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ABRSM qualifications are assessed to the same standards worldwide. Our work is monitored and reviewed by a number of regulatory authorities to ensure the quality of education and qualifications offered.

Our regulated qualifications are recognised and regulated by the following authorities within the UK:

Regulated Qualifications Framework (RQF):

Within England, Wales and Northern Ireland our graded and diploma qualifications sit within the Regulated Qualifications Framework (RQF), which replaces the Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF) and the National Qualifications Framework (NQF). The framework is intended to describe qualifications and help users understand the qualifications that Ofqual regulates as well as showing how they relate to each other and providing consistency in how the size, challenge or demand of a qualification is described.

Size and Level

The size of a qualification is measured in terms of Total Qualification Time (TQT) – an indication of how long a typical learner might take to achieve a qualification. This includes time spent on individual learning and assessment, as well as Guided Learning Hours (GLH) where time is spent being taught. It should be noted that the sizes given within the framework are intended as a guide.

The RQF uses the same levels as the QCF did previously, and also maps to the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications (FHEQ) and the European Qualifications Framework (EQF).

Level descriptors have been updated and now focus on ‘skills’ and ‘knowledge and understanding’:

Level descriptors and RQF levels

Level

Knowledge descriptor (the holder…)

Skills descriptor (the holder can…)

Entry 1

Progresses along a continuum that ranges from the most elementary of achievements to beginning to make use of knowledge and/or understanding that relate to the subject or immediate environment.

Progress along a continuum that ranges from the most elementary of achievements to beginning to make use of skills that relate to the subject or the immediate environment.

Entry 2

Has basic knowledge or understanding of a subject and/or can carry out simple, familiar tasks; and knows the steps needed to complete simple activities.

Carry out simple, familiar tasks and activities. Follow instructions or use rehearsed steps to complete tasks and activities.

Entry 3

Has basic knowledge and understanding to carry out structured tasks and activities in familiar contexts; and knows and understands the steps needed to complete structured tasks and activities in familiar contexts.

Carry out structured tasks and activities in familiar contexts. Be aware of the consequences of actions for self and others.

L1

Has basic factual knowledge of a subject and/or knowledge of facts, procedures and ideas to complete well-defined routine tasks and address simple problems; and is aware of aspects of information relevant to the area of study or work.

Use basic cognitive and practical skills to complete well-defined routine tasks and procedures. Select and use relevant information. Identify whether actions have been effective.

L2

Has knowledge and understanding of facts, procedures and ideas in an area of study or field of work to complete well-defined tasks and address straightforward problems. Can interpret relevant information and ideas. Is aware of a range of information that is relevant to the area of study or work.

Select and use relevant cognitive and practical skills to complete well-defined, generally routine tasks and address straightforward problems. Identify, gather and use relevant information to inform actions. Identify how effective actions have been.

L3

Has factual, procedural and theoretical knowledge and understanding of a subject or field of work to complete tasks and address problems that while well-defined, may be complex and non-routine. Can interpret and evaluate relevant information and ideas. Is aware of the nature of the area of study or work. Is aware of different perspectives or approaches within the area of study or work.

Identify, select and use appropriate cognitive and practical skills, methods and procedures to address problems that while well- defined, may be complex and non-routine. Use appropriate investigation to inform actions. Review how effective methods and actions have been.

L4

Has practical, theoretical or technical knowledge and understanding of a subject or field of work to address problems that are well defined but complex and non-routine. Can analyse, interpret and evaluate relevant information and ideas. Is aware of the nature of approximate scope of the area of study or work. Has an informed awareness of different perspectives or approaches within the area of study or work.

Identify, adapt and use appropriate cognitive and practical skills to inform actions and address problems that are complex and non-routine while normally fairly well-defined. Review the effectiveness and appropriateness of methods, actions and results.

L5

Has practical, theoretical or technological knowledge and understanding of a subject or field of work to find ways forward in broadly defined, complex contexts. Can analyse, interpret and evaluate relevant information, concepts and ideas. Is aware of the nature and scope of the area of study or work. Understands different perspectives, approaches or schools of thought and the reasoning behind them.

Determine, adapt and use appropriate methods, cognitive and practical skills to address broadly defined, complex problems. Use relevant research or development to inform actions. Evaluate actions, methods and results.

