The exam itself is divided into two broad sections: Section I, the multiple-choice section, and Section II, the free-response section. In turn, each section is divided into parts.
Section I - multiple choice
Section I of the exam consists of four-choice multiple choice questions; the total amount varies each year. The first half of the section is listening-based; the proctor will begin playing a provided CD, and the exam will begin. Each question or group of questions is based on a musical selection or an auditory stimulus. The selection or stimulus will be played, and the student must answer as many of the questions as possible. Each musical selection or auditory stimulus is usually played two or three times for each question or group of questions, though the exact amount differs from question to question.