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Recording Audio

Important Updates

In early April, AP coordinators at schools that ordered Music Theory exams will receive notification that the Digital Audio Capture (DAC) app is available for download. See the DAC updates and new resources below.

For more information and resources to help plan your school's audio recording process for 2017 AP Exams, visit Preparing for Digital Recording and Online Submission in 2017.

The AP Music Theory Exam and AP French, German, Italian, and Spanish Language and Culture Exams require students to record portions of the exam. There are several ways for recordings to be made and provided to the College Board.

Recording Student Responses Using a Computer

The scripts for the AP French, German, Italian, and Spanish Language and Culture Exams and the AP Music Theory Exam in the AP Exam Instructions book include instructions for recording on a computer with MP3 software.

You may want to record MP3 files using the software program Audacity®.

Audacity is a free software product for PC or Mac that can be used to record audio from a computer sound card to hard disk in MP3 file format. This is not an AP Program or ETS endorsement of this product. If you experience any problems during the installation or configuration of the Audacity software product only, technical assistance is available between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. ET, Monday through Friday. Your school staff may email AP-MP3Recordertech@ets.org or call 609-406-5677 for assistance during these hours.

Use of this software is subject to the license agreement contained in the .zip file package.

Recording Student Responses Using Handheld Digital Recorders

The AP Music Theory Exam and AP French, German, Italian, and Spanish Language and Culture Exams allow the use of handheld digital recorders, also known as digital audio recorders or digital voice recorders. These devices record musical performances and speech as digital files which can be transferred from the device via a USB cable, removable storage media (e.g., an SD card), or WiFi connection.

Many brands and models of handheld digital recorders are suitable for students’ audio responses. AP requires that the device meet all five criteria to be used for the final exam.

Digital Recorder Requirements

1. OwnershipThe device MUST be school or district owned or controlled; student-owned devices are prohibited.
2. Digital Recording FormatThe device MUST be capable of saving the recorded audio as an MP3 formatted digital file. No other audio file format is acceptable (e.g. WAV, WMA or AAC).
3. File TransferThe device MUST include a means to move or copy digital files from the device to an external computer or the internet. Most devices do so via a USB cable, WiFi or removable media (SD card) — either is acceptable.

What Must Be Disabled

4. If a device includes features for taking pictures or video such as a built in camera or webcam, the camera or webcam MUST be disabled.

5. If a device includes features for wireless communication over a network — including cellular, Bluetooth or WiFi — the communication capability MUST be disabled.

Administration Options

If necessary, to accommodate a large number of exam takers, the device may be reused to record more than one student’s response. When reusing devices, each student’s responses must be saved as a separate, single MP3 file.

Technical Assistance

Technical assistance is available between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. ET, Monday through Friday to answer questions related to handheld digital recorders. Email AP-MP3Recordertech@ets.org or call 609-406-5677 for assistance during these hours.

Recording Student Responses Using a Digital Language Lab

Digital language labs feature a teacher-controlled console connected to one or more student stations or headsets. They allow teachers to play back or broadcast audio and listen to and control the recording of student oral responses. Digital language labs use computer and computer networks to manage the playback, monitoring, and recording.

In an AP exam setting, digital language labs can be an effective method to record spoken student responses. The master listening CD can be loaded into the central console or computer and played back to students over headsets. The recording process is typically proctor controlled — starting, pausing, and stopping recording for all students. No student actions are required.

The scripts for the AP French, German, Italian, and Spanish Language and Culture Exams and the AP Music Theory Exam in the AP Exam Instructions book include instructions for recording using a digital language lab.

Necessary equipment

A variety of digital language lab options are available at various price points. If considering purchasing a digital language lab for your school, be sure to confirm that the system supports AP testing and recording Section II Part B spoken student responses. To do so, the system must output a single audio file (in MP3 format) for each student that contains a spoken AP number and both student audio responses. In addition, the room configuration (including student spacing) must conform to the requirements in the AP Coordinators manual.

The AP Program does not endorse brands or models of digital language labs. Please consult with the language department chair and IT personnel at your school or district to determine the best fit.

Recording Student Responses Using the DAC App Running on iPad® Tablets—AP Music Theory Only

In 2017, for AP Music Theory only, schools can use a new recording option—the Digital Audio Capture, or DAC, App—to record students’ sight-singing responses. The DAC App runs on iPad tablets and simplifies the sight-singing recording and upload process.

DAC App now available for download and practice

If your school ordered AP Music Theory exams and is planning to use the DAC App to record students’ sight-singing responses, you may download the app onto the iPads to be used for exam administration, as well as use the app for practice before exam day.

To download the DAC app, go to Apple® App Store® and search for DAC App. (You may also search for the terms: Educational Testing Service OR Education DAC App.)


To practice before exam day:

  • Refer to Section 5: Practice Before Exam Day in the AP Digital Audio Capture (DAC) App Overview for a practice activation key, a sample orange booklet cover (which includes AP Number and Item Number barcodes to use for practice), and a sample proctor code.
  • Important: As noted on page 21 in the Overview, to launch the app for practice only you must use the activation key: PRACTICE
    (This is different from the activation key that AP coordinators will receive in order to launch the app on exam day)

To practice recording a full Music Theory sight-singing section, visit the course home page to access released sight singing content on AP Central.

Using the DAC App

  • Install the DAC app on iPad models that will be used during the exam administration (see Technical Requirements)
  • Following the proctor script for Section II, Part B: Sight Singing (with DAC App) in the AP Exam Instructions to use the DAC app to record students' sight-singing responses on exam day.
  • The DAC app correctly names students' files and directly uploads them to the Digital Audio Submission (DAS) portal.
  • The AP coordinator or other authorized staff person logs in to the DAS portal from a computer connected to the Internet after the exam administration to submit the files for scoring.

Technical Requirements

  • The DAC app is for use on school-owned and controlled iPad tablets running iOS version 9.3.2 or higher.
  • Supported models are: iPad® 2/3/4, iPad Air®, iPad mini, and iPad Pro. (Android and ChromeOS operating systems are not supported in 2017 and cannot be used.)
  • The iPads used during the AP Music Theory exam administration must be school-owned and controlled, must remain in the school at all times, and must not be assigned or issued to specific students.
  • Schools may not use iPhones® or student-owned or controlled devices.
  • There must be a WiFi connection in the testing room, in order to upload files directly to the DAS portal.
  • The iPad must have a minimum of 20MB of storage space available for the app.

Questions may be sent to digitalaudio@collegeboard.org.

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