a. Exam subjects are listed at www.abrsm.org/exams.
b. There are nine grades of exam in Music Performance and eight grades in Music Theory. These exams progress in difficulty from Initial Grade** to Grade 8. The Prep Test is designed to encourage the building of good musical and technical foundations. ARSM (Associate of the Royal Schools of Music) is a post-Grade 8 performance-only exam. In addition, we offer Ensemble exams at three levels (Primary, Intermediate and Advanced).
The table below shows the regulated qualification titles for graded music exams and ARSM**. Further information can be found at register.ofqual.gov.uk.
|Unit number||Qualification title|
|603/4690/5||ABRSM Entry Level Award in Graded Examination in Music Performance (Initial Grade) (Entry 3)|
|501/2150/9||ABRSM Level 1 Award in Graded Examination in Music Performance (Grade 1)|
|501/2159/5||ABRSM Level 1 Award in Graded Examination in Music Performance (Grade 2)|
|501/2160/1||ABRSM Level 1 Award in Graded Examination in Music Performance (Grade 3)|
|501/2151/0||ABRSM Level 2 Certificate in Graded Examination in Music Performance (Grade 4)|
|501/2152/2||ABRSM Level 2 Certificate in Graded Examination in Music Performance (Grade 5)|
|501/2162/5||ABRSM Level 3 Certificate in Graded Examination in Music Performance (Grade 6)|
|501/2166/2||ABRSM Level 3 Certificate in Graded Examination in Music Performance (Grade 7)|
|501/2163/7||ABRSM Level 3 Certificate in Graded Examination in Music Performance (Grade 8)|
|603/0677/4||ABRSM Level 4 Diploma in Music Performance (ARSM)|
|501/2155/8||ABRSM Level 1 Award in Graded Examination in Music Theory (Grade 1)|
|501/2156/X||ABRSM Level 1 Award in Graded Examination in Music Theory (Grade 2)|
|501/2153/4||ABRSM Level 1 Award in Graded Examination in Music Theory (Grade 3)|
|501/2157/1||ABRSM Level 2 Award in Graded Examination in Music Theory (Grade 4)|
|501/2158/3||ABRSM Level 2 Award in Graded Examination in Music Theory (Grade 5)|
|501/2167/4||ABRSM Level 3 Certificate in Graded Examination in Music Theory (Grade 6)|
|501/2164/9||ABRSM Level 3 Certificate in Graded Examination in Music Theory (Grade 7)|
|501/2165/0||ABRSM Level 3 Certificate in Graded Examination in Music Theory (Grade 8)|
* Prep Test, Practical Musicianship, Ensemble, Jazz Ensemble and Choral Singing exams are not regulated qualifications.
a. Candidates may be entered for an exam at any age. The candidate’s date of birth must be stated on the entry form for ARSM exams, but is optional in all other cases.
b. Candidates for Practical Grades 1–5 do not need to have taken any other grade in that subject.
c. Candidates for practical Grades 6–8 must already have passed one of the qualifications listed at www.abrsm. org/prerequisite before the closing date for the exam. ARSM candidates must already have passed ABRSM Grade 8 in the instrument being presented.
d. We will not allow a candidate to sit an exam without the necessary prerequisites. We may request a copy of the relevant certificates at any time. If a copy is not provided we will cancel the exam entry without any refund of the fees paid or payable.
- ABRSM qualifications gained after 1 January 1994 and taken in the UK or Ireland (supporting documents will only be needed if we are unable to verify the qualification from our records).
- ARSM entries (although we may ask for a copy of the certificate later; if a copy of the certificate is not provided, we will cancel the exam entry without any refund of the fees paid or payable).
