“How to get an ‘A’ in Art History”

Art History can be a challenging class for any budding art student. It is a subject that entails many perplexing facts, a numerous amount of images, a considerable amount of tests, and a plethora of papers.  In art history facts need to be learned quickly and efficiently. Since the topic is so dense many students have trouble grasping all of the information. There are many ways to do well in Art History. It is important to stick with a system for the full length of the class. Art History class will have challenges for every type of learner the visual, auditory, and the logical. There is a method for everyone to succeed. Keeping organized and motivated is the key.  It is a laborious class but with the right tools and mindset anyone can get an “A” in art history. By following these steps students will open up a new world for themselves. Art History may even become interesting for students! It is necessary for students of art to learn about the work of the greats. I mean seriously its art! This is not complex mathematics and rocket science! Art is obviously in the interest of art students. By studying Art History a students own work can be influenced and a deep inspiration can be instilled. This is also in the best interest of students who already loathe art history. Follow these methods and by the first test a student will be ready instead of pulling their hair out. Okay fellow students Sit back, relax, and take in the best ways to do well in Art History.

First things first: Organize.  There are few essential supplies including binders, folders, notebook or macbook, pens, and highlighters. It is important to keep all papers together.  Also Taking efficient notes is extremely important. This can be done with a notebook but to avoid running out of paper use a laptop.  Textbooks will become the most useful if notes are taken in the margins. The dense text of Art History Textbooks has so much information. Not all of the information is valuable. The important information should be underlined. The important facts need to be highlighted. Follow a system to keep organized notes Write important comments from the teachers in your textbooks or in a laptop.

When taking notes it is important to follow the process of TAWWWS. That stands for the seven key facts you should know about every work of art. Title, Artist, When, Where, Why, and Style. he TAWWS is the essential information students need to k­now about each chapter and the work within it. All of this information is available from the textbooks and from the notes taken in class  It is impossible to remember everything but remembering those six facts about an important work of art it will save a student in a test or paper. Even knowing half of those facts can stop failure. Also, two pieces of art that have similar facts similar information can come from both works. Title: remembering the title of a work is essential. It will become the identifier when discussing the work. Some titles are easier to remember then others. Try to make a distinct relation between the title and the images of the work to help remember it.  Artist: IBy knowing who the artist tracking through the life of the artist should be easy. It is will be possible to figure out what their style was by knowing when they were alive, and where they were from. Those facts can  help in finding more about the artwork. When: knowing when the piece was made tells so much about the work.  Knowing the date you can help to find out what time period. Then an educated guess can be made about why it was made and where it came from. Knowing that the Sistine Chapel was made in the 15th century allows one to guess that it was a Renaissance work. Then it I obvious that is from Europe.  It can also be concluded that it was made in Italy because it is known that the artist Leonardo Da Vinci is Italian. K nowing a few facts can open up the potential for more knowledge like the other half of TAWWWS! . Where: Where a work was made can tell a lot about it. It becomes easy to find out which artists come from that country or specified city. knowing about the culture can also help to identify a work. Why: This is the purpose of the work it can be for religion, cultural symbolism, portraiture, or a study. Every work of art has a substantial reason behind it. TAWWWS will help you take notes in each clas


Studying for Art history will involve a lot of visuals. Flash cards are helpful. Put the title of the piece on the front and the TAWWWS on the back. Putting the artist on the front is easier for some. Power point presentations are also a helpful study guide. Have a picture of the work of art and have the next slide show the TAWWWs. Students can test themselves by yelling out the facts or by writing them down.  Museum postcards can also be a good tool for visual memorization


Working together in group is helpful in remembering Art History information. Playing pictionary art history style can be fun. By drawing lily pads on a marker board someone on a pictionary team may all out “Claude Monet!” A team member may also draw a bar to get another member to shout “ Edouard Manet’s painting A Bar at the Folies-Bergere.”. Jeopardy Art History can be set up using computer programs and play for points!  Quizzing each other is also very effective. You and your friends can exchange notes and information that one of you may not have been so expert on.

Remembering everything you learn in Art History is impossible. It is possible to remember what the most important information is and still get a great grade. Hopefully a story from your own experience with Art History will help art students to become inspired. At the beginning of the first semester on my senior year I got B’s on a few of the tests. I was beginning to think an A would never be in my future. On a monday my teacher assigned a test for the upcoming friday. I decided that it was time to change the pattern. I took careful notes in my notebook and highlighted important text in the book all week. I took time to read through the entire chapter. Each night I followed TAWWWS I made sure that I knew those seven facts about each pice of art. Even If I had trouble remembering all of them I knew that one fact would lead me to another. I remember that friday afternoon vividly. I walked into the classroom pen uncapped and sitting in my favorite seat. The test begin and I soared through it not doubting one of my answers. The next monday my teacher handed me back my test with enthusiasm. I received a 97 the highest grade in the class. A

Almost all of my grades after that one were in the A range. My methods and suggestions will help any art history student. Do not sleep through your classes. Paying attention to what the teacher has to say and recording it somehow will allow more time to study instead of search for the information. TAWWW is specifically constructed to help students remember as much about a piece as possible. (In the most organized fashion). Remembering the facts is how a student will get an “ A” in art history.  Go get organized, get some coffee, and be prepared to take notes.

Here is an example of how your notes should look

Chapter #: 20

T: One Number 31

A: Jackson Pollock

W: 1950

W: New York

W: Inspiration of music, Jazz

S: Action painting, “drip technique”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: