AP Class Reviews

Art History taught by Mary Lanctot

by Students and Parents

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An amazing course with an even more amazing teacher. posted by Hannah Che on May 28 2012 at 15:55:21

I signed up for this course with zero knowledge of art history-- I had actually traveled to Italy during the summer, and was quite appalled by the lack of knowledge/understanding I had about places I visited and sculptures and buildings I saw (What the heck was the Pantheon, anyways?) Let's just say that I was in for a huge treat. Throughout Mrs. Lanctot's course, I studied the entire history of art and architecture, from the Paleolithic period to the late 20th century. I analyzed and learned about works ranging from the paintings of Caravaggio to the mosaics of Islam, from the illuminated manuscripts of the Hiberno-Saxon medieval artists to the toilet bowl art of Dadaist Duchamp, from the strict lines of the ancient Greek Parthenon to the post-modern Guggenheim Museum, with its undulating, gleaming titanium curves. I grew to appreciate and respect works that resembled my little sister's scribblings, and gained an enormous love for all works a la Michelangelo. As an artist myself, I acquired a whole new level of understanding of the visual components of a work of art-- its composition, form, use of color, perspective, proportion, to name a few-- and how the artist used these elements to create his/her own personal statement. Art History may seem like a course for extreme art nerds or princesses-in-training, but it's actually just a complete course on world history, viewed from an unique and fascinating pair of lens. The course wasn't just about analyzing paintings-- we studied the historical contexts behind each work, the cycling evolution of art from stylized to idealized to exaggerated throughout the turbulent periods, and how political/social events like the Peloponnesian War, the Reformation, WWII, etc. were reflected in the style and message of the art from those periods. Instead of just studying wars and dates and historical events, you'll see how they impacted people and culture, and explore the expressions of opinions regarding these contemporary events. The course itself is very demanding, definitely not a "filler" course; be prepared to write countless essays and responses, and memorize daunting lists of artwork. I spent about 7-10 hours a week reading Gardner's (the largest textbook I have ever seen, by the way), making flashcards, writing essays, and participating in WWWBoard discussions. I think my favorite assignment was the Artist Paper-- we were required to research the life and work of one specific artist and write a creative biography report about how the culture in which this artist worked affected his/her art form. My paper turned out to be an extremely lengthy but fun paper that allowed me to delve deeply into one small area of art and truly discover how interrelated and deep the whole history of art is. The interaction we had on the social board was extremely valuable-- we would have lively discussions about museum exhibitions and current art news (WHAT PAINTING just sold for 120 million??), debates on favorite art periods, and of course, the incredibly fun postings by Mrs. Lanctot about funny art "ditties," or the frequent games of "Mystery Image" or "Timeline." That leads me to one more thing: Mrs. Lanctot is one of the best teachers I've ever had-- she is incredibly fun, extremely encouraging, and super helpful. You will hear words like "awesome," "outstanding," "lol," and "lovely," used a lot in her grading and responses, and she's always flexible regarding extended deadlines, schedule changes, delays, etc. Who should take this course, you ask? If you want to gain a complete understanding of art history and culture, take this course. If you long to be able to walk into an art museum and actually appreciate and understand the artwork, or be able to explain the history and background behind some building or work to your fellow tourist friends, take this course. And... if you want to walk confidently into the testing room and get a 5 on the AP Art History exam, take this course. Trust me, you won't regret it.

I heartily recommend this course to anyone seeking excellent AP exam preparation, an engaging learning experience, and knowledge to cherish for a lifetime. Here is why... posted by Emma Fowler on May 26 2012 at 17:26:06

