Music Theory

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Submission process

All sight-singing responses must be recorded digitally in MP3 format and submitted online using the Digital Audio Submission (DAS) portal. This new process replaces response cassette tapes and response CDs submission. Visit our page on Submitting Audio for information on how to submit student responses.

Ordering materials

Each school's order for the AP Music Theory Exam contains one master listening and one master sight-singing CD. Some schools administer the sight-singing section of the exam in multiple locations. If you plan to do this, order enough master sight-singing CDs to have one in each location. You can order additional master CDs when you place your AP Exam order online.

Visit AP Exam Ordering to order your CDs and AP Exams online.

Exam room setup

Written Part: The music room or a regular classroom can be used for the written part of the exam. Make sure students seated in any part of the room can clearly hear the music played on the equipment that will be used during the administration. If a language lab is used for this part, the music must be broadcast through external speakers. Students must not listen to the music through headphones. If your school does not have an appropriate exam room, consider using another facility.

Sight-singing part: The sight-singing part of the exam must be administered to one student at a time in a room where the student can both practice and perform in isolation from other students. The room may be a classroom, a small office, or any other comfortable enclosed space where the appropriate equipment can be set up and where the student cannot be distracted or heard by the other students. The student and the exam proctor should be the only ones in this recording room during testing. Because students are performing one at a time, if you are testing more than 10 students it is recommended that you set up another exam room for each additional five students. You will need to order one extra master sight-singing CD for each additional room.

Necessary equipment

  • CD player: You will need a high-quality CD player with speakers to play the master listening and sight-singing CDs.
  • Recording devices/equipment: You will need a digital audio recording device or equipment to record student responses at each exam room. You can use computers with recording software and microphone, handheld digital recording devices, language lab with supporting equipment (microphone), or the Digital Audio Capture app running on iPad tablets (new for 2017 AP Music Theory exams only). Visit Recording Audio and Submitting Audio for information on recording options.

Exam preparation

Take these steps to prepare for the recording portion of the AP Music Theory Exam:

  • Determine the digital recording technology that students will use to record their responses (in MP3 format) for the sight-singing portion of the exams.
  • Hold several practice recording sessions so that you, teachers, proctors, students, and technical staff (if applicable) gain a full understanding of the process.
  • Encourage AP teachers to practice recording student responses using the method that will be used on exam day.
  • Make sure that students have the opportunity to practice with released free-response questions and short-answer questions in the course and exam descriptions and the teacher-accessible practice exams on the AP Course Audit website.
  • Have proctors practice saving and naming MP3 files before the exam administration.
  • Give proctors a way to cross-reference students' AP numbers to ensure that the proper number is used when they name and save the MP3 files.
  • Remind proctors that they will need to check all students' MP3 files to make sure the files can be played and the audio level of each file is adequate.
  • Work with your school's administration to establish a quiet testing environment. Refrain from using bells and making PA announcements during testing, if possible, and ensure that proctors do not converse with other staff during the exam.

Reference materials