created a study plan to help you crush your AP Art History exam. This guide will continue to update with information about the 2024 exams, as well as helpful resources to help you do your best on test day. Unlock Cram Mode for access to our cram events—students who have successfully passed their AP exams will answer your questions and guide your last-minute studying LIVE! And don't miss out on unlimited access to our database of thousands of practice questions. FYI, something cool is coming your way Fall 2023! 👀

Format of the 2024 AP Art and Design Exam

This year, all AP Art and Design exams will include Selected Works and Sustained Investigations. The 2024 Art and Design exam format will be:

AP 2-D Art and Design Portfolio

  • The Selected Works consists of 5 works demonstrating 2-D skills and synthesis of materials, processes and ideas.
    • Along with each work, you have to write about the ideas evident, the materials used, and the processes that were utilized (100 characters maximum per section). 
  • The Sustained Investigation (SI) consists of 15 digital images demonstrating sustained investigation through practice, experimentation and revision, along with sustained investigation and synthesis of materials, processes, and ideas, and your 2-D skills.
    • In writing you have to include the guiding question or inquiry for your sustained investigation and describe how your SI shows practice, experimentation, and revision that was guided by your chosen question. 
    • For each image you submit, you have to include the materials and processes used along with its size. Be sure to write it as height x width x depth in inches if it’s an image of physical work!

AP Drawing Portfolio

  • The Selected Works consists of 5 works that show your drawing skills and synthesis of materials, processes and ideas.
    • Along with each work, you have to write about the ideas evident, the materials used, and the processes that were utilized (100 characters maximum per section).
  • The Sustained Investigation is made up of 15 digital images demonstrating sustained investigation through practice, experimentation and revision, along with sustained investigation and synthesis of materials, processes, and ideas, and your drawing abilities.
    • In writing you have to include the guiding question or inquiry for your sustained investigation and describe how your SI shows practice, experimentation, and revision that was guided by your chosen question. 
    • For each image you submit, you have to include the materials and processes used along with its size. Be sure to write it as height x width x depth in inches if it’s an image of physical work!

AP 3-D Art and Design Portfolios

  • The Selected Works consists of 5 works with 2 views of each, so 10 images in total, that show your 3-D skills and synthesis of materials, processes and ideas.
    • Along with each work, you have to write about the ideas evident, the materials used, and the processes that were utilized (100 characters maximum per section).
  • The Sustained Investigation is made up of 15 digital images demonstrating sustained investigation through practice, experimentation and revision, along with sustained investigation and synthesis of materials, processes, and ideas, and your 3-D skills.
    • In writing you have to include the guiding question or inquiry for your sustained investigation and describe how your SI shows practice, experimentation, and revision that was guided by your chosen question. 
    • For each image you submit, you have to include the materials and processes used along with its size. Be sure to write it as height x width x depth in inches!

Scoring Rubric for the 2024 AP Art and Design Exam

You can find the scoring guidelines for the selected works and sustained investigation here, courtesy of the College Board.
Check out our study plan below to find resources and tools to prepare for your AP Art and Design exam.

When is the 2024 AP Art and Design Portfolio Deadline?

The portfolio is due by your teacher’s established deadline. Your AP coordinator will forward your completed portfolio to the AP Program by Friday, May 10, 2024 (8 p.m. ET). Unlock Cram Mode to get updates on the latest 2024 exam news. 

How Should I Prepare for the Exam?

  • First, download the AP Art & Design Cheatsheet PDF - a single sheet that covers everything you need to know at a high level. Take note of your strengths and weaknesses!
  • Review each rubric, and focus on the areas of your sustained investigation that need the most improvement. We've put together this plan to help you study between now and May to make sure you covered all of the bases in your portfolio!
  • Study, practice, and review for test day with other students during our live cram sessions via Cram Mode. Cram live streams will teach, review, and practice important topics from AP courses, college admission tests, and college admission topics. These streams are hosted by experienced students who know what you need to succeed.