No matter how daunted you feel by the breadth and depth of AP Art History, you will have mastered it by May. Mrs. Lanctot's course is well balanced, perfectly scheduled and a notch above the actual AP exam. This past year, we were constantly putting our knowledge to use with weekly quizzes, real grading exercises, primary source questions, and timed essays. Gradually, we learned to integrate our knowledge of art history and our presentation skills in a timed essay setting. These essays were invaluable skill-building opportunities that desensitized us to the conditions we encountered on the actual AP. As well as gifting you with enough confidence to succeed on the AP exam, this course will introduce you a vast amount of knowledge in the most manageable and meaningful manner possible within a single school year. Mrs. Lanctot is an enormously enthusiastic, incredibly kind, and wonderfully organized teacher. Her thoughtful, informative, and engaging analysis of weekly art historical periods is peerless. Each week this year, she distilled the critical and complex cross-currents within and between art historical periods into a crystal clear cross-section of artistic style and historical context. With her guidance, we learned to connect details of patronage, artistry, style, medium and setting with trends of governmental policy, religion, literature, and philosophy. Equally invaluable was Mrs. Lanctot's close communication with the class throughout the year. Giving each of us her seemingly undivided attention, she answered each and every one of our questions and concerns completely, clearly, and, almost immediately. Mrs. Lanctot, with her motivating knowledge and matchless support, turned this art history course into my perfect and preferred paradise - a place of discovery I wouldn't for a moment hesitate to return to given the opportunity. In this class, you will set sail as an explorer upon a global sea of ageless art, but, you will not be alone. Despite the time-demands of the course, the class participated in lively discussions on the class message board, and frequently, contributed to thoughtful and informed analyses of weekly essays. Together, we challenged our understanding of the course material, made suggestions, asked questions, and shared our answers. This was one of the most stimulating elements of the course; our chance to transcend geographical boundaries, step into each-others shoes, and meet and think on common ground. Outside the text, many of us gained an understanding of artistic personalities, philosophical context, and the complex nature of art itself from a novel perspective. Mrs. Lanctot, your fellow students, and the study of art history will leave you more attuned to the artistic traditions and defining values of a spectrum of cultures. Particularly eyeopening was the non-Western component of Mrs. Lanctot's class, for which we wrote a comparison of a Non-Western and a Western work within a cultural context. Never has an understanding of cultural values been more important than it is today, in our increasingly interconnected world. In addition to gifting you with a more complete perspective on global civilizations, this course will gift you with a keen eye for art and historical connections. A few days after the AP exam, I was surprised and delighted to find myself recognizing J.S. Sargent's Daughters of Darley Boit on the wall of a friends home, naming works by Rosetti and Millais in my grandmother's art sale catalogs, and unfamiliar paintings by Rembrandt, Vermeer and Hals on postcards stashed in travel boxes beneath my sister's desk. Most meaningfully, these recognitions brought the remembrance of each artwork's special story - the artist's penchants, personality, contemporaneous society, and driving vision. This knowledge, the ultimate reward of Mrs. Lanctot's course, is a window into an ageless and meaningful world of art that you will - without a doubt - cherish all your life.

AP Art History - A Truly Magical and Challenging Experience! posted by Claire Graja on May 25 2012 at 24:41:31

"Did you feel the course prepared you for the AP exam?": Yes!!! This was an absolutely fantastic preparatory course for the APAH exam. Mrs. Lanctot had us working on timed essays from the earliest weeks of class, and all of that practice definitely helped me to write my exam essays (over the course of the year, I went from taking 60 min for a single essay down to the required 30!). In addition, she beautifully mixed up various writing exercises that truly helped us to synthesize and process information in different ways. The frequent compare and contrast exercises were especially wonderful, since they really helped me to learn to use the vocabulary of artistic imagery in a very succinct way. Quick daily study questions and guess-this-picture games on the web-board were also incredibly helpful - and fun! Altogether, the many richly varied preparatory assignments in Mrs. Lanctot's APAH class truly prepared me for this exam. When I opened that test booklet, I breathed a huge sigh of relief and realized I wasn't in for any rude awakenings - *everything* was covered! "How many hours of work per day or per week did you generally put into the course?": Honestly, this is a very time-consuming course. There are strenuous reading requirements, and I typically spent between 2-4 (sometimes 4+) hours a week on the text alone. In addition, there are lots of writing requirements; every month we typically completed a compare & contrast exercise, a primary source essay, a small research paper, and about eight timed essays. Also, be prepared to study very hard. There are lots of images to memorize every week (ranging roughly from 8 to 30+) and it truly pays off to budget at least two hours a week for in-depth review of the text and images. I also followed Mrs. Lanctot's suggestions and made flashcards with copious notes, which were absolutely invaluable! All in all, I think I probably spent about 6 to 12 hours a week on my APAH work. At first glance this sounds like a very heavy time commitment, and in all fairness it is. However, it's not nearly as difficult as it looks. APAH is a true joy to work through, and every moment is positively magical and priceless. And when else in your life will you have the incredible opportunity to spend 10 hours a week looking at and learning about some of the world's most beautiful things? I have to say I loved every second I spent on this class. It was the most wonderful thing to spend so much time with things that are filled with such rich meaning and beauty. Do not be put off by the time commitment - once you start learning about those beautiful and fascinating things, the time truly will fly! "Are there any particularly favorite assignments that you found especially valuable?": For me, I think that every single assignment was deeply valuable and enjoyable. All of them challenged me to look at art through a slightly different lens and focus. The weekly Timed Essays and monthly Compare & Contrast assignments were probably the most valuable, though. I've always been a very ponderous writer, who likes to spend lots of time formulating my argument and fine-tuning my vocabulary. As a result, though, writing has always been a painfully slow process for me. The continuous practice with the Timed Essays has truly improved my skills, helping me to hone my writing to be just as effective as ever but in a far more realistic time-frame. As for the Compare & Contrasts, they really helped me familiarize myself with the art historian's craft of making connections between paintings. By repeatedly seeking out similarities and differences both large and small, I've found my skills as an art historian sharpening dramatically. On the APAH Exam I found the skill invaluable, and it's even been enhancing my enjoyment of art outside the classroom (esp. in museums). "Did the course enhance your interest in the subject?": I can honestly say that while taking this APAH class, I fell in love with art all over again. After practically growing up in art museums, I've developed a very deep love of art, and since the beginning of high school I've planned on pursuing a college degree in Art History and Medieval & Renaissance Studies. Before APAH, though, this love wasn't deepened by a cohesive understanding and respect for the less obvious points of art. Now, however, the passion I have for art's beauty is mingled with an equally deep respect for its technical, symbolic, and historical aspects as well. APAH has dramatically enhanced my appreciation of art - now I really can't wait to pursue the subject in college! "Did you find your communications with other students to be interesting or valuable?": The answer to this is a resounding YES! Going into this class, I expected terrific academics but never even dreamed that that would encompass such wonderful peer support and camaraderie. Over the course of the year the web-board was a wonderfully vibrant community, and it was incredibly valuable to have that support system. Mrs. Lanctot set up extremely helpful daily study games for us to participate in, such as timelines, guess-this-picture games, etc. that we all had fun playing together. Even beyond those, however, the other people in my class were just so wonderfully supportive. If one of us had a question about our weekly work, there was always someone there to help out or give advice. We also spontaneously shared and discussed widely varying and timely art articles with each other. There were so many fantastic discussions we had, too, on everything from the price of Munch's The Scream to which silly mnemonics work the best. In short, the high level of peer support and friendship in this class totally surprised me, and it was an absolutely wonderful surprise. Through this class, I've made so many precious memories, as well as friends I know I'll keep in touch with for years and years to come. "What sort of student would do well in this course? Would you recommend this course to other students (if they are willing to work hard!)?": Oh, yes!!! I would wholeheartedly and passionately recommend this class! Mrs. Lanctot is an extraordinary teacher, and creates a very vibrant learning environment for her students. Any student would truly thrive here if (a.) he/she was prepared to devote a lot of time to the coursework; (b.) eager to explore art in terms of its philosophical, aesthetic, and historical facets; and (c.) passionate about any sort of art, history, philosophy, psychology, or culture. You'd do well in this course if you're a passionate and curious learner, have (or are willing to develop!) terrific study skills, and/or have a genuine interest in the study and preservation of beautiful, meaningful things. Definitely, definitely take this class - it is at once a challenging, academic, magical, and beautiful experience.

