Music Theory Placement Exam

Below is a sample of the York College Music Theory Placement Exam, which is available for all students beginning the music theory sequence. A passing grade on this placement exam will place students into MUS 210 Ear Training 1 and MUS 223 Harmony. For more information on music theory placement, please contact Dr. George Lam, coordinator of the music program at York College.


About the Exam

This exam tests your knowledge of music theory in five standards:

  • Major scales and key signatures
  • Minor scales and key signatures
  • Intervals
  • Triads
  • Seventh Chords

The results of this test will only be used to determine your starting level in the York College music theory sequence; your results on this test will not be part of your academic record. You may only take this test once. You must pass all five standards in order to place out of MUS 110. The passing grade for each standard is 10 points. You have up to 60 minutes to complete this exam.


Standard 1: Major Scales and Key Signatures (12 points)

Write the following major scales, with one whole note per bar, using accidentals only. Do not use a key signature. (6 points)

Example for the Major Scale exercise.

Write the key signature for the given key. Be sure that sharps and flats are placed in the correct positions and are in the correct order. (6 points)

Example for the Major Key Signatures exercise.

Standard 2: Minor Scales and Key Signatures  (12 points)

Write the following natural minor scales, with one whole note per bar, using accidentals only. Do not use a key signature. (6 points)

Example for the Minor Scale exercise.

Write the key signature for the given key. Be sure that sharps and flats are placed in the correct positions and are in the correct order. (6 points)

Example for the Minor Key Signatures exercise.

Standard 3: Intervals (12 points)

Identify the following intervals by providing the 1) quality and 2) size (e.g. “major 2nd”). Do not use abbreviations. (6 points)

Example for the Interval ID exercise.

Complete the given intervals by providing a note above the given note (i.e. an “ascending” interval). (6 points)

Example for the Interval Spelling exercise.

Standard 4: Triads (12 points)

Identify the following triads by providing the 1) root and 2) quality (e.g. A major). Do not use abbreviations. (4 points)

Example for the Triad ID exercise.

Write the following triads with the given root and quality. Use accidentals where necessary. (4 points)

Example for the Triad Spelling exercise.

Given the key and Roman numeral, write 1) the correct key signature and 2) the triad. (4 points)

Example for the Roman Numeral spelling exercise.

Standard 5: Seventh Chords (12 points)

Name the 1) Root and 2) Quality of the following chords (e.g. A diminished 7th, D dominant 7th). You must correctly provide both the root and quality for full credit. (6 points)

Example for the 7th Chord ID exercise.

Write the following chords with the given root and quality. (6 points)

Example for the 7th Chord Spelling exercise.

(End of Exam.)