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  • All student audio responses for Music Theory Exams must be submitted through the Digital Audio Submission (DAS) portal to be scored. Visit Submitting Audio for more information about the DAS portal.
  • The Digital Audio Capture (DAC) app is an additional recording option available for AP Music Theory Exams. The 2019 version of the DAC app for use on Apple iPad tablets will be available for download in the spring. Schools that use the DAC app must use the 2019 version of the app. (Files recorded using previous versions of the DAC app will not be accepted by the DAS portal.)
  • If your school currently uses school-owned and -controlled Chromebooks for high stakes standardized assessments and would like to use them for recording student audio responses for Music Theory Exams, you must call AP Services for Educators before March 1, 2019 to confirm if your school’s Chromebook recording application and configuration meet AP Program requirements.

Ordering materials

Each school's order for the AP Music Theory Exam contains one master listening and one master sight-singing CD. Some schools administer the sight-singing section of the exam in multiple locations. If you plan to do this, order enough master sight-singing CDs to have one in each location. You can order additional master CDs when you place your AP Exam order online.

Visit AP Exam Ordering to order your CDs and AP Exams online.

Exam room setup

Written Part: The music room or a regular classroom can be used for the written part of the exam. Make sure students seated in any part of the room can clearly hear the music played on the equipment that will be used during the administration. If a language lab is used for this part, the music must be broadcast through external speakers. Students must not listen to the music through headphones. If your school does not have an appropriate exam room, consider using another facility.

Sight-singing part: The sight-singing part of the exam must be administered to one student at a time in a room where the student can both practice and perform in isolation from other students. The room may be a classroom, a small office, or any other comfortable enclosed space where the appropriate equipment can be set up and where the student cannot be distracted or heard by the other students. The student and the exam proctor should be the only ones in this recording room during testing. Because students are performing one at a time, if you are testing more than 10 students it is recommended that you set up another exam room for each additional five students. You will need to order one extra master sight-singing CD for each additional room.

Note: Sight-singing responses are evaluated for accuracy of pitch and rhythm and steady tempo. Students need to clearly hear themselves sing, so they must be tested one at a time during this section of the exam and must not wear headphones.

Necessary equipment

  • CD player: You will need a high-quality CD player with speakers to play the master listening and sight-singing CDs.
  • Recording devices/equipment: You will need a digital audio recording device or equipment to record student responses at each exam room. Acceptable recording methods in 2019 are:
    • Computers with MP3 recording software
    • Digital recording devices
    • Digital language lab
    • Digital Audio Capture (DAC) app running on Apple iPad tablets

Visit Recording Audio for information on recording options.

Submitting Audio Files

All students’ recorded speaking response files must be submitted online through the Digital Audio Submission (DAS) portal.  Visit our page on Submitting Audio for information on how to submit student responses. The DAS portal will be available in early April 2019 for AP coordinators and school staff to create accounts.

Important: Only audio responses submitted through the DAS portal will be scored.  

Exam preparation

Take these steps to prepare for the recording portion of the AP Music Theory Exam:

  • Determine the digital recording technology that students will use to record their responses (in MP3 format) for the sight-singing portion of the exams.
  • Hold several practice recording sessions so that you, teachers, proctors, students, and your school's technical staff (if applicable) gain a full understanding of the process.
  • Encourage AP teachers to give students time to practice recording responses using the method that will be used on exam day.
  • Make sure that students have the opportunity to practice with released free-response questions and short-answer questions in the course and exam descriptions and the teacher-accessible practice exams on the AP Course Audit website.
  • Have proctors practice saving and naming MP3 files before the exam administration.
  • Give proctors a way to cross-reference students' AP numbers to ensure that the proper number is used when they name and save the MP3 files.
  • Remind proctors that they will need to check all students' MP3 files to make sure the files can be played and the audio level of each file is adequate.
  • Work with your school's administration to establish a quiet testing environment. Refrain from using bells and making PA announcements during testing, if possible, and ensure that proctors do not converse with other staff during the exam.

Reference materials

  • Refer to the AP Coordinator's Manual for full instructions and procedures for preparing for and administering the AP Music Theory Exam.
  • Refer to the 2018-19 AP Exam Instructions for exam administration proctor scripts, including scripts specific to each audio recording option. Schools may also download specific exam instructions or view specifications for recording audio.
  • Review AP Digital Audio Submission (DAS) Help, a step-by-step guide to using the DAS portal to upload and submit students' recorded responses. (Updated version for 2018-19 will be posted in spring 2019.)  Also access recordings of webinars about the DAS portal. (These webinars were recorded in spring 2017 and provide a general overview of the DAS portal.)
  • If your school is planning to use the DAC app to record students’ responses, check the DAC App page in March 2019 for the DAC App Overview, a guide to using the app.