AP Art History 2012 posted by Larissa S.P. Seybert on May 23 2012 at 16:59:59

To be completely honest, history in its conventional presentation has never held much interest for me. Strings of dates, wars, and leaders never gave me any real sense of cultural development or progress: it seemed like the same story over and over again. In studying art history I have realized that in many ways history is the same story over and over again--but that story is deeper than I had ever realized before. I feel like in one short year I have gained a better grasp of the progress of humanity than I had gleaned from six years of studying history. Much of this deeper understanding was made possible by the fantastic tutelage of Mrs. Lanctot and the dedicated community of AP Art History students. This subject could, by a lesser teacher, have easily been reduced to a course on rote memorization, but Mrs. Lanctot approaches the subject on a broader scope with infectious passion. I felt extremely prepared for the AP exam this year: even though many of the questions were different from what I had come to expect, this grasp of the fundamentals allowed me to answer them with relative ease. AP Art History was very possibly my favorite subject this year. That said, students looking for an easy 5 should seek elsewhere: there is a great deal of reading, writing, and memorization involved in AP Art History. But if you want to approach history from an unusual perspective, work with a great teacher and group of students, and gain real insight into the artistic development of our culture from prehistory to present day, then I would absolutely recommend joining the next group of AP Art Historians. You won't regret it.

