AP Music Theory Exam 2020

Makeup test date and times

Date: June 5

Hawaii Time: 10 a.m.
Alaska Time: 12 p.m.
Pacific Time: 1 p.m.
Mountain Time: 2 p.m.
Central Time: 3 p.m.
Eastern Time: 4 p.m.
See more time zones

This year the AP Music Theory Exam consists of Question 1 (two part-writing questions) and Question 2 (two sight-singing questions). You’ll write out your response to Question 1 on an answer sheet that you’ll prepare before exam day, and you’ll record your response to Question 2 using recording software or an app.

Get detailed information about taking the AP Music Theory Exam this year.

Exam conflicts

If you have two makeup exams at the same time, you’ll be able to take one in the makeup testing window and the other in the final exception testing window in late June.

Exam timing

On exam day, you'll click on the link in your e-ticket 30 minutes before the start time for your exam and fill in some information.

A timer will show how much time remains until the start of the exam.

Once the exam starts, the first exam question will automatically appear, and another timer will start counting down.

Your timer will show 30 minutes. You should take 25 minutes to read the question and work on your response, and 5 minutes to submit it. When the timer gets to 5 minutes, an alert will show. Stop working at that time and begin to submit your response. Once your response to Question 1 has been submitted, you can’t go back to it.

When your submission for Question 1 is complete, the second exam question will appear and the timer will show 20 minutes. You should take 15 minutes to read the question and work on your response and 5 minutes to submit it. Again, the timer will give you an alert when 5 minutes remain. Stop working at that time and begin to submit your response.

What to have ready on exam day


  • e-ticket email (you’ll receive this two days before your exam)
  • Completed Exam Day Checklist, including AP ID
  • Device: Smartphone, tablet, or computer with:
    • Camera
    • Microphone
    • A voice recording app such as Recorder®, Voice Memos®, GarageBand® (or Audacity®, if you're using a computer)
  • Browser: Chrome (recommended), Firefox, Safari, or Edge
  • Internet or cellular connection
  • Assistive technology and devices (if applicable, for students approved to test with accommodations)
  • 2−3 printed or handwritten copies of the answer sheet template (.pdf/89 KB)



  • Your class notes or study guides
  • Textbooks and other classroom resources
  • Previous assignments or assessments
  • Instruments, tuners, metronomes, and digital resources are permitted to help in preparing answers. However, your submitted responses must be created without these aids: Part-writing responses must be entirely handwritten on the answer sheet, and sight-singing responses must be performed entirely unaccompanied and unaltered.


Question 1 (25 mins.)

% of exam weight (rounded)


Question name

Part-writing from figured bass and part-writing from Roman numerals

Question description

Question 1 consists of 2 part-writing questions. Students will be asked first to realize a short passage of figured bass in 4 voices, following traditional eighteenth-century voice-leading procedures. They will then be given a Roman numeral progression to complete in 4 voices, following eighteenth-century voice-leading procedures. This question will not include any secondary dominant or secondary leading tone chords.

Corresponding free-response question (FRQ) type in the course and exam description binder

FRQ 5 and FRQ 6

Question 2 (15 mins.)

% of exam weight (rounded)


Question name


Question description

Question 2 consists of 2 melodies that students must sing without accompaniment. Students will be given 2 melodies to prepare, and then must record their performance of both in a single audio file and test that their performance was captured successfully.

Corresponding free-response question (FRQ) type in the course and exam description binder

FRQ 8 and FRQ 9

  • The prompt for 2020 AP Music Theory Question 2 is the same as in the sight singing questions 1 and 2 on a traditional exam.
  • In 2020, students may use an instrument, metronome, tuner, or other resource to prepare their response. However, they may not use such resources while actually recording their response for submission.

What’s covered

Units eligible for 2020 exam: Units 1–6

Units not included in 2020 exam: Units 7–8

Sample Questions for the 2020 exam

Download example questions (.pdf/148 KB) similar to what you'll see on the 2020 AP Music Theory Exam.