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.


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.

The issue of stamina is something that teachers need to prepare, and pace their students for. An ARSM assessment is a marathon not a sprint! ARSM enables instrumental learners to see themselves at the top of the mountain, looking down on the journey they have taken, rather than seeing an invisible peak in the clouds, to which they cannot even aspire.

Building a good programme is the first base for this process. The balance of material and choices that showcase the individual’s strengths are obvious key elements. However, deciding what will still feel achievable and fresh at the end of the 30 minute programme for a pupil who previously may have only played pieces lasting ten minutes, is much less straightforward.

The best way forward is to mix some familiar repertoire with some new pieces. By sandwiching new material between some old friends can take the sting out of the nerves. This is what professionals building a recital programme would do, so it’s pretty good advice for recital programming.

It is very important to encourage learners to research the repertoire themselves. They may know all the available options, but even if they do, the importance of researching different versions/performances cannot be emphasised too much. With all the available apps and online tools, so many different versions can be accessed, and from that basis, a pupil can make informed choices about their repertoire and performance styles.

This is, by definition, a step-up from the requirements at Grade 8 level; but it is also a wonderful way of introducing pupils to involvement with learning as a pro-active process. After all, surely the goal of teachers is to make themselves redundant by teaching their pupils to become independent learners?





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