Are you considering taking the AP Music Theory exam but feeling unsure about whether to take a class or self-study? It’s natural to feel hesitant about self-studying for such a challenging exam, but it’s not impossible. In this article, we’ll explore the question of whether AP Music Theory is easy to self-study.

What is AP Music Theory?

AP Music Theory is a course and exam offered by the College Board that covers the fundamentals of music theory. The course is designed to teach students how to read and write music notation, analyze musical pieces, and understand the structure of music.

The Difficulty Level of AP Music Theory

AP Music Theory is considered to be one of the more challenging AP exams, with a pass rate of around 60%. The exam consists of two sections: multiple-choice and free-response.

The multiple-choice section tests students’ knowledge of basic music theory concepts such as scales, intervals, chords, and rhythm. The free-response section requires students to apply their knowledge of these concepts by composing melodies and harmonizing given melodies.

Benefits of Self-Studying for AP Music Theory

Self-studying for AP Music Theory has its advantages. Firstly, you can work at your own pace without being held back or rushed by others in a classroom setting.

Secondly, you have more control over what topics you spend more time on based on your strengths and weaknesses. Moreover, it can save you money as taking a class for this subject can be expensive.

How to Self-Study for AP Music Theory

Before embarking on your self-study journey, make sure you have access to reliable study materials such as textbooks or online courses that cover all the topics on the exam. You should also plan out a study schedule that allows you enough time to cover all the material before the exam date.

To make the most of your self-study time, consider finding a study group or partner to practice with and create mock exams for yourself. Additionally, make sure to take advantage of online resources such as music theory forums or YouTube tutorials.


In conclusion, self-studying for AP Music Theory is not easy, but it’s possible with the right preparation and dedication. With enough discipline and a solid study plan, you can ace this exam without the help of a class.

Remember to use reliable study materials and resources that cater to your learning style. Good luck!