Theory Entrance Exam

The purpose of the Theory Entrance Exam is to determine the potential for success of students wishing to enroll in MUS 103 (Theory and Musicianship I). A passing score on the exam is a prerequisite for registration into this course. The exam is administered several times throughout the year as described below. Students are encouraged to take the exam at the earliest possible date to allow for timely registration.

The Theory Entrance Exam is not needed for transfer students with previous college-level theory credits that have transferred or will transfer in to Missouri State.

Option 1: Audition Dates

This option is appropriate for incoming students auditioning on or off campus on one of the Department’s scheduled audition dates.

Option 2: SOAR

This option is appropriate for incoming students auditioning on dates other than the scheduled audition dates. The exam may also be given during SOAR to students who did not pass at an earlier opportunity.

Option 3: Spring / Summer

This option is for all other students, including current MSU students changing their major to Music, declaring a Music minor, or wishing to enroll in MUS 103 for a non-Music degree (e.g. Electronic Arts) or as an elective. The exam will be given in the spring (typically the first Saturday in April) to accommodate timely registration for Fall classes, and again on the Saturday before classes begin in the Fall.

  • The spring exam will be given on Saturday, April 22, 2017 at 9:00 a.m. in Glen Isle Center (S. Glenstone Ave).
  • The summer exam will be given on Saturday, August 19, 2017 at 9:00 a.m. in the Ellis Hall.

Theory Entrance Exam

The Theory Entrance Exam covers:

  • pitch notation - notate and identify notes in treble and bass clefs up to three ledger lines above and below the staff
  • key signatures - notate and identify all major AND minor key signatures
  • intervals - notate and identify intervals up to an octave by both quantity (2nd, 3rd, etc.) and quality (major, minor, perfect)
  • triads - notate and identify root position triads by quality (major, minor, diminished, augmented)
  • rhythm - notate and identify notes and rests from sixteenth to whole
  • meter signatures - categorize meter signatures as simple or compound; identify the number of beats and/or divisions of the beat in one measure

To prepare for the exam, students should look over the materials available at These materials include a brief textbook explaining concepts, exercises, and a sample test with answer key.

Questions about the exam should be directed to Coordinator of Music Theory, Dr. Michael F. Murray (