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.

Help light up the world with #learningmusic

by Michael Elliott

Everyone who has ever had a positive experience of playing an instrument or singing will agree that – however big the challenges – learning music is good for us.Whether you live in Beijing, Manilla, Mumbai or Manchester, learning to play or sing music has the power to reward effort with a unique sense of satisfaction and achievement. It builds confidence and personal resilience, it encourages concentration and, as studies constantly show, it improves children’s performance in key classroom subjects.

During lockdown we have seen daily examples of how the power of learning music can also transform the lives of others, with stirring and often breath-taking musical performances on balconies, residential streets and online platforms bringing communities together and giving audiences as well as performers a real sense of wellbeing which contributes to mental health.

Beyond the personal and social benefits it brings, many nations are increasingly realising that learning music is good for economies. This is because the qualities and disciplines that are nurtured through playing an instrument or singing foster adaptability, resilience and other soft skills in areas such as communication, team working and creativity that are likely to be required for many of the jobs and industries of tomorrow.

Music education organisations such as ABRSM know all this but we, like many others, are often guilty of taking it for granted and assuming that everyone else also knows the full extent of what learning music can do. There are, of course, also huge swathes of people around the world who have not had the opportunity to learn music or to recognise any of the benefits that it brings or who, for a range of reasons, see it as an activity reserved only for the privileged.

We need to do something about this and get better at telling others why it matters, partly by connecting the wealth of personal, social and economic arguments so that people understand the range of everything that learning music does. We need to get better too at showing how the music that has so thrilled us and lifted our spirits during the weeks of lockdown does not just appear by magic and is the product of individual talent and years of dedication to learning music.

Today ABRSM is delighted to launch #LearningMusic, a new social media initiative which we hope will start the ball rolling by helping more people understand precisely what learning music can do for them – and we want you to get involved.

#LearningMusic is a celebration and a chance to share what learning music means for you. It’s also a great chance for you to tell others who have yet to get the message about the incredible benefits.

Over the next ten weeks you’ll be able to visit our #LearningMusic website and literally ‘light up the world’ by showing your support for music learning and making the relevant part of our world map light up.

So help us light up the world by visiting, show your support and then share it with your social media networks, using the hashtag #LearningMusic and tagging us @ABRSM. 

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