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.

We will be offering Performance Grade exams every month for the remainder of 2021. Exact dates will be announced soon. Please check here for more information.

Music Theory exam dates

We can now confirm Grade 6 to 8 paper Music Theory exams will go ahead on Wednesday 28 April at 5pm. The booking period will be open from 8 to 15 March.

Theory worksWelcome to Theory Works

Bring music theory to life with fun and engaging challenges at Grades 1–5.

ABRSM Theory Works contains over 6,000 specially-written questions designed to test and challenge your music theory knowledge.

Start by learning the basics then test yourself and see if you can get a perfect score. Every time you complete a round, you’ll unlock the next level. Watch your music theory knowledge build up in these fun challenges and become a music theory expert!


Hey, phone users! Music notation is complex and phone screens are small. This app is best viewed on an iPad but there's still lots you can learn and enjoy if you’re using the app on a smaller phone. Make sure you check out the preview screenshots in the App Store.

Why music theory is important

Music theory is the study of how to express yourself with music. Understanding music theory means knowing the language of music – it's a way to explain the music we hear.

Music theory is not just learning how to build chords, intervals or key signatures. Every single concept in music theory is an idea or foundation for learning how to express your thoughts with sound and music.

How many times do you listen to music (from a playlist on your phone to your exam pieces) and think "that bit of this piece sounds just like a section from another one"? Why does that connection happen? 

The connection is likely to be a catchy chord sequence, a rhythmic motif or the mood that a particular cadence can create. Being able to understand the theory behind these connections will help you progress as a performer or composer.

For example, when you create your own music, understanding harmony will enable you to create a sound world that is poignant, magical, happy or sad, and to communicate these expressive intentions to other performers via a common language.

When you perform music, you use your musical knowledge to interpret the composer’s intentions from the score and realise musical detail and style so that you can bring the music off the page, along with your own musical ideas and intentions.

Download Theory Works

Available on the iTunes App Store

Get it on Google Play

Learn about

  • The musical stave, pitches and clefs
  • Scales, keys and chords
  • Rhythm and time signatures
  • Musical terminology and signs
  • Voices and instruments
  • And much, much more!

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