Latest exam updates

COVID update

In response to the current restrictions in the UK and Ireland we are deferring Session 1 face-to-face practical exams at Public Venues and paper-based Grade 6 to 8 Music Theory exams at Public Venues and Private Visits. Where we can we will still offer practical exams at Private Visits. Our remotely-assessed Performance Grade and ARSM exams and our Grade 1 to 5 online Music Theory exams are unaffected and all dates remain unchanged. To read more, please visit our latest updates page.

Music Theory exam dates

We are providing extra dates in March when candidates can take an online Grade 1 to 5 Music Theory exam.

  • 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

 We plan to offer Grade 6 to 8 paper Music Theory exams on Wednesday 28 April with a booking period from 8 to 15 March.

Performance Grade booking

The next booking period for remotely-assessed Performance Grade and ARSM exams opens on 1 February. For details, see our dates and fees page.

Share your love of performance with our new Performance Grades

4 months ago

For the first time in ABRSM’s history, students and teachers can curate their own programme with our Performance Grades.

 The Performance Grades booking period in the UK is from 28 September to 5 October and the exam submission date for recordings is between 19 October and 7 November. Because of the nature of the exam, you are able to make your recordings today and then submit from 19 October.

‘I’m only just starting out on my learning journey. With a passion for being on the stage, I am very keen to take Performance Grades’ Ben, age 10, South East


As a teacher, you will understand that not every child you teach is the same. You can now play to their strengths with two different assessment options: Practical or Performance Grades. Our Performance Grades have been designed for learners who want to develop skills in the programming and delivery of a sustained performance, and, at the heart of it, gain and be credited for their performance skills.

Inspiring Performance

At the centre of every performance is a musician’s ability to tell a story, communicate musical interpretation, and share their craft. Performance Grades now provide the opportunity to bring all of these essential skills to a regulated qualification. To showcase and reward students in a new way.

With greater musical choice, you and your student can choose the pieces/songs, control how to arrange them into a programme and decide how to best put across musical interests, tastes, strengths and personality.

As the exams are assessed from recordings, we are able to offer flexibility and accessibility. Performances can take place at home, at school or in a community setting – perfect for all ages with the freedom to choose where to record the performance, and with whom.

Practical or Performance Grades?

With this wider offering, you and your students can choose to switch between Practical and Performance Grades as progress is made through the grades across all ABRSM instrumental and singing syllabuses.

Performance Grades at 6 to 8 will attract the same UCAS points as our Practical Grades at these levels. They are equivalent in demand, recognition and value as a qualification, but with a different emphasis. They are based on the same repertoire and syllabuses, assessment criteria and quality assurance measures as our existing exams and will be assessed by the same highly trained examiners.

We believe that a thorough understanding of the elements of music is essential for a full and satisfying performance at the higher grades. Therefore, a pass at ABRSM Grade 5 or above is required in either Music Theory, Practical Musicianship or any Practical Music solo Jazz instrument before learners can enter for a Grade 6, 7 or 8 exam.


As with our Practical Grades, a total of 150 marks will be available overall:

  • The four pieces/songs will be marked individually with a maximum of 30 marks for each.
  • Examiners will use our established criteria to mark the pieces – assessing pitch, time, tone, shape and performance.
  • There will then be a separate 30 marks available for the ‘performance as a whole’ – the examiner will be assessing communication, interpretation and delivery.

As experienced performers themselves, our examiners are here to help you, to help your students flourish.

Find out more about Performance Grades at

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