Latest Exam News : Updated 26 February

Update 26 February 2021 – UK Practical and Performance Grade exams

The health and safety of everyone taking an ABRSM exam is our priority and we have been closely monitoring UK government announcements and information from Ofqual and DfE to inform our next steps.

Following the recent announcements, we are very pleased to announce that we will be able to offer face-to-face Practical exams at our Public Venues in June and July across the UK. In the meantime, we will continue to offer face-to-face Private Visits and Grade 6-8 Music Theory exams across England, Wales and Northern Ireland. We have put together a short summary below and we will regularly update this page so please continue to check back for more information.

Session 2 practical exam session

We plan to run our face-to-face Session 2 practical exams (Prep Test, Performance Assessment, Practical Grades and ARSM) at Public Venues as planned this summer, as long as we can run them safely and in line the latest government guidance and public health guidelines.

We will be announcing more details and dates as soon as possible. Please keep an eye on our Latest Updates page and our Dates and Fees page for further information.

Private Visits

We can continue to offer practical face to face exams at Private Visits in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, provided all COVID-19 guidance is followed. Don’t forget that Private Visits provide you with great flexibility as they can be booked throughout the year (not just during public session dates). We appreciate that you may have large numbers of candidates waiting to take their exams, and you may want to book these across multiple visits at different points in your school term. For more information and for the most up to date COVID-19 Private Visit venue guidance, please see here.

Performance Grades

We are pleased to confirm that we will be offering Performance Grade exams every month for the remainder of 2021 – with exact dates to be announced shortly. Please continue to check our Dates and Fees page for further information. Our next Performance Grade booking period is open from 1 to 8 March, with exam submission dates between the 6 and 26 April. You can find all our Performance Grades information here. Our YouTube Performance Grades playlist is also a great place to find guidance, advice and tips. 

Grade 6 to 8 Music Theory

Any candidates waiting to take their paper-based Grade 6-8 exam will be able to do so on Wednesday 28 April. The booking period will be from 8 to 15 March.

Update 26 February – exam refunds

Refunds for practical and Performance Grade exams from January to May 2021

To support customers affected by 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 Grade exams 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 log in to your account and cancel the exam. For Private Visits we will issue refunds by the end of the month following the month of the visit date. For Performance Grades we will issue refunds within 28 days of the end of the exam session (not the exam date).

You can read our full Withdrawals, Non-attendance and Fee Refunds Policy here 

Update 25 January – Music Theory exam dates

Extra dates for online Music Theory (Grades 1 to 5)

We are providing extra dates in March when candidates in the UK and Ireland can take an online Grade 1 to 5 Music Theory exam. We are offering three exam dates with different start times:

  • Tuesday 16 March – candidates can start the exam at any time between 5pm and 6pm
  • Saturday 20 March – candidates can start the exam at any time between 10am and 11am
  • Thursday 25 March – candidates can start the exam at any time between 5pm and 6pm

There is no change to the booking period for these exams, which will still run from 1 to 8 February.

We have a set number of slots available for each date, so if you would like to book a particular date please be ready to book early during the booking period.

Grades 6 to 8 paper-based exams

If you have candidates who would like to take a paper-based Grade 6 to 8 exam, please note that we have postponed the March exam. We plan to offer an alternative date on Wednesday 28 April with a booking period from 8 to 15 March.

For more information about online Music Theory exams, please click here.

Update 2 November 2020

Syllabus Validity and Overlap Periods

Due to COVID-19, we are happy to extend the overlap periods of the Bowed Strings 2016–2019 syllabus, and the Percussion 1990–2019 syllabus. Please read the Syllabus Overlap guidance carefully for the full requirements and arrangements for your syllabus. Key dates are summarised below for reference but you will need to refer to the full published guidance for the complete details of how to prepare.

Syllabus

Published end date

Published overlap period (worldwide)

Special COVID-19 extension arrangements (worldwide)

Bowed Strings 2016–2019

31 December 2019

Until 31 December 2020

 

 

Please note, due to COVID-19 we are happy to extend this overlap to the first opportunity for candidates to take their exam in 2021 (or subsequent resits in 2021). Special permission is no longer required. Candidates should inform the examiner, and/or indicate on the programme form, that they are playing pieces from the 2016–2019 syllabus.

Any candidate starting preparations for an exam in 2021 must use the new 2020–2023 syllabus.

Percussion

1990–2019

31 December 2019

Until 31 December 2020

 

 

Please note, due to COVID-19 we are happy to extend this overlap to the first opportunity for candidates to take their exam in 2021 (or subsequent resits in 2021). Special permission is no longer required. Candidates should inform the examiner, and/or indicate on the programme form, that they are using the 1990–2019 syllabus.

Any candidate starting preparations for an exam in 2021 must use the new Percussion syllabus, available for four subjects – Snare Drum, Timpani, Tuned Percussion and Percussion (Combined). 

Piano

2019 & 2020

31 December 2020

Until 31 December 2021

n/a

 

 

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.

ABRSM Jazz Visits 2020-3 dates and codes (PDF)

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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