About our exams

We design our exams to inspire and challenge developing musicians and to recognise and celebrate their progress. 

What exams can you take?

We provide exams in a range of styles for musicians at all levels.  Our most popular exams include:

Practical Grades

  • For classical instruments and singing and Singing for Musical Theatre.
  • Up to nine levels depending on your subject
  • A focus on all-round musical skills, including performance
  • Face-to-face exams

Performance Grades

  • For classical instruments and singing and Singing for Musical Theatre
  • Up to nine levels depending on your subject
  • A focus on performance
  • Digital exams assessed from a video recording

Music Theory Grades

  • Eight levels
  • A focus on musical knowledge and understanding and how music works
  • Online exams for Grades 1 to 5 and paper-based exams for Grades 6 to 8

ARSM diploma

  • A performance-only diploma providing a next step after Grade 8
  • Choose from a digital or face-to-face

Discover all our exams

We offer many other assessments, from the Prep Test for beginners to higher-level diplomas for performers, directors and teachers.

Find out more about our exams

Select a link below to find out more about our exams, from the benefits for learners to our approach to assessment and marking criteria.

Working towards an ABRSM exam encourages learners to develop musical skills, knowledge and understanding, something that provides the foundation for a life-long love of music and the ability to share this with others.

All our exams and assessments offer:

  • carefully structured requirements
  • progressive goals to work towards
  • an objective assessment
  • a way to measure progress
  • recognition for achievement

We regularly review and refresh our exams and assessments to ensure they meet the needs of learners and provide pathways that support and enrich their musical development.

This includes updating exam requirements, such as the pieces or songs you need to perform or any tests, such as sight-reading, aural and scales.  At the same time, we invest in additional ways to support learners by developing new assessment opportunities and learning resources.

We have a team of around 700 highly qualified and skilled examiners. Many are performers, teachers or conductors who perform regularly and have taken music exams themselves. So they understand what it’s like to play or sing to an audience and to be an exam candidate.

We provide comprehensive training for our examiners before we accept them into the team and afterwards. All examiners also take part in continuing professional development with ongoing monitoring. As a result, we have a team of examiners who assess impartially, objectively and consistently.

Our examiners assess all instruments and singing as generalist musicians, not as instrumental or vocal specialists. They use our marking criteria to assess the musical outcome rather than a candidate’s technique, and this allows examiners to mark consistently across all subjects.

The marking criteria show what the examiner looks for when they make their assessment.

For Performance Grades and DipABRSM, LRSM and FRSM diplomas, you can find the marking criteria in the qualification specifications found here:

Know what exam you want to book? Go straight to our online booking service.

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