An ABRSM exam is an exciting challenge for candidates and we do everything we can to make the experience positive and rewarding. Our examiners aim to put every candidate at ease and to create an atmosphere in which they can give their best performance.
Before the exam | During the exam | After the exam
Mark forms and certificates
In the UK and Ireland, we issue candidates’ results online within two to three weeks of the exam. In other countries this may vary.
All candidates receive a mark form which provides a clear, helpful record of what happened during the exam. It shows the marks awarded for each exam element and an overall total mark. The comments on the mark form give an indication of the candidate’s strengths and weaknesses in relation to our marking criteria.
Successful candidates also receive a certificate. The certificate celebrates their achievement and provides a record that they have met the standards set in their exam. All certificates incorporate security features to ensure that each one is unique and cannot be reproduced.
Checking and quality assurance
Before we issue results, all mark forms go through a checking process. We also record marks and read a selection of mark forms as part of our quality assurance procedures. This helps us to maintain our consistency and high standards.
Thinking about results
Most candidates pass their exams. This can give a great sense of personal achievement as well as motivation for future learning and music making. When looking at results it helps to remember that success starts at the pass mark and also that exams are just one part of a student’s musical learning and progression.
There are various reasons why candidates might not do as well as expected. Perhaps they were not quite ready for the exam or were overcome by the performance situation on the day. While it is naturally disappointing if a result does not reach the pass mark, it is important to keep this in proportion. The value of the exam is just as much in the progress made during the preparation time as in the assessment itself.
By reading the examiner’s comments on the mark form and checking the marking criteria, teachers and candidates can see why a particular mark was awarded. Whatever the result, the mark form can help them decide what to focus on in the future. There is no need to go straight on to the next grade. Ideally, there will be plenty of time between exams for a wide range of different music making, learning and listening activities. These are all things for the teacher and candidate to think about together after an exam and when planning their next steps.