ABRSM exams and COVID
Essential information about exams taking place before 1 April 2021
Last updated 15 January
Our commitment to safe progression
We are committed to providing learners with an opportunity to progress safely with their learning during these uncertain times, and to receive the qualifications they have worked hard for, and that are important for their future.
However, due to the impact of new national restrictions, we have decided to cancel some public exams during Session 1. Exams booked as part of a Private Visit are still possible. For details, please visit our Latest Updates page.
As an alternative to face-to-face practical exams, teachers, parents and candidates may prefer to consider a remotely-assessed Performance Grade or ARSM exam. These are assessed from a submitted video recording.
The following information provides a guide to what you can expect and what to do if the exams you have booked are disrupted for COVID-related reasons.
Providing COVID-safe exams
The safety of candidates, accompanists, examiners and stewards is paramount. That is why we have adopted strict health and safety rules in line with government and public health guidance. These rules apply to everyone involved in the exam. Please read them before you book and share them with candidates, parents and accompanists where necessary. Everyone should also read them before attending an exam, as they could change at any time. You can find them here:
- COVID-19 candidate guidance for Practical exams (PDF)
- COVID-19 venue guidance for Practical exams (PDF)
- COVID-19 venue guidance for Music Theory public exams (PDF)
- COVID-19 arrangements for accompaniment for Practical exams (PDF)
Before attending your exam
- Please check our website and your email for any notice of cancellation.
- If you are a Private Visit Organiser, please read our guidance for Private Visits.
If you’ve booked a Private Visit which cannot go ahead on the date(s) booked…
- If you have to cancel a Private Visit, we will work with you to rearrange it.
- If you have to cancel exams because candidates have COVID symptoms or are isolating, we will try to offer an alternative for them.
You can read our full Withdrawals, Non-attendance and Fee Refunds Policy here.
What do I do if my accompanist is unable to attend my exam?
Live accompaniment, as detailed in the relevant syllabuses, is normally required. Strict health rules apply to everyone involved in the exam and are detailed in the guidance. However, while social-distancing requirements are in place, we are offering flexibility to singers and instrumentalists who must usually have an accompanist (or duet partner) on the day of their exam. We will accept unaccompanied performances in face-to-face exams until at least 1 April 2021. Arrangements beyond that are subject to review. Please see our COVID-19 arrangements for accompaniment in practical exams for full details.