Everything about duration and structure of Advanced Placements exams

Read our detailed guide on AP exams structure and duration before going for one

Are you going to appear for AP tests this year? Or maybe planning for one in your future? If you answer yes to any of these questions, then this guide will help you have a better insight into these questions.

In this article we would be dealing with the duration and structure about the various AP exams, plus that, we would also be giving some tips about how to tackle the pressure that you may be presented with those Advanced Placements Tests.

Taking the AP courses/ classes, along with your high school may be some of the most difficult times for you, but if you have an expert at hand to advice you through all this, then things can turn out to be quite great for you. You might be seeing yourself into some of the most prestigious colleges abroad.

Exactly how much time does an AP exam take generally?

All of the tests are about two to three hours long, with a break in between; separating the exam into two main sections. In most of the exams, there is a multiple choice section in the starting, and after the break there is a free- response section. Difficulty and time allotted to each of the sections is different in about all the exams.

The following table will show you the exact time allotted for each of the AP exam you are intending to take:

Advanced Placements test Allotted time
Art History 3 hours
Biology 3 hours
Calculus AB 3 hours 15 minutes
Calculus BC 3 hours 15 minutes
Chemistry 3 hours 15 minutes
Computer Science A 3 hours
Computer Science Principles 2 hours
Environmental Science 3 hours
Chinese Language and Culture 2 hours 15 minutes
Comparative Government and Politics 2 hours 25 minutes
German Language and Culture 3 hours
Human Geography 2 hours 15 minutes
Italian Language and Culture 3 hours
Macroeconomics 2 hours 10 minutes
Microeconomics 2 hours 10 minutes
Music Theory 2 hours 40 minutes
English Language and Composition 3 hours 15 minutes
English Literature and Composition 3 hours
Physics 1: Algebra-Based 3 hours
Physics 2: Algebra-Based 3 hours
Japanese Language and Culture 2 hours 15 minutes
Latin 3 hours
Spanish Literature and Culture 3 hours
Statistics 3 hours
US Government and Politics 2 hours 25 minutes
US History 3 hours 15 minutes
World History 3 hours 15 minutes


In general, for the humanities subjects, the free- response section is longer. Both the sections for each of these exams have a different amount of pressure for the individuals.  We would be discussing about some of them here:

AP English

Both the literature and the language exams take about one hour to work the 55 multiple choice questions, and two hours for the free-response section where you would be working for three essays. The essay part will require you to work on the essay outline, and constructing the essay, and then proofreading it for any mistakes. The fatigue of writing two hours straight can get onto your nerves sometimes.

AP Social Studies

While the AP social studies exams are more easier than the AP English exams, care has to be taken to ensure that you don’t do silly mistakes because you would be having less time and hence would have to be fast.

US Government exam has 60 multiple choice questions to be answered in 45 minutes, and 100 minutes for four free-response questions (25 minutes per response).

AP Psychology has 100 multiple-choice questions in 70 minutes, and two free response questions to be answered within 50 minutes.

World History asks two parts for section 1 and two parts for section 2. The first part of section 1 has 55 multiple choice questions that are to be answered in 55 minutes. The second part is short answer based where 3 questions are to be answered within 40 minutes.

The second section has 1 document based question that has to answered in 60 minutes (15 minutes are given for reading). And a long essay based question for the second part that has to be answered in 40 minutes.

US History ask 55 questions in 55 minutes  for the multiple choice section and requires three short-response answers to be answered in 40 minutes, and a 60 minute DBQ (Document-Based Question) and a 40 minute essay question.

Here, you must be quick through the organizing stage to have quickly draft and editing your responses.

AP mathematics 

For AP Calculus AB, the most popular AP math test, you need to solve 30 multiple-choice questions in 60 minutes without calculator, followed with 15 questions to be answered in 45 minutes with a calculator. While this is more time as compared to the humanities tests above, they are more difficult and require more time per question.

Both AB Calculus and AP Statistics give you 90 minutes to answer six questions, or about a quarter-hour per question for the free response section. For the statistics section, you have to present the written explanation which makes it even more harder to complete within the stipulated time.

AP Science

In AP Chemistry there are 60 multiple-choice questions to be answered in 90 minutes and105 minutes for seven free response questions.

