We cover all the important questions about taking the AP Spanish test
You’re close to the finish line. You’ve been working hard in your AP Spanish class all year and now you just need a score of 3, 4, or 5 to get those university credits and a head start on your peers. The only thing standing between you and diving straight into upper level college Spanish courses is the AP Spanish exam. Before you dive in and start studying, let’s cover some essential details, like how long the test is for starters.
Each year, the AP board sets exam fees ahead of time so that students can prepare. The AP exam fee for all AP tests in 2023 is $97 (except for AP Seminar and AP Research).
There are sometimes additional fees, including for late registrants, people taking the test outside of the US or US-related schools, and fees administered by your high school for proctoring or administration. Check with your teachers or guidance counselor to make sure.
If you are a low-income student or need financial assistance to pay for your AP exams, that’s available. Talk with your administrators about this.
What Should You Bring To The Testing Center?
Knowing ahead of time what to bring to the AP Spanish test (as well as what not to bring) can help you feel more at ease.
Multiple sharpened #2 pencils for the multiple-choice section (in case one breaks), including fresh erasers
Multiple dark blue or black ink pens for filling in your information on the test booklets and for use in the free-response section
A watch that doesn’t connect to the Internet and that doesn’t beep or make noise
Government-issued photo ID (if you’re taking the test somewhere other than your high school)
Approved digital recording device for the audio portions of the test
An approved accommodations letter, if applicable
You may also bring hand sanitizer if you prefer. Your hand sanitizer will need to stay under your desk, though.
Do not bring:
Food or drinks, including bottled water
Reference materials, including dictionaries, notes, translators, etc.
Clothing that has subject-related material
Non-approved digital recording devices
How Long Does The AP Spanish Exam Take To Complete?
Each AP language exam, including AP Spanish, takes just over three hours from start to finish. This includes Section I (the multiple-choice section) and Section II (the free-response part), as well as a scheduled 10-minute break.
You don’t have “as long as you need” to take the test. It will begin on time, and the proctor will let you know when each subsection and section is finished. Then, you’ll have to move on to the next part along with all the other students.
Thus, in the multiple-choice section, don’t spend too much time on one question if you don’t know the answer. Instead, move on to what you do know and come back if time permits.
How Long Is Each Section of The AP Spanish Exam?
The AP Spanish test consists of two sections, each of which is divided into two subsections.
Section IA: Multiple Choice – This part is 40 minutes long. It has 30 multiple-choice questions about vocabulary, main idea and details, context clues, and Spanish culture.
Section IB: Multiple Choice with Audio – This part requires you to listen to authentic Spanish audio recordings, such as podcasts, news clips, etc. Then, you’ll answer 35 questions regarding the content. This part takes 55 minutes. To help you prepare for this section of the AP Spanish test, you may want to complete lessons from the Babbel and Pimsleur Spanish apps.
Section IIA: Free-Response Written – This part has two questions. The first is an email reply. The second requires a well-crafted argumentative essay about an aspect of Spanish culture. It takes 70 minutes.
Section IIB: Free-Response Spoken – This part also has two “questions.” The first is a conversation, where you’ll listen to a speaker and respond five times (20 seconds each). The second “question” requires that you prepare and give a two-minute presentation comparing one aspect of Spanish culture with that of your own culture or another. This takes 18 minutes in total. For this section of the test, you may want to consider using the Spanish course from Rocket Languages to help you prepare. Their lessons include simulated conversations that are somewhat similar to the content within this exam section.
Are There Any Breaks During The AP Spanish Exam?
There is one scheduled break between the two main sections. You’ll have 10 minutes in which you can stretch, use the restroom, or get a quick drink or snack (inside the testing center).
You may not use any reference materials, your phone, or other devices, or talk to anyone about the exam. If you do, you’ll be excused from the test and won’t receive a score, nor will you be allowed to retake it.
Tips For Learning Spanish
Even though you’ve been studying Spanish for years (possibly even your whole life), there’s always room for a little more skill-strengthening.
Practice makes proficient (not perfect). Not even native speakers are perfect! Don’t let the fear of making mistakes prevent you from trying out new vocabulary, verbs, or types of speaking. That’s how you learn.
Use Spanish Language Apps. To expand your Spanish vocabulary and better understand grammar principles, our team recommends using an app like Rosetta Stone or Duolingo. The lessons from these type of companies are fun to complete and only take 5-10 minutes.
Perk up your “ears.” Listen to Spanish music and radio broadcasts and watch movies and telenovelas. This way, you’ll begin to get a feel for how Spanish is used in real life and how native speakers play with the language.
Use it, don’t lose it. Make sure you’re practicing your Spanish skills every day. Talk to yourself as you go about your activities, read out loud, practice with friends and family, and think in Spanish, too.
Be patient with yourself. Learning a language takes time, dedication, and persistence. When things don’t go as planned, take a deep breath, take a break, and come back to it again.
Final Thoughts About The AP Spanish Exam
There’s no need to be nervous about completing the AP Spanish exam. You’ll simply be showing everything you’ve learned so far. You’re smart to prepare as much as you can with knowledge about the test itself. All the hard work you’ve put in is about to pay off—congratulations.