Wonderful class! posted by Felicity Lorenz on May 22 2012 at 21:28:01

When I first came into Art History, I felt sure that it would be easy; I have taken plenty of art classes, and have been doing graphic design since I was eight years old. History is also one of my easiest subjects. Boy, was I surprised! Mrs. Lanctot's material will definitely challenge you. Don't expect this class to be easy, but do expect it to be fun! Mrs. Lanctot's class is wonderful, and if I had to time travel back to the beginning of the year, I would most definitely do the class all over again! Last summer, our first assignment was to write a book review about a novel that correlates with Art History. I read Girl with a Pearl Earring. Even then, Mrs. Lanctot was preparing us for the AP Exam! I say this, because ever since reading that book, I have known my Vermeer like the back of my hand! Mrs. Lanctot never asks you to do a 'fluff' assignment - everything that I did this year eventually helped me on the exam. I consider this a really good thing, because I have been in classes where the assignments seem irrelevant and useless. Conversely, Mrs. Lanctot's assignments are interesting, enlightening, and helpful. One of the hardest assignments, although the one with the most pay off, was the Artist Biography essay. Phew, did that take me a while! Still, the artist I chose, while not covered in our textbook nor the AP exam, gave me thorough insight into the Impressionist and post-Impressionist periods - that DID help me on the exam. In all, I probably spent about one to two hours a day on the course. I have a big problem with meeting deadlines, but Mrs. Lanctot was (thankfully!) very patient with me. The first semester, my grades really suffered because I wasn't studying as much as I should have. By the second semester, I had really raised my grade on my assignments and my chapter exams. Mrs. Lanctot was extremely encouraging and motivating during that second semester, always telling me how happy she was that my grades and work were improving! That meant a lot to me, and definitely impacted the way I studied from then on. Before I started the course, I thought Art History would be primarily focused on art. But it's not. Art History is really showing a visual representation of the philosophies and ideas of the people at the time. You may understand the Renaissance and French Revolution at face value, but you gain an even better understanding by looking at the art of those periods. Art reflects people, their times, and their minds - thus, art history reflects the people, the time, and the minds of history. I have a better understanding of history than ever before. I can't really say if I was well-prepared or not for the AP exam, because the exam was strange this year. A lot of the other students were not OK with what was covered. I also don't know my score yet, so I can't really say how I did! Still, I have a thorough understanding and comprehension of art history now - in the end, that is enough. I used to want to be a graphic designer, but I'm actually rethinking this nowadays. However, even if I don't end up being an artist, that doesn't mean what I learned in Art History is any less valuable! I'm sure my knowledge will come in handy, and my understanding of art in general has increased significantly. People should take this class, because it is a challenge and what you learn is so applicable to our times today. Just because it's called 'Art History' doesn't mean it's dated! I am well-prepared to go to any art museum now and explain to others what paintings mean, and how they represent the period they were made in - I learned how to do that from Mrs. Lanctot's assignments! My last suggestions to future students are 1. make sure you know your non-Western artworks. They WILL be on the exam!!!!!! (Even multiple choice questions!) 2. I took this class along with AP European History, British Literature (not AP), and Music Appreciation (not AP). All these subjects combined gave me a thorough study of history. I know not just the basics of history, then, but also the music, art, and literature of history. I would suggest doing Art History along with other classes that give you knowledge on history than just its art. I have found that taking all these classes actually better prepared me for the AP Exams of both Art History and European History. BONUS! On my European History exam, one of the Free Response Essay questions was: Analyze how sixteenth and seventeenth century religious reform was reflected in art. Oh my goodness, thank you God for Art History! I was honestly over-prepared for this question thanks to this course! All the more reason you should take Mrs. Lantot's Art History! :)

I loved this class! posted by Alexandria Griner on May 22 2012 at 14:16:42

I felt very prepared for the AP Art History exam. Mary Lanctot not only taught us the material, she gave us tips on how to memorize the material and handle the heavy workload. I put in a few hours a day during the week for this course, which made my schedule that much more hectic, but it entirely worth the time. One of my favorite assignments was the Non-Western assignment. I loved getting a glimpse at different cultures and styles, and was even inspired to the point to do more digging on those during the summer. I have always harbored a love for art, and this course helped to enrich my understanding of the history behind each painting. I loved being able to discuss topics on our web board with other students, sharing our own tips and tricks in learning the material. Mrs. Lanctot is such a wonderful, thoughtful teacher, and played a huge role in my joyous experience with this course. I would recommend this course to students willing to put the time and effort into a rich learning experience. This was one of my favorite classes I took this year :)

AP Art History Review- BEST CLASS EVER posted by Kealani Jensen on May 12 2012 at 18:58:59

Did you feel the course prepared you for the AP exam?

yes yes and yes. All the assignments are exactly like the ones on the AP exam so you truly study without even noticing it. I didn't buy an extra practice book because I knew everything that would be on the exam based on the assignments Mrs. Lanctot assigns. However, I know some people like to have the extra books for strategies and such, but I didn't think I would need it at all.

How many hours of work per day or per week did you generally put into the course?

This class is very demanding! Don't get me wrong, it was my favorite class this year but be prepared to spend at least 10 hours a week on the course material if you want to do well! I loved all the material though so I enjoyed every second I was doing art history.

Are there any particularly favorite assignments that you found especially valuable?

All of them! Every assignment is given for a purpose because the psqs, non-westerns, compare & contrast, weekly essays, mcqs, grading exercises, and study questions all appear on the AP exam or help you improve for the AP exam. So do your best on every assignment if you enroll in the class!

Did the course enhance your interest in the subject?

Absolutely! I came into the class with a strong passion for architecture and a mild interest in art and sculpture. Yet by the end of the class I loved all categories of art ten fold.

Did you find your communications with other students to be interesting or valuable?

The Bulletin Board is a great place for the entire class to talk about various things we find in our own internet research and random ramblings so I thought everything was valuable that was discussed on the board. A side note, you really want to read everything Mrs. Lanctot posts because she had a message about a certain artist that wasn't discussed in the book that actually appeared on the mc section of the APAH test!

What sort of student would do well in this course?

If you are very good at memorization, love art, and are not afraid of essays, then you should definitely take this course! Everyone thinks that "oh ap art history is so hard because the book weighs 9 1/2 lbs". (btw, it does actually weigh 9 1/2 lbs) But don't let that scare you away! If you love art, you will not think this class is hard! You have to have the passion for the course material and then this class is not only easier, but fun. So you have to be self-motivated for sure, but you must have passion.

Would you recommend this course to other students (if they are willing to work hard!)?

Take this class! It was my favorite class this year by far (I took 3 other APs, something I do not recommend for your senior year) and Mrs. Lanctot is a wonderful, excellent, amazing teacher that really knows her stuff. So take this class and you will not regret it!

