Theory Skills Assessments

Music theory image


Incoming Freshmen and Transfer Students

For the 2020–2021 audition season, all students who have committed to attend Ohio State will take the Theory Placement Exam (TPE) in the first week of June. This exam is administered to determine whether a student’s prior study has sufficiently prepared them for Theory I, and will help to inform the scheduling process.

The TPE will be administered via Zoom; registration is required.

Details and registration information have been sent to both the email address provided on your Acceptd application and to your Ohio State email address. Use the information provided in that email to register before May 31.

Please direct questions to Emily Klepinger, School of Music Academic Advisor, at

Music Minors

All prospective music minors must also take the Theory Placement Exam.

Due to in-person restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Theory Placement Exam will be offered via Zoom on the following dates:

  • Tuesday, May 18 at 10 a.m.

Registration is required.


Allow up to hour to complete the exam.

How to Prepare

The Theory Placement Exam will test skills such as reading notation in treble and bass clef, matching rhythms to time signatures, scales and intervals, and identifying the quality of triads and seventh chords.

Sample Test Item

Resources to Help You Prepare

Free websites:


  • Andrew Surmani, Karen Farnum Surmani, and Morton Manus, Alfred’s Essentials of Music Theory: A complete Self-study Course for All Musicians (Book and two CDs) Alfred Music, 2004. ISBN-13: 978-0739036358
  • Joseph N. Straus, Elements of Music. Prentice Hall, 2008. ISBN 0-13-034341
  • John Clough and Joyce Conley, Scales, Intervals, Keys, Triads, Rhythm, and Meter. W.W. Norton & Co., 1999. ISBN 0-393-95189-8

Music Theory Software:

  • MFun by Elisabeth Sayrs

What Happens Next?

You will be contacted by the School of Music regarding the next steps. Please reach out to Emily Klepinger with questions.

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