*Initial Grade exams in Music Performance available for Violin, Viola, Cello and Double Bass only, from 1 January 2020 **Prep Test, Practical Musicianship, Performance Assessment, Ensemble, Jazz Ensemble and Choral Singing exams are not regulated qualifications.
a. We update our syllabuses from time to time. Advance notice of any changes is given at www.abrsm.org/exams.
b. In the first year of a new practical exam syllabus, we offer an overlap period in which candidates may follow specific requirements from the preceding syllabus. Information on the length of the overlap period and the requirements that it applies to are given at www.abrsm.org/overlap.
a. The applicant’s responsibilities are:
- To read and comply with these regulations, making sure that those connected with the exam (including the candidate) are aware of relevant matters
- To make sure, 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, making sure that the information in the entry is accurate, including name spellings, exam subjects and levels, and any specific needs
- To make payment for the exam
- To tell the candidate the exam date, time and venue
- To receive the exam result/certificate and to pass them on to the candidate
b. Each applicant is given a personal applicant number when they first make an entry. This number should be quoted in all communications with us. In countries where online entry is available, applicants may request a confidential password that can be used with the applicant number and a registered email address to access online exam services. The password should not be shown to anyone else and may be changed by the applicant at any time.
c. All contact from ABRSM about the acceptance of an entry, payment, the appointment and result will be with the applicant.
d. Responsibility for an entry cannot be passed to another party without the applicant’s written consent.
e. While the applicant is our main point of contact in all matters, we may share information about an exam with another party, including the candidate and his or her parents (or those with parental responsibility), in response to a valid question.
f. We cannot become involved in any dispute or communication breakdown between an applicant and the candidate or their parents (or those with parental responsibility).
g. We do not verify the degrees or qualifications of applicants which may appear on ABRSM certificates. Applicants are expected to provide accurate information when making entries.
a. Entries must be made by the applicant during the published entry period (www.abrsm.org/datesandfees) using the online entry form. Where online entry is not available, entries must be made by post using the paper entry form. We cannot accept entries by letter, email, fax or telephone. For more information on how to make an entry, see www.abrsm.org/exambooking.
b. We may refuse, invalidate or cancel any entry received after the closing date has passed. In these cases, we will refund the entry fee(s) (see Reg. 3d for ARSM exception). We set out certain circumstances under which we may accept late entries in our late entry policy.
c. Although we would discourage candidates from taking two Practical exams in any one subject (whether at the same or different levels) in an exam period, this is not forbidden. Please note that this may mean that the candidate is assessed twice by the same examiner.
d. Candidates can be entered for only one Music Theory exam in any given exam period.
a. Exam fees must be paid in full at the time of entry. For more information on payment methods, see www.abrsm.org/exambooking.
b. Where an entry is made on behalf of more than one candidate, a single payment must be made by the applicant; we cannot process a separate payment for each candidate.
c. If there is a query about a payment, or an unpaid amount, we will contact the applicant as soon as possible after the entry has been made. If the query has not been resolved, we may prevent the applicant from making any further exam entries until the outstanding fees have been paid.
d. In cases where payment is made with a dishonoured cheque and we have to pursue payment, we will charge a fee to cover administrative costs and bank charges (see www.abrsm.org/fees).
a. 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 our policy for withdrawals, non-attendance and fee refunds.
b. If a candidate is unable to attend or has to withdraw from an exam, the applicant must tell us as soon as possible (and no later than one week after the date of the exam) in writing by contacting the representative or office at which the entry was made. The applicant will not qualify for a refund (where applicable) if notice is only given to an examiner, steward or invigilator.
c. A candidate who is withdrawn from an exam may be re-entered in the next session. In such cases, a new entry and full payment must be made, as entry details and payments cannot be transferred from one session to the next.
d. As well as refunds under our 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 entry at any time within 14 days from the date of submitting the entry by writing to us using the contact details listed on these regulations.
In this case, the applicant will receive a full refund of any fees paid to ABRSM for the exam. 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), with the exception of exams which are organised as a visit.
a. We aim to make our exams accessible to all candidates by providing access arrangements and reasonable adjustments. While changes may be made to the administration of the exam, we will not make any changes to the assessment standards; each candidate’s performance is marked in line with the usual criteria.
We publish guidelines for candidates with specific needs at www.abrsm.org/specificneeds. Where a candidate has specific needs that are not covered by our guidelines, we consider each case individually. Further information is available from the Access Co-ordinator ([email protected]) or from www.abrsm.org/specificneeds.
b. Entering for the exam
The applicant should fill in the relevant code on the entry form (details of the relevant codes are given at www.abrsm.org/specificneeds). 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 by the last date of the entry period. We advise applicants to contact the Access Co-ordinator with any questions before making an entry.
c. Supporting evidence
Candidates who require reasonable adjustments (such as alternative tests, extra time for sight-reading or, for Music Theory exams, extra time or use of an amanuensis) must give supporting evidence at the time of making the exam entry.
