Are you interested in taking the AP Music Theory exam but don’t know what to expect? In this article, we will dive into the details of what this exam looks like, so you can be well-prepared on test day.


The AP Music Theory exam is a standardized test designed to assess your knowledge and understanding of music theory concepts. The exam consists of two sections: multiple-choice and free-response. The multiple-choice section contains 75 questions, while the free-response section includes 7 tasks.

Multiple-Choice Section

The multiple-choice section covers a wide range of topics, including harmony, rhythm, melody, form, notation, and musical analysis. You will need to demonstrate your ability to recognize musical patterns and structures, as well as identify key signatures and chord progressions.

Each question presents a music excerpt or a score excerpt with accompanying audio that you will need to analyze. Some questions may require you to write out a melody or choose the correct chord progression for a given piece.


The multiple-choice section is timed and lasts for 1 hour and 30 minutes. You will have approximately 1 minute per question. It’s essential to manage your time effectively so that you can answer all the questions within the allotted time.


For each correct answer in the multiple-choice section, you earn one point. There is no penalty for incorrect answers or for leaving questions unanswered.

Free-Response Section

The free-response section consists of seven tasks that assess your skills in musical analysis, composition, sight-singing, and keyboard harmony.


The first task requires you to complete harmonic analysis of a short piece of music. The second task asks you to compose a melody based on specific guidelines given in the question prompt.

In the third task, you will need to sight-sing a short melody and identify specific musical elements, such as intervals, rhythm, and key signatures.

The fourth task is a keyboard harmony exercise that tests your ability to harmonize a given melody on the piano. The fifth task requires you to write a short essay on a music theory topic.

The sixth and seventh tasks are two-part questions that ask you to analyze a piece of music, including identifying chords, intervals, and musical structures.

The free-response section is timed and lasts for 1 hour and 15 minutes. You will have approximately 12 minutes per task. It’s crucial to manage your time effectively so that you can complete all seven tasks within the allotted time.

Each of the seven tasks is worth between 4-10 points, depending on its complexity. The total free-response section score ranges from 0-100 points.


The AP Music Theory exam is challenging but rewarding for those with a passion for music theory. With proper preparation and an understanding of what to expect on test day, you can succeed in this exam. So study hard, practice often, and best of luck on your exam!