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flag-GBUNITED KINGDOM

UK & Ireland exam regulations

These regulations apply to all ABRSM exams except Music Medals and the DipABRSM, LRSM and FRSM diplomas, for which separate syllabuses containing distinct regulations are available.

1 ABRSM subjects, exams and prerequisites

  1. ABRSM exam subjects are listed at www.abrsm.org/exams.
  2. For the graded exams, there are normally eight grades, numbered progressively in order of difficulty from 1 to 8. ARSM (Associate of the Royal Schools of Music) is a post-Grade 8 performance-only diploma exam.
  3. Candidates may be entered for any exam irrespective of age. The Candidate’s date of birth must be stated on the entry form for ARSM exams, but is optional in all other cases.
  4. Candidates for graded exams are not required to have previously taken any other grade in the same subject. However, the following prerequisites for entry apply to ABRSM Exams as set out below. Please note that ABRSM will not permit a Candidate to sit an ABRSM Exam if these prerequisites are not satisfied.

    • Practical Grades 6, 7 and 8: Candidates must already have passed one of the qualifications listed at www.abrsm.org/prerequisite. This must have been passed before the closing date for the Practical Exam and a copy of the certificate or mark form must be supplied at the time of entry, except for ABRSM qualifications gained after 1 January 1994 and taken in the UK or Ireland (for which supporting documents will only be required in cases where ABRSM is unable to verify the qualification from its own records).
    • ARSM: Candidates must already have passed ABRSM Grade 8 in the same subject or one of the alternatives listed at www.abrsm.org/prerequisite-arsm This must have been passed before the closing date for the ARSM exam. A copy of the certificate is not required at the time of entry (although ABRSM may request one later). If the certificate is not provided to ABRSM upon request, the prerequisite will not have been satisfied and entry into the exam will be cancelled without any refund of fees paid or payable. You can view the full prerequisite for ARSM at this link.
  5. ABRSM graded music exams and ARSM are regulated in England by the Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation (Ofqual) and the corresponding regulatory authorities in Wales (Qualifications Wales) and Northern Ireland (CCEA Regulation). They are part of the Regulated Qualifications Framework (RQF) in England and Northern Ireland. In the UK, ABRSM’s Grade 6–8 exams can contribute towards entry into higher education through the allocation of UCAS points (→ Reg. 17l). For further information, see www.abrsm.org/regulation.

2 Introduction and overlap of syllabuses

  1. ABRSM Exams are conducted on the basis of the information and requirements as set out in the relevant Syllabus.
  2. Syllabuses for ABRSM’s exam subjects are updated periodically. Advance notice of any Syllabus change and details of Syllabus validity is given on ABRSM’s website (www.abrsm.org/exams). The introduction of new scale requirements, sight-reading and/or aural tests does not necessarily coincide with the introduction of new pieces (the latter being the most frequent element of Syllabus review).
  3. Following the introduction of any new Practical Exam Syllabus, Candidates may choose to perform pieces as set in the lists of the preceding Syllabus during a specified overlap period. They may not combine pieces from the preceding and new Syllabuses (except in the case of items that appear in both) during the overlap period. No such overlap period necessarily applies to any new scale requirements, sight-reading and/or aural tests. Details of the overlap period that applies are given on ABRSM’s website (www.abrsm.org/exams).

3 Applicant's role and responsibilities

  1. The Applicant’s responsibilities are: to read and comply with these Exam Regulations, ensuring that those connected with the exam, including the Candidate, are aware of relevant matters; to ensure, where a Candidate is under the age of 18, that one of the Candidate’s parents (or someone else with parental responsibility) has consented to their child being entered for an exam; to submit the exam entry, ensuring the accuracy of the information supplied, including name spellings, levels and exam subjects, and any specific needs; to make payment for the exam; to notify the Candidate of the exam date, time and venue; and to receive the exam mark form/certificate and to pass them on to the Candidate.
  2. Each Applicant is assigned a personal Applicant Number and confidential password on the first occasion that an entry is submitted. The Applicant Number should be quoted in all communications with ABRSM. The confidential password is used in conjunction with the Applicant Number and a registered email address to gain access to online exam services. The password should not be disclosed to anyone else and may be changed by the Applicant at any time.
  3. All written communications by ABRSM relating to the acceptance of an entry, payment, the appointment allocated and the result are sent to the Applicant. Responsibility for an entry cannot be transferred to another party without the Applicant’s written consent. While the Applicant remains ABRSM’s principal point of contact in all matters, ABRSM may share information regarding an exam with another party, including the Candidate, his or her parents (or those with parental responsibility), in response to a valid enquiry. ABRSM cannot become involved in any dispute or communication breakdown between an Applicant and the Candidate, their parents (or those with parental responsibility.
  4. ABRSM does not check the identity of Applicants and therefore it cannot verify degrees or qualifications of Applicants appearing on the certificates it issues.

