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.

New Initial Grade

What is Initial Grade?

Our new Initial Grade for Piano is a pre-Grade 1 assessment following the same structure, content and marking criteria as our other graded music exams (three pieces, scales, sight-reading and aural tests).

Initial Grade does not replace Prep Test, but it sits alongside it as an alternative assessment. It’s designed to allow pianists at the earliest stages of their musical journeys to celebrate their achievement, and is an ideal qualification for those who want a mark as well as helpful feedback. Initial Grade is available for Practical grades only.

What supporting resources are available?

Piano Initial Grade is supported with individual books of Piano Exam Pieces (available with or without CD), Piano Scales & Arpeggios and Specimen Piano Sight-reading Tests as well as a book of Specimen Aural Tests. Find out more.

Piano Star Skills Builder is a new book by David Blackwell and Karen Marshall in the popular Piano Star series. It will develop musicianship skills for young pianists who are working towards Initial Grade level and beyond, providing a firm foundation in scales, aural, and sight-reading skills, building essential techniques progressively. The varied material includes fun pieces to play, songs to sing, written and listening activities, composition games, and much more. Based on decades of proven teaching strategies, with all content tried out on – and approved! – by children, Piano Star Skills Builder will grow young pianists’ confidence and skill around all areas of musicianship, providing them with the underpinnings they need to succeed at ABRSM Initial Grade Piano and beyond, and develop their musical journey for many years to come. The book publishes on 3 September and is available to pre-order now!

Watch Konya Kanneh-Mason perform The Elephant Parade by Nikki Iles - a newly-commissioned piece on our Initial Grade Piano syllabus.

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