Exam Timing and Structure

Important Update

To support students affected by school closures due to the coronavirus pandemic, we’re offering at-home testing for 2020 AP Exams. This means changes to some of our processes and policies. Note that these adjustments may not be reflected on all AP Students pages including this one. For the most updated information, visit Updates for AP Students Affected by Coronavirus.

Each of the 38 exams has its own unique requirements; however, almost all of the exams have several things in common:

  • Most exams are 2–3 hours long.
  • The first part of the exam usually consists of multiple-choice questions.
    • You will choose 1 of 4–5 answer choices for each question and use a pencil to bubble in your choice on your AP answer sheet.
    • Your total exam score on the multiple-choice section is based only on the number of questions answered correctly. You won’t receive or lose points for incorrect answers or unanswered questions.
  • The second part of the exam usually consists of free-response questions that require you to generate your own responses. Depending on the exam, your responses could be in the form of an essay, a solution to a problem, or a spoken response. In most cases, you’ll be writing your response in pen in the free-response exam booklet.

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