4 Exam entry

  1. Entries must be submitted by the Applicant by the published closing date (www.abrsm.org/dates). using either the online entry form or (by post) a paper entry form. Entries cannot be accepted by letter, email, fax or telephone.
  2. Online entry (available for all UK exams except Choral Singing and Ensembles) is made via ABRSM’s website (www.abrsm.org/exambooking). The Applicant gains access to the online entry form using the Applicant Number and confidential password (→ Reg. 3b).
  3. Postal entry is made using the current paper entry form, published by ABRSM. Paper entry forms are downloadable from www.abrsm.org/exambooking.
  4. ABRSM may refuse, invalidate or cancel any entry received after the closing date has passed. In such cases, the entry fee(s) will be refunded (→ Reg. 1dii for ARSM exception). ABRSM sets out certain circumstances under which it may accept late entries in its Late Entry Policy available at www.abrsm.org/policies.
  5. Although ABRSM discourages Applicants from entering Candidates for two Practical Exams in any one subject (whether at the same or different levels) in the same session, this is not forbidden. It should be noted that this may result in Candidates being assessed twice by the same examiner.
  6. Candidates for Theory Exams should be entered only in the Period in which the specified day and time are suitable for them (see www.abrsm.org/dates). Candidates may be entered for only one Theory exam in any given Period.

5 Payment

  1. Exam fees must be paid in full at the time of entry.
  2. For postal entries, payment must be made by cheque. Where the entry is made on behalf of more than one Candidate, a single payment (i.e. one cheque) must be made by the Applicant.
  3. Once an entry and payment have been submitted, the exam fees are generally non-refundable if the Candidate does not sit the exam, except in the limited circumstances set out in Reg. 10 below and ABRSM’s Policy for Withdrawals, Non-Attendance and Fee Refunds (available at www.abrsm.org/policies).
  4. Any query regarding a payment made, or an outstanding amount, is notified to the Applicant by ABRSM as soon as possible after the entry has been processed. Where any such query has not been resolved by the date of the exam, ABRSM reserves the right to withhold the release of exam results/certificates for all Candidates entered by the Applicant. In cases where payment is made with a dishonoured cheque and ABRSM is obliged to pursue payment, a fee (www.abrsm.org/fees). is charged to cover administrative costs and bank charges.

6 Place of exams: Exam centres

  1. ABRSM provides Exam Centres for Practical Exams and/or Theory Exams in the areas listed at www.abrsm.org/centres.
  2. The Exam Centre name indicates the general area in which the Exam Centre is located. The precise venue cannot be confirmed until after the examining timetables have been arranged; it is notified to the Applicant with the exam appointment(s).
  3. ABRSM reserves the right not to open an Exam Centre if the number of entries is insufficient. In such cases, an appointment is offered at an alternative Exam Centre.
  4. A suitable exam environment, which is quiet as well as properly lit, heated and ventilated, is offered at all Exam Centres. For Practical Exams, Exam Centres provide: a waiting room (or area); and an exam room, which contains a suitable piano (this may be upright or grand) and which is, where possible, out of hearing of the waiting room. A steward is present at all Exam Centres. For Theory Exams, an exam room is provided, with tables that allow reasonable spacing of Candidates. An invigilator is present for the duration of the exam. All Exam Centres are regularly monitored by ABRSM.
  5. It is recommended that Candidates under the age of 15 are accompanied to the Exam Centre by a responsible adult. Space in the waiting room may be limited and Candidates should therefore bring no more than one escort nor arrive more than ten minutes before the exam (unless otherwise instructed).
  6. For Practical Exams, where possible an additional room (or area) is made available where Candidates may briefly warm up, but ABRSM cannot guarantee to provide such a facility.
  7. All ABRSM Centres provide a music stand, but candidates are welcome to bring their own if they prefer.

7 Place of exams: Visits (including Special Visits)

  1. Practical Exams and/or Theory Exams may be held at premises provided by the Applicant in accordance with the regulations and requirements stipulated below. These are known as Visits. Applicants hosting a Visit are responsible for all matters relating to the successful running of the relevant ABRSM Exams at their premises, including responsibility for the health, safety and welfare of Candidates and other visitors to the premises. Applicants hosting Visits should ensure they have adequate insurance cover. Except in relation to liabilities which cannot be excluded by law, ABRSM cannot accept liability for any damage, injury, expense or loss (including consequential loss) incurred during the course of a Visit. Applicants must ensure that appropriate safeguarding steps are taken and arrangements made to ensure that the health and well-being of Candidates is not put at risk, including that no Candidate under the age of 18 should be left alone with an adult who has not been subject to appropriate recruitment and vetting procedures that are in line with current guidelines and in accordance with ABRSM’s Safeguarding Policy, Procedures and Code of Practice (→ Reg. 20).
  2. Practical exams

    The entry options are presented at www.abrsm.org/visits and cater either for Applicants with sufficiently large numbers of Candidates (Visit and Special Visit) or for Candidates whose subjects cannot be taken at an Exam Centre (Harpsichord, Organ, Percussion, Choral Singing, Jazz Ensemble). Harp exams may be taken either at a Visit or at an Exam Centre.

