Have you been considering taking AP Music Theory but are wondering about the pass rate? You’re not alone!

The Advanced Placement (AP) program is a popular way for high school students to earn college credits, and more than 2.8 million exams were taken in 2020 alone. But what is the pass rate for AP Music Theory specifically? Let’s dive in.

What Is AP Music Theory?

AP Music Theory is a course designed to teach students about the fundamental elements of music. It covers topics such as music notation, scales, chords, rhythm, melody, and harmony. The course is typically taken by high school students who have a love for music and want to pursue a career in the field.

What Is the AP Music Theory Exam?

The AP Music Theory exam is a three-hour exam that consists of two sections: multiple-choice and free-response. The multiple-choice section contains 75 questions that cover topics such as music theory fundamentals, musical composition and analysis, and aural skills. The free-response section requires students to complete several tasks, including part-writing exercises, harmonic analysis, and sight-singing.

What Is the Pass Rate for AP Music Theory?

The pass rate for AP Music Theory varies from year to year but generally falls between 50% and 70%. According to College Board data from 2020, 4,562 students took the exam with a pass rate of 58.4%. This means that just over half of all test-takers received a score of 3 or higher (the passing score).

Why Is the Pass Rate For AP Music Theory Lower Than Other Exams?

There are several reasons why the pass rate for AP Music Theory may be lower than other exams. First, the subject matter is more specialized than other subjects like history or English.

Additionally, the exam requires a high level of musical knowledge and skill, which can be difficult to attain. Finally, the free-response section of the exam requires students to demonstrate their ability to compose and analyze music, which can be challenging for some.

How Can You Increase Your Chances of Passing AP Music Theory?

If you’re planning on taking AP Music Theory, there are several ways you can increase your chances of passing. First, make sure you have a solid foundation in music theory fundamentals.

This may require taking additional classes or working with a tutor. Second, practice your aural skills regularly by listening to and analyzing different pieces of music. Finally, familiarize yourself with the format and content of the exam by practicing with past exams.


In conclusion, the pass rate for AP Music Theory falls between 50% and 70%, with an average pass rate of 58.4% in 2020. While this may seem daunting, there are several ways to increase your chances of passing, including building a strong foundation in music theory fundamentals, practicing your aural skills regularly, and familiarizing yourself with past exams. With hard work and dedication, you can succeed in AP Music Theory and earn college credits towards your future career in music.