Latest exam updates

Exam refunds

To support customers affected by ongoing COVID restrictions, for Practical and Performance Grade exams from 1 January to 31 May 2021 any absent candidate will automatically receive a refund. This includes Performance Grades where the candidate has been unable to record and upload their video. You do not need to contact us to request a refund. However, it will help us if you can log in to your account and cancel the exam.

For Online Music Theory exams and any paper based exams taking place outside of the UK/Ireland we anticipate COVID restrictions will not prevent candidates from sitting their exam so absentee candidates will not automatically receive a refund and our normal Withdrawal, Non-attendance and Fee Refunds Policy still applies.

Music Theory exams – March 2021

  • Online Music Theory exams (Grades 1 to 5) – we are cancelling the online exams planned for 16 March. Exams in May and June will go ahead as planned.
  • Paper Music Theory exams (Grades 6 to 8) – the next exams will take place in June. Please note, dates and booking periods for Grades 1-5 and Grades 6-8 may be different from now on. For full details, see our dates and fees page.
  • Grade 5 Music Theory requirement - from 1 January to 30 April 2021 only, candidates can take Grade 6 to 8 Performance or Practical exams without first passing Grade 5 Music Theory. From 1 May 2021, the Grade 5 Music Theory requirement will return with flexibility about timing. If you receive an email asking for your proof of prerequisite, please ignore this. We will still release any results in line with the arrangements outlined here.

For more information click here.

Performance Grade exams

We will be offering Performance Grade exams every month for the remainder of 2021. Exact dates will be announced soon. Please check here for more information. We are extending the introductory 15% discount for these exams so that it applies to all remotely-assessed Performance Grade and ARSM exams in 2021. Just enter code ABPG15MO when you book using our online service. Please also read our discount information and terms and conditions here.

Practical Musicianship

Our Practical Musicianship exams give students opportunities to develop their ability to ‘think in sound’ and perform spontaneously. While Performance and Practical Grades focus on aspects of performance and/or supporting tests that are prepared in detail in advance, here the playing (or singing) is in response to immediate challenges and stimuli, presented both aurally and via notation.

From Grades 1–8, the Practical Musicianship exams cover some key skills:

  • The ability to internalise music and to reproduce it
  • Interpreting written music with minimum preparation
  • Exploring the possibilities inherent in a short motif
  • The ability to detect differences between what's heard and what's written

Practical Musicianship exams encourage interconnected development of musical listening, reading and playing skills through a holistic approach.

An alternative to Grade 5 Music Theory

Grade 5 Practical Musicianship is an alternative to Grade 5 Music Theory as a prerequisite for taking ABRSM Grades 6–8 Practical and Performance exams, enabling you to demonstrate your musical knowledge and understanding on your instrument rather than on paper.

Instruments

Practical Musicianship exams are open to singers as well as instrumentalists performing on any instrument(s) included in the current range of subjects offered by ABRSM.

Publications & audio

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