Experience of a lifetime posted by Hannah Huynh on May 12 2012 at 16:40:49

When I was first signed up for this class, I'll be honest - I thought I was going to dread this. I mean art history, who studies art history?

Within the first week, I proved myself wrong. I LOVE LOVE LOVE this class. It is so amazing. Words cannot describe how much fun this class was. And, I learned so much. I look at paintings and architecture in a completely different way, and I learned to appreciate paintings that look like a kindergardener's drawings. :)

I felt very well prepared for the AP exam. Art history is such a broad subject because it covers art from the entire world, but Mrs. Lanctot condenses all the important material into manageable sections.

Every day I tried to spend a little time on Art History because this class is all about memorizing.

Every assignment in this class was valuable to me. Mrs. Lanctot makes the assignments exactly like the questions you would face on the AP exam, so everything was useful for getting you prepared for the AP exam.

This course definitely enhance my interest for Art History. As I said before, when I was first signed-up for this class, I thought it would be really boring, but I have fallen in love with art history.

The communications with other students were amazing. Our class has definitely formed a tight bond. Mrs. Lanctot always posts engaging questions and messages on the board so most of the class was interacting with each other on a daily basis.

Any student who is willing to spend time memorizing will fare well in this class. Art History mainly memorization and memorization is easy if you start reviewing a little each day at the beginning of the year.

So, to those of you out there who think art history is a joke, TAKE THIS CLASS and your perspective will be completely changed. This is class was an experience of a lifetime and I am so glad Mrs. Lanctot was my teacher. This was by far my favorite class this year.

One of my favorite highschool courses . . . posted by Jessina Leonard on June 01 2010 at 14:36:12

Dear prospective/future APAH students,

Before I delve into answering these questions about the course, let me just say that this is a truly wonderful class that I very highly recommend. It is professional, organized, and challenging, as have been all the courses I have taken through AP Homeschoolers. Hopefully my enthusiasm for this class in particular shows through in my answers to these questions . . .

Did you feel the course prepared you for the AP exam?

Yes, I certainly felt as if the course prepared me well for the AP exam at the end of the year. Probably one of the most helpful prepatory tools for me was the study charts, which were basically lists of certain pieces of art work that we needed to have memorized from each art historical period. Mrs. Lanctot compiled these early in the year and we refered to them basically as our study sheets when preparing for quizzes and tests as well as the actual AP exam. Sometimes it can be overwhelming how many works of art there are to know, but these study charts broke it all down and made it feel much less overwhelming. We also wrote an essay or two almost every week, which was invaluable come exam time as there are two long essays and seven short essays on the AP exam. Mrs. Lanctot graded our essays on the same scale as the AP exam graders, so this helped us evaluate how we needed to improve in order to do well on the AP exam at the end of the year. Overall, while any AP exam is a bit nerve-wracking for me, this class certainly helped build my confidence for exam day.

How many hours of work per day or per week did you generally put into the course?

I always find these types of questions hard to answer as the amount of time per week varied so much throughout the year, particularly for this course. Some weeks we had as few as five works of art to memorize while other weeks we had up to 30 works of art to memorize. Some weeks we had two essays and some weeks we had no essays. On average, I would say I spent 5-7 hours on this course. Though at times, especially as exam day neared, I probably spent up to 12 hours a week studying art history.

But one thing I want to mention is that Mrs. Lanctot is very good about making sure her students are not too overwhelmed. After an extra-hard week, she would always give us a "breather" week with less images to memorize and maybe even no essay! Also, there were a few weeks this year that I was really overwhelmed with some of my other school work and she graciously understood and helped me through an extra difficult week. She really is one of the most understanding and kind teachers I have ever had. So if you're feeling overwhelmed, do not hesitate to ask for help!

Are there any particularly favorite assignments that you found especially valuable?

There is actually not a lot of variation in the assignments throughout the year, but I actually found this rhythm of work to be especially valuable as I knew each week what was expected of me. For example, each week we would generally have a portion of the textbook to read (generally 20-40 pages), a certain number of images to make flashcards for and to memorize, a multiple choice quiz to take, a short essay quiz to take, an essay to write, and generally one other assignment that varied from week to week. Sometimes we had a non-western assigment, in which we had to study a work of art of our choice from the non-western cannon of art history. Sometimes we had to write a primary-source question, which is basically an essay based off of a quotation. Some weeks we had to compare and contrast two works of art. And some weeks we had to grade one another's essays. I really enjoyed the way in which this class was organized and put together, with just enough rhythm in the work not to be overwhelmed and just enough variation to make things interesting each week!

But probably one of my favorite assigments was the artist biography paper that we had to write during the first semester. We could choose any artist of our choice and write a paper about his or her life and work. Mrs. Lanctot gave us the option of writing it in a research paper format or a more creative format. It was a really fun assignment that allowed us to delve deeper into the life of an artist and to be creative with our writing.

Did the course enhance your interest in the subject?

