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Important Updates

Secure Exam for Classroom Use
A secure 2016 AP Music Theory Exam is available on the AP Course Audit website. To access, sign in to your AP Course Audit account, and click on the Secure Documents link in the Resources section of your Course Status page.

Digital Audio Submission
The DAS portal is now available for 2018 account setup. Visit Submitting Audio for more information about the DAS portal.

Digital Audio Capture (DAC) App
The Digital Audio Capture (DAC) app is now available as a recording option for AP French, German, Italian, and Spanish Language and Culture Exams, in addition to AP Music Theory Exams. The DAC app is now available to be downloaded and run on iPads.

  • Event
    • Mon, May 14, 2018

    AP Music Theory Exam Day 2018

    • 8 a.m. | 2 hrs 40 mins

Exam Overview

The AP Music Theory Exam evaluates students' understanding of musical structure and compositional procedures through recorded and notated examples. Listening skills are emphasized, particularly those involving recognition and comprehension of melodic and rhythmic patterns, harmonic functions, small forms, and compositional techniques. Most of the musical examples are from standard repertoire; some examples of contemporary, jazz, vernacular music, or music beyond the Western tradition are included.

The exam requires fluency in reading musical notation and a strong grounding in music fundamentals, terminology, and analysis.

Encourage your students to visit the AP Music Theory student page for exam information and exam practice.

Exam Format

Section I

Multiple Choice — 75 Questions | ~1 Hour, 20 Minutes | 45% of Exam Score

  • Questions based on recorded excerpts of music
  • Questions based on analysis of printed music scores

Section II

Free Response — 9 Exercises | ~1 Hour, 20 Minutes | 55% of Exam Score

  • Melodic and harmonic dictation
  • Part writing from Roman numerals and figured bass
  • Composition of a bass line/harmonization of a melody
  • Sight singing

Exam Questions and Scoring Information

For free-response questions from prior exams, along with scoring information, check out the tables below.

Be sure to review the Chief Reader Report. In this invaluable resource, the Chief Reader of the AP Exam compiles feedback from members of the reading leadership to describe how students performed on the FRQs, summarize typical student errors, and address specific concepts and content with which students have struggled the most that year.

2018: Free-Response Questions
Questions Scoring Samples and Commentary Score Distributions

Theory Questions


Sight-Singing Questions


Theory Audio Prompts

1999: Free-Response Questions
Questions Scoring Samples

Theory Questions

Theory Scoring Guidelines


Sight-Singing Scoring Guidelines


Exam Resources