Latest exam updates

Update 10 September - UK & Ireland Music Exams

Below you’ll find the latest updates on our booking periods, exam dates and other important information. Please also check the relevant pages of the website if you don’t find all the information you are looking for.

Public Venues

Subject to the COVID-19 situation, our face-to-face practical exams at Public Venues will be available in an extended Session 3 from 9 November to 19 December 2020. The following assessments will be available: Prep Test, Practical Grades, ARSM and Performance Assessment.

The booking period for this session is from 28 September to 12 October.

We will be offering a reduced number of Public Venues. We will publish a list of venues in advance of the booking period. This may be subject to change, depending on local and government guidance. We will also publish comprehensive information about what we are doing to ensure the safety of everyone using our Public Venues. This will include guidance and instructions for candidates and other visitors.

Please visit the exam dates and fees page for more information.


Private Visits

We are now offering Private Visits for face-to-face Practical exams in the UK only. Private Visits take place at an approved venue provided and organised by a Visit Organiser.

We can offer Private Visits for Practical exams at all grades and for ARSM, Prep Test and Performance Assessment. This includes Organ, Harpsichord and Percussion exams. We are unable to offer Choral Singing or Ensemble exams at Private Visits at this time.

It is important that all Visit Organisers follow our new conditions for exam delivery (available  to ensure the safety of everyone involved).

Find out more about organising a Private Visit .

Bookings can be made at any time. Find out more about how to book.  

Our brand new Performance Grades assess the essential performance skills of communication, interpretation and storytelling within the framework of a regulated qualification.

Performance Grades are available at Grades 1 to 8 for all our instrumental and singing syllabuses apart from Jazz, with the assessment made from a video recording submitted by the candidate. We’ve designed this new assessment to complement our existing Practical Grades and offer an additional progression route with a focus on performance.

We are also offering remotely-assessed ARSM exams, using the existing ARSM syllabus.

The first session for remotely-assessed Performance Grades and ARSM exams takes place from 19 October to 7 November 2020. This is when you can submit exam recordings. The booking period, when you can select an exam submission date, is 28 September to 5 October. You can find all our exam dates and fees on our website.

Find out more about our Performance Grades here.

Music Theory exams – Grades 1 to 5

On 26 August we ran a pilot  online Music Theory exam, in which 3500 candidates sat their Grade 5 exam in their homes and ahead of the autumn term. However, due to a number of technical issues the exam did not run smoothly for everyone. We have apologised sincerely to all those who participated and are extremely grateful for the many responses received to our feedback survey. We appreciate the expressions of support included in the considered feedback given as well as the detail about each candidate’s experience. 

The feedback shows high levels of satisfaction with the ease of use and intuitiveness of the on-screen questions, as well as the fairness of the exam in terms of its difficulty and the content covered. We are taking action to address the specific technical issues and learn from all of the feedback. We are committed to ensuring we can provide an online exam experience that works for everyone, enables progression and meets our high standards.

Our next online Music Theory exams, at Grades 1 to 5, will take place on the 10 November. The booking period opens on 28 September and closes on 12 October.

There are some small changes to the syllabus for these exams and some updated questions. You can find full details on our website here, along with free Music Theory Sample Papers and Model Answers at Grades 1 to 5, plus additional resources, including Grade 5 practice questions in the online format, a step by step user guide and a video demo of the exam. 

On 8 October we are also publishing our new Discovering Music Theory books along with Music Theory Sample Papers and Model Answers. The five graded Discovering Music Theory workbooks and answer books provide all-round preparation for the Grade 1 to 5 online exams, while the Sample Papers and Model Answers provide essential practice material. These books and resources are available to pre-order now.

Music Theory exams – Grades 6 to 8

We are planning to offer paper-based Grade 6 to 8 Music Theory exams at a limited number of Public Venues on 10 November. The booking period will be from 28 September to 12 October. We will run these exams as long as we can do so safely and in line with government guidelines. We will publish information about what we are doing to ensure the safety of everyone using our Public Venues. This will include guidance and instructions for candidates and other visitors.

We are once more offering Diploma exams (DipABRSM, LRSM and FRSM) at Private Visits and Public Venues. To provide more choice for candidates we are providing an additional early Public Venue diploma session, as well as our later session in December. Our forthcoming exam sessions for diplomas are:

• 9 – 15  November 2020 – closing date for entry 14 September
• 14 to 19 December – closing date for entry 2 October.

We have changed the booking process for Diploma exams and will no longer be accepting paper entries. You can find information about booking a DipABRSM, LRSM or FRSM exam here

Please click here for more information on how to enter.

Jazz exams will be available during Session 3 in the autumn in the UK and Ireland. You can book Jazz exams once the booking period for Public Venues has opened. At this point, we will publish a list of ABRSM Jazz Visits. For each ABRSM Jazz Visit we will provide the date, venue and a Venue Code. You can then choose the ABRSM Jazz Visit where you would like to book your exams, make a note of the Venue Code and enter it when you book.

The booking period closing date does not apply to ABRSM Jazz Visits. Instead, you can book Jazz exams from the booking period opening date until 28 days before the ABRSM Jazz Visit date. 

Jazz exams can also take place at a Private Visit, as long as there is at least one hour of Jazz examining time and the total examining time for the visit is at least three hours.

We have changed our requirements for Music Medals, to allow Teacher-Assessors to submit assessments conducted remotely for the Music Medals programme. If you are a Teacher-Assessor interested in submitting remote assessments, please contact us at [email protected]. Click here for more information on Music Medals

Useful Links


Where to find sheet music

Many retailers are continuing to provide sheet music, books, instruments and accessories through online or mail order services. View our shops list here.

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