Most certainly so! I honestly didn't quite know what to expect when I began this course; I had no real conception of how you studied a work of art. But throughout the year, through the enjoyable textbook reading and through Mrs. Lanctot's careful tutelage, my understanding of and interest in art history really grew. I truly find it to be one of the most fascinating subjects to be studied--every work of art is like a picture in the storybook of the world, telling us more about the culture it reflects and the values that particular culture held. In fact, this course is one of the reasons I declared a partial major in Art (which includes a hefty load of art history courses) as I head off to college this fall. And it's also one of the reasons that half of my summer book list contains books on art history.

And if you feel at all concerned that you don't know enough about art or art history to take this course, don't worry! I was a little nervous myself coming into this course that I wasn't prepared enough since I really didn't know a thing about art history previously. But you honestly don't need to know a thing in order to enjoy and do well in this course. Mrs. Lanctot provides all the tools you need to succeed in this course and on the AP exam.

Did you find your communications with other students to be interesting or valuable?

Considering this past year's class was quite small and that most of us students were seniors and therefore extra busy, there was not a whole lot of interaction between all of us students. I know Mrs. Lanctot was a bit disappointed with this, but I honestly didn't feel that it detrimented the course in any large way. And if you did ever feel the urge to discuss art history with another like-minded soul, Mrs. Lanctot was always available and willing to have a discussion!

What sort of student would do well in this course? Would you recommend this course to other students (if they are willing to work hard)?

Hopefully it's clear by now that I do highly recommend this course! I think any student who is, yes, willing to work hard and diligently and has some interest in history would do well in this class. Basic essay writing skills are also helpful, as there is a lot of essay-writing required for this course. And as I said previously, you don't really need to have any foreknowledge of art history to enjoy and succeed in this course.

So in conclusion, APAH is truly an excellent class that is professionally-run with a kind and generous teacher whose own enthusiasm for art history spills over to the rest of the class. Mrs. Lanctot is really encouraging (you will hear the words "awesome" and "terrific" a lot!) and always careful to point out what you do well while at the same time giving helpful constructive criticism. I sincerely say that this is one of the best courses I've ever taken and I highly recommend it to all of you. Best of luck!

Jessina Leonard

Best. Class. Ever. posted by Madeline Jacobson on May 20 2010 at 16:00:33

When you look at a cloud, what do you see? A smallish, white fluffy-looking thing that floats through the sky. It’s nice. It’s even pretty, but hardly out of the ordinary. Until you stop and really look at it. Until you can see the colors within the colors, the beauty hidden in the normal everyday things. It’s this new perspective that artists throughout history and cultures have brought to the world. It’s that perspective you come to appreciate in a class like AP Art History.

Looking back on my year in this class I can’t believe what an amazing experience it’s been. Back in the late summer in a last minute dash to try and find AP classes to take I was determined to take a history class. Unfortunately every other history class was booked solid. I was very disappointed till my brother pointed out that Art History wasn’t marked as full yet. I thought it was a crazy idea. After all the last art class I had taken had consisted of lots of frustration, an inability to draw stick figures, and a whole semester spent checking my Facebook on my phone while my teacher left us to our own creative devices. I couldn’t draw, had left the novelty of staring at pretty pictures in my kindergarten days and had absolutely no interest in studying something as pointless as pictures that hang on a wall when I could have been studying the great stories of mankind’s history. Still I decided to give it a quick shot. After all if I hated it I could just drop that first week and then I’d have prove I tried it before I judged it.

Best gamble I ever took. Not only have I learned many greatly fascinating things about history but I’ve literally redefined my whole perspective on the subject. Art History gives a visual timeline from which to map out the web of connections that make up history. My biggest regret of the whole year is that I straddled myself with other AP classes when I could have given myself more time to explore this subject in depth. Mrs. Lanctot teaches you to understand paintings as complex examples of a culture’s unique identity. She teaches in such a way that you don’t really learn the great lasting stuff from the textbook but from the constant reexamination of the material. You come to understand art as a reflection or a story or a political tool. At the same time your learning to use art to understand the culture that created it. You learn to look at a painting or building a recognize its distinguishing features and what they mean. It allows for a deep understanding of history to form in a way that’s likely never been breached by any other teacher you’ve ever had. It also provides a visual timeline, linking each part of history not only to the one before and the one after but to dozens of points and eras. Regular history classes are like a to do lists jumping from each war and religious revival to the next without any in-between. Art History doesn’t focus on the big things alone, art history flows. 

