Latest Exam News: Updated 4 May

UK & Ireland: Booking for Session 2 Practical exams and June Performance Grades is now open.

Update 4 May 2021

A message from our Chief Executive

“As UK Covid-19 restrictions begin to lift, we are looking forward to seeing exam candidates again for Session 2 practical exams. I’m delighted that over 12,000 bookings have been received since we opened the scheduler this morning. The demand was so high that our systems struggled in the first hour and I apologise to all those affected.

We have already further tweaked the system to mitigate against a repetition and, in the meantime, our expanded customer support team is ready to help and fully focused on taking your calls and responding to your emails to get you the help you need. You can find out more about getting in touch here.”

Chris Cobb

ABRSM Chief Executive

Exams in Northern Ireland

Unfortunately we are now fully booked for this session. COVID-19 regulations and travel restrictions have affected our ability to send examiners to Northern Ireland this summer. As a result we were only able to offer exams in Northern Ireland between 14 and 26 June at one venue (South Belfast Society of Friends) and all exam slots have now been booked. We are sorry if you haven’t been able to book an exam – we know how disappointing this will be for those candidates who are missing out. If COVID-19 restrictions allow, we hope to offer the usual number of face-to-face exam opportunities in our practical Session 3. For now, you may want to consider Performance Grades or a Private Visit as alternative.

Check our COVID-19 page

Please remember to check our COVID-19 page which covers the following:

  • Health and safety rules in line with government and public health guidance
  • A list of the Public Venues for Session 2 exams
  • ABRSM Jazz Visit venue codes and dates (UK only)
  • Special COVID-19 arrangements for accompaniment
  • What to do if you are unable to attend your exam due to COVID-19 restrictions.

You can find all our COVID-19 updates here.

Update 26 April 2021 – UK Practical, online Music Theory and Performance Grade exams

Session 2 Practical exam session

We are pleased to be able to offer face-to-face Practical exams (Prep Test, Performance Assessment, Practical Grades and ARSM) in Public Venues this summer. The booking period for Session 2 Practical exams will be open from 4 May to 17 May 2021.

We are aware that COVID-19 remains a changeable situation and we will only continue to offer exams if we can do so safely and in line the latest government guidance, travel restrictions and public health guidelines.

Exams in Northern Ireland - Unfortunately we are now fully booked for this session. COVID-19 regulations and travel restrictions have affected our ability to send examiners to Northern Ireland this summer. As a result we were only able to offer exams in Northern Ireland between 14 and 26 June at one venue (South Belfast Society of Friends) and all exam slots have now been booked. We are sorry if you haven’t been able to book an exam – we know how disappointing this will be for those candidates who are missing out. If COVID-19 restrictions allow, we hope to offer the usual number of face-to-face exam opportunities in our practical Session 3. For now, you may want to consider Performance Grades or a Private Visit as alternatives.

We will be updating our COVID-19 page with more information during the week of the 26 April. This will include:

  • Up to date health and safety rules in line with government and public health guidance.
  • A list of the Public Venues that we will be offering.
  • All ABRSM Jazz Visit venue codes and dates (England, Scotland and Wales).
  • COVID-19 arrangements for accompaniment.
  • What to do if you are unable to attend your exam due to COVID-19 restrictions.

For more information, please see here.

Private Visits

We can continue to offer practical face to face exams at Private Visits in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, if all COVID-19 guidance is followed. Don’t forget that Private Visits provide you with great flexibility as you can book them throughout the year (not just during Public Venue sessions). We appreciate that you may have large numbers of candidates waiting to take their exams, and you may want to book these across multiple visits at different points in your school term. For more information and for the most up to date COVID-19 Private Visit venue guidance, please see here.

Online Music Theory Exams (Grades 1 to 5)

Our next online Music Theory (Grade 1 to 5) booking period is from 26 April to 4 May 2021 and candidates will be able to take their exam on any date and at any time between 26 May and 23 June 2021.

  • You do not have to select a specific date when you book.
  • Candidates can take their exam on any date and at any time during the exam session. All grades are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week between May 26 and 23 June 2021.
  • To maintain the security of the assessment, candidates will be randomly assigned different sets of questions.
  • Please make sure that all preparations are made well in advance of the chosen exam date, including checking the system requirements and running the system compatibility This is particularly important if candidates are planning to take their exam towards the end of the four-week session.
  • Candidates will only be able to take one exam during this period.
  • Candidates can take their exam in any location where they have access to a laptop or desktop computer with a webcam and the internet that meets our requirements.
  • The exams will be online and no physical paper will be provided, unless it is required for access arrangements or reasonable adjustments. You can find out more here.

You can find information about booking, preparing for and taking an online Music Theory exam, including full technical requirements, on our website here. Please read this information carefully before booking an exam.

Exams at Grade 6 to 8 will continue as paper-based exams. Please check our dates and fees page for the next opportunity to take an exam.

Performance Grades

We are offering Performance Grade exams every month for the rest of 2021.  Confirmed dates up to September 2021 are available on our website and we will continue to run exams every month from October to December and beyond. Please check our dates and fees page for details.

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. 

Refunds for exams from January to July 2021

To support customers affected by ongoing COVID restrictions, for all ABRSM exams in all countries, any absent candidate will automatically receive a full refund. This includes Performance Grade exams where the candidate has been unable to record and upload their video.

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

  • For Practical exams in public venues, we will issue refunds within one month of the end of the exam session (not the exam date).
  • 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 one month of the end of the exam session (not the exam date).
  • For online Music Theory (Grades 1 to 5) we will issue refunds within one month of the end of the exam window. 
  • For Diploma exams we will issue refunds within one month of the end of the exam session

Exam type

Exam session

Refunds will be received by

Performance Grades

May

end of June

Performance Grades

June

end of July

Performance Grades

July

end of August

Online Music Theory (Grades 1 to 5)

May-June

end of July

Practical exams in Public Venues

June-July

end of August

Jazz

June

end of July

Diplomas

June - July

end of August

 

You can read our full Withdrawals, Non-attendance and Fee Refunds Policyhere.

 

Update 15 March 2021 – online Music Theory exams

Online Music Theory exams at Grades 1 to 5 are now available worldwide and we are introducing a more flexible service so that candidates have more choice over when they can take their exam.

The next opportunity to take an online exam is between 26 May and 23 June 2021.  

  • Candidates can take their exam on any date/time during the 26 May to 23 June exam window. 
  • You do not have to select a specific date when you book.  
  • Candidates will only be able to take one exam during this period.  
  • Candidates can take their exam in any location where they have access to a laptop or desktop computer with a webcam and the internet. 

The booking period for this exam window is from 26 April to 4 May 2021.

From August 2021, we plan to introduce further improvements to the online Music Theory service and will provide more information about this as soon as we can.

All Music Theory exams at Grades 1 to 5 will be online exams from now on, unless a physical paper is required for access arrangements or reasonable adjustments. You can find out more 
here.

Exams at Grade 6 to 8 will continue as paper-based exams. Please check our dates and fees page for forthcoming exam dates.

You can find information about booking, preparing for and taking an online Music Theory exam, including full technical requirements, on our website 
here. Please read this information carefully before booking an exam.

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

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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