Details of the supporting evidence needed can be found at www.abrsm.org/specificneeds. If supporting evidence is not provided by the time of the exam, we may withhold results or impose a penalty.
d. Personal data
ABRSM recognises that candidates who require access arrangements or reasonable adjustments may be giving personal and sensitive information as part of the entry process. We are committed to handling this information tactfully and securely.
e. Alternative to graded exams
Candidates of any age whose needs mean that they are not able to access graded exams may find that the Performance Assessment is a suitable alternative. Performance Assessment candidates perform a programme of own choice pieces lasting up to 15 minutes. For more information, see www.abrsm.org/performanceassessment.
a. Exam dates are given at www.abrsm.org/datesandfees. The exact dates of Practical exams at exam centres can only be arranged once all entries have been received and processed.
Appointments may be given for any date(s) within the whole of the session, depending on the availability of our examiners. The applicant must therefore make sure that candidates are ready for an exam from the first day of the exam period.
We take into account, wherever possible, any date preferences indicated by the applicant at the time of entry. However, we decide date allocations on the basis of scheduling examiners’ time most efficiently while providing convenient appointments to as many candidates as possible, and therefore we cannot guaranteed to fulfil any preferences indicated by the applicant.
c. We cannot accept entries that are conditional on being given (or avoiding) particular exam dates. For further information, see our Practical Exam Appointment Guidance, available at www.abrsm.org/appointmentguidance
d. We send notification of the exam date, time and venue to the applicant as soon as possible, and normally no later than two weeks before the exam date. We require all candidates to be present for examination as scheduled, and we cannot change exam or visit dates once the notification has been issued.
e. The notification confirms the names, levels and subjects of the candidates entered, and any access arrangements. The applicant must check these details and notify the representative (or where there is no representative, our office in London) immediately of any error or correction.
a. Music Theory exams are held at set times and on set dates. For full details, see www.abrsm.org/datesandfees. All exams must be held on the published dates unless authorised in advance by ABRSM. Requests for alternative dates will only be accepted under exceptional circumstances and our decision is final.
Candidates for Music Theory exams should only be entered for an exam period where the set day and time are suitable for them.
c. We send notification to the applicant, which confirms the names and grades of candidates entered, and any access arrangements or reasonable adjustments. The applicant must check these details and notify the representative (or where there is no representative, our office in London) immediately of any error or correction.
d. We send a name label for each candidate with the notification, and the candidate must bring this name label to the exam. If the label is lost, candidates should write their name on the exam paper in the space provided.
a. We provide exam centres for Practical and/or Music Theory exams.
b. We cannot confirm the precise venue until the exam timetables have been arranged. We will confirm the venue at the same time as the exam date and time.
c. We reserve the right not to open a exam centre if there are not enough entries. In this case, we will offer an appointment at an alternative venue.
d. Exam centres for Practical exams have:
- A waiting room (or area)
- An exam room that is, where possible, out of hearing of the waiting room
- A suitable piano, which may be upright or grand
- A music stand, though candidates are welcome to bring their own if they prefer
- A steward
- An additional room (or area), where possible, for candidates to briefly warm up out of hearing of the exam room, though we cannot guarantee to provide this
e. Public centres for Music Theory exams have:
- An exam room
- Writing tables that allow reasonable spacing of candidates
- Invigilators, who are present for the whole exam
f. Except in relation to liabilities that cannot be excluded by law, ABRSM cannot accept liability for any damage, injury, expense or loss (including consequential loss) incurred at an exam centre.
a. In some territories, practical and/or Music Theory exams may be held at a venue provided by the applicant in accordance with the regulations and requirements stipulated below; this is known as a ‘visit’. Applicants must first have their venues approved by ABRSM before they can enter candidates, and must accept our terms and conditions for visits, in addition to the regulations in this document. ABRSM reserves the right to refuse approval of a venue, and all decisions are final.
