AP Spanish Exam: Tips to Prepare and Ace your exam [2023]

Table of contents

Advanced Placement Spanish Language and Culture, also known as AP Spanish, is a class that lets US high school students earn credit for a college-level Spanish class. It culminates in the AP Spanish Exam, which is generally considered equivalent to a college-level Spanish 301 final exam.

This exam is made for you to showcase your Spanish skills and knowledge of Spanish-speaking cultures.

2023 Update: According to the College Board's website, the date for the AP Spanish Exam this year (2023) is on Wednesday, May 10, 2023.

AP Spanish Exam Format

The three-hour exam consists of two sections, each of which comprises 50% of the total score.

Section 1 - Multiple Choice (65 questions, 1 hour 35 minutes)

This is broken down into:

  • Part A - Interpretive Communication: Printed Texts (30 questions, 40 minutes)
    • In this part, you'll find four groups of printed materials. It could be announcements/advertisements, literary texts, articles and charts, letters, etc. Each will have questions that will require you to:
      • Spot the main ideas and supporting information
      • Figure out what some words mean from their context
      • Identify what the writer thinks or who they're talking to
      • Show that you understand the culture and other information in the text
  • Part B - Interpretive Communication: Printed Texts + Audio (35 questions, 55 minutes)
    • This section includes audio sources like conversations, reports, interviews, instructions, and presentations. It is divided into two subsections:
      • First, two audio sources with printed texts (about the same topic) with questions
      • Second, three audio sources with questions

According to the College Board's website, all audios will be played twice and you'll actually have some space to take notes during this section – so make sure to note down everything you deem important!

Section 2 - Free Response (4 tasks, 1 hour 28 minutes)

This is broken down into:

  • Part A - Written Tasks (2 tasks, 1 hour 10 minutes)
    • Interpersonal Writing: You'll need to read and reply to an email (15 minutes)
    • Presentational Writing: You'll be asked to write an argumentative essay based on materials given to you like texts, visuals and audios (55 minutes)
  • Part B - Spoken Tasks (2 tasks, 18 minutes)
    • Interpersonal Speaking: You will participate in a simulated conversation (20 seconds for each response)
    • Presentational Speaking: You'll be delivering a brief presentation comparing a cultural feature of a Spanish-speaking community to one of your own (or another) community (2 minutes)

AP Spanish Exam Tips

Each high school establishes their own requirements for the course, but generally speaking, prospective students need well-rounded language knowledge (grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation) and skills (reading, writing, listening, speaking), as well as familiarity with the Spanish-speaking world. The exam specifically tests interpretive, interpersonal, and presentational communication skills.

To prepare for the exam, start by taking an AP Spanish practice test to determine which part(s) of the exam you have the most trouble with, then focus on that task or skill before taking another test. Pay particular attention to the time limits so that you're comfortable answering all the questions and finishing the tasks within that time.

Once you've identified which skill or area you need to strengthen, you can look through our comprehensive lessons and challenging exercises to start improving on it:

Looking to prep for a different Spanish Exam?

We have some great general tips to prep for a Spanish test you might have coming up. If what you have coming up is an actual official Spanish exam, this is also a guide to prep for some of the most common official Spanish Exams, like the DELE or the CELU.

Kwiziq can help you practise your Spanish grammar to perfection - sign up for a free account today to get your personalised study plan based on your current Spanish level.