The AP Music Theory Exam tests your understanding of musical structure and compositional procedures through recorded and notated examples. Strong emphasis is given to listening skills, particularly those involving recognition and comprehension of melodic and rhythmic patterns, harmonic functions, small forms, and compositional techniques. Most of the musical examples are taken from standard repertoire, although some examples of contemporary, jazz, or vernacular music, or music beyond the Western tradition are included for testing basic concepts. The examination assumes fluency in reading musical notation and a strong grounding in music fundamentals, terminology, and analysis.

The AP Music Theory Exam has two parts – multiple choice questions and free response questions.

The multiple choice section contains 75 questions and is approximately 80 minutes long, dealing with either aural or non-aural stimulus. The free response section contains 7 written questions dealing with dictation, part writing, and composition (approximately 68 minutes, total) and 2 sight-singing exercises (approximately 8 minutes each).

You can use the free response questions, scoring guidelines, and audio files below as you prepare for the AP Exam.

Multiple Choice Questions

For sample multiple-choice questions, please refer to the AP Music Theory Course Description, which can be found in the blue, Exam Resources inlay to the right.

Free Response Questions and Scoring Guidelines

2012

All documents are PDFs unless otherwise indicated.

Free Response Questions and Scoring Guidelines: login

The following resources contain the remaining available Free Response Questions and Scoring Guidelines for the AP Music Theory Exam. To access the files below, you need to log into your College Board account. If you do not have a College Board account, you can create one by selecting ‘Sign In’ in the header and following the prompts to Sign-Up.

2016

All documents are PDFs unless otherwise indicated.

2015

All documents are PDFs unless otherwise indicated.

2014

All documents are PDFs unless otherwise indicated.

2013

All documents are PDFs unless otherwise indicated.

2011

All documents are PDFs unless otherwise indicated.

2010

All documents are PDFs unless otherwise indicated.

2009

All documents are PDFs unless otherwise indicated.

2008

All documents are PDFs unless otherwise indicated.

2007

All documents are PDFs unless otherwise indicated.