AP Biology has 63 multiple-choice questions and six grid-in questions to be answered in 90 minutes, and 90 minutes for eight response based questions.

There is less time per response, and the section lasts for nearly two hours leaving you more fatigued after the first hour.

Dealing with the fatigue of the Advanced Placement exams

After reading about the most popular exams on the list, you might have figured out the associated fatigue and stress. And dealing with it can be quite easy if you follow the following things regularly:

Practice more

While we may be looking at a ton of practice, the students must remember they have to practice regularly and gradually with time. Taking mock tests in time bound conditions regularly will help you in building the pace for the exam, and would also build your stamina to cope up with the associated fatigue.

Prepare for multiple choice section well in advance

In the multiple-choice section you have to be quick in your response because you would be answering hundreds of questions. You might be taking it around 8 a.m.(unless you have an afternoon slot).

Practicing multiple-choice sections is very important, so that you know the difficulty level well in advance. Some pre-runs of sample problems on the exam morning well before the exam will help you at not being disoriented when you begin reading.

Developing a strategy for answering

You have to have a strategy while taking the exams. Keeping in consideration your strong and weak points, you will be well prepared in advanced as to score better. You should follow a strategy such that you can cover your weak points by your strong points. And for figuring this out some previous papers might be helpful.

Be ready for the test day

Have a good night sleep and a healthy breakfast before the exam, because that might be helpful in keeping you organized. Even more so because most of these exams happen early in the morning at around 8 am.

You can bring some snacks with you, and can eat something at regular intervals. Taking coffee during the exam will help you to be alert, and would keep the ideas flowing that are needed for the essay parts.

Lastly, remember to check the exam schedules, as that comes early in the year.

Go through our explanatory guide on AP Exams if you think taking AP exams classes will be good for you.

If you are looking forward for ACT/ SAT guide follow our blog



If you are studying in high school, you might have been hearing about Advanced Placement tests , from your friends, or teachers, or even from your parents. Some of your friends might even be taking some of them. So what is this AP tests anyway? and why is there so much hype about it.

Well, for beginners, Advanced placements tests, or classes are taken by the students, in parallel with regular high school education. These courses are designed so as to make any student ready for their undergraduate college education. Their syllabus falls in correspondence to the syllabus that students will be taught in their colleges. College Board currently runs the exam every year, and the exam is officially named as “College Board Advanced Placement Program”.

APs basically came into being in the 1950s as a result of the increased gap between high school education and college education

The APs are taken by students for admission to the colleges in the US, Canada, and at other countries. By taking APs, the students gain college credits that help in their admissions. The syllabus that is usually taught in an AP course is based on what you will be taught in your college. A good credit score will tell the admission committee how ready a student is for their college. The course will reduce your study burden in college as you would know most of the things that are in your syllabus.

Also, your time span of semester would be reduced for the subjects you have taken, because the colleges have that option for the students who have taken AP classes during their high school. AP exams will also tell about how interested you are towards a particular stream.  So for an aspiring engineer, a course in AP physics and AP computers would reflect that you are academically interested for that, and are working towards your goal, and will also prove that you have knowledge in that field.

What subject choices do you have for AP exams/tests?

There are 38 subjects/ courses in total. So as to gain a better edge over their competitors, the students mostly take multiple Advanced Placements courses during their high school’s duration. The exams are a great way to challenge yourself academically. The exams will show the admission committee how committed you are towards building a foundation for your college career, that will ultimately pave your path to a brighter career.

So how much do you have to score in Advanced placements exams anyway?

The AP exams are scored on a scale of 1-5. While getting a 5 pointer on your result is very challenging, it will also ease your chances to get admission to the college of your choice. According to a survey, the harder the subject a student takes, and the better he/ she scores on it, the easier are there chances to get admission to that particular college. Check our post regarding structure and scoring of the exam for better insights.

How much  to pay for the AP exams ?

The fees for taking an AP exam is $94 for each individual test you write. The College Board also offers a financial aid of $32 for those who need it.

As a good inhibitor for starting your career as a whole, Advanced Placements classes and tests from the College Board are a must for you. And you can try them if you are serious about a career abroad.

For a comprehensive study option to prepare for the AP exams, check our other posts also.

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Things to remember

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Why sat coaching centers in bangalore? Options and fees? full info

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Sat coaching in Delhi NCR