Pre-work: set up your working environment

Before you begin, take some time to get organized.
🖥 Create a study space.
Make sure you have a designated place at home to study. Somewhere you can keep all of your materials, where you can focus on learning, and where you are comfortable. Spend some time prepping the space with everything you need and you can even let others in the family know that this is your study space. 
📚 Organize your materials.
Gather all the materials you need to work on your portfolio in one place. Also, create a space for you to keep track of your progress. Get yourself set up!
📅 Plan designated times for working and preparing.
The hardest part about creating a portfolio is sticking to a routine. Decide on one hour every day that you can dedicate to brainstorming or creating your next piece. This can be any time of the day, whatever works best for you. Set a timer on your phone for that time and really try to stick to it. The routine will help you stay on track to complete every piece needed by May.
🏆 Decide on an accountability plan.
How will you hold yourself accountable to this study plan? You may or may not have a teacher or rules set up to help you stay on track, so you need to set some for yourself. First, set your goal. This could be studying for x number of hours or getting through a unit. Then, create a reward for yourself. If you reach your goal, then x. This will help stay focused!
🤝 Get support from your peers. 
There are thousands of students all over the world who are preparing for their AP exams just like you! Join Rooms 🤝 to chat, ask questions, and meet other students who are also studying for the spring exams. You can even build study groups and review material together! 

AP Art and Design 2024 Study Plan

🔖Unit 1: Course Overview

Unit Summary:

There are three traditional Studio Art classes. Those are AP Two-Dimensional Design (AP2D), AP Three-Dimensional Design (AP3D), and AP Drawing. All of these classes are typically year-long production classes revolving around a student-driven inquiry that is explored artistically.

Definitely do this:

📚 Read this study guide:

🍥 Unit 2: Portfolio Design Skills

Unit Summary:

There are two parts to the AP Art and Design portfolio, the Sustained Investigation and the Selected Works. Together, these two parts create your AP submission. You need to complete both parts. What you create for these parts depends on which portfolio (2D, 3D, or Draw) you are submitting. No matter what your idea or your media, there are certain principles of design that are used to create cohesion in your work.

Definitely do this:

📚 Read these study guides:

If you have more time or want to dig deeper:

💻 Review these CollegeBoard videos:

🤔 Unit 3: Portfolio Analysis

Unit Summary:

A portfolio is a sample of your art. All artists have a portfolio showing their work. It's what you use to show off your style, your skill level, your previous work, any particular media you use, and any themes you tend to work in. It's your work sample. It's what you use to allow people to see your work. For Artists, it's a visual resume of what they are capable of doing. For AP Art and Design, you submit your portfolio for grading. It is, in effect, your "test".

Definitely do this:

📚 Read these study guides:

If you have more time or want to dig deeper:

💻 Review these CollegeBoard videos:

💯 Unit 4: Exam Rubrics

Unit Summary:

There are two parts to your AP Art and Design test, the Sustained Investigation and the Selected Works. Each one of these has a rubric designed for that section that measures specific "requirements and prompts" that you need to successfully demonstrate. The College Board (CB) states that the rubric is "the contract with the student", so it is incredibly important that you understand what they are talking about in it. They will be broken down for you, but here is the College Board site for more information: Selected Works and Sustained Investigation Rubrics.

Definitely do this:

📚 Read these study guides:

If you have more time or want to dig deeper:

💻 Review this CollegeBoard video:

💡 Unit 5: Tips and Tricks

Unit Summary: In this section, we will cover some tips and tricks to make your portfolio the best it can be. You should have high-quality photos for your portfolio and avoid overly personal or broad themes or copyrighted characters. These tricks can significantly improve the quality of your profile and increase your chance of scoring a 5!
Definitely do this:
📚 Read these study guides:
If you have more time or want to dig deeper:
💻 Review these CollegeBoard videos:

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