About the Exams
Taken each May by students all over the world, the AP Exam is the final step you take after a year of hard work in an AP class. These standardized exams are designed to measure how well you’ve mastered the content and skills of the course — a successful score could even earn you credit and advanced placement in college.
AP Exams 101
Each of the 36 exams has its own unique requirements; however, almost all of the exams have several things in common:
- Most exams are two to three hours long. Be prepared to tackle a challenging exam with limited breaks. Eat a good breakfast and, if you are taking more than one exam on the same day, make sure you have lunch and snacks to keep you going.
- The first part of the exam usually consists of multiple-choice questions. You will choose one of four or five answer choices for each question and use a pencil to bubble in your choice on your AP answer sheet. Your total exam score on the multiple-choice section is based only on the number of questions answered correctly. You won’t receive or lose points for incorrect answers or unanswered questions.
- The second part of the exam usually consists of free-response questions that require you to generate your own responses. Depending on the exam, your responses could be in the form of an essay, a solution to a problem, or a spoken response. In most cases, you’ll be writing your response in pen in the free-response exam booklet.
Not Just Paper and Pencil
Not all AP Exams are pencil and paper exams. AP Chinese Language and Culture and AP Japanese Language and Culture Exams are CD-based and taken on computer. AP Studio Art students submit portfolios of their work for review.
Preparing for the Exams
Your AP teacher will go over the exam format with you in class. You can get detailed information about each exam at the AP Courses page. You can view sample questions from actual exams using the Exam Practice links on the Preparing for the Exams page.