Music Theory Placement Exams

The Bob Cole Conservatory of Music uses exams offered through Beachboard in order to place all incoming undergraduate students in the correct level of class, whether they are first-year students or transfers. All entering BCCM undergraduate students must take the first placement exam (EXAM 1). This exam tests some basic aural skills and some written theory fundamentals, and it determines if the student needs to take the MUS 140 Basic Music Theory course.

Incoming students will be invited to take Music Theory Placement EXAM 1 before their first term of enrollment in the BCCM.. This invitation will include a window of time during which the exam will need to be completed. The exam will need to be completed at least 2 weeks before your scheduled SOAR workshop.

After completing EXAM 1, students may accept their placement and the BCCM undergraduate advisor will help students enroll in the appropriate course. Or, if students have already taken some college-level music theory, they may choose to take EXAM 2, and it may be possible for you to place out of other courses in the theory sequence in the BCCM.

For placement beyond MUS 141A Musicianship I / MUS 142A Harmony I, students will need to take the more advanced placement exam. EXAM 2 tests elements of diatonic and chromatic harmony. Students should only attempt this exam if they have taken multiple terms of college-level music theory and aural skills and done well in those courses.

These exams have no bearing on admission, nor do they affect grades for any classes; they are simply used to place students in the correct sections of theory and musicianship. It does not benefit students to take a more advanced exam than they feel prepared to take because the goal is to place students into the appropriate theory courses.