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About AP Exams

AP exams take between 2–3 hours to complete and are broken into two sections: multiple choice and free response. The amount of questions per section and the time allotted varies per test subject.


Minutes to complete

Number of questions

U.S. History

55 minutes

50 minutes

55 minutes

35 minutes

55 multiple choice questions

4 short response answers

Document Based Questions


World History

55 minutes

40 minutes each

70 multiple-choice questions

3 essays


90 minutes

90 minutes

63 multiple choice questions, plus 6 write-in questions

8 free response questions

Calculus AB

55 minutes with no calculator

50 minutes with a calculator

90 minutes

28 questions

17 questions

6 free response questions

Preparing for AP Exams

AP Exams are given once a year, in May. Each test subject can take anywhere from 15–40 hours of prep, depending on how well you are doing in your AP class and how you learn. Preparation is critical to getting a passing score on the exam, so it’s important to start planning your prep early

Scoring the test

AP exams are scored on a scale of 1–5; a passing score on any AP exam is 3 or higher. Multiple choice answers are graded by computer, and only correct answers count—there are no deductions for incorrect or blank answers. The free response section is graded by teachers and college professors at the annual AP Reading Conference in June, with scaled scores ranging from 1–9. Your final score on an AP exam is a conversion of the composite score, which is obtained by putting the scores of the two sections together on a scale

Frequently asked questions

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