Do AP Art Students Take an Exam?

The Anticlimactic Process of Submitting a Portfolio

My AP Classroom for 2-D Art and Design

My AP Classroom for 2-D Art and Design

Most upper school students are busy taking sit-down exams right now for their Advanced Placement (AP) classes, but in my AP 2-D Art and Design class, we “take” our AP exam a little differently. There is no sit down exam and no facts we need to memorize. Instead, we have spent the entire year creating art for a portfolio that we will submit through the My AP portal on the College Board Website.

In total, we get 20 spaces to upload photos of our art. The spaces are split up into two sections, but in total, a student can be anywhere from 13 pieces (if the student submits the same pieces in both sections, which is allowed) to 20 pieces. I’m submitting 17 completed works, one process picture, and am submitting two of my favorite pieces in both sections. 

In addition to the piece, they want to hear what our theme is, just overall what our work is about. And we get a total of 1200 characters (including spaces) to achieve this feat. Writing up those answers felt like the weirdest English exercise of my life because I’m trying to sum up a year of work in what really ended up being about 200 words. 

20 spaces to drag and drop files feels like so little compared to my constant work this year. Once I hit the yellow button that reads “Submit Final,” everything got condensed into a PDF document that will be sent off grading. Hitting submit was not the elating experience I thought it would be; instead it was rather anticlimactic. For many students though, it is tough to have the right number of pieces ready in time. So, for many people in my class the process is anxiety-producing because of the deadline. 

Despite whatever grade I receive on my portfolio, I am grateful I had the opportunity to take the class because I had the opportunity to explore artistic interests and refine my techniques among really skilled peers.