Latest exam updates

Performance Grade booking

The next booking period for remotely-assessed Performance Grade and ARSM exams opens in February. For details, see our dates and fees page.

Music Theory exams – March 2021

  • Online Music Theory exams (Grades 1 to 5) – we are cancelling the online exams planned for 16 March. Exams in May and June will go ahead as planned.
  • Paper Music Theory exams (Grades 6 to 8) – we will not be offering these exams in March. The next exams at Grades 6 to 8 will be in June 2021.
  • Grade 5 Music Theory requirement - from 1 January to 30 April 2021 only, candidates can take Grade 6 to 8 Performance or Practical exams without first passing Grade 5 Music Theory. From 1 May 2021, the Grade 5 Music Theory requirement will return with flexibility about timing. If you receive an email asking for your proof of prerequisite, please ignore this. We will still release any results in line with the arrangements outlined here.

For more information click here.

Update 18 January – exam refunds

Refunds for exams in January and February 2021

To support customers affected by Covid restrictions, for exams in January and February 2021 any absent candidate will automatically receive a refund.

This includes Performance Grade exams where the candidate has been unable to record and upload their video

You do not need to contact us to request a refund. However, if you are the exam applicant, it will help us if you log in to your account and cancel the exam.

What if I need to cancel an exam with less that 48 hours notice?

If your candidate is unable to take their exam with less than 48 hours’ notice you do not need to contact us. The exam will be marked as absent and a refund will follow automatically.

When will I receive my refund?

For Performance Grades we will issue refunds within 28 days of the end of the exam session.

You can read our full Withdrawals, Non-attendance and Fee Refunds Policy here 

Contacting us

If you have any questions, please start by checking our contact us page where you may find the answer you need. If your question isn’t answered and you would like to get in touch, please use the contact form or ABRSM CHAT available through the website. We always try to respond within 10 working days but we have recently received a very high number of queries, so we ask for your patience. We cannot guarantee that we will reply to every email within the timeframe, as we must prioritise customers whose queries are time-critical.

2 November 2020

Syllabus Validity and Overlap Periods

Due to COVID-19, we are happy to extend the overlap periods of the Bowed Strings 2016–2019 syllabus, and the Percussion 1990–2009 syllabus. Please read the Syllabus Overlap guidance carefully for the full requirements and arrangements for your syllabus. Key dates are summarised below for reference but you will need to refer to the full published guidance for the complete details of how to prepare.

Syllabus

Published end date

Published overlap period (worldwide)

Special COVID-19 extension arrangements (worldwide)

Bowed Strings 2016–2019

31 December 2019

Until 31 December 2020

 

 

Please note, due to COVID-19 we are happy to extend this overlap to the first opportunity for candidates to take their exam in 2021. Special permission is no longer required. Candidates should inform the examiner, and/or indicate on the programme form, that they are playing pieces from the 2016–2019 syllabus.

Any candidate starting preparations for an exam in 2021 must use the new 2020–2023 syllabus.

Percussion

1990–2019

31 December 2019

Until 31 December 2020

 

 

Please note, due to COVID-19 we are happy to extend this overlap to the first opportunity for candidates to take their exam in 2021. Special permission is no longer required. Candidates should inform the examiner, and/or indicate on the programme form, that they are using the 1990–2019 syllabus.

Any candidate starting preparations for an exam in 2021 must use the new Percussion syllabus, available for four subjects – Snare Drum, Timpani, Tuned Percussion and Percussion (Combined). 

23 October

Performance Grades – first exam session

Performance Grades are our new performance-focused exams, which examiners assess remotely from a video recording submitted by the candidate. Candidates prepare four pieces or songs and can record their exam performance in a location of their choice, at a time that suits them. Remotely-assessed ARSM exams are also available.

The booking period for our first remotely-assessed Performance Grade and ARSM exams is 1 to 8 December 2020 and the exam session runs from 5 to 31 January 2021.

Visit our Performance Grades pages  for further information and syllabuses.  For more advice and tips, visit our YouTube Performance Grades playlist.

Online Music Theory – 2021 dates

Earlier this year we announced that we are moving Music Theory at Grades 1 to 5 to an online exam and have made some changes to the questions and the syllabus for these exams. Candidates will be able to take their exam in any location where they have access to a laptop or desktop computer with a webcam and the internet.

In 2021 we are offering six dates for Grade 1 to 5 exams and the following are confirmed:

  • Tuesday 16 March at 17.00 (Booking period: 1 to 8 February)
  • Sunday 23 May at 10.00 (Booking period: 6 to 13 April)
  • Saturday 19 June at 10.00 (Booking period: 4 to 11 May)

These are global dates and will be the same for all candidates worldwide. Online Music Theory exams later in the year will take place in August, October and November. We will publish exact dates for these exams on our website soon, along with planned dates for paper-based exams at Grades 6 to 8.

You can find all our online Music Theory information and resources here.

Face-to-face practical exams in 2021

We have now published planned dates for face-to-face practical exams in 2021. However, we will need to keep these dates under review as we can only accept bookings if COVID travel and government restrictions are lifted. We will provide an update nearer to each booking period.

To check exam dates for 2021 click here.

Useful Links

 

Where to find sheet music

Many retailers are continuing to provide sheet music, books, instruments and accessories through online or mail order services. View our shops list here.

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