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The AP Music Theory Exam

Important Updates

New Exam for Classroom Use

A secure 2016 AP Music Theory Exam is now 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

Beginning with the spring 2017 AP Exams, 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 cassette tape and CD submission.

Exam Day 2017

Mon, May 8, 8 a.m.

Exam Duration

2 hours, 40 minutes

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.

Access online score reports for your students.

Exam Format



Exam Questions and Scoring Information

Looking for sample multiple-choice and free-response questions? You can find them in:

The Course Description (.pdf/958KB), which has everything you need to know about the course and exam.


Secure exams for classroom use, available on the AP Course Audit website. Log in to your account and then click on the Secure Documents link within the Resources section of your Course Status page.


The Past Exam Questions page, which features free-response questions and scoring information for exams given before 2003.


The Student Performance Q&A. 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.


Comparing AP Music Theory Subscore Grades with the Composite Grade, which provides an explanation of subscores.

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

 



2016: Free-Response Questions
Questions Scoring Samples and Commentary Score Distributions

Theory Questions

Scoring Guidelines

Student Performance Q&A

Scoring Statistics

Sample Responses Q1

Sample Responses Q2

Sample Responses Q3

Sample Responses Q4

Sample Responses Q5

Sample Responses Q6

Sample Responses Q7

Score Distributions

Sight-Singing Questions

Sight-Singing Scoring Guidelines

Sight-Singing Commentary Q1

Sight-Singing Commentary Q2

Sight-Singing Samples

 

Theory Audio Prompts

     
2015: Free-Response Questions
Questions Scoring Samples and Commentary Score Distributions

Theory Questions

Scoring Guidelines

Student Performance Q&A

Scoring Statistics

Sample Responses Q1

Sample Responses Q2

Sample Responses Q3

Sample Responses Q4

Sample Responses Q5

Sample Responses Q6

Sample Responses Q7

Score Distributions

Sight-Singing Questions

Sight-Singing Scoring Guidelines

Sight-Singing Commentary Q1

Sight-Singing Commentary Q2

Sight-Singing Samples

 

Theory Audio Prompts

2014: Free-Response Questions
Questions Scoring Samples and Commentary Score Distributions

Theory Questions

Scoring Guidelines

Student Performance Q&A

Scoring Statistics

Sample Responses Q1

Sample Responses Q2

Sample Responses Q3

Sample Responses Q4

Sample Responses Q5

Sample Responses Q6

Sample Responses Q7

Score Distributions

Sight-Singing Questions

Sight-Singing Scoring Guidelines

Sight-Singing Commentary Q1

Sight-Singing Commentary Q2

Sight-Singing Samples

 

Theory Audio Prompts

2013: Free-Response Questions
Questions Scoring Samples and Commentary Score Distributions

Theory Questions

Scoring Guidelines

Student Performance Q&A

Scoring Statistics

Sample Responses Q1

Sample Responses Q2

Sample Responses Q3

Sample Responses Q4

Sample Responses Q5

Sample Responses Q6

Sample Responses Q7

Score Distributions

Sight-Singing Questions

Sight-Singing Scoring Guidelines

Sight-Singing Commentary Q1

Sight-Singing Commentary Q2

Sight-Singing Samples

 

Theory Audio Prompts

2012: Free-Response Questions
Questions Scoring Samples and Commentary Score Distributions

Theory Questions

Scoring Guidelines

Student Performance Q&A

Scoring Statistics

Sample Responses Q1

Sample Responses Q2

Sample Responses Q3

Sample Responses Q4

Sample Responses Q5

Sample Responses Q6

Sample Responses Q7

Score Distributions

Sight-Singing Questions

Sight-Singing Scoring Guidelines

Sight-Singing Commentary Q1

Sight-Singing Commentary Q2

Sight-Singing Samples

 

Theory Audio Prompts

2011: Free-Response Questions
Questions Scoring Samples and Commentary Score Distributions

Theory Questions

Scoring Guidelines

Student Performance Q&A

Scoring Statistics

Sample Responses Q1

Sample Responses Q2

Sample Responses Q3

Sample Responses Q4

Sample Responses Q5

Sample Responses Q6

Sample Responses Q7

Score Distributions

Sight-Singing Questions

Sight-Singing Scoring Guidelines

Sight-Singing Commentary Q1

Sight-Singing Commentary Q2

Sight-Singing Samples

 

