Who doesn’t love a fast and effective way to smash out your study and get the best grades possible? Whether you are a seasoned NCEA Level 3 Art History student or this is your first rodeo in NCEA Art History Level 1, you are in the right place. Today, we are going to let you into the tips, tricks, and top secrets (shh) on how to harness past papers to excel in your NCEA Art History exams.

NCEA Art History Past Exams
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NCEA Art History Exams

We get it, it can be tempting to revise notes over and over, but for NCEA Art History, in particular, past papers may just be the way to go. Many students spend a lot of time trying to memorize notes, or even writing out entire essays and committing them to memory, in the hopes that this will be one of the exam questions. While these techniques both have their place – especially if they work for you – it can be challenging to recall all of this word for word when you’re under already pressure in the exam room. But fear not, Art History revision doesn’t have to be such a ‘pain’t.

Markers are often looking for your ability to answer specific questions on the day. This can be a bit tricky if you have already preprepared answers, but none of them really fit the questions available. It can also be challenging if you haven’t practiced articulating what you have learned this year into convincing, ‘kick art’ answers. Going over practice exams can help you learn what types of questions may come up, and what questions work for you, (as well as what questions don’t!), especially if you get to select which questions you answer. More on this later.

NCEA Art History Revision

Before we get into what will likely come up in these practice exam papers, let’s go through how to best set yourself up to get practicing in the first place! First, we do recommend going through what you have studied through the year that may be examinable. A read-through of material while making sure you understand it is fine, or you may want to make summary notes, flashcards, or record yourself reading these out on your phone and play these back to yourself so you can absorb them while you head out on walks – whatever works for you. Before we get into what exactly is covered in these past exams, let’s go through some ways in which you can make the most of them first. Our Art History study guide goes into this in more detail.

Going through annotated examples can give you the perfect idea of the level of work your markers are looking for. The more you read, the more you’ll start to absorb when it comes time for you to start writing! Then, why not go through a couple – possibly the past exams from later years – and have a go at them while looking over your notes and the annotated exemplars – particularly in Merit and Excellence.

Finally, if you really want to be prepared the best you can, try to replicate exam conditions. Find a quieter space if you can, put your notes away, set a timer on your phone, and answer the recent past exams as if you were doing them on the day. If you want extra points, go feel free to read each past exam once you’re done as you would if you were a marker. What did you do well? What could you do better? These past exams you have written could be the perfect study scripts to read over before you do go in to ace that Art History exam. Practicing with a wide range of questions will help you be better prepared for whatever may come up in your exam as well.

We go through a brief recap for NCEA Level 1, NCEA Level 2, and NCEA Level 3 below, but if you need more help with revision for internals, externals, or scholarships - as to be expected, we got you.

NCEA Art History Past Exams
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NCEA Level 1 Art History

Feeling a little nervous about your first time sitting a round of NCEA exams and your NCEA Art History revision? You can breathe a sigh of relief because here we start off nice and easy with one paper (yay!). Not only that, but most students do quite well and so can you! For this paper, you are encouraged to write about 550 – 600 words. That’s about 3 – 4 pages. Start practicing with this length in mind. For assessment standard 91015, you will have to showcase your understanding of formal artwork elements, using art terminology. For Excellence, make sure you integrate plenty of art terminology throughout your paper. It may be a good idea to highlight or underline the number of times you mention art terminology in your practice papers so that you get into the habit of using them frequently. Just make sure that is art terminology is relevant and that you do understand it well! Students who score excellence tend to write a comprehensive description of two formal elements, as well as of course strengthening all their claims with evidence from artworks.

NCEA Level 1 Art History
Remember to include plenty of relevant art terminology. Image by Unsplash

NCEA Level 2 Art History

Kicking it up a notch, now we tackle three exam papers. Don’t worry, that’s what we’re here to help you with. Practicing past papers with a timer can help you suss out how much time you would like to dedicate to each paper so that you stay well within the timeframe. Try to stick to the word limit of 750 – 800 words (or 4 – 5 pages) per paper. It may be tempting to go over this, but remember, you are marked on quality over quantity. Let’s check out how to do well in each paper now.

For 91180 where you examine the effects of formal elements in artworks, thoroughly answer each part of the exam question, and remain focused on this question throughout your answer. Basically, you need to make some deep connections between artworks and formal elements. Of course, plenty of visual analysis from your artworks is needed to support all the thorough explaining you’ll be doing. If you can work it so that this evidence leads to perceptive conclusions, even better. Integrate that art terminology throughout, and as we said in Level 1, if you aren’t sure if you’re using enough art terminology, go through and highlight all these terms once you have done a practice paper or two and you’ll get a visual guide. A visual guide of your own practice paper, a masterpiece in its own right, Art History inception, woah. Again, make sure that is art terminology is relevant and you do understand it well!

For 91181 where you examine meanings conveyed by artworks, aim for Excellence by showcasing an in-depth understanding and interpretation of meanings, as well as the significance of these meanings in relation to wider contexts. Remember that the artworks you select should be suitable for you to draw original insights between artworks and meanings. Try to allocate a roughly even amount of explanation to each piece of evidence you include and again, plenty of art terminology throughout.

For 91182, where you examine the influence of contexts on artworks, markers want to see the extent of both your understanding and interpretation of both contexts, as well as any relevant influences of these contexts. Choose suitable, and if you can, diverse artworks that allow you to draw insightful discussion. As always, get that art terminology worked in.

NCEA Art History Level 2
Comprehensive visual analysis is key. Image by Unsplash

NCEA Level 3 Art History

Level 3, we almost made it! For 91482 where you demonstrate understanding of style in artworks, make sure you answer both Part A and B of the question as in-depth as you can. Demonstrate a comprehensive and perceptive understanding of how the environment in which the artist was in (the contextual factors) influenced stylistic characteristics of the art. In 91483 where you examine how meanings are communicated through artworks, make sure in the practice exams that you are choosing artworks that are suitable to the question at hand, and that you are able to link these features to the relevant meanings and contexts. For those extra brownie points, you can also explain why the meanings are important to wider art history and contextual influences as well. When you conclude your answer, really evaluate your argument, as opposed to just summarizing what you have said above. Finally, we need the arguments for both artworks to be equally as compelling as each other. Here is where past exam papers come in especially useful. You can check beforehand whether these are roughly equal in length or some work is needed here.

91484 allows you to examine relationships between art and context. Markers are looking for in-depth understanding with insightful commentary here, with relevant evidence from your chosen artworks. You’re well on your way if you can describe a range of relationships between these artworks and the context comprehensively. For these papers, try to stick to 800-900 words or 5-6 pages per standard.

NCEA Level 3 Art History
In-depth commentary and you're on a winning streak. Image by Unsplash

Extra Help

If you need extra support, especially getting back into things after lockdown, Superprofs are here to help with your Art History NCEA exam. Choose from our team of highly qualified, awesome friendly Art History tutors. We can work through practice exams together, and help you make sure that you are on the right track to tackling them successfully.

 

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