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Exam services

This customer service statement provides an overview of our exam services. It sets out our aims, our undertakings to you, our customer and our performance targets. The final section provides details of where to go for further information, including contact details.

Who we are

ABRSM’s mission is to inspire musical achievement. From world-class exams, award-winning books and innovative learning apps, to scholarships, donations and creative partnerships – we do everything we can to support participation, progression and success in music.

Our exam service

We strive for integrity, efficiency, accessibility, openness and excellence in three core areas:

Quality and consistency of assessment

We provide examiners who are trained to deliver reliable and consistent assessments according to clear, published criteria. Our exams are based on thoroughly researched syllabuses and are monitored through rigorous quality-assurance procedures.

The exam experience

We aim to provide a positive exam experience for every candidate by ensuring all elements of the exam meet the highest possible standards, from the examiner’s conduct of the exam, to the facilities provided, the exam environment and the welcome provided by the steward.

Customer support

We provide support throughout the exam process, from initial enquiry, through submitting entries, to results and beyond. We aim for ease, clarity and accessibility in our processes, with information and services provided online wherever possible.

In all our activities we follow best practice regarding child protection, equal opportunities, data protection and accessibility for those with special needs as confirmed in our Exam Regulations.

Before the exam

Our aim:

To make preparing for an exam straightforward by providing teachers, candidates and parents with clear, up-to-date information about exam requirements.

Details

Information on exams

Our syllabuses are based on extensive consultation, make use of readily available repertoire and are reviewed and refreshed regularly. Further details relating to exam requirements are available in the Exam Regulations on our website, along with a range of additional supporting resources and guidance.

How to find exam information

Syllabuses, regulations and a range of supporting resources are available on our website. We also publish and sell exam-related materials, including repertoire and music theory books, recordings and learning apps, all available through our website.

Guidelines outlining arrangements for candidates with specific needs are available on our website or directly from ABRSM.

Exam entry

Our aim:

To offer entry options for all candidates, to provide flexibility about where and when exams can be taken, and to timetable exams in the most efficient way so that the highest possible number of candidates can take their exam at the time they prefer.

Details

Practical exam venues (instruments and singing)

Where possible we provide a choice of where you can take a practical exam (at a local exam centre run by ABRSM or at a venue provided by a school or teacher) and of when exams may be taken.

Music Theory exam venues

We provide local exam centres and the option for schools to hold exams on their own premises.

Booking exams

In the UK, you can book exams online or by post with a choice of payment options. We publish our exam sessions and closing dates annually on our website and on the downloadable entry form.

Outside the UK, online exam booking is available in some countries. Otherwise, you can make your exam entry through your local ABRSM Representative. We publish exam sessions and closing dates annually on our website.

Exam dates and times

We confirm dates and times of individual practical exams as soon as possible after we have completed the timetables, with notification no later than two weeks before the exam date in the UK and Ireland. If an appointment clashes with another important commitment we make every effort to offer an alternative.

In the UK and Ireland we can make a partial refund of the entry fee on medical or compassionate grounds if a candidate is unable to take their exam. In other countries, we may issue a re-entry voucher allowing the candidate to take their exam at a later date within the next year.

The exam

Our aim:

To achieve the highest possible standards in all elements of the conduct of each exam in order to provide a positive experience and a fair assessment.

Details

At ABRSM exam centres, a steward or invigilator oversees the exams to ensure that candidates are welcomed and put at their ease. We also provide information about the steward’s or invigilator’s role to those holding exams at their own venues.

We train our examiners to apply standards consistently, to conduct exams fairly, to write mark forms with positive and helpful comments and to treat candidates professionally and sympathetically. We monitor the quality of their work regularly and rigorously.

The exam environment

A suitable exam environment is provided for practical (instrumental and singing) exams, including a waiting room or area for candidates (and their escorts/accompanists) and an exam room with a satisfactory piano which is, where possible, out of hearing of the waiting room.

Wherever possible, an additional room or area where candidates may spend a few moments warming up is made available. Where there is no warm-up room, guidance about warming up silently and the opportunity to warm up for a few moments at the start of the exam are offered.

For Music Theory exams, a suitable environment is provided, including a quiet exam room that is properly lit, heated and ventilated, with tables that allow reasonable spacing of candidates.

Monitoring our exam centres

All arrangements and facilities at ABRSM exam centres are regularly monitored, primarily by our examiners. Where exams are taken at venues provided by a teacher or school, we supply full guidance about the facilities, conditions and arrangements that must be in place.

After the exam

Our aim:

To provide notification of exam results as soon as possible after our checking, quality assurance and recording processes have been completed; to operate a fair and open complaints and appeals procedure; to encourage feedback about any element of the service we offer; and to respond to enquiries promptly and courteously.

Details

Quality assurance

We check every mark form for accuracy and presentation, and make additional checks on a sample of mark forms every exam session for quality assurance. Queries arising from these checks are investigated and resolved promptly, wherever possible before we issue mark forms and certificates.

Results timeline

In the UK and Ireland we issue results between two and four weeks after the exam date for practical exams, six weeks after the exam date for Music Theory exams and between eight-twelve weeks after the exam date for diplomas.

In other countries we issue results between three and six weeks after the exam date for practical exams, eight weeks after the exam date for Music Theory exams and within twelve weeks for diplomas.

Duplicate certificates and past results search

We provide a duplicate certificate, amendment and replacement service and a service for confirming past exam results. Any fees payable are published on our website.

The certificate amendment and replacement form is also available on our website.

Queries, complaints and feedback

We aim to acknowledge all formal complaints, enquiries and appeals within three working days. Following investigation and any action we may take as a result of this, we aim to send a reply within four weeks.

We welcome comments about our services through general feedback, website forums and questionnaires, and we take this feedback into account when adapting, developing and extending our services.

We answer telephone, email or written enquiries promptly, with an initial acknowledgement when an immediate reply is not possible and a full reply in all cases within four weeks.

Further information about our exams

Published information

We provide full details of our exams and assessments on our website:

Syllabuses

Syllabuses are available for each subject, published six months before coming into effect and containing essential information about exam requirements.

Exam Regulations

Two versions of our Exam Regulations are available - UK & Ireland and International. Both are published annually and are available on our website. They contain the terms and conditions for our assessments, our policies and the responsibilities of those entering candidates for our exams.

Your Guide to ABRSM Music Exams (Instruments and Singing: Grades 1 to 8)

A guide for candidates, teachers and parents, including the marking criteria used by our examiners and advice on what to expect before, during and after the exam.

 

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