Theory Audio Prompts

2010: Free-Response Questions
Questions Scoring Samples and Commentary Score Distributions

Theory Questions

Scoring Guidelines

Student Performance Q&A

Scoring Statistics

Sample Responses Q1

Sample Responses Q2

Sample Responses Q3

Sample Responses Q4

Sample Responses Q5

Sample Responses Q6

Sample Responses Q7

Score Distributions

Sight-Singing Questions

Sight-Singing Scoring Guidelines

Sight-Singing Commentary Q1

Sight-Singing Commentary Q2

Sight-Singing Samples

Theory Audio Prompts

2009: Free-Response Questions
Questions Scoring Samples and Commentary Grade Distributions

Theory Questions

Scoring Guidelines

Student Performance Q&A

Scoring Statistics

Sample Responses Q1

Sample Responses Q2

Sample Responses Q3

Sample Responses Q4

Sample Responses Q5

Sample Responses Q6

Sample Responses Q7

Grade Distributions

Sight-Singing Questions

Sight-Singing Scoring Guidelines

Sight-Singing Commentary Q1

Sight-Singing Commentary Q2

Sight-Singing Samples

Theory Audio Prompts

2008: Free-Response Questions
Questions Scoring Samples and Commentary Grade Distributions

Theory Questions

Scoring Guidelines

Student Performance Q&A

Scoring Statistics

Sample Responses Q1

Sample Responses Q2

Sample Responses Q3

Sample Responses Q4

Sample Responses Q5

Sample Responses Q6

Sample Responses Q7

Grade Distributions

Sight-Singing Questions

Sight-Singing Scoring Guidelines

Sight-Singing Commentary Q1 

Sight-Singing Commentary Q2

Sight-Singing Samples

Theory Audio Prompts

2007: Free-Response Questions
Questions Scoring Samples and Commentary Grade Distributions

Theory Questions

Scoring Guidelines

Student Performance Q&A

Scoring Statistics

Sample Responses Q1

Sample Responses Q2

Sample Responses Q3

Sample Responses Q4

Sample Responses Q5

Sample Responses Q6

Sample Responses Q7

Grade Distributions

Sight-Singing Questions

Sight-Singing Scoring Guidelines

Sight-Singing Commentary Q1

Sight-Singing Commentary Q2

Sight-Singing Samples

Theory Audio Prompts

     
2006: Free-Response Questions
Questions Scoring Samples and Commentary Grade Distributions

Theory Questions

Theory Scoring Guidelines

Student Performance Q&A

Scoring Statistics

Sample Responses Q1

Sample Responses Q2

Sample Responses Q3

Sample Responses Q4

Sample Responses Q5

Sample Responses Q6

Sample Responses Q7

Grade Distributions

Sight-Singing Questions

Sight-Singing Scoring Guidelines

Sight-Singing Samples Q1

Sight-Singing Samples Q2

Audio Samples

 

Theory Audio Prompts

2005: Free-Response Questions
Questions Scoring Samples Grade Distributions

Theory Questions

Theory Scoring Guidelines

Scoring Commentary

Student Performance Q&A

Scoring Statistics

Sample Responses

Grade Distributions

Sight-Singing Questions

Sight-Singing Scoring Guidelines

Music Theory Audio Samples: 2005

 

Theory Audio Prompts

     
2004: Free-Response Questions
Questions Scoring Samples Grade Distributions

Theory Questions

Theory Scoring Guidelines

Scoring Commentary

Student Performance Q&A

Scoring Statistics

Sample Responses Q1

Sample Responses Q2

Sample Responses Q3

Sample Responses Q4

Sample Responses Q5

Sample Responses Q6

Sample Responses Q7

Grade Distributions

Sight-Singing Questions

Sight-Singing Scoring Guidelines

Music Theory Audio Samples: 2004

 

Theory Audio Prompts

     
2003: Free-Response Questions
Questions Scoring Samples Grade Distributions

Theory Questions

Theory Scoring Guidelines

Scoring Commentary

Student Performance Q&A

Scoring Statistics

Sample Responses Q1

Sample Responses Q2

Sample Responses Q3

Sample Responses Q4

Sample Responses Q5

Sample Responses Q6

Sample Responses Q7

Grade Distributions

Sight-Singing Questions

Sight-Singing Scoring Guidelines

Music Theory Audio Samples: 2003

 

Theory Audio Prompts

     

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