  3. The Applicant must ensure that the entry fulfils the minimum time requirement (see www.abrsm.org/visits and www.abrsm.org/examtimings ). The Applicant should also take into account the following parameters used by ABRSM when organizing Visit timetables: exams do not normally begin before 9.00 or end later than 17.30; each morning and afternoon session normally includes a break of 15 minutes; where the total examining time exceeds 3 hours 45 minutes, a lunch break of 1 hour 5 minutes is included; the standard exam day is 6 hours 10 minutes of examining time – entries exceeding this are normally timetabled on consecutive days (except for Special Visits, where up to 7 hours of examining may be timetabled on a single day).
  4. Two or more Applicants may combine their entries in order to meet the minimum time requirement but the exams must be held at a single venue. An Applicant wishing to participate in another Applicant’s Visit must seek permission from that Applicant before submitting an entry. The Applicant hosting the Visit is responsible for the provision of suitable facilities and arrangements (→ Reg. 7e) and for compliance with instructions and timetables from ABRSM.
  5. Applicants hosting a Visit are responsible for ensuring suitable facilities and arrangements at their own cost: a waiting room (or area); an exam room, which is quiet as well as properly lit, ventilated and heated, with a writing-table and chair for the examiner, and a suitable piano (→ Reg. 7f) and is, where possible, out of hearing of the waiting room; a suitable person to act as steward outside the exam room for the duration of the exams in accordance with ABRSM’s instructions; transport for the examiner, if requested (→ Reg. 7g).
  6. A piano must be provided in the exam room (unless the Visit is solely for an ARSM exam where no accompaniment is needed). It must be properly regulated and in tune (a’ = 440). A digital piano may be used, provided it has a clearly recognizable piano tone, a touch-sensitive keyboard with full-size weighted keys, and an action, compass and facilities that match those of a conventional acoustic piano, including a sustaining pedal.
  7. If requested by the examiner, transport between the Visit venue and a station, hotel or other examining venue must be provided by the Applicant. The Applicant may invoice ABRSM for any reasonable travel expenses after the Visit has taken place. Transport expenses cannot be reimbursed where the Visit is solely for a Harp, Harpsichord, Organ, Percussion, Choral Singing or Jazz Ensemble exam.
  8. Where a Visit is solely for a Choral Singing exam, an examiner attendance fee is charged (www.abrsm.org/datesandfees).
  9. Theory exams

    Theory Exams may be held, as a Visit, at any school of general education or LEA music centre approved by ABRSM. Completion of the entry form requires the head teacher to accept responsibility for the safe custody of the papers and proper conduct of the exam. Theory Exams cannot be held at teachers’ private studios or houses.

  10. Applicants hosting a Visit are responsible for ensuring suitable facilities and arrangements at their own cost: an exam room, which is quiet as well as properly lit, heated and ventilated, and with tables that allow the reasonable spacing of Candidates; a suitable person appointed by the head teacher to act as invigilator within the exam room for the duration of the exam in accordance with ABRSM’s instructions.

8 Date of exams: allocation and notification of appointments

  1. Practical exams

    Exam dates are dependent on the entry option chosen by the Applicant (www.abrsm.org/visits) .

    • i) Visit: The Applicant can select the exam date provided that it is within an exam Period (www.abrsm.org/dates) .
    • ii) Special Visit: The Applicant can select the exam date provided that it is outside an exam Period (www.abrsm.org/dates) .
    • iii) Other (including Exam Centre and Visit for Harp, Harpsichord, Organ, Percussion, Choral Singing or Jazz Ensemble): ABRSM allocates the exam date within the exam Period selected by the Applicant (www.abrsm.org/dates) .
  2. Where ABRSM allocates the exam date, it takes into account, wherever possible, any date preferences indicated by the Applicant at the time of entry (e.g. preferred week: see www.abrsm.org/visits.) However, date allocations are decided on the basis of scheduling examiners’ time most efficiently while providing convenient appointments to as many Candidates as possible, and consequently ABRSM cannot guarantee to fulfil any preferences indicated by the Applicant. The Applicant must therefore ensure that Candidates are ready for an exam from the first day of the exam Period in question. ABRSM cannot accept entries that are conditional on particular dates being allocated or avoided. For further information, see ABRSM’s Practical Exam Appointment Guidance, available at www.abrsm.org/appointmentguidance) .
  3. Notification of the exam date, time and venue is sent to the Applicant as soon as possible after appointments have been allocated and examiners have been booked, and no later than two weeks before the exam date. For entries made online, notification is by email only. If notification has not been received by the first day of the exam Period, the Applicant should contact ABRSM.
  4. The notification also confirms the names, levels and subjects of Candidates entered, and any request for special arrangements/tests (→ Reg. 19). The Applicant must check these details and notify ABRSM immediately of any error or correction.
  5. Theory exams

    Theory Exams are held on one day only in each of the three exam Periods, and at a specified time

    (→ Reg. 4f).

