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.

Update 18 January – exam refunds

Refunds for exams in November and December 2020

We aim to process all refunds for exams cancelled in November and December 2020 by the end of January 2021. If you are due a refund, you will receive a confirmation when we have processed your refund.

Refunds for exams in January and February 2021

To support customers affected by Covid restrictions, for exams in January and February 2021 any absent candidate will automatically receive a refund.

This includes candidates due to take any exam including;

  • Practical exams at Private Visits
  • Performance Grades – where the candidate has been unable to record and upload their video

You do not need to contact us to request a refund. However, if you are the exam applicant, it will help us if you log in to your account and cancel the exam.

What happens if my Private Visit can’t go ahead at all?

If you are the Visit Organiser and your visit can no longer go ahead or needs to be rescheduled, please contact us.

What if I need to cancel an exam with less that 48 hours notice?

If your candidate is unable to take their exam with less than 48 hours’ notice you do not need to contact us. The exam will be marked as absent and a refund will follow automatically.

When will I receive my refund?

  • For Private Visits we will issue refunds by the end of the month following the month of the visit date.
  • For Performance Grades we will issue refunds within 28 days of the end of the exam session.

You can read our full Withdrawals, Non-attendance and Fee Refunds Policy here

Contacting us

If you have any questions, please start by checking our contact us page, where you may find the answer you need. If your question isn’t answered and you would like to get in touch, please use the contact form or ABRSM CHAT available through the website. We always try to respond within 10 working days but we have recently received a very high number of queries, so we ask for your patience. We cannot guarantee that we will reply to every email within the timeframe, as we must prioritise customers whose queries are time-critical.

Update 6 January – UK and Ireland exams

In response to the current coronavirus 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. 

The details of these changes are:

  • Session 1 Public Venue practical exams (1 March - 1 April) – we are cancelling this session and the booking period will not open on 18 January.
  • Session 2 Public Venue practical exams – to meet increased demand we are planning to extend Session 2 so that it runs between May and July. We will publish dates on our website as soon as possible.
  • Music Theory exams at Grades 6 to 8 (paper-based) – we will not be holding Grade 6 to 8 Music Theory exams on 16 March and the booking period will not open on 1 February. This applies to Public Venues and Private Visits. We will offer an alternative date for these exams in April and will confirm new booking and exam dates as soon as possible. 
  • Private Visits – where we can, we will continue to provide practical face-to-face exams with the Visit Organiser’s agreement.

Our remotely-assessed Performance Grade and ARSM exams and our online Music Theory exams for Grades 1 to 5 are unaffected and all published dates remain unchanged. Performance Grade exam sessions run monthly and we are increasing the number of exams we can assess. Please check our dates and fees page for forthcoming booking periods and exam sessions.

We are very aware of the disruption this will yet again cause to learners and their musical progression and apologise for the inconvenience. We will strive to always offer exam opportunities where we possibly can.

Contacting us

If you have any questions, please go to our contact us page, where you may find the information you need. If this is not what you need and you would like to get in touch, please use the contact form or ABRSM CHAT. We always try to respond within 10 working days but we have recently received a very high number of queries, so we ask for your patience. We cannot guarantee that we will reply to every email within the timeframe, as we must prioritise customers whose queries are time-critical.

Update 2 November 2020

Syllabus Validity and Overlap Periods

Due to COVID-19, we are happy to extend the overlap periods of the Bowed Strings 2016–2019 syllabus, and the Percussion 1990–2019 syllabus. Please read the Syllabus Overlap guidance carefully for the full requirements and arrangements for your syllabus. Key dates are summarised below for reference but you will need to refer to the full published guidance for the complete details of how to prepare.

Syllabus

Published end date

Published overlap period (worldwide)

Special COVID-19 extension arrangements (worldwide)

Bowed Strings 2016–2019

31 December 2019

Until 31 December 2020

 

 

Please note, due to COVID-19 we are happy to extend this overlap to the first opportunity for candidates to take their exam in 2021 (or subsequent resits in 2021). Special permission is no longer required. Candidates should inform the examiner, and/or indicate on the programme form, that they are playing pieces from the 2016–2019 syllabus.

Any candidate starting preparations for an exam in 2021 must use the new 2020–2023 syllabus.

Percussion

1990–2019

31 December 2019

Until 31 December 2020

 

 

Please note, due to COVID-19 we are happy to extend this overlap to the first opportunity for candidates to take their exam in 2021 (or subsequent resits in 2021). Special permission is no longer required. Candidates should inform the examiner, and/or indicate on the programme form, that they are using the 1990–2019 syllabus.

