Latest exam updates

Performance Grade booking

The next booking period for remotely-assessed Performance Grade and ARSM exams opens in February. For details, see our dates and fees page.

Music Theory exams – March 2021

  • Online Music Theory exams (Grades 1 to 5) – we are cancelling the online exams planned for 16 March. Exams in May and June will go ahead as planned.
  • Paper Music Theory exams (Grades 6 to 8) – we will not be offering these exams in March. The next exams at Grades 6 to 8 will be in June 2021.
  • Grade 5 Music Theory requirement - from 1 January to 30 April 2021 only, candidates can take Grade 6 to 8 Performance or Practical exams without first passing Grade 5 Music Theory. From 1 May 2021, the Grade 5 Music Theory requirement will return with flexibility about timing. If you receive an email asking for your proof of prerequisite, please ignore this. We will still release any results in line with the arrangements outlined here.

For more information click here.

Face-to-face practical exams, session 1 - USA

Due to current COVID restrictions, we will not be opening our normal booking period in January for face-to-face practical exams in April-June. We hope to provide a practical session later in the year, but need to keep all dates under review as we can only accept bookings if COVID travel and government restrictions are lifted. We will provide an update nearer to the next booking period.


Thank you for clicking through to this page from the Music Mark Annual Conference 2020.

As ABRSM’s team of Regional Development Executives (RDEs), we work closely with many Music Hubs and Services. We offer support and advice on everything from helping you to make the most of our exam pathways and new booking service through to new syllabus resources and teacher CPD.

We appreciate that the past year has presented challenges for the music education sector few of us could have foreseen. We’d like to thank you for your support in continuing to inspire musical achievement for our young people.

Below we’ve compiled a series of links relating to our latest developments as well as some of our more established products and services which we know are helpful for Music Hubs and Services.

While we can’t meet in person this year, we’d still love to hear from you to discuss how ABRSM can support your organisation further. To arrange a video or telephone call, please click ‘Get in touch’ below to make contact with the RDE for your region.

Best wishes,

Sarah, Kerry, James and Jenna.

Sarah Walker

South West and West Midlands

Kerry Baldwin

North West England, East Midlands, Yorkshire & Humber

James Welburn

London, South East and East England

Jenna Main

Scotland and Northern Ireland

Performance Grades - NEW remotely-assessed exam option for Grades 1 – 8, plus ARSM

We believe everyone has the right to enjoy and excel at music. We also understand that everyone’s musical journey is different. This is why we’re committed to creating new, flexible opportunities for people to achieve their goals. For the exam, candidates perform four pieces or songs (there are no supporting tests) with examiners awarding marks for each piece as well as marks for the performance as a whole. The exam is assessed from a video recording. Candidates choose three pieces from the current syllabus as well as a free-choice piece of the same standard. A permanent addition to the ABRSM offer, these new exams are equal in value to the Practical grades and are available to enter more frequently. Next booking window: 1 – 8 December 2020.

Music Theory – NEW online exam

Music Theory exams for Grades 1 to 5 are now online! Moving online is the result of long-term development to ensure that we can offer greater flexibility of exams dates, greater accessibility and convenience in an increasingly blended learning environment. As part of our developments we have updated some of the questions at Grades 1 to 5 to bring them in line with a style of assessment commonly used across the education sector. In addition, there are a few minor changes to the syllabus itself. Grades 6 – 8 exams, will remain paper-based.

Discovering Music Theory – An exciting and accessible NEW suite of workbooks and sample papers

To complement our new online exam and to support the teaching and learning of music theory, we are excited to introduce Discovering Music Theory and Music Theory Sample Papers. These brand new, colourful resources provide all-round preparation for our Music Theory assessments, as students move to an online exam. Developed with experts in the field, there are five graded workbooks and corresponding answer books that offer all-round preparation for our new theory exams at Grades 1 to 5. Suitable for all ages!