  6. Notification is sent to the Applicant, confirming names and grades of Candidates entered, and any request for special arrangements (→ Reg. 19). The Applicant must check these details and notify ABRSM immediately of any error or correction. A name label is enclosed for each Candidate, which must be brought by the Candidate to the exam room (→ Reg. 11f).

9 Changes of appointment (Practical exams)

  1. It is recognized that, on occasion, an allocated appointment will coincide with another important commitment. In such circumstances, ABRSM endeavours to offer an alternative appointment, in accordance with the regulations and requirements stipulated immediately below. For further information, see ABRSM’s Practical Exam Appointment Guidance, available at www.abrsm.org/appointmentguidance) .
  2. Any request for an alternative appointment should normally be made by the Applicant by telephone; if made by another party, that person must confirm that the Applicant’s agreement has been given. The Applicant will be able to view the new appointment details by logging into online services but will not be separately notified by email.
  3. Should ABRSM be able to accommodate a request for an alternative appointment, the appointment offered may be at any time within the exam Period in question and at any Exam Centre within the area. For Visits and Special Visits, a charge may be made.

  4. If an alternative appointment offered by ABRSM is declined and the Candidate chooses not to take the exam on the date originally allocated, the entry fee can be refunded to the Applicant only under the circumstances outlined in Reg. 10 (and described in full in ABRSM’s Policy for Withdrawals, Non-Attendance and Fee Refunds, available at www.abrsm.org/policies) .

10 Withdrawals, non-attendance and fee refunds

  1. The Applicant must notify ABRSM of a Candidate’s non-attendance or withdrawal from an exam as soon as possible in writing (and no later than the day of the exam) by using the Contact Us form on our website, emailing [email protected] , or writing to the Global Operations Dept, ABRSM, 4 London Wall Place, London, EC2Y 5AU. Notice given only to an examiner, Local Representative, steward or invigilator is not sufficient to qualify for a refund, if applicable.
  2. An Applicant whose Candidate is withdrawn from an exam, or who does not attend, may be eligible for a partial refund as a goodwill gesture. Except as set out in Reg. 10d, all refunds are handled in accordance with ABRSM’s Policy for Withdrawals, Non-Attendance and Fee Refunds, available at www.abrsm.org/policies.
  3. A Candidate who is withdrawn from an exam may be re-entered in the next exam Period. In such cases, a new entry and full payment must be made, as entry details/payment cannot be transferred from one Period to the next.
  4. As well as refunds under ABRSM’s Policy for Withdrawals, Non-Attendance and Fee Refunds, Applicants may (except if the exam is scheduled to take place within 14 days from the date of submitting the entry form) cancel their exam application at any time within 14 days from the date of submitting the entry by giving written notice to ABRSM. In this case, the Applicant will receive a full refund of any fees paid for the exam. Cancellation must be made in writing using the Contact Us form on our website, emailing [email protected], or writing to the Global Operations Dept, ABRSM, 4 London Wall Place, London, EC2Y 5AU.
  5. If the Applicant is a consumer (which typically includes Candidates who are 18 or over and apply for themselves or the parents of Candidates who are under 18), ABRSM is under a legal duty to offer the right to change your mind, but it is additionally offered at our discretion to Applicants who are not consumers (typically music teachers and schools).

11 Theory Exams: timing and conduct

  1. Timings for the Theory exams are:

    Grades 1–3: 1 1/2 hours
    Grades 4–5: 2 hours
    Grades 6–8: 3 hours

  2. Candidates with sensory impairments, learning difficulties or particular physical needs may qualify for an additional time allowance (→ Reg. 19).
  3. Candidates are advised to attend 10 minutes before the start of the exam and to bring the name label previously sent to the Applicant (→ Reg. 8f).
  4. No Candidate arriving more than 35 minutes after the start of the exam will be admitted.
  5. An invigilator is present for the duration of the exam.
  6. The invigilator opens the sealed packet of exam papers in the exam room in the presence of the candidates, and informs them that:

