Latest Exam News : Updated 26 February

Withdrawals, Non-attendance and Fee Refund Policy

a. Cancellations and withdrawals can only be made by applicants. Exam fees will only be returned to the applicant or organisation that made the payment.

Consumer and cancellation rights: Public Venue and Remotely-Assessed exams

b. When booking an exam at a Public Venue or for remote assessment, including Performance Grades, remotely-assessed ARSM, and Online Music Theory, the contract may be cancelled within 14 days after the day on which the contract is entered into (the cooling-off period) for a full refund. Cancellations during the 14-day cooling-off period must be made by the applicant using the online exam service.

Late Booking: If the date of the exam is within 14 days from the day on which the contract is entered into, a full refund is applicable only if the cancellation is made before the date of the exam.

c. If a booking at a Public Venue is cancelled outside of the ‘cooling-off period’ ABRSM will not offer any refund of the exam fee for the cancelled exam other than in the circumstances specified in paragraphs f, g, h or i of this policy.

Private Visit: Practical exams

d. When booking a practical exam at a Private Visit, either as the Visit Organiser or as a Permitted Applicant, the booking may be cancelled up to 28 days before (and not including) the first day of the Private Visit and receive a full refund. If a booking is cancelled less than 28 days before (and not including) the first day of the Private Visit, ABRSM will not offer any refund of the exam fee for the cancelled exam other than in the circumstances specified in Reg. 8a: Withdrawals and non-attendance. Cancellations made 28 days (or more) before the first day of the Private Visit must be made by the applicant using the online booking service.

Private Visit: Theory exams

e. When booking a theory exam at a Private Visit, either as the Visit Organiser or as a Permitted Applicant, the booking may be cancelled up to, and including, the theory exam online booking period closing date and receive a full refund. If a booking is cancelled outside of this booking period, ABRSM will not offer any refund of the exam fee for the cancelled exam other than in the circumstances specified in Reg. 8a: Withdrawals and non-attendance. Cancellations must be made by the applicant using the online booking service.

Withdrawals and non-attendance

f. A candidate who is withdrawn from an exam, or who does not attend, may be eligible for a partial refund under certain circumstances. The candidate may be re-entered in future, but a new booking and full payment must be made. Neither a cancelled booking nor the exam fee already paid can be transferred from one booking period to the next. Requests received more than one week after the exam date will not normally be considered.

Illness and injury

g. If a candidate is unable to attend their exam owing to illness or injury, please notify ABRSM at [email protected] as soon as possible, and no later than the day of the exam. Please provide supporting documentary evidence. This should normally be a letter from someone in authority, such as a head teacher, confirming the candidate’s indisposition or injury, or a medical certificate. Notice given only to an examiner, local representative, steward or invigilator is not sufficient to qualify for a refund, if applicable.

Exceptional personal circumstances

h. If a candidate needs to withdraw owing to exceptional personal circumstances such as bereavement, please notify ABRSM at [email protected] as soon as possible, and not later than the day of the exam, giving full details substantiating the request. These requests will be considered on a case-by-case basis, and ABRSM’s decision is final.

Circumstances beyond the candidate’s control

i. Where a candidate misses their exam owing to circumstances beyond their control (such as a major travel incident that causes serious difficulties getting to the exam, or an accident to their instrument immediately before the exam) the applicant must notify ABRSM at [email protected] as soon as possible, giving full details substantiating the request. These requests will be considered on a case-by-case basis, and ABRSM’s decision is final. 

Errors made during the booking process

j. It is the applicant’s responsibility to make sure that information provided during the booking process is correct. No refund will be issued if applicants make errors, for example, candidates being entered for an incorrect grade.

Additional information

k. ABRSM will reimburse payments received, subject to its statutory right to retain a portion of the exam fee to cover reasonable costs. ABRSM will process any refund due as soon as possible and, in any case, no later than 28 days after the day on which it was informed about the decision to cancel the contract. UK refunds are normally returned using the original payment method; however, refund payment methods may vary outside the UK. If the booking is cancelled after the ‘cooling-off period’, payment methods may vary.

Special terms for non-attendance due to COVID (updated 26 February 2021)

l. If it is not possible to take an exam due to COVID, in the first instance we will try to find an alternative way for affected candidates to take their exam. If we cannot offer a suitable alternative, we will refund the exam fee in full. In all other circumstances clauses b) to i) will apply. This clause is only valid for all exams taking place before 1 June 2021. This clause applies to all ABRSM exams.

To support customers affected by ongoing COVID restrictions, for Practical and Performance Grade exams from 1st January to 31st 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. It is not necessary to contact ABRSM to request this however, please log in to your account to cancel the exam. We will issue refunds within 28 days of the exam session ending (not the exam date), or, for Private Visits, the end of the month following the month of the visit date.

It is not necessary to contact ABRSM to request this however, please log in to your account to cancel the exam. We will issue refunds within 28 days of the exam session ending (not the exam date).


Updated February 2021.

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