Are you planning to take the AP Music Theory exam but not sure how it’s scored? Well, you are in the right place. In this article, we will discuss everything you need to know about the scoring process of the AP Music Theory exam.

The Basics of AP Music Theory Exam

Before diving into the scoring process, let’s understand the basics of the AP Music Theory exam. The exam is divided into two sections: multiple-choice and free-response.

The multiple-choice section consists of 75 questions, and you will have 1 hour and 20 minutes to complete it. This section tests your knowledge of fundamental music theory concepts such as notation, scales, intervals, chords, harmony, and more.

The free-response section consists of two parts: sight-singing and written response. The sight-singing part tests your ability to read a musical piece and perform it vocally. The written response part asks you to analyze a musical piece and write a composition based on a given prompt.

Scoring Process

Now that we have an understanding of what the AP Music Theory exam entails let’s dive into how it’s scored.

The multiple-choice section is scored out of 150 points. For every correct answer, you earn one point. There is no penalty for wrong answers or unanswered questions.

The free-response section is scored out of 50 points for sight-singing and 50 points for written response. These two sections are graded by different sets of rubrics.

For sight-singing, there are four rubrics: pitch accuracy, rhythm accuracy, tonality (key signature), and overall performance. Each rubric is worth up to 12 points.

For written response, there are three rubrics: melodic writing (part-writing), harmonic writing (part-writing), and composition analysis. Each rubric is worth up to 18 points.

Composite Score Calculation

After scoring both sections, the scores are combined to give you a composite score. The composite score is calculated on a scale of 1 to 5.

Here’s how the composite score calculation is done:


In conclusion, the AP Music Theory exam is scored by combining the scores from multiple-choice and free-response sections. The composite score ranges from one to five and determines whether or not you will receive college credit for your performance.

It’s essential to prepare well for the exam to ensure that you perform at your best. Understanding the scoring process can help in identifying areas where improvement is needed.

We hope this article has been helpful in giving insight into how the AP Music Theory exam is scored. Best of luck with your studies!