Our new online service for exams from 2020 - FAQs

Booking online

You can always ask someone to book exams on your behalf. This could be the parent/carer of a candidate, a relative or a friend, or an adult candidate (aged 18 or over). We are unable to accept paper entry forms for the following exams taking place from January 2020: graded music exams (Practical and Music Theory), ARSM, Prep Test, Performance Assessment.

Creating your new ABRSM account

Our new online service is supported by new systems, which means we need to record your information in a different way. If you want to book exams taking place from January 2020 onwards, you will need to create a new account even if you have booked exams with us before and have an Applicant Number.

You will be able to go online to register and create your new account from early December 2019. From December you will be able to click on the Login button on our website, choose ‘Register: exams from 2020’ and complete the online form. You will need to create a user name and password to do this. If you are an existing ABRSM applicant we will email you to let you know when you can go online to register.

We will no longer be using Applicant Numbers. To set up your account you will need to create a username and password. You will then use these, instead of an Applicant Number, to log in.

However, if you have an Applicant Number from previous exam bookings, you should enter it when you register to allow us to link your new account to your existing personal details. . This is particularly important if you are a Visit Organiser, as it will allow us to link your previous pre-approved visit venue to your new account.

Everyone using our new online exam service will receive a unique Contact ID. This is to ensure we can identify individuals in the system, link up records and exam history, and avoid duplication.

ABRSM applicants (who book exams on behalf of candidates) will be given a Contact ID when they set up an online account. Candidates will be given a Contact ID once they’ve been entered for an exam through the new online service. Contact IDs will appear on all communications about exam bookings.

If you are an applicant, you will not need to use your Contact ID to book exams. However, it is important that you make a note of the Contact IDs for all your candidates. Once candidates have a Contact ID it should be entered, along with their date of birth, every time an exam booking is made for them. This will keep the candidate's records up to date on our system (including any access requirements and prerequisites), ensure all their exam bookings are linked, and make it quicker to enter their details when booking new exams.

Candidates can choose to register and create an account, even if they have not made the exam booking themselves. Parents/carers can set up this account on behalf of a child, but the account must be in the candidate’s name. Candidate accounts are optional, but having an account means that a candidate can log in to view information about their exams, change practical appointments at Public Venues, and view their results and practical mark forms seven days after we have released them to the applicant.

If the applicant includes the candidate (or parent/carer) email address in their exam booking, the candidate (or parent/carer) will automatically receive an email confirming the booking and asking if they would like to create an account. The email will include a link to the registration page. This email will also include the candidate’s Contact ID, which they need to enter when they create their account. Alternatively, once an exam has been booked, the candidate (or parent/carer) can request the candidate’s Contact ID from the applicant. The candidate (or parent/carer) can then go to our website at any time to register and create an account.

Candidate accounts should be created in the candidate’s name, and their Contact ID and date of birth should be entered where requested. This is to make sure we can create a unique record for the candidate, which links their existing and future exam bookings. If you are a parent/carer who would like to book exams for your child, you will need to set up your own account in your own name to make the booking. Anyone booking an exam should be 18 years or over. When you book exams for your child, please enter their Contact ID (if they have one) and date of birth, to make sure we can link their exam bookings.

Booking exams – candidate details

We need this information to help us identify all candidates accurately in our system, avoid duplication of records and create an exam history for each candidate. We also need to ask for this information to ensure we meet our responsibilities as a regulated awarding organisation in the UK.

This is optional. Supplying a candidate (or parent/carer) email address will give them the option to set up their own ABRSM account. With an online account, they can log in and view their exam details (date, time and venue), change practical appointments online, and view their results and practical mark forms seven days after we have released them to the applicant.

Booking all exams at Public Venues

Public Venue is the new name for a public exam centre. It's a venue organised by ABRSM for practical or Music Theory exams taking place during our main exam sessions.

This is when you can go online to book exams to take place in a forthcoming exam session. Each booking period will usually be two weeks long with a distinct ‘opening date’ as well as a ‘closing date’. For practical exams, you will need to book early in the booking period to have the widest choice of dates and venues.

