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.

ARSM: life after Grade 8

1 year ago
Alison Kelly

Alison Kelly

Alison Moncrieff-Kelly is a cellist, educator and ABRSM examiner in classical grades, jazz grades and Diplomas. She is also a Teacher Development Consultant for ABRSM, and has led workshops and presentations all over the world. Alison has been a syllabus consultant for ABRSM and also part of the team who prepared the cello sight-reading and scales. Alison teaches at City University London, Tonbridge School and also runs a highly successful private teaching practice.

From a twelve minute exam at Grade 1, to a 30 minute exam at Grade 8, as a learner progresses through graded examinations they build on the principles of good instrumental learning and practice. It is easy to see the graded examinations as an incremental, accumulating ladder of goals and targets, with Grade 8 as the pinnacle. But what happens when you’ve reached Grade 8? Although previously Grade 8 was seen as the pinnacle of the graded exams, the gap between Grade 8 and Dip ABRSM is large.

ARSM (Associate of the Royal Schools of Music) is a performance-only diploma that bridges the gap between Grade 8 and DipABRSM. It's an opportunity for candidates to demonstrate performance skills after Grade 8. Within the challenge of performing a 30-minute programme, candidates are assessed on their musical communication skills, interpretation and technical delivery.

The exam can be taken by anyone who has passed ABRSM Practical Grade 8 or a listed alternative. ARSM is available in all instruments currently examined by ABRSM, including voice.

There are no written or spoken elements, and no sight reading, aural tests or scales. As part of the assessment, candidates perform at least 20 minutes of music chosen from the ARSM repertoire list (this is the same list set for DipABRSM); and up to 10 minutes of their own-choice repertoire (of at least Grade 8 standard).

ARSM offers musicians the opportunity to explore their musical strengths and enthusiasms. For the assessment, musicians put together a thirty minute programme of music and they have full reign when it comes to the pieces they select so they can showcase their talents. But remember, thirty minutes of playing requires a lot of stamina!




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