Any candidate starting preparations for an exam in 2021 must use the new Percussion syllabus, available for four subjects – Snare Drum, Timpani, Tuned Percussion and Percussion (Combined). 

Piano

2019 & 2020

31 December 2020

Until 31 December 2021

n/a

Update 15 October

Next dates for remotely-assessed exams

We’re delighted to announce dates for our next remotely-assessed Performance Grade and ARSM exam session.

  • The exam session runs from 5 to 31 January 2021 and the booking period is 1 to 8 December.
  • We have a set number of exam slots available, so please book early for the widest choice of submission dates. The date you book will be the last date you can submit the exam video.
  • Candidates can record their Performance Grade or ARSM exam at any time, then submit the video once an exam has been booked. But please check our guidance before recording.
  • For candidates needing accompaniment, we have extended our Special COVID-19 Arrangements for Accompaniment until 31 January 2021.

From 2021 we are aiming to provide regular sessions for remotely-assessed exams throughout the year to allow learners to pick the best time to record and submit their exams. We will confirm future dates as soon as we can. 

You can find all our Performance Grades information here. Our YouTube Performance Grades playlist is also a great place to find guidance, advice and tips. 

Online Music Theory in 2021

We will be offering six exam dates for online Music Theory at Grades 1 to 5 in 2021, and the following are now confirmed:

  • Tuesday 16 March at 5pm (Booking period: 1 to 8 February)
  • Sunday 23 May at 10am (Booking period: 6 to 13 April)
  • Saturday 19 June at 10am (Booking period: 4 to 11 May)

Online Music Theory exams later in the year will take place in August, October and November. We will publish dates for these exams on our website soon, along with planned dates for 2021 paper-based exams at Grades 6 to 8.

You can find all our online Music Theory information and resources at https://gb.abrsm.org/enour-exams/online-theory/

Update 24 September – UK and Ireland exams

COVID arrangements for forthcoming exams

Our face-to-face practical exams (Prep Test, Performance Assessment, Practical Grades and ARSM) and paper-based Music Theory exams (Grades 6 to 8) will be going ahead at Public Venues as planned, as long as we can run them safely and in line the latest with government guidance.

Due to COVID restrictions, we are offering a reduced number of Public Venues for practical and Music Theory exams. A list of venues is available here:

To keep everyone safe, we have special arrangements in place for Public Venue exams. Before booking or attending exams, everyone involved needs to read the relevant our guidance documents:

If you are booking a Private Visit (UK only), please read the information available on our Private Visits page.

We have amended our cancellations policy for Public Venue and Private Visit exams to reflect the current COVID situation. You can find full details here.

Exam booking guidance

We now have two new step-by-step guides to help you book remotely-assessed and online exams:

How to book a remotely-assessed Performance Grade or ARSM (PDF) – if you are booking a remotely-assessed Harpsichord, Organ or Percussion it’s particularly important that you read this guide as it includes specific instructions for booking these exams.

Additional Performance Grades exam session

We are pleased to announce that we are planning to offer another exam session for our remotely-assessed Performance Grade and ARSM exams in early 2021 with the booking period in December 2020. We will confirm dates as soon as we can.

All our exam booking information

For a summary of information relating to forthcoming exams, including booing details and links to key documents and guidance, please see our news story here.

Update 10 September - UK & Ireland Music Exams

Below you’ll find the latest updates on our booking periods, exam dates and other important information. Please also check the relevant pages of the website if you don’t find all the information you are looking for.

Public Venues

Subject to the COVID-19 situation, our face-to-face practical exams at Public Venues will be available in an extended Session 3 from 9 November to 19 December 2020. The following assessments will be available: Prep Test, Practical Grades, ARSM and Performance Assessment.

The booking period for this session is from 28 September to 12 October.

We will be offering a reduced number of Public Venues. We will publish a list of venues in advance of the booking period. This may be subject to change, depending on local and government guidance. We will also publish comprehensive information about what we are doing to ensure the safety of everyone using our Public Venues. This will include guidance and instructions for candidates and other visitors.

Please visit the exam dates and fees page for more information.

 

Private Visits

We are now offering Private Visits for face-to-face Practical exams in the UK only. Private Visits take place at an approved venue provided and organised by a Visit Organiser.

We can offer Private Visits for Practical exams at all grades and for ARSM, Prep Test and Performance Assessment. This includes Organ, Harpsichord and Percussion exams. We are unable to offer Choral Singing or Ensemble exams at Private Visits at this time.