b. Applicants hosting a visit are responsible for all matters relating to the successful running of exams at their venue, including responsibility for the health, safety and welfare of candidates and other visitors. Applicants hosting a visit must:
- Have adequate insurance cover; except in relation to liabilities that 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
- Take appropriate safeguarding steps and make arrangements to ensure that the health and well-being of candidates is not put at risk, including that no candidate under the age of 18 is 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 our safeguarding policy, procedures and code of practice
c. Visits for Practical exams
Depending on the country, Practical exams may be held at:
- Schools where there are at least three hours of examining
- Studios or residences of teachers where there is no exam centre conveniently nearby, provided there is a suitable number of candidates
- Special venues for exam subjects that cannot be taken at a public centre (e.g. Harpsichord, Organ, Percussion and Choral Singing)
d. Exams should not normally begin before 8.30 or end later than 18.00. A 15-minute break should be scheduled each morning and afternoon, and a lunch break of about 1 hour 5 minutes should be allowed. The maximum total examining time for a day should not normally exceed 6 hours 30 minutes.
e. 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 (see Reg. 13f) and for compliance with instructions and timetables from ABRSM.
f. Schools and teachers at whose addresses Practical exams are held must provide:
- A suitable exam room which is quiet, properly lit, ventilated and heated, and is, where possible, out of hearing of the waiting room
- A writing table and chair for the examiner
- A suitable piano (see Reg. 13g), unless the visit is solely for an ARSM exam where no accompaniment is needed
- A music stand, though candidates are welcome to bring their own if they prefer
- Someone to act as steward outside the exam room for the duration of the exams in accordance with our instructions
g. The piano must be properly regulated and in tune (a’=440). A digital piano may be used, provided it has a clearly recognisable 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.
h. Where a visit is solely for a Choral Singing exam, an examiner attendance fee is charged. For more information, see www.abrsm.org/datesandfees.
i. Visits for Music Theory exams
In some territories, Music Theory exams may be held at a registered educational institution, music service or education department at a prison/hospital approved by ABRSM, and provided there is no suitable exam centre nearby. Completion of the entry form requires the head teacher or other suitable senior member of staff to accept responsibility for the safe custody of the exam papers and proper conduct of the exam.
g. Schools or music centres hosting a visit are responsible for providing suitable facilities and arrangements at their own cost, including:
- An exam room which is quiet, properly lit, heated and ventilated
- Writing tables that allow reasonable spacing of candidates
- Suitable people appointed by the head teacher to act as invigilators in the exam room for the whole exam, in accordance with our instructions
- Plain ruled manuscript paper for candidates to do any rough working
a. The timings of practical exams are given at www.abrsm.org/examtimings. These timings show the approximate length of each exam, including (where applicable) the candidate’s entry and exit, any tuning time and time for the examiner to finish the mark form between exams. Please note that these are notional timings and, in a live exam, examiners may take more or less time than the given timings. The timings for Performance Grades show the maximum programme time set for each grade, measured from the start of the first piece.
b. Candidates taking any exams which can either be used as a prerequisite for higher grades and diplomas, or used as part of a university application are required to provide a form of photographic identification documentation (photo ID) (see.www.abrsm.org/policies).
Exams taken at a Public Venue or Private Visit (including Jazz)
c. The steward will have a candidate list showing the timetable and each candidate’s appointment time.
d. If a candidate is withdrawn from a booking (or given another appointment), the appointment times for other candidates will stay the same.
Arriving at the venue
e. Candidates must be ready 10 minutes before the start time of their appointment. Although every effort will be made to accommodate candidates who arrive late, they may find that their exam cannot be conducted.
f. It is recommended that candidates under the age of 15 are accompanied to the venue by a responsible adult. Space in the waiting room may be limited, therefore candidates should not bring more than one escort.
g. Candidates (including their accompanists, page-turners, BSL interpreters or chaperones) are not allowed to bring any unauthorised material or equipment (such as recording devices) into the exam room, and mobile phones must be switched off. Anyone breaking this rule may be disqualified. Further information about our Malpractice and Maladministration Policy is available at www.abrsm.org/policies.
h. Candidates in solo Jazz subjects (except Jazz Piano) may bring a device such as a phone, tablet or laptop into the exam for the purposes of playing backing tracks. Devices must be switched off unless they are being used for this purpose, and should never be used to record any part of the exam.
i. All sheet music purchased via digital download must be printed. Candidates are not permitted to read music from devices in the exam.
j. We audio record exams for monitoring, quality assurance and training purposes. These recordings are the property of ABRSM and are deleted after the conclusion of each exam session, with the exception of selected examples which may be used for training. Candidates will not be identified or identifiable in recordings used for training.
k. No-one, except the steward and the representative, is allowed to listen outside (or stay near the door of) the exam room.