    • they must complete their question paper without help and without reference to notes, musical calculators, or books of any kind, and that any Candidate infringing this rule or helping another will be disqualified;
    • they must stick their name label (→ Reg. 8f) at the top of their paper;
    • they they must write their answers clearly and legibly, otherwise marks may be lost;
    • they are not allowed to take copies of the papers nor their rough notes from the room;
    • the time allowed is printed at the top of each question paper.
  7. ABRSM provides plain ruled manuscript paper on which Candidates may do any rough working. Candidates should bring their own pens or pencils. They may not bring mobile phones, other electronic devices or any unauthorized material or equipment (such as their own manuscript or other paper, any representation of the piano keyboard or any recording device) into the exam room. Candidates must not attempt to communicate with one another during the exam. Any Candidate infringing these rules may be disqualified.
  8. Candidates may hand in their papers at any time after 40 minutes from the start of the exam but, having done so, must leave the room and may not return. Once Candidates have left the exam room, they are no longer under the invigilator’s supervision (→ Reg. 20a).
  9. As each paper is handed in, the invigilator ensures that the Candidate’s full name appears legibly at the top.
  10. The invigilator despatches the papers to ABRSM in accordance with the instructions issued by ABRSM, having first sealed them in secure envelopes before leaving the exam room.
  11. ABRSM does not accept responsibility for the loss of any papers in the post after their despatch to ABRSM by the invigilator. In such cases, the entry fees are refunded.

12 Practical exams: timings and conduct

  1. Timings for the Practical Exams are given at www.abrsm.org/examtimings . These timings indicate the approximate duration of each exam and allow for the Candidate’s entry and exit, any tuning time, as well as time for the examiner to complete the mark form between exams. Examiners may, at their discretion, take more or less time than the specified timings.
  2. Candidates with sensory impairments, learning difficulties or particular physical needs may qualify for an additional time allowance (→ Reg. 19).
  3. Candidates are advised to attend 10 minutes before the start of the exam.
  4. It is not permitted to bring any unauthorized material or equipment (such as recording devices) into the exam room, and mobile phones must be switched off. Anyone infringing this rule may be disqualified.
  5. With the exception of the steward and the Local Representative, no one is permitted to listen outside the exam room or to remain near the door.
  6. Generally, one examiner only is present in the exam room. A second examiner may be present, for reasons of examiner training or quality assurance.
  7. For monitoring, quality assurance, training and moderation purposes, exams may, from time to time, be recorded by ABRSM. Exams may also be recorded for use in public seminars and for marketing purposes. Such recordings become the property of ABRSM but Candidates will not be identified or identifiable in any recordings used for public seminars or marketing purposes.
  8. The examiner despatches the mark forms to ABRSM in accordance with the instructions issued by ABRSM.
  9. ABRSM does not accept responsibility for the loss of any mark forms in the post after their despatch to ABRSM by the examiner. In such cases, ABRSM arranges for duplicate mark forms to be provided by the examiner with minimum delay.

13 Candidate list and attendance order

  1. Exam Centres

    The steward is provided with a Candidate list showing the timetable for each day, including each Candidate’s appointment time. Wherever possible, Candidates are timetabled in the same order as they were listed at the time of entry.

  2. If a Candidate is withdrawn from an entry (or given an alternative appointment), the appointment times for other Candidates in the same entry must remain the same (i.e. later Candidates may not be brought forward).
  3. Visits

    The Applicant hosting a Visit is sent a Candidate list showing the timetable for the Visit. The list indicates the start and end times and any scheduled breaks. Wherever possible, Candidates are timetabled in the same order as they were presented by the Applicant at the time of entry.

  4. Should the Applicant hosting a Visit wish to alter the order in which Candidates are examined, the following instructions must be observed: the overall time allocated to the Visit must not be changed; the timing of any scheduled lunch break and 15-minute morning/afternoon break (→ Reg. 7c) must not be affected; the revised Candidate list (indicating precisely the new appointment time for each Candidate) must be presented to the examiner and the steward; any other Applicants whose Candidates are participating in the Visit must be duly notified so that all Candidates are, in turn, notified.

14 Accompanists, interpreters and page-turners

  1. Applicants must ensure that Candidates provide their own accompanist. The Candidate’s teacher may act as accompanist; under no circumstances will the examiner do so (except in the Prep Test). For graded exams, the accompanist may remain in the exam room only while engaged in accompanying. If necessary, the accompanist may simplify any part of the piano accompaniment, provided the result is musically satisfactory. Applicants must ensure that Candidates in solo Jazz subjects (except Piano) who opt to use ABRSM’s published backing tracks in place of a live accompaniment provide their own CD player and CD.
  2. All exams are conducted in English. A Candidate who is not comfortable using English is permitted to bring an independent person (who is neither the Candidate’s music teacher nor a relative) into the exam room as interpreter; prior permission is not required.
  3. With the exception of an accompanist and/or interpreter, the Candidate is normally not permitted to bring another person into the exam room with him/her. However, in exceptional circumstances permission may be given at ABRSM’s discretion for someone to be present in the exam room with the Candidate. To request this, the Applicant should nominate someone at the time of entry who is neither the Candidate’s music teacher nor a relative of the Candidate, giving details of the reasons for the request.
  4. Page turns (see also → Reg. 15g regarding photocopying music):

    • i) Candidates: in a Grade 1–5 exam, Candidates are normally required to make any page-turns in their music themselves. In a Grade 6–8 or ARSM exam, Candidates are permitted to bring a page-turner to assist with awkward page turns; prior permission is not required. Organ Candidates at any grade may bring a page-turner (who may also act as registrant); prior permission is not required. A Candidate’s teacher may act as page-turner. Examiners are unable to help with page-turning.
    • ii) Accompanists: in a Grade 6–8 or ARSM exam, a Candidate’s accompanist is permitted to bring a page turner to assist with page-turns in the piano part; prior permission is not required.