L6

Has advanced practical, conceptual or technological knowledge and understanding of a subject or field of work to create ways forward in contexts where there are many interacting factors. Understands different perspectives, approaches or schools of thought and the theories that underpin them. Can critically analyse, interpret and evaluate complex information, concepts and ideas.

Determine, refine, adapt and use appropriate methods and advanced cognitive and practical skills to address problems that have limited definition and involve many interacting factors. Use and, where appropriate, design relevant research and development to inform actions. Evaluate actions, methods and results and their implications.

L7

Reformulates and uses practical, conceptual or technological knowledge and understanding of a subject or field of work to create ways forward in contexts where there are many interacting factors. Critically analyses, interprets and evaluates complex information, concepts and theories to produce modified conceptions. Understands the wider contexts in which the area of study or work is located. Understands current developments in the area of study or work. Understands different theoretical and methodological perspectives and how they affect the area of study or work.

Use specialised skills to conceptualise and address problematic situations that involve many interacting factors. Determine and use appropriate methodologies and approaches. Design and undertake research, development or strategic activities to inform or produce change in the area of work or study. Critically evaluate actions, methods and results and their short- and long-term implications.

L8

Develops original practical, conceptual or technological understanding to create ways forward in contexts that lack definition and where there are many complex, interacting factors. Critically analyses, interprets and evaluates complex information, concepts and theories to produce new knowledge and theories. Understands and reconceptualises the wider contexts in which the field of knowledge or work is located. Extends a field of knowledge or work by contributing original knowledge and thinking. Exercises critical understanding of different theoretical and methodological perspectives and how they affect the field of knowledge or work.

Use advanced and specialised skills and techniques to conceptualise and address problematic situations that involve many complex, interacting factors. Formulate and use appropriate methodologies and approaches. Initiate, design and undertake research, development or strategic activities that extend or produce significant change in the field of work or study. Critically evaluate actions, methods and results and their short- and long-term implications for the field of work or knowledge and its wider context.

RQF levels range from entry level to level 8. The following table shows how ABRSM qualifications relate, in terms of RQF levels, to qualifications generally in the UK.

RQF level

ABRSM qualification

General UK qualifications

8

 

PhD

7

FRSM

Masters

6

LRSM

Degree – final year

5

 

 

4

ARSM / DipABRSM

Degree – first year

3

Grades 6, 7 and 8

A Level

2

Grades 4 and 5
Platinum Music Medal

GCSE

1

Grades 1, 2 and 3
Bronze, Silver & Gold Music Medals

 

Entry

Copper Music Medal

 

ABRSM’s Regulated Qualifications

Graded exams (practical)*

ABRSM Qualification title

RQF Qualification title

Qualification number (QAN)

Level

Credit Value

GLH

TQT

Grade 1 Music Performance

ABRSM Level 1 Award in Graded Examination in Music Performance (Grade 1)

501/2150/9

1

6

12

60

Grade 2 Music Performance

ABRSM Level 1 Award in Graded Examination in Music Performance (Grade 2)

501/2159/5

1

9

18

90

Grade 3 Music Performance

ABRSM Level 1 Award in Graded Examination in Music Performance (Grade 3)

501/2160/1

1

12

18

120

Grade 4 Music Performance

ABRSM Level 2 Award in Graded Examination in Music Performance (Grade 4)

501/2151/0

2

15

24

150

Grade 5 Music Performance

ABRSM Level 2 Award in Graded Examination in Music Performance (Grade 5)

501/2152/2

2

18

24

180

Grade 6 Music Performance

ABRSM Level 3 Certificate in Graded Examination in Music Performance (Grade 6)

501/2162/5

3

22

36

220

Grade 7 Music Performance

ABRSM Level 3 Certificate in Graded Examination in Music Performance (Grade 7)

501/2166/2

3

27

48

270

Grade 8 Music Performance

ABRSM Level 3 Certificate in Graded Examination in Music Performance (Grade 8)

501/2163/7

3

32

54

320

*Please note that Practical Musicianship exams are not regulated qualifications

Graded exams (Theory of Music)

ABRSM Qualification title

RQF Qualification title

Qualification number (QAN)

Level

Credit Value

GLH

TQT

Grade 1 Theory of Music

ABRSM Level 1 Award in Graded Examination in Music Theory (Grade 1)

501/2155/8

1

2

6

20

Grade 2 Theory of Music

ABRSM Level 1 Award in Graded Examination in Music Theory (Grade 2)