Online Piano Events – Inspirational teaching content that you can watch on demand

Join us on an in-depth tour of ABRSM’s new Piano syllabus for 2021 & 2022, featuring more pieces than ever before. We’re delighted to present over 23 hours of inspirational teaching content which you can watch on-demand at a time that suits you. All events are available to purchase and view until 21 December. Whether you are preparing piano students for Practical or Performance Grades, or just enjoying playing the piano, these webinars are for you!

NEW Piano Syllabus – Introducing Initial Grade, duets up to Grade 3 and new scales requirements

We recently published our Piano 2021 & 2022 syllabus, in which you can expect an even wider range of repertoire choices, new scales requirements, as well as a brand new Initial Grade assessment and duet option up to Grade 3.

Piano Publications – supporting pianists on their musical journeys

To coincide with the new Piano Syllabus, we’re delighted to have launched our new Piano Scales & Arpeggios publications, covering Initial to Grade 8 as well as the release of the exciting series Scale Explorer for Piano (Grades 1 to 5). Featuring engaging activities that bring scales to life through short pieces, improvisation, composition and exercises; these books bring learning scales to life. Additionally, check out our two new additions to the popular Piano Star series – Duets and Skills Builder.

Digital App Suite – From theory to aural and sight-reading to practising, there’s an app to help everyone

We believe that our apps provide invaluable support to learners, especially those who may not have a musical parent at home to offer support and advice.

On offer you’ll find:

  • Music Theory Trainer – bringing music theory to life with fun and engaging challenges at Grades 1 to 5.
  • Scales Trainer - our redesigned, revamped, fun Piano Scales Trainer is your all-in-one companion for practising the new scales requirements. Also available for Violin!
  • Aural Trainer - our award-winning apps offer an exciting way for students to practise aural skills and are available for Grades 1 to 5 and 6 to 8.
  • Sight-Reading Trainer – be smart about how you practise sight-reading with ABRSM Sight-Reading Trainer
  • Practice Partners for singing, piano, woodwind and strings - a simple way to make practising pieces for your ABRSM exam more musical, enjoyable and rewarding

Music Medals – Duets, trios and quartets in an exciting range of styles that recognise and reward

These teacher-led assessments are for younger learners. They build on what's already taught in group lessons and enable students to gain individual recognition for their hard work. There are five progressive levels. Copper and Bronze are stepping stones to Grade 1 while Silver, Gold and Platinum reward further progress. Available for strings (violin, viola, cello, double bass and guitar), woodwind (flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, recorder and saxophone), brass (trumpet, cornet, flugelhorn, E flat horn, French horn, baritone, trombone, euphonium and E flat tuba) and electronic keyboard.

Classical 100 – An invaluable, FREE classroom resource that will bring classical music to life!

This fabulous classroom resource was developed by industry experts with a wealth of teaching knowledge and professional experience in compiling syllabuses and other educational materials, and has been rigorously tested by a broad community of teachers, music services and music education experts. It is now available for home use so parents and children can continue to engage with musical activities away from the classroom!

Singing for Musical Theatre Syllabus – Build the skills you need to be a rounded and successful performer

From Gershwin to Sondheim, the West End to Disney, the songs in our new syllabus span the world of musical theatre across stage and screen. With an unrivalled choice of repertoire, the arrangements for these well-known classics are certain to be hugely popular with musical theatre fans who just love to sing! Each song has been carefully selected to aid singers with the skills required to progress in their musical theatre journey - there is plenty of choice to inspire you to take centre stage! Currently available at Grades 1 to 5, look out for Grades 6 to 8 coming soon…

Percussion Syllabus – A totally flexible approach to progressing in orchestral percussion

Our innovative, exciting Percussion Syllabus features over 80 newly commissioned pieces. There are exams at Grades 1-8 in Snare Drum, Timpani and Tuned Percussion as individual, standalone subjects, alternatively we offer a Percussion (Combined) exam at Grades 1-8 to allow candidates to demonstrate their skills in all three subjects. Already, we have been truly bowled over by the response to this new syllabus with sales a testament to how well it has been received by percussion tutors worldwide.

View our full range of publications on our online shop at:

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