That’s not say it’s all one big story time though. While it’s a wonderfully flexible experience with so many things to learn and discover it’s still an AP class. If your reading these reviews you probably understand what that means work load wise, but I’ll break it down real quick. Typically in a week your looking at around twenty (up to fifty) pages of reading material (take notes). Then you’ve got around six works to memorize. You usually have at least one assignment to do during the week that reflects elements of the essay section on your upcoming AP exam. Then at the end of the week you’ll need about an hour to take the weekly test consisting of a essay, short answer and multiple choice sections (just like the exam except smaller). All in all I average about two hours per day depending on the intensity of the material for that week. I also kept review cards and the text around for review in my spare time (like that two hour drive to my brother’s soccer game in the capital or while waiting to pick my sister up from choir practice). It’s not easy, but honestly I had trouble not spending more. If I hadn’t had such a packed schedule I could have spent hours pouring over the material it gets a real grip on you like that. It’s such a joy to learn the subject that after you get the rhythm down the work tends to seem lighter and lighter even as the assignments are actually getting more and more complex. Mrs. Lanctot also has tests every couple of weeks. They are very comprehensive and really test your knowledge of the material. I think these tests more then anything prepare you for the AP exam best. In comparison it seemed a breeze. I feel very confident about a 4 at the very least all thanks to Mrs. Lanctot’s caring instruction. 

Art History is the absolute best class I’ve taken all of high school. Yes it’s challenging but it’s very worth it. I have gone from hating the idea of an afternoon spent in an art museum and not being able to draw a stick figure that didn’t resemble a cow to finding a passion that cannot be quenched. I’ll be continuing my studies in art history in my coming first semester of college. I strongly encourage the study of art history with Mrs. Lanctot to any one who wants a challenging history course, already loves art or is just looking for a diverse course on an interesting topic. 

A great review and introduction to APAH posted by Adrianna Grace Farson on May 08 2010 at 12:09:28

I definitely feel that this course prepared me for the APAH exam. This was my seventh AP class and first with PA, and I feel like this was just as thorough a review as all my other classes have been.

I am very thankful for Mrs. Lanctot and the time she invested in her students.

AP Art History posted by Sarah Edwards on June 08 2009 at 16:44:35

My score is still pending, but I think that this AP Art History course prepared me very well for the exam.

With that being said, I would reccomend this course to a student who already has a developing interest in art history. This course definitely involves a lot of preparation, studying and initiative, so it would be much more challenging for a student who doesn't have an interest in the history of art. I love art, so this course really drew me in, but I still had to work hard and was challenged by the amount of memorization involved. I usually spent between 7-10 hours a week on the reading (which is pretty extensive), making flash cards and completing class assignments. If you want to succeed, I would definitely reccomend putting forth the extra effort--I bought a Barron's study guide, and read through it and took the practice tests in it. As the year progressed, I learned the kind of study habits it takes to succeed.

So is this a challenging course? Absolutely. Is it worth it? Absolutely. I knew I liked studying art before, but I came out loving it and knowing that it may be something I want to pursue in college. AP Art History was one of my favorite classes of this year, and I would strongly reccomend Mrs. Lanctot to anyone. She is so enthusastic about both the class and its subject, and willing to work with the student to improve.

AP Art History posted by Lili Un on May 24 2009 at 22:37:08

•Did you feel the course prepared you for the AP exam? Yes. Our teacher, Mrs. Lanctot, took special care to provide AP exam-oriented study material, and I definitely felt prepared when the time came.

•How many hours of work per day or per week did you generally put into the course? I generally spent 1-2 hours a day working on APAH, depending on my workload and how well I understood the material.

•Are there any particularly favorite assignments that you found especially valuable? The grading assignments were very helpful!! They helped me see a student's essay through the grader's eyes. That insight became invaluable during the AP exam. I also really appreciated the final exam in the form of the 2004 AP Exam. Laborsome as it was, it was the best study tool I had.

•Did the course enhance your interest in the subject? Yes. I did not know the inner workings of art history before, and now that I do I am perpetually fascinated.

•Did you find your communications with other students to be interesting or valuable? Not when it came to studying, no. To clarify an assignment and such, yes.

•What sort of student would do well in this course? Would you recommend this course to other students (if they are willing to work hard!)? A student who works hard, is disciplined and can pace themselves. They should also be determined and able to keep up with a solid weekly schedule.

AP Art History Course Review by Josh Kitamura, May 17 2005 at 00:25:58

AP Art History is quite possibly one of the most demanding courses I have ever taken. This is not to say the course is bad in any way, but this year I have delved into more pages of a text book, written page upon page of essays and learned so many images that just thinking about it makes my head spin. If you or your student is not up for a challenging (but not remotely impossible!) year of work, then AP Art History may not be for you. If, on the other hand, you are up for a challenge then please read on and hear about what all this work produced in this art history student.

Looking back over the year now that the AP test has passed by, I must say I am very impressed with how well prepared I was for the AP Art History test. The scope of the material is incredibly vast and the AP test could easily cover a number of various artistic periods, styles and cultures. Yet the text and the study course used in the AP Art History class seems to have nailed every important aspect while keeping things as manageable as possible. As to how much time all this work might take in an average week (it does vary between easier and harder weeks) I would take a rough estimate of about 4-5 hours reading, 1-2 hour studying, 1-2 hour on weekly quizzes and essays and 1-2 hour on various other weekly assignments. It can be tough at times, especially when other infrequent assignments are added to a normal week's work, but it is not beyond accomplishment. I should ask a question of prospective students though, do you like writing? AP Art History is a course that deals in analyzing works of art by their style, culture and time period and you will need to learn how to communicate those points effectively through essay writing. This course requires many written assignments so that you receive more then enough practice though. This is especially important not only for reinforcing the learning, but also to prepare for the many essays on the AP test which account for 60% of your AP grade. I will note that the material is extremely well presented and it is doubtable that you will have any trouble learning the concepts and connections found in art history. And even if there was something you were having trouble figuring out, worry not for the AP teacher, Mrs. Lanctot, was always more then happy to help out with an explanation. This course does demand much work when it comes to reading and writing, but all that time put into the subject pays great dividends come test time.