It is important that all Visit Organisers follow our new conditions for exam delivery (available  to ensure the safety of everyone involved).

Find out more about organising a Private Visit .

Bookings can be made at any time. Find out more about how to book.  

Our brand new Performance Grades assess the essential performance skills of communication, interpretation and storytelling within the framework of a regulated qualification.

Performance Grades are available at Grades 1 to 8 for all our instrumental and singing syllabuses apart from Jazz, with the assessment made from a video recording submitted by the candidate. We’ve designed this new assessment to complement our existing Practical Grades and offer an additional progression route with a focus on performance.

We are also offering remotely-assessed ARSM exams, using the existing ARSM syllabus.

The first session for remotely-assessed Performance Grades and ARSM exams takes place from 19 October to 7 November 2020. This is when you can submit exam recordings. The booking period, when you can select an exam submission date, is 28 September to 5 October. You can find all our exam dates and fees on our website.

Find out more about our Performance Grades here.

Music Theory exams – Grades 1 to 5

On 26 August we ran a pilot  online Music Theory exam, in which 3500 candidates sat their Grade 5 exam in their homes and ahead of the autumn term. However, due to a number of technical issues the exam did not run smoothly for everyone. We have apologised sincerely to all those who participated and are extremely grateful for the many responses received to our feedback survey. We appreciate the expressions of support included in the considered feedback given as well as the detail about each candidate’s experience. 

The feedback shows high levels of satisfaction with the ease of use and intuitiveness of the on-screen questions, as well as the fairness of the exam in terms of its difficulty and the content covered. We are taking action to address the specific technical issues and learn from all of the feedback. We are committed to ensuring we can provide an online exam experience that works for everyone, enables progression and meets our high standards.

Our next online Music Theory exams, at Grades 1 to 5, will take place on the 10 November. The booking period opens on 28 September and closes on 12 October.

There are some small changes to the syllabus for these exams and some updated questions. You can find full details on our website here, along with free Music Theory Sample Papers and Model Answers at Grades 1 to 5, plus additional resources, including Grade 5 practice questions in the online format, a step by step user guide and a video demo of the exam. 

On 8 October we are also publishing our new Discovering Music Theory books along with Music Theory Sample Papers and Model Answers. The five graded Discovering Music Theory workbooks and answer books provide all-round preparation for the Grade 1 to 5 online exams, while the Sample Papers and Model Answers provide essential practice material. These books and resources are available to pre-order now.

Music Theory exams – Grades 6 to 8

We are planning to offer paper-based Grade 6 to 8 Music Theory exams at a limited number of Public Venues on 10 November. The booking period will be from 28 September to 12 October. We will run these exams as long as we can do so safely and in line with government guidelines. We will publish information about what we are doing to ensure the safety of everyone using our Public Venues. This will include guidance and instructions for candidates and other visitors.

We are once more offering Diploma exams (DipABRSM, LRSM and FRSM) at Private Visits and Public Venues. To provide more choice for candidates we are providing an additional early Public Venue diploma session, as well as our later session in December. Our forthcoming exam sessions for diplomas are:

• 9 – 15  November 2020 – closing date for entry 14 September
• 14 to 19 December – closing date for entry 2 October.

We have changed the booking process for Diploma exams and will no longer be accepting paper entries. You can find information about booking a DipABRSM, LRSM or FRSM exam here

Please click here for more information on how to enter.

Jazz exams will be available during Session 3 in the autumn in the UK and Ireland. You can book Jazz exams once the booking period for Public Venues has opened. At this point, we will publish a list of ABRSM Jazz Visits. For each ABRSM Jazz Visit we will provide the date, venue and a Venue Code. You can then choose the ABRSM Jazz Visit where you would like to book your exams, make a note of the Venue Code and enter it when you book.

ABRSM Jazz Visits 2020-3 dates and codes (PDF)

The booking period closing date does not apply to ABRSM Jazz Visits. Instead, you can book Jazz exams from the booking period opening date until 28 days before the ABRSM Jazz Visit date. 

Jazz exams can also take place at a Private Visit, as long as there is at least one hour of Jazz examining time and the total examining time for the visit is at least three hours.

We have changed our requirements for Music Medals, to allow Teacher-Assessors to submit assessments conducted remotely for the Music Medals programme. If you are a Teacher-Assessor interested in submitting remote assessments, please contact us at [email protected]. Click here for more information on Music Medals

Useful Links

 

Where to find sheet music

Many retailers are continuing to provide sheet music, books, instruments and accessories through online or mail order services. View our shops list here.

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