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.

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.

New Initial Grade

What is Initial Grade?

Our new Initial Grade for Piano is a pre-Grade 1 assessment following the same structure, content and marking criteria as our other graded music exams (three pieces, scales, sight-reading and aural tests).

Initial Grade does not replace Prep Test, but it sits alongside it as an alternative assessment. It’s designed to allow pianists at the earliest stages of their musical journeys to celebrate their achievement, and is an ideal qualification for those who want a mark as well as helpful feedback. Initial Grade is available for Practical grades only.

When can I first take an Initial Grade Piano exam?

Piano candidates in the UK will be able to enter Initial Grade exams (using the 2021 & 2022 syllabus) from session 3 onwards (booking period 28 September – 12 October). This is of course subject to the resumption of face-to-face practical exams at Public Venues.

What supporting resources are available?

Piano Initial Grade is supported with individual books of Piano Exam Pieces (available with or without CD), Piano Scales & Arpeggios and Specimen Piano Sight-reading Tests as well as a book of Specimen Aural Tests. Find out more.

Piano Star Skills Builder is a new book by David Blackwell and Karen Marshall in the popular Piano Star series. It will develop musicianship skills for young pianists who are working towards Initial Grade level and beyond, providing a firm foundation in scales, aural, and sight-reading skills, building essential techniques progressively. The varied material includes fun pieces to play, songs to sing, written and listening activities, composition games, and much more. Based on decades of proven teaching strategies, with all content tried out on – and approved! – by children, Piano Star Skills Builder will grow young pianists’ confidence and skill around all areas of musicianship, providing them with the underpinnings they need to succeed at ABRSM Initial Grade Piano and beyond, and develop their musical journey for many years to come. The book publishes on 3 September and is available to pre-order now!

Watch Konya Kanneh-Mason perform The Elephant Parade by Nikki Iles - a newly-commissioned piece on our Initial Grade Piano syllabus.

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