Exam Timing and Structure

Each of the 38 exams has its own unique requirements; however, almost all of the exams—paper and pencil and digital—have the following things in common. Details about each subject are on the exam pages.  

  • 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 for paper and pencil exams.
    • You’ll enter your answers in the exam application for digital AP Exams and AP Chinese and AP Japanese Language and Culture Exams.
    • 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.
    • For paper and pencil exams: In most cases, you’ll be writing your response in pen in the free-response exam booklet.
    • For digital exams and AP Chinese and AP Japanese Language and Culture Exams: You’ll type your responses in the exam application on your computer.

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