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. Please check here for dates and fees. 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.


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?





This website uses cookies to improve your experience. By using our website, you are agreeing to our cookie policy and consent to our use of cookies. Find out more.