One of the benefits that I gained from taking this course was not only a greater understanding of art, but also a much increased appreciation of art. This course through its instruction really illuminates the finer connections art and architecture have with the culture in which they were created, points that are easily overlooked browsing over works without having studied their history. I was even surprised to learn much about the mysterious and strange artistic styles that have developed in modern years. Not only that, but you are able to watch the development of art from the earliest periods up through modern times. With all this knowledge, you cannot help but develop a greater appreciation and fascination for art.

One point I will note about AP Art History is that communication between students is greatly based on the students' willingness to participate. AP Art History does not require posting on the online message boards so that many students simply choose not to or to do so less. This doesn't mean that there is no communication between students though, I did communicate with a number of my fellow classmates over the year, with both art related discussion and simple friendly chat. There were also group study sessions facilitated by Mrs. Lanctot at the end of the year before the AP test using the AOL Instant Messenger service, these were highly educational as well as enjoyable. I don't think that the minimized level of communication greatly hindered learning though and many of the students were friendly and willing to help out as they could if you asked.

Again I say that AP Art History requires a great deal of work and you should know that going into the course. It is far from impossible, but enough to keep this course highly challenging. There is a great deal that you will be asked to learn and memorize. The more effort you put into your assignments and study, the more you'll take out in understanding and the more you'll be prepared for the AP test. A student that already has an interesting in history, art or both would probably take the most enjoyment from the course, but I don't think either quality is entirely necessary. Also, if you are hesitant to take this course because you do not have any history with art going into it, you need not worry as I don't believe you need this to do well in the course (I personally had nothing more then a passive enjoyment of seeing art going into the course and did not struggle because of that). I believe I would recommend this course to any student provided that they realize that it will require a great deal of work and dedication. Having completed the course and now waiting with confidence for my grades to arrive, I can easily say that I don't regret the time and effort this course has required. In fact, I am very glad I took AP Art History this year.

AP Art History Review by Jessica LeClair, June 06 2005 at 05:45:07

This is a truly excellent course! Mary Lanctot is a wonderful and enthusiastic teacher. She possesses an obvious love for art that spills over into her students. The amount of material seemed overwhelming and daunting at first, but through Mary’s encouragement and guidance, it became a joy to open my textbook every morning. Unlike in other courses I have taken, where the material seemed to disappear from my mind shortly after I took my final, I have been delighted on numerous occasions to realize how much I internalized from this course. Mary not only planted many priceless seeds of knowledge in my mind, but also fostered in me a love for art and its history. Every interaction I had with Mary was enjoyable and constructive. She is incredibly accessible, at times answering my questions sent to her in e-mails with a lengthy and thoughtful response in less than an hour.

This course requires a fair amount of independence and personal discipline. Mary has a deadline system, that I personally appreciated, but is not for everyone. All work, except for a handle of papers, is assigned at the beginning of the week and due on Friday. While this affords an aspect of flexibility and freedom, it is easy to fall behind, and leave too much work for the final few days of the week. Also, while Mary sets and announces deadlines, she will not be your parent and constantly follow up to make sure you are on target. She will post a message that alerts individuals to what work they need to complete and how late it already is, but overall she expects you to responsible and manage your time wisely.

This course is not for students who aren’t willing to apply themselves and put in a substantial effort. While during most of the year, I put in about 10-12 hours a week, as the exam approached I spent about 3-3.5 hours a day studying. There is a lot of memorization required! The course prepared me well for the exam, however, since AP Art History is less mainstream than other subject areas there are very few studying materials. It is pretty much up to the student (with help from Mary) to put together their own study plan by assembling various books, memorization aids, and other resources. This course is well suited to an organized, self-motivated student. Some people I have recommended this course to, have wondered whether a background in world history is required to excel in this course. An extensive knowledge of world events throughout history is definitely not required to do well in this course. A very general understanding of the major events in history, like World War I, World War II and the Holocaust, is sufficient.

The only element of this course that disappointed me was the lack of message board interaction between fellow students. Our online boards were pretty dead. Sometimes, it would be over a month between postings. One reason for this lack of interest in posting messages may have been that many of the students in the course were seniors, and busy with college preparation. Through the guided interactions I had with other students, like essay critiquing, thought provoking Discussion Questions, and other exercises, I found my classmates to be engaging and interesting. I don’t think my experience or the course suffered significantly from this lack of interaction. Overall, this was probably the most enjoyable and fulfilling course I have ever taken. I would highly recommend it to all!