15 Exam music and performance requirements

  1. Practical exams (except ARSM)

    Practical Exams are conducted in accordance with the applicable Syllabus. Applicants must ensure they review the Syllabus and draw relevant parts of the Syllabus to the attention of Candidates.

  2. Applicants, teachers and Candidates are advised to pay close attention to the exam requirements, as well as to the requirements indicated in the current Syllabus lists. A ‘piece’ comprises all the music set under one number-heading in the Syllabus lists (unless an option is specifically indicated) and may comprise more than one movement from a work or more than one item from an album.
  3. Candidates failing to observe specific Syllabus requirements or regulations (e.g. performing a piece not listed in the Syllabus, or not being prepared to perform the full extent of a piece as indicated in the Syllabus) may be penalized, or, in certain cases, disqualified.
  4. Where appropriate, the initial tempo indication (or section title) of a piece/movement is listed in the Syllabus. Where a piece/movement comprises more than one tempo indication (or section title), the whole piece/movement is still required to be played in the exam (unless otherwise indicated).
  5. The individual sections of the exam may be undertaken in any order, at the Candidate’s choice (although, ideally, accompanied pieces should be performed consecutively). If an accompanied exam begins with any section other than the pieces, the steward should be advised in advance so that the accompanist can be summoned at the appropriate time.
  6. Examiners may ask to look at the music before or after the performance of a piece (a separate copy is not required: the Candidate’s or accompanist’s copy will suffice). Examiners may decide to stop the performance of a piece when they have heard enough to form a judgment.
  7. The Copyright, Design and Patents Act 1988 does not permit the making or use of photocopies (or other kinds of copies) of copyright works. However, the Music Publishers’ Association’s Code of Fair Practice (available at www.mpaonline.org.uk) allows copies to be made in certain limited circumstances (such as a difficulty with a particular page-turn) but only if the copyright holder is listed on the MPA website or in Appendix B of the Code. In all other cases, application should be made to the copyright holder before any copy is made. It is the Applicant’s responsibility to ensure that Candidates act within the law with respect to the making and use of photocopies (or other copies). ABRSM reserves the right to withhold the exam result of any Candidate where it has evidence of the use of an illegal copy (or copies) in connection with that exam.
  8. ARSM exams

    ARSM Exams are conducted in accordance with the applicable Syllabus. Applicants must ensure they review the Syllabus and draw relevant parts of the Syllabus to the attention of Candidates.

  9. Applicants, teachers and Candidates are advised to pay close attention to the exam requirements, as well as to the requirements indicated in the current ARSM repertoire lists. An ARSM item comprises all the music set under one number-heading in the repertoire lists (unless an option is specifically indicated) and may comprise more than one movement from a work or more than one item from an album.
  10. Candidates failing to observe specific Syllabus requirements or regulations (e.g. offering an inappropriate standard of own-choice piece, presenting a programme that is too short/long, or not performing repertoire chosen from the set lists as specified) may be penalized, or, in certain cases, disqualified.
  11. Where appropriate, the initial tempo indication (or section title) of a piece/movement is listed in the repertoire lists. Where the piece/movement comprises more than one tempo indication (or section title), the whole piece/movement is still required to be played in the exam (unless otherwise indicated).
  12. Examiners may ask to look at the music before or after the performance of the whole programme (a separate copy is not required: the Candidate’s or accompanist’s copy will suffice). Examiners may decide to stop the performance if the upper time limit is exceeded.
  13. Use of photocopies: → Reg. 15g.

16 Special consideration

  1. Special consideration may be given, at ABRSM’s discretion, to a Candidate whose performance in an exam is felt to have been affected by, or who does not complete an exam owing to, circumstances beyond the Candidate’s reasonable control. Further details, including the application for special consideration procedure are contained in ABRSM’s Special Consideration Policy, available at www.abrsm.org/policies.
  2. ABRSM’s Special Consideration Policy does not apply to Candidates suffering illness or injury in advance of an exam, for whom the recommended course of action is withdrawal, followed by application for a partial refund (→ Reg. 10): it is not advisable for a Candidate who is unwell to attend an exam, nor for a Candidate suffering illness or injury to attempt an exam under disadvantageous circumstances that cannot be taken into account by the examiner.
  3. Examiners are not permitted to determine whether special consideration should be given. Such decisions are made only by ABRSM, provided that the application for special consideration is validly made in accordance with ABRSM’s Special Consideration Policy (available at www.abrsm.org/policies).
  4. Candidates can be assessed only on the performance given during an exam and consequently an application for special consideration will not normally result in an adjustment to marks. Where a section of a graded exam is not attempted, marks for that section cannot be awarded, but a Candidate may still be successful and be awarded a certificate, provided that the marks awarded for the sections attempted total 100 or more in a Practical Exam and 66 marks or more in a Theory Exam.

