Latest exam updates

Performance Grades – booking for our next session of remotely-assessed Performance Grade and ARSM exams opens in the week beginning 5 April. To check dates click here. You can find all our Performance Grades information and guidance here.

Grade 5 Music Theory waiver (not applicable in the UK & Ireland)

We are extending our Grade 5 Music Theory waiver until 23 May 2021. This means that candidates with a Grade 6 to 8 Performance Grade exam submission date up to and including 23 May can take their exam without first passing Grade 5 Music Theory. We are making this exceptional arrangement to allow candidates who have been unable to take an exam in recent months to progress with their learning. From 24 May, the Grade 5 Music Theory requirement will return. For exam dates/exam submission dates after 23 May, all candidates taking a Grade 6 to 8 Performance or Practical Grade must first pass Grade 5 Music Theory.

Performance Grade exams

We are pleased to confirm that we will be offering Performance Grade exams every month for the remainder of 2021. Please check our Dates and Fees page for details.

Focusing on all-round musicianship

We've designed our Practical graded music exams to motivate instrumental and singing students of all ages and a wide range of abilities. They're available at Grades 1 to 8, as well as a pre-Grade 1 Initial Grade for some subjects. They provide:

  • Progressive goals to aim for
  • Recognition for achievement
  • Carefully structured syllabus requirements
  • One-to-one assessment by an expert professional
  • An objective guide to a candidate’s skills and progress.

ABRSM exams are music exams rather than instrumental or singing exams. Examiners assess the quality of the music-making, not how it's achieved. For this reason, we don't restrict examiners to assessing only their own instrument but require them to examine all instruments.

There are no age restrictions and students can start with any grade or skip grades if they want to.

What's included in a Practical exam?

To succeed in our Practical exams, candidates need a combination of skills and understanding. Broadly, we assess:

  • Performance skills through pieces or songs
  • Technical skills through scales and arpeggios
  • Notation skills through a sight-reading test
  • Listening skills and musical perception through aural tests

How many marks are available?

Total marks in all individual Practical graded exams are 150.

  • 100 marks are required to pass
  • 120 marks are required to pass with merit
  • 130 marks are required to pass with distinction

Find out more about each part of the Practical graded exam

Other key exam information

 

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