Latest exam updates

Practical Update 

We appreciate how much the cancellation of our exams has affected learners and we are working hard on solutions to ensure learners can gain their qualifications at the earliest opportunity.

However, on the basis of official and local advice due to COVID-19, we have made the decision to cancel all Practical exams in Macau until further notice. This decision affects all 2020 bookings for Graded Music Exams, ARSM, Diploma, Choral Singing and Ensemble exams, but does not currently affect any bookings for Music Theory exams. Following this decision, we will process 100% refunds for all existing Practical exam bookings and our Representatives will provide further guidance in due course.

We are sorry for the impact on teachers and candidates and thank you for your loyalty and support while these restrictions remain in place. We are continuing to review when live Practical exams can resume in Macau and will offer them again at the earliest possible opportunity.

Our new remotely-assessed Performance Grades provide an alternative progression route for students during this period of disruption. The Performance Grades are equivalent to our Practical Grades in demand, recognition and value. They are based on the same repertoire and syllabuses, assessment criteria and quality assurance measures as our existing exams and will be assessed by the same highly trained examiners. Booking will open in Macau before the end of the year and you can record your video submission any time from now on. Find out more here.

Prerequisite for entry to Practical Grades 6–8

Candidates for Practical Grades 6, 7 and 8 must already have passed one of the following qualifications:

Accepted alternatives

  • Australian Music Examination Board: Grade 5 (or above) in Theory of Music
  • London College of Music: Grade 5 (or above) in Theory of Music (nb: Popular Music Theory is not accepted)
  • The Royal Conservatory of Music [Canada]: both Advanced Rudiments and Basic Harmony
  • Royal Irish Academy of Music: Grade 6 (or above) in Theory & Harmony
  • Trinity College London/Trinity Guildhall: Grade 5 (or above) in Theory of Music
  • University of South Africa: Grade 5 (or above) in Theory of Music
  • Dublin Institute of Technology Conservatory of Music & Drama: Grade 5 (or above) in Musicianship
  • Irish Leaving Certificate: Grade B (or above) in Music (Higher Level)
  • The Open University: A224 Inside Music

ABRSM encourages the development of the all-round musician from the earliest stages of learning. We believe that good foundations in performance and theory create confident musicians and as a student progresses, the development of connections between musical skills, knowledge and understanding becomes increasingly important, and is essential to deeper appreciation of how music works.

We believe that such an appreciation is fundamental to effective musical communication in all its forms, enhancing musical awareness, sensitivity and control in performance. Grade 5 in Music Theory, Practical Musicianship or Practical Grade Jazz encompasses essential aspects of musical learning that prepare candidates for solid, sustainable success in practical exams at Grades 6, 7 and 8, as well as laying lifelong foundations for their future as musicians.

For exams to be taken in the UK & Ireland: A copy of the certificate or mark form must be supplied at the time of entry for your Practical or Performance exam, except for ABRSM qualifications taken in the UK or Ireland and gained in or after Period C 1993 (for which supporting documentation will only be required in cases where ABRSM is unable to verify the qualification from its records).

For exams to be taken in all other countries: A copy of the certificate or mark form must be supplied at the time of entry for your Practical or Performance exam.

ABRSM will consider other qualifications on a case-by-case basis. However, any requests of this nature must be submitted to us at least three weeks before you book your Grade 6–8 Practical exam.

Please contact our Learning & Qualifications team to do this, submitting a copy of your certificate and/or mark form, and full details of the relevant content of the course/qualification – i.e. one or more of the following: a copy of the syllabus, a course/module transcript, examples of past papers. Any documentation that is not in English must be accompanied by a certified official translation.

If your qualification is accepted, a letter of confirmation will be issued to you. You should submit this letter when entering for your Practical exam.

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