17 Results and certificates

  1. ABRSM’s marking schemes are outlined at www.abrsm.org/markingcriteria as well as in the relevant Syllabus.
  2. Examiners report direct to ABRSM and are not permitted to divulge any information regarding exam results to any other person.
  3. No marks are awarded for the Prep Test or Performance Assessment. A certificate with constructive comments is written by the examiner and presented to the Candidate at the end of the assessment.
  4. Results for Practical Exams are usually issued in accordance with the schedules on our website at www.abrsm.org/results .
  5. A mark form is issued for each Candidate, and all mark forms are clerically checked and reviewed prior to issue. For Practical Exams, the mark form gives a breakdown of the marks awarded for each section and the total number of marks as well as the examiner’s comments. (When a Candidate achieves marks totalling less than half the overall pass mark, a mark form showing only the examiner’s comments will normally be issued, i.e. with no marks recorded). For Theory Exams, the mark form gives a breakdown of the marks awarded for each question and the total number of marks. Theory Exam papers are not returned after marking.
  6. All successful Candidates receive a certificate, which specifies the subject and level at which they have been examined. Successful ARSM Candidates may append the letters of the qualification after their name. While indicating a high standard at the level, a Distinction in Grade 8 or ARSM does not necessarily imply suitability for admission to any of the Royal Schools of Music or any higher education institution, or for a professional career in music. Certificates do not certify that the holders are qualified to teach.
  7. Unless the Applicant requests otherwise and in writing, the results (mark forms/certificates) are posted to the Applicant named on the entry form, whose responsibility it is to pass them on to Candidates. Results are also made available to the Applicant at www.abrsm.org and can be accessed using the Applicant Number and confidential password (→ Reg. 3b).
  8. Results are issued only in accordance with the procedures described in Reg. 17g; ABRSM will not disclose exam results by telephone or email.
  9. Except where ABRSM has been negligent or at fault, ABRSM does not accept responsibility for the loss or non-receipt of any results after their despatch by post. If results have not been received within the expected time (→ Reg. 17d), the Applicant should notify ABRSM and, if they are confirmed to have been despatched, contact the local sorting office in case they are being held for collection following unsuccessful delivery. ABRSM allows a period of 28 days after the original despatch date for undelivered or wrongly delivered results to be returned; during this time, written confirmation of marks may be requested by the Applicant. If after this period results are still missing, the Applicant should notify ABRSM and arrangements will be made for replacement mark forms/certificates to be issued.
  10. While ABRSM’s policy is to release results only to the Applicant (→ Reg. 17g), ABRSM reserves the right to confirm results to another concerned party (e.g. a parent or head teacher) in the following circumstances: serious illness or death of the Applicant; failure by the Applicant to pass on results within eight weeks of their despatch by ABRSM. ABRSM will endeavour to verify any such circumstances, following which written confirmation of results and/or duplicate certificates may be issued directly to the relevant concerned party.
  11. On application and payment of the necessary fees, the result of a past exam may be confirmed in writing to a concerned party (e.g. an Applicant, Candidate, parent). A duplicate certificate can be supplied upon request and receipt of the necessary fees. For further details and to download a Past Results Search form or Certificate Replacement form please visit www.abrsm.org/examdatesandfees.
  12. The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) includes Grades 6–8 in the points tariff for UK university and college entrance. At the discretion of individual institutions, Candidates may benefit from the allocation of UCAS points (www.ucas.com). Where the Candidate’s date of birth and gender have been supplied at the time of entry, results for Candidates at these grades are passed on to UCAS in order to allow them to verify UCAS applications (please see ABRSM’s Privacy Policy at www.abrsm.org/policies).
  13. The UK government requires exam data from ABRSM for all Candidates between the ages of 11 and 18. Results for Candidates between these ages are therefore passed on to the Department for Education (DfE) and to Llywodraeth Cymru (Welsh Government), including the Candidate’s name, age and gender (if given) in order to match details held on the National Pupil Database. Please see ABRSM’s Privacy Policy at www.abrsm.org/policies.

18 Complaints, appeals and feedback

  1. Complaints

    Complaints should be made in accordance with ABRSM’s Complaints Policy. A copy of the most up-to-date version of the Complaints Policy is available from ABRSM at any time upon request and is also available at www.abrsm.org/complaints.