Booking practical exams at Public Venues

When you book exams, you can choose a date and venue from a list of available options, but not a time.

Yes, you can select a different date/venue for different candidates as long as there is space available.

The online booking service will show all dates that are available, so there's no advantage to phoning up to check as well.

Once the booking period has closed and we have finalised the timetables we will send you an email to let you know that you can view your confirmed exam appointment online. When you log in you will see exam times for candidates, as well as the date and venue that you have already chosen and booked.

This depends on how many candidates you have and the space available on any one date. For the best chance of booking all your candidates together, you will need to log in and book as soon as the booking period opens. This will provide the widest choice of exam dates.

You can book different dates (and venues) for different candidates. If you are booking a large number of candidates at a Public Venue, you may need to book them on different days, rather than all on one day. We would advise you to book as early as possible in the booking period to ensure you have the best chance of keeping all your candidates together.

Candidates who are part of the same booking for the same date and venue will be grouped together. However, we may change the order of your candidates to create the most efficient timetable for each day and to ensure the examiner has the correct breaks.

You will not be able to change the order of candidates once you have booked and paid for your exams. This is to ensure that examiner breaks, which we cannot change, take place at the correct time.

We are unable to accept late entries, so please make sure you book all your candidates before the booking period closes.

We advise you to log in and book your exams as soon as the booking period opens, to make sure you have the widest choice of exams dates.

Once the booking period has closed and we have published appointment times, applicants (and candidates with an account) can log in and change an appointment. You can change an exam appointment up to 48 hours before the original exam date.

When you log in and view your exam bookings there will be a clock icon next to each candidate/exam. If you click on the clock icon you can search for alternative available appointments. You will only be able to view appointment slots that are more than 48 hours ahead and that are equal to or longer than the length of your exam. For example, if your exam appointment is 15 minutes long, you will only be able to see alternative appointments of 15 minutes or more. Once you have found a suitable alternative appointment, you can move the candidate/exam into the new slot.

Alternative practical appointments at Public Venues are offered subject to availability. Candidates with Public Venue appointments are not allowed to transfer their exam to a Private Visit. If the Public Venue booking period is open a Private Visit appointment can be cancelled, subject to our Cancellation Policy, and a new booking made for the Public Venue.

We will no longer be offering a change of appointment service through our customer service team. Instead, applicants (and candidates with an account) can log in, search for alternative exam slots and move an exam into a new available time.

Booking Music Theory exams at Public Venues

We are unable to accept late entries, so please make sure you book all your candidates before the booking period closes.

Booking exams at Private Visits

All visits are now called Private Visits, rather than special visits or visits, and the same rules around booking dates apply for everyone. You can book a practical Private Visit up to 28 days before your chosen start date, even it falls within a main exam session.

A practical Private Visit takes place at an approved venue organised by an applicant (the Visit Organiser) on a date (or dates) of their choice. To hold practical exams at a Private Visit there must be at least three hours of examining time. This can include bookings made by the Visit Organiser and any Permitted Applicants.

Music Theory Private Visits take place at an approved venue organised by an applicant (the Visit Organiser). This venue must be an educational institution, a music service or an educational department at a prison/hospital. All Music Theory exams take place on set dates in our main exam sessions and must be booked during the main session booking period.

Visit Organisers book and run Private Visits. The Visit Organiser is responsible for going online to book and create their Private Visit and for sharing their Venue Code with any Permitted Applicants. Visit Organisers are also responsible for finalising the timetable and for sharing this information with their candidates and any Permitted Applicants.

Permitted Applicants are applicants who have received permission from a Visit Organiser to book their candidates at a Private Visit.

Venue Codes allow us to identify Private Visits on our system. Once we’ve approved a Private Visit venue and it appears on our system, it will be given a unique identification code. The Visit Organiser will need to share this code with any Permitted Applicants, who will then need to enter the code when they book their candidates at the Private Visit. Once the Permitted Applicant has entered the Venue Code, they will remain a Permitted Applicant at the Private Visit for any future bookings.

