Study Tips for Art History Exams

Published by Rosey Liu, watercolor

Published by Rosey Liu, watercolor

Study Tips for Art History Exams:


Nothing compares to this.

  1. Set aside one hour a day for Art History study with one day off.
  2. Read the book.
    1. Take more time to look at the illustrations than reading the text.
    2. Read the text
    3. Go back to the illustrations and understand the points of the text in visual form.
    4. Understand the illustrations in whatever way you wish—wonder, dream, joke, ask why why there is always a dog in the corner.

This way you personalize the material. 

  1. After class each day before you go to sleep, review the pictures in your book and make a list of the big 5 of those works shown.  Do not belabor this.  Just do it for a half hour or 45 minutes.  Try to remember what was said in class as you look at each picture.


–Always attend class.  Art history is not one to skip.


–Draw pictures of the images on the screen.  Keep the hand moving.  Take notes.



A week to several days before the test, use one or more of the following methods.

1. Study Tape Method

Read from your list of works  into a dictaphone or other recording device.  Just the Big 5.  Listen to it obsessively for the days before the exam.  Try to close your eyes and picture each slide as your voice reads the 5 points of information.  If you can’t picture it, stop the tape and look at your book or power point.  Listen every chance you get– in the shower, walking to class, eating, etc.  Your friends and loved ones will forgive you, eventually.

2. Study Buddy Method


Just like it sounds—study with a partner.  Use flash cards or cover up the bottom of your

computer screen with post-its to conceal information and quiz that way.


3.  The Ebony Method


This former student made up little songs and rhythms to the information.  She heard them

when the slide came up.  That’s the great part of aural study methods—you hear your own

voice claiming the information.


4.  The Hall Zombie Method


Take your flash cards, list, or study tape and pace down long hallways or pace the room.

Movement stimulates the brain and is good for you.  Try to see the images without

running into furniture!


5. Techie Method


Quiz the slides from your iphone or Droid.  Some students put the power points on their TV.

Don’t know how?  That’s why it’s called the techie method—neither do I!  But smart people

are figuring this out as you read…..


6.  The Celery Method


Get celery sticks—a plate of them.  Chew while studying.  It stimulates the brain

and has practically no calories.  This really works to keep alert!


7.  The Where’s Waldo Method


Find silly details in the works and use these to help you remember hard-to-remember

slides.  Modern cars and tourists work great, so do bald guys.


8. The Hippy Trippy Method


Print out flash cards and paste them all around your bedroom without the information.  Walk

around, point and name.  Do this for a week, and tell me if this works.


9.  The Get to Bed Already Method


      Pack it in and just get a good night’s sleep.  It’ll be alright.