The people present
l. These people may be present in the exam room:
- Examiners: Only one examiner is usually present in the exam room, however a second examiner may be present for training or quality assurance purposes.
- Accompanists: Applicants must make sure that candidates bring their own accompanist. The candidate’s teacher may accompany; the examiner will not accompany under any circumstances (except in the Prep Test). The accompanist may stay in the exam room only while accompanying.
- Page-turners: Candidates for Practical Grades Initial–5 are expected to make any page turns in their music themselves. Organ candidates at any grade, and candidates and accompanists for Practical Grades 6–8 and ARSM, are allowed to bring a page-turner (who may also act as registrant for Organ exams) to help with awkward page turns; prior permission is not required; the turner may be the teacher. Examiners are unable to help with page-turning.
- BSL interpreters: Candidates who intend to bring a BSL interpreter to their exam must declare this at the point of booking. The interpreter may not be the candidate’s music teacher or a relative. In all cases, approval must be requested in advance from ABRSM.
- Chaperones: With the exceptions detailed above, the candidate is not allowed to bring any other person into the exam room. However, in exceptional circumstances, ABRSM may give permission for an extra person to be present with the candidate. To request this, the applicant should nominate a chaperone at the time of booking and give details of the reasons for the request. The chaperone may not be the candidate’s teacher or a relative of the candidate.
Exams taken at a Remote Venue (Performance Grades and ARSM only)
m. The repertoire must be performed and recorded in one continuous take.
n. Candidates should show a written programme and the opening of their own-choice piece/song, as well as verbally introduce themselves and their repertoire before beginning their performance. Examiners will start assessing candidates from the point at which they start to perform their repertoire.
o. Where candidates are under 18, the recording process must be overseen by a Responsible Adult who must be aged 18 or over, and may be the applicant, teacher or parent/guardian.
p. These people may be present during the recording:
- Accompanists: Applicants must make sure that candidates perform with a live accompaniment, which should be organised by them. The candidate’s teacher may accompany.
- Page-turners: Candidates may use a page-turner (prior permission is not required; the turner may be the teacher).
- Responsible Adults: Where candidates are under 18, the recording process must be overseen by a Responsible Adult who must be aged 18 or over, and may be the applicant, teacher or parent/guardian.
- People who are not actively involved in the performance must be out of view of the camera and should not disrupt or direct the programme, or interfere with the recording in any way.
q. Recordings must be submitted to ABRSM using the online booking service by the submission deadline, chosen at the point of booking. Once the deadline has passed, the upload link will no longer be accessible and the candidate will be marked as absent.
r. Recordings will be kept by ABRSM for 90 days after the exam result is issued, and then will be destroyed automatically.
s. The exam recording is made for the sole purpose of ABRSM’s assessment, and it must not be shared or used for any other purpose. Sharing the recording may risk infringing the rights of composers and/or their music publishes, for which the candidate could be liable. During the process of recording and submitting the exam only, you are allowed to share the recording with anyone who is directly involved with the exam, such the applicant or teacher. This means that The recording of the exam must not be shared with any other person or uploaded to file sharing or social media websites such as Facebook or YouTube. If the exam recording is shared with anyone other than ABRSM or the people directly involved with the exams (as outlined above) the candidate may be disqualified. Further information about our Malpractice and Maladministration Policy is available at www.abrsm.org/policies.
