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Recording Audio

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

FeatureRequirement
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.

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