‘Originality is the essence of true scholarship. Creativity is the soul of the true scholar’ – Nnamdi Azikiwe.

Art History Scholarship
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NCEA Scholarships celebrate the hard work of the top students across New Zealand with recognition and monetary rewards. Guess what? That could be you!

Art History can open a huge number of doors for you, including degrees or careers in film and media, marketing, journalism, communications, history, Māori Studies, Pacific Studies, writing, researching, curating, exhibition management, working in galleries around the world, arts administration management, design, teaching, museum management, conversation science, art publishing, tourism, auctioneering or even law, tourism, and business management. The world really is your blank canvas. And an Art History Scholarship is the perfect splash of colour to start your masterpiece.

So, if you want to give that sweet, sweet scholarship your best shot, well done on finding this article, because you are already off to a flying ‘art’. Or rather, start. We break down the structure of your exam paper by section, and add in a few helpful bonus tips so that you are in the best position to achieve the results you’re after in every question. We then discuss the importance of past exams, followed by a brief summary of what we have covered, as well as where to find extra help if you need it.

First thing's first. If you want to do a quick recap of NCEA Art History in general before smashing that scholarship study, check out our help on external revision here. That aside, let's get started.

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NCEA Art History Exam

Similarly to NCEA Level 3 Art History, the 93301 Art History Scholarship Performance Standard is a written exam that is broken down into three main sections.

NCEA Art History Revision
Your exam is broken down into three sections. Image by Unsplash

In the first section, Section A, you will be mainly examined on aspects or elements of art. You just need to answer one of the three questions here. Try to pick three artworks to discuss in your answer. This will really give you the opportunity to showcase the extent of your knowledge at the comprehensive level that your markers are looking for.

Section B focuses more on the broader issues surrounding art history. Again, you will just be answering one of the three questions here. Be sure to emphasize the importance of art history in relation to these issues, as opposed to just honing in on the issues themselves. You can put yourself one step ahead of the rest by remembering to streamline your answers so that you only include information that is directly relevant to your question. Yes, that means no going off on tangents! Markers are also looking for accuracy in details here, so ‘brush’ (hah, get it) up on your facts beforehand to make sure that all your details are in check. Flashcards can help during revision here, or even read your ideas out loud and record them as an audio file on your phone, so you can listen and learn while you walk the dog. Or cat. Go the extra mile by explaining why you chose these artworks and exploring what relevance do they have to the question. Remember to be as comprehensive as possible, as one way you can really score points is on the depth of your visual analysis here.

Section C is where you really get to show off your critical analysis skills of a given text. Let’s break this down. First, we state our idea. Then, we explain it (again, the deeper we get, the better). Lastly, we once again include references to specific artworks to really back ourselves and discuss how these ideas are shown in the artworks. Bonus points if you frequently refer to the text throughout your answer to add that additional cohesiveness. And just like in Sections A and B, always be as accurate with the stating of your ideas and analysis of the text as you can. A lot of students unfortunately overly emphasize the ideas themselves and neglect how art history actually relates to these ideas here. But you aren’t like that. You’re reading this article. So, you know that the best way to tackle this question is to really focus on how art history influences, is influenced by, or even questions these key ideas. Always, always remember to back yourself by explaining how these ideas and art history influences are illustrated in your chosen artworks. Include a range of ideas and artworks here so you can get that level of comprehension going in your discussion and you are on a winning streak.

NCEA Art History Revision 

NCEA Art History Level 3
Learn how to set yourself up for success. Image by Unsplash

To really amp up your chance of sussing that beautiful scholarship during your revision, try the following (bonus points if you try these out on practice exams before exam day, but more on that later):

Sounds self-explanatory, but when you get into the exam, have a read of all the questions and pick the one you honestly feel you can answer best. Break this question down, and structure your answer to ensure that you address each part of this question. To do this, it could be a good idea to underline or highlight each keyword of the question. You can then spend the first couple of minutes jotting down a rough structure of your answer to ensure you address each part of the question. This structure can include your key points, while they are still fresh in your mind as soon as you start the exam.

It can be tempting to write and memorize an essay beforehand and try to fit it into the questions on the day. However, you don’t want to be stuck if there are no suitable questions for you to answer! Your markers want to see that you can specifically answer the tailored question at hand. Therefore, it could serve you better to focus more on understanding the subject matter and your artworks in more depth, and hammer out a variety of practice exams before so that you really can make like an All Black and tackle whatever (question) comes your way.

Once you have picked your question and structured your answer, keep your argument relevant by staying focused on the question at hand throughout your work. What are you arguing to answer that question? Your job is to show the marker what you are arguing and why you are RIGHT. How are you developing your argument so that each idea logically builds on the next? As always, integrate a range of artworks in your answers that you know well, so you will be able to perform a comprehensive visual analysis of each of them and show that you really know your stuff. Keep in mind, markers are looking for variation in the selected artworks here. You’ll have even more of an advantage if your selected artworks are relevant to your question. Try not to repeat information from each section in another section!

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Going Above and Beyond

To really boost your chance of success, markers want to see perceptive, insightful, reflective comments that are original. Think outside of the box. Deepen your explanations. What, why, who, how, where are all good guidance frameworks, as long as the answers remain relevant to your question. We want to see clear arguments articulated confidently and maturely. Markers are really looking for critical analysis as well as extensive knowledge and understanding of both the subject material and selected artworks in your Art History NCEA exam. Provide well-integrated answers by linking one section to the next, as you develop the logic and flow of your argument.

Check out what markers are looking for to grant you an NCEA Art History Scholarship!

Past Exams 

NCEA Art History Past Exams
Past exams boost your confidence on the day. Image by Unsplash

If you really want to boost your confidence before your exam, put your knowledge to the test and refine your skills through practice exams! This is the perfect opportunity to learn the questions that work for you, and even the ones that don’t, rather than stressing out on the exam day! You can also build your ability to develop arguments, as well as strengthen your understanding of (and test your memory on) your reference artworks. It really is one of the best things you can do! If you're not sure where to get started with these, you can always check out our Art History study guide.

You can find practice exams for each year by clicking ‘Art History resources’, or scrolling all the way to the bottom. For scholarship-specific resources, we've got you sorted as well.

Art History NCEA Exam Summary

  • State ideas, explain ideas, and provide evidence through artworks
  • Include a range of artworks
  • Answer all parts of the question
  • Convince the marker of your argument
  • Be comprehensive, as long as you stay relevant
  • Perceptive insights argued confidently and maturely put you one step ahead of the rest

Whether you are in NCEA Level 1 Art History, NCEA Level 2, or NCEA Level 3 and you need help getting a better understanding of your subject material, how to structure your answers for your NCEA Art History exam, or if you just want to know if you are on the right path, we at SuperProf are here to help. Ranking among New Zealand’s top 10 tutoring services, we harness online technology to deliver you world class education in the comfort of your own home. Perfect for these times. Choose from our selection of highly qualified, friendly tutors who are here to guide you through this process.

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