501/2156/X

1

3

9

30

Grade 3 Theory of Music

ABRSM Level 1 Award in Graded Examination in Music Theory (Grade 3)

501/2153/4

1

5

9

50

Grade 4 Theory of Music

ABRSM Level 2 Award in Graded Examination in Music Theory (Grade 4)

501/2157/1

2

7

12

58

Grade 5 Theory of Music

ABRSM Level 2 Award in Graded Examination in Music Theory (Grade 5)

501/2158/3

2

9

12

90

Grade 6 Theory of Music

ABRSM Level 3 Certificate in Graded Examination in Music Theory (Grade 6)

501/2167/4

3

13

18

130

Grade 7 Theory of Music

ABRSM Level 3 Certificate in Graded Examination in Music Theory (Grade 7)

501/2164/9

3

17

24

170

Grade 8 Theory of Music

ABRSM Level 3 Certificate in Graded Examination in Music Theory (Grade 8)

501/2165/0

3

21

36

210

Diplomas

ABRSM Qualification title

RQF Qualification title

Qualification number (QAN)

Level

Credit Value

GLH

TQT

ARSM (Performance)

ABRSM Level 4 Diploma in Music Performance (ARSM)

603/0677/4

4

90

54

900

DipABRSM (Performance)

ABRSM Level 4 Diploma in Music Performance

600/1179/8

4

90

54

To be assigned in 2017

DipABRSM (Teaching)

ABRSM Level 4 Diploma in Principles of Instrumental/Vocal Teaching

600/1187/7

4

100

60

To be assigned in 2017

DipABRSM (Direction)

ABRSM Level 4 Diploma in Music Direction

600/1183/X

4

90

134

To be assigned in 2017

LRSM (Performance)

ABRSM Level 6 Diploma in Music Performance

600/1181/6

6

180

108

To be assigned in 2017

LRSM (Teaching)

ABRSM Level 6 Diploma in Principles of Instrumental/Vocal Teaching

600/1186/5

6

200

120

To be assigned in 2017

LRSM (Direction)

ABRSM Level 4 Diploma in Music Direction

600/1184/1

6

180

108

To be assigned in 2017

FRSM (Performance)

ABRSM Level 7 Diploma in Music Performance

600/1182/8

7

225

134

To be assigned in 2017

FRSM (Teaching)

ABRSM Level 7 Diploma in Music Education

600/1178/6

7

240

150

To be assigned in 2017

FRSM (Direction)

ABRSM Level 7 Diploma in Music Direction

600/1185/3

7

225

134

To be assigned in 2017

Music Medals

ABRSM Qualification title

RQF Qualification title

Qualification number (QAN)

Level

Credit Value

GLH

TQT

Copper

ABRSM Entry Level Award in Music Performance

600/1014/9

Entry Level

2

4

To be assigned in 2017

Bronze

ABRSM Level 1 Award in Music Performance

600/1015/0

1

3

6

To be assigned in 2017

Silver

ABRSM Level 1 Award in Music Performance

600/1016/2

1

4

8

To be assigned in 2017

Gold

ABRSM Level 1 Award in Music Performance

600/1017/4

1

6

12

To be assigned in 2017

Platinum

ABRSM Level 2 Award in Music Performance

600/1018/6

2

8

16

To be assigned in 2017

UCAS points

Students with ABRSM qualifications at Grades 6 to 8 benefit from UCAS (University and Colleges Admission Service) points which can be used as part of a university or college application in the UK.

For students applying for courses starting in the 2017/18 academic year, or later, the following points apply:

Grade 6

Grade 7

Grade 8

Pass

Merit

Dist.

Pass

Merit

Dist.

Pass

Merit

Dist.

Practical

6

10

12

10

12

16

18

24

30

Theory

4

5

6

6

7

8

8

9

10

Further information

You can find more information about Ofqual and the RQF at www.ofqual.co.uk.

NCN (National Centre Number)

If you teach your candidates for a school or college please add the NCN when entering exams so we can pass on information to the Department for Education (DfE) for inclusion in the School and College Performance Tables. This data is passed to the DfE in confidence.

Unique Learner Number (ULN)

A ULN is a 10-digit number which is issued to secondary school pupils in England, Northern Ireland and Wales.

