Latest exam updates

Performance Grades – booking for our next session of remotely-assessed Performance Grade and ARSM exams opens in the week beginning 5 April. To check dates click here. You can find all our Performance Grades information and guidance here.

Grade 5 Music Theory waiver (not applicable in the UK & Ireland)

We are extending our Grade 5 Music Theory waiver until 23 May 2021. This means that candidates with a Grade 6 to 8 Performance Grade exam submission date up to and including 23 May can take their exam without first passing Grade 5 Music Theory. We are making this exceptional arrangement to allow candidates who have been unable to take an exam in recent months to progress with their learning. From 24 May, the Grade 5 Music Theory requirement will return. For exam dates/exam submission dates after 23 May, all candidates taking a Grade 6 to 8 Performance or Practical Grade must first pass Grade 5 Music Theory.

Performance Grade exams

We are pleased to confirm that we will be offering Performance Grade exams every month for the remainder of 2021. Please check our Dates and Fees page for details.

Chief Examiner John Holmes shares his practice tips

When it comes to music practice, reverse chaining is a great way to work on a piece. Reverse, or backward, chaining is used in a variety of educational settings and in music, it can transform longer more challenging pieces of music into manageable chunks. Chaining sounds complex, but is actually quite simple. You practise the very last bit first, and then when you’ve got that ‘perfected’, you practise the section that leads up to it, and so on. So you start at the end and work backwards.

Often it’s too easy to stay within the comfort of the familiar first few bars and avoid practising the more difficult end sections. Reversing this, from time to time, by beginning at the end means you spend enough time on the later sections. You are also moving towards the familiar rather than the unfamiliar, which in itself can help to build musical security and confidence.

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