  2. Enquiries about results and appeals

    Specific guidance for enquiries about results and marking appeals can be found at www.abrsm.org/examconcerns.

  3. Feedback

    ABRSM welcomes feedback about results or other matters. All feedback is logged and plays a valued part in ABRSM’s quality assurance procedures. Specific guidance on procedures and a Feedback form can be found at www.abrsm.org/examconcerns.

19 Access (for Candidates with specific needs)

  1. ABRSM endeavours to make its exams accessible to all Candidates, although it should be understood that, while the examiner is informed of Candidates’ needs, no special concession or allowance in marking is made, and each Candidate’s performance is judged according to the standard normally expected. ABRSM publishes separate guidelines covering provisions for blind and partially sighted Candidates, deaf and hearing-impaired Candidates, Candidates with dyslexia, dyspraxia or other learning difficulties, Candidates with autistic spectrum disorders (including Asperger syndrome) and Candidates with other specific needs. Where ABRSM’s guidelines are not applicable, or a Candidate has particular physical access needs, each case is considered on an individual basis. Guidelines and further information are available from the Access Co-ordinator ([email protected]) or from www.abrsm.org/specificneeds.
  2.  

    When making an entry for a graded exam, Prep Test or Performance Assessment, the Applicant should record the relevant code on the entry form. (Details of all current codes are given in ABRSM’s guidelines (→ Reg. 19a) as well as on the entry form). Where further arrangements are required, or the codes are not applicable, the Applicant should attach a covering letter to the entry form giving full details. For entries made online, any additional information should be emailed separately to the Access Co-ordinator [email protected].

     

     

    When making an entry for an ARSM exam, the Applicant should contact the Access Co-ordinator with details of any access requirements.

    Some provisions require a supporting document to be submitted, which should be the most recent available. In such cases, if ABRSM does not receive the relevant supporting document in advance of the exam, results may be withheld or a penalty imposed.

    Applicants are responsible for obtaining appropriate consent to reveal information about a Candidate’s specific needs to ABRSM.

  3. Candidates of any age whose needs mean that they are not able to access graded exams may enter for the Performance Assessment, in which they may perform a programme of pieces entirely of their own choice and lasting no more than 15 minutes.

20 Safeguarding

  1. ABRSM acknowledges that it has a responsibility for the safety and welfare of children taking its exams or otherwise under its temporary care. All staff and volunteers working on behalf of ABRSM are required to accept this responsibility and are committed to practices that protect children from harm.
  2. ABRSM’s Safeguarding Policy, Procedures and Code of Practice, produced in consultation with NSPCC, is available at www.abrsm.org/policies. The Policy includes a Code of Practice for all who work on behalf of the organization. ABRSM is committed to reviewing its Safeguarding Policy and Code of Practice at regular intervals and may change the content from time to time.
  3. Any concerns regarding a child’s or children’s welfare and/or safety must be reported immediately to ABRSM using the Safeguarding Concerns Report form that is available at www.abrsm.org/policies.

     

     

21 Equal opportunities

  1. ABRSM is committed to providing equality of opportunity and treatment for all, and will not unlawfully discriminate on the basis of any protected characteristics in its dealings with any Candidate, Applicant, parent, teacher, examiner, Local Representative or steward.

22 Data protection

  1. ABRSM will process personal data about individuals (including Applicants, Candidates and others) in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998 (as amended or superseded, including from 25 May 2018 the General Data Protection Regulation) and other related legislation. We will process such personal data:

    • as set out in ABRSM’s Privacy Policy, available at www.abrsm.org/policies, as may be amended from time to time;
    • as set out in these Exam Regulations, and in order to perform our obligations under any contract between you and us, and where otherwise reasonably necessary for ABRSM’s purposes; and
    • order to comply with any court order, request from or referral to an appropriate authority, or legal, regulatory or good practice requirement.
  2. ABRSM is registered as a data controller with the UK Information Commissioner’s Office under registration number Z6618494.

23 Other important terms

  1. Changes to these Exam Regulations. ABRSM reserves the right to change or add to these Exam Regulations from time to time for legal, safety or other substantive reasons in order to assist the proper delivery of exam services by ABRSM. The latest version of these Exam Regulations will be available at www.abrsm.org or otherwise upon request by contacting ABRSM.
  2. The Law that applies to these Exam Regulations and where legal proceedings may be brought. The contract between the Applicant and ABRSM is governed by English law and the Applicant and ABRSM must bring legal proceedings in respect of this contract in the English courts.
  3. Rights in relation to the enforcement of these Exam Regulations. If ABRSM chooses not to enforce any part of this contract, or delays enforcing it, this will not affect ABRSM’s right to enforce the same part later (or on a separate occasion) or the rest of this contract. And, if ABRSM cannot enforce any part of this contract, this will not affect ABRSM’s right to enforce the rest of this contract.

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