We will not share Venue Codes with anyone, as only the Visit Organiser can decide who to allow as a Permitted Applicant at their Private Visit. The Visit Organiser can log in and view their Permitted Applicants at any time and can remove Permitted Applicant status if they wish to.

As a Visit Organiser you may need to request approval for your Private Visit venue before you can make a booking. This can take up to eight working days. We’re introducing this process to ensure that all exam venues meet our standards and those of our UK regulators. You only need to request approval for your venue once. Once approved, this will apply for all your future Private Visit bookings at that venue.

If you held a visit during 2019 you will not need to request approval for your venue, as long as it has not changed. Your venue will be pre-approved in our system. To ensure we link you, as the Visit Organiser, to your pre-approved venue please enter your old Applicant Number on the registration form when you create your new online account.

If you are a new Visit Organiser, have a new venue or have not booked a visit in 2019 you will need to apply for venue approval before you book a Private Visit.

The standard exam day is 8 hours 5 minutes long, which includes 6 hours 30 minutes of examining as well as time allocated for examiner breaks. When you book a Private Visit you can specify for your exam day(s) to start at 9.00am or 9.30am. For any special requests, please contact us before the 28-day deadline. No further changes are allowed after the 28-day deadline, including late bookings.

Visit Organisers and any Permitted Applicants can book candidates at a practical Private Visit up to 28 days before the Private Visit start date. We are unable to accept any further exam bookings after the 28-day deadline has passed.

The Visit Organiser can log in and rearrange their Private Visit timetable once we have ‘confirmed’ the Private Visit booking. We will email the Visit Organiser and any Permitted Applicants at the point of confirmation to let them know that they can log in to view their exam times.

At this point, the Visit Organiser can log in and view all the candidates at their Private Visit, including those booked by Permitted Applicants. They can then use the online timetabling tool to rearrange their exam day(s) if they wish. It is the responsibility of the Visit Organiser to contact their candidates and any Permitted Applicants to let them know about the revised exam times. The Visit Organiser can make changes to the timetable up to 48 hours before the start date

Booking exams - Jazz

We are making some changes to the way we provide Jazz exams. Candidates who want to take a Jazz exam can do this at ABRSM Jazz Visits, organised by us on set dates in our main exam sessions. We will provide a list of ABRSM Jazz Visits with dates, venues and Venue Codes when the booking period opens. To book exams, choose your ABRSM Jazz Visit, go to the Private Visit section of our exam booking service and enter the Venue Code. You can then enter candidate and exam details, book and pay.

For now, we are not able to offer Jazz exams at a Private Visit organised by an applicant/Visit Organiser. We plan to re-introduce this option later in 2020 and will provide updated information as soon as we can.

Results and mark forms

We want to release results more quickly and provide the complete mark form as soon as results are ready to view. Moving to digital mark forms enables this by removing delays caused by postal deliveries and handling of paperwork. The new mark forms are clear to read and easy to share between applicants, candidates and parents.

The new practical mark forms will look very similar to the current ones. They will follow the same layout, but with easy-to-read typed comments instead of handwriting.

We will continue to send printed certificates in the post for graded practical and Music Theory exams and ARSM. For the Prep Test and Performance Assessment, examiners will continue to hand out completed certificates at the end of the assessment.

In the exam

Recordings will help us to help you if you have queries about an exam. It’s a service that we have wanted to offer for many years, and teachers and candidates have also been asking us to introduce this. In addition to helping with queries, recordings will assist with other quality assurance processes and examiner training.

Not at all. The recording happens automatically in the background on the examiner’s iPad, and candidates will not be aware of this.

No, this is now part of our exam regulations for all our practical music performance exams and is standard practise for many other awarding organisations.

Only authorised ABRSM staff will be able to access the recordings. The recordings will be stored for three months after the exam date and then deleted.

We are not making video recordings. All iPads used by our examiners are supplied by ABRSM with the camera function disabled.

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