The ULN is used to match a learner's achievement to their Personal Learning Record (PLR) in relation to qualifications achieved within the RQF Framework.

The PLR allows individual learners access to their achievement records – which they can share with schools, colleges, further education training providers, universities or employers when making an application to further their education, training and employment.

Your current school should be able to provide you with your ULN. Although we do not at present collect this information on our online entry form, if you would like your current ABRSM exam to be recorded on your PLR please email centraladmin@abrsm.ac.uk with your ULN, full name, the applicant number, subject and the grade you have entered and we will add details of your ABRSM exam to your PLR once the results are published.

Rest of world

Europe

The European Qualifications Framework is an overarching framework that links the qualifications of different countries together and allows for comparison and translation. As with the UK’s Regulated Qualifications Framework (RQF), the EQF has eight levels across which qualifications can be mapped. The levels do not correspond directly with the RQF, although they are similar. 

The Register of Regulated Qualifications holds details of all ABRSM qualifications, including their EQF level.

Australia

Queensland

ABRSM exams are recognized in Queensland for the Queensland Senior Certificate as Recorded Subjects.

  • Grades 4–7 (all subjects) are assigned 1 credit each.
  • Grade 8 (all subjects) and Diplomas (all levels and branches) attract 2 credits each.
Western Australia

ABRSM exams are ‘Endorsed Programs’ and as such, for students in years 10, 11 and 12, can be counted towards their Western Australian Certificate of Education (WACE)

Endorsed programs are given 'unit equivalence'. This effectively means that one or a combination of programs is considered equal to one unit of a WACE course. To gain the WACE, students require a minimum of 20 units gathered over years 10 to 12, at least 10 of which must be from Curriculum Council developed courses (a maximum of ten unit equivalents can be counted towards the WACE).

  • ABRSM exams at Grades 5-8 (all subjects) have been granted 1 unit.
  • Diploma exams (all levels and branches) are worth 2 units.

Canada

ABRSM exams are approved as External Courses. Students at school in British Columbia can receive Grade (year) 10, 11 and 12 credits towards graduation from ABRSM qualifications.

ABRSM qualifications are classified as Foundation Studies (required topics) and at Grade 12 level count towards the eligible Grade 12 Graduation Program requirements.

Malta

ABRSM exams are recognised as part of Malta’s National Qualifications Framework for Lifelong Learning (NQF). The Malta NQF places ABRSM grades and diplomas on a scale that ranges from school level qualifications to postgraduate degrees

New Zealand

ABRSM and the University of Waikato in New Zealand have agreed a Guaranteed Credit Arrangement (GCA) which accredits ABRSM diplomas. As a result, DipABRSM and LRSM holders studying at the university can now complete an undergraduate degree in less time by allocating credits gained from previous studies towards that degree.

The Guaranteed Credit Arrangement (GCA)

Under the GCA, credits can only be allocated to elective papers on a degree and cannot be used against any of the core papers for a qualification. Applicants must also meet the university’s usual entry criteria. Although different bachelor degrees vary in the amount of elective credits they have, typically, a full time student at the University of Waikato will enrol for 120 credits a year, 60 credits per semester.

ABRSM diploma

Credits towards an undergraduate degree at University of Waikato

DipABRSM

30 credits

LRSM

60 credits

Beyond music degrees, the credits can go towards 17 different undergraduate Waikato qualifications, including Law, Electronic Commerce, Science and Tourism, with the amount of credit depending on the chosen qualification.

Trinidad & Tobago

ABRSM exams are accredited by the University of West Indies.

USA

Lipscomb University adopted ABRSM exams as part of their Music Major degree program from 2006. Students are required to complete Grade 8 by the end of their sophomore year (second year) and DipABRSM performing or directing by the end of their senior year (fourth year) so that all music majors graduate with both a bachelor degree and a DipABRSM.

Students who enter already holding an ABRSM Grade 8 are encouraged to enter for the DipABRSM earlier and aim for an LRSM by the end of the degree course. The university also waive the live audition section of the application process for any prospective students who already hold ABRSM Grade 8 and award music majors who already hold ABRSM Grade 8 scholarships towards tuition fees.

Level

Credits

12
Grade 7 Practical with Grade 6 Music Theory

4 credits

11
Grade 6 Practical with Grade 5 Music Theory

4 credits

10
Grade 5 Practical with Grade 4 Music Theory

4 credits

 

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