The exam has two parts — multiple choice and free response. The multiple choice section is worth 45% and the free response section is worth 55% of the final exam grade.

Section I: Multiple Choice — approximately 75 questions; about 80 minutes; 45% of the exam score

There are two types of multiple choice questions on the exam:

  • Aural stimulus questions test your listening skill and knowledge about theory largely in the context of examples from actual literature. Some questions will cover aural skills, including melodic dictation and identification of isolated pitch and rhythmic patterns while others may test your skill in score analysis.
  • Non-aural stimulus questions emphasize knowledge of score analysis, including small-scale and large-scale harmonic procedures; melodic organization and developmental procedures; rhythmic/metric organization; texture; and formal devices and/or procedures. You may also see questions about musical terminology, notational skills, and basic compositional skills.

Total scores on the multiple-choice section are based on the number of questions answered correctly. Points are not deducted for incorrect answers and no points are awarded for unanswered questions.

Section II: Free Response — 7 written questions and 2 sight-singing exercises

Written Portion - 45% of exam score; about 70 minutes:

  • 2 questions on melodic dictation
  • 2 questions on harmonic dictation
  • 1 question on part-writing from figured bass
  • 1 question on part-writing from Roman numerals
  • 1 question on composition of a bass line

Sight-Singing Portion - 10% of exam score; about 10 minutes:

  • Sing and record two brief, primarily diatonic melodies (of about four to eight bars)
  • You will have 75 seconds to examine and practice each melody and 30 seconds to perform it
  • You may sing the melody beginning with the given starting pitch or another pitch in a range that is more comfortable.


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