Latest exam updates

Current Exam Session: Late Booking and Rescheduling Exams

Thank you to everyone who’s booked exams. To help you with your exam arrangements at this exceptionally busy time, please be aware that there are number of services available to you by logging in to your ABRSM account. 

Online Theory exam

All applicants who have made a booking for the Online Theory exams in November were sent their candidates’ log in details by email between 23-25 October

Please follow the link in the email which provides checklists for applicants, candidates and Responsible Adults and the link to the necessary software.

ABRSM exams and COVID

Essential information

Our commitment to safe progression

During these uncertain times, we are committed to providing learners with an opportunity to progress safely and we will try our utmost to minimise further disruption to their learning.

We are following government and local rules and advice, and we are working with venues to ensure that our exams take place in a COVID-safe way.

As exam dates approach, government and public health rules could change at short notice and disrupt exams. Candidates may also be affected by COVID in ways that prevent them from taking their exam. The following information provides a guide to what you can expect and what to do if the exams you book are disrupted for COVID-related reasons.

We are closely monitoring new government guidance and restrictions. We understand that these restrictions may have an impact on our exam venues and ability to run live face-to-face exams.

  • Our public session exams exams in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland will currently be able to go ahead as planned within the tier system and other restrictions that have been applied, provided strict health and safety guidelines are followed.
  • Ireland: Following the announcement regarding the tier 5 lockdown in Ireland and after reviewing the Ireland government guidance, we are rescheduling our Ireland exams to a later date. We will be in touch with applicants directly.

If we have to cancel exams due to COVID-19 or venue restrictions, we will ensure that you are notified prior to your exam taking place. Our first priority will be to find an alternative way for anyone affected to take their exam. If we cannot offer an alternative, we will refund the exam fee.

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:

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 first session for remotely-assessed Performance Grade and ARSM exams runs from 19 October to 7 November. Late booking is now open for these exams. We are planning to offer a further exam session in early 2021 with booking opening in December 2020 and will confirm dates as soon as we can.

Before attending your exam

  • Please check your email for any notice of cancellation
  • If you are a Private Visit Organiser, please read our guidance for Private Visits.
  • For exams at our Public Venues, applicants, parents and candidates should read our COVID-19 candidate guidance for Practical exams (PDF)
  • At our Public Venues please be prepared for restricted parking, limitations on the number of visitors and waiting, and delays to exam appointments to allow us time to prepare the exam room between candidates.

If a candidate is due to take an exam at a Public Venue, but has COVID symptoms or is self-isolating…

  • You can log in to your account and change an exam appointment up to 48 hours before an exam date. The exam applicant can do this or the candidate (parent/carer) if they have an ABRSM account. Please note that alternative appointments are subject to availability.
  • If you don’t find an alternative using the online booking service, contact us at [email protected] and we will try to find another date and, if necessary, location.
  • For candidates taking Practical Grades 6 to 8, we hope to offer the option of adapted exams in line with Ofqual extraordinary regulations if suitable alternatives cannot be found.
  • If it is not possible to find an alternative way to take an exam, we will provide a 100% refund.

If you’ve booked exams at a Public Venue which cannot go ahead…

  • We will notify you directly and will help you find an alternative date and location for the affected exams.
  • For candidates taking Practical Grades 6 to 8, we hope to offer the option of adapted exams in line with Ofqual extraordinary regulations if suitable alternatives cannot be found.
  • If it’s not possible to find an alternative way for a candidate to take their exam, we will provide a 100% refund.

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.
  • For candidates taking Practical Grades 6 to 8, we hope to offer the option of adapted exams in line with Ofqual extraordinary regulations if suitable alternatives cannot be found.

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

For information on booking exams, including how to change exam appointments, go to our exam booking pages.

What do I do if my accompanist is unable to attend my exam?

Live accompaniment, as detailed in the relevant syllabuses, is normally required. 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 31 January 2021. Arrangements beyond that are subject to review.

Please see COVID-19 arrangements for accompaniment practical exams for full details.

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