Exam music and performance requirements
t. All practical exams are conducted in line with the relevant syllabus. Applicants must make sure that they read the syllabus and bring relevant parts to the attention of candidates.
u. Applicants, teachers and candidates are advised to pay close attention to the requirements shown in the syllabus lists. A ‘piece’ is all the music set under one number-heading in a syllabus list (unless a choice is specifically given), and may include more than one movement from a work or more than one item from a book.
v. The initial tempo indication (or section title) of a piece/movement may be listed in the syllabus. Where a movement or piece is made up of more than one tempo indication (or section title), the whole movement or piece must still be played in the exam (unless otherwise indicated).
w. For exams taken at a Public Venue or Private Visit (including Jazz), examiners may stop the performance of a piece when they have heard enough to make a judgement or, for ARSM, if the upper time limit of the programme is exceeded (see www.abrsm.org/performance-arsm).
x. Candidates may not perform the same repertoire (in full or individual pieces/songs) for both a Performance Grade and a Practical Grade qualification. If choosing to enter at the same grade for both qualifications, irrespective of when the exams are taken, the pieces presented must be different.
y. Candidates who do not fulfil the syllabus requirements or regulations (e.g. performing a piece not listed in the syllabus, performing only part of a piece or, for Performance Grades and ARSM, performing a programme which is too short or too long/has too few or too many pieces, or an own-choice piece of an inappropriate standard) may be penalised or, in some cases, disqualified.
z. Candidates may choose to take the individual sections of a Practical Grade exam in any order (although, ideally, accompanied pieces should be performed one after the other). If a candidate is going to begin with any section other than the accompanied pieces (where applicable), the steward should be told before the start of the exam, so that the accompanist can enter the exam room at the right time).
aa. Applicants must make sure that candidates in solo Jazz subjects (except Jazz Piano) provide their own means of playing ABRSM’s published backing tracks if they choose to use them instead of live accompaniment.
bb. Examiners may ask to look at the candidate’s or accompanist’s copy of the music before or after the performance of a piece or, for ARSM, after the programme. A separate copy of the music is not required. Performance Grade and ARSM candidates submitting video recordings for assessment must show their own-choice piece(s) to the camera at the start of the exam.
cc. It is the applicant’s responsibility to make sure that candidates follow the law of the country where the exam is being held for the making and use of photocopies (or other kinds of copies).
dd. In the UK, the Copyright, Design and Patents Act 1988 does not allow the making or use of photocopies (or other kinds of copies) or 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 difficulty with a particular page-turn) if the copyright holder is listed on the MPA website or in Appendix B of the Code of Fair Practice.
ee. In all other cases, application should be made to the copyright holder before any copy is made. For exams taken at a Public Venue or Private Visit (including Jazz), evidence of permission received should be brought to the exam. For candidates taking their exam at a Remote Venue, we may ask to see evidence of such permission before releasing results.
ff. We may withhold the exam result of any candidate if we have evidence of the use of an illegal copy (or copies) for that exam.
a. Exam timings
Timings for Music Theory exams are:
- Grades 1–3: 1½ hours
- Grades 4–5: 2 hours
- Grades 6–8: 3 hours
b. We aim to make local language translations of exam scripts available for Music Theory exam candidates, but withhold the right not to offer these in instances where it is not financially feasible. Where an English or local language script is not suitable, candidates can request to bring a bilingual paper dictionary and receive 15 minutes extra time.
c. Arriving at the venue
Candidates should arrive 10 minutes before the start of the exam, unless told otherwise.
d. Any candidate arriving more than 35 minutes after the start of the exam will not be admitted.
e. It is recommended that candidates under the age of 15 are accompanied to the venue by a responsible adult, though we cannot guarantee to provide a waiting area for escorts.
f.In the exam
Candidates must bring their name label and their own pens or pencils.
g. Plain ruled manuscript paper is supplied for candidates to do any rough working.
h. Candidates are not allowed to bring mobile phones, other electronic devices or any unauthorised material or equipment (such as their own manuscript or other paper, any representation of the piano keyboard or recording devices) into the exam room.
i. Candidates must not talk, or in any way communicate, with each another during the exam.
j. Any candidate breaking these rules may be disqualified.
k. The people present
Invigilators are present for the whole exam.
l. Conduct of the exam
The invigilators open the sealed packet of exam papers in the exam room in front of the candidates.
m. The time allowed is printed at the top of each exam paper.
n. Candidates must:
- follow all invigilator instructions and not cause any disruption. Invigilators may ask a candidate to leave if they are causing a disruption to other candidates;
- stick their name label at the top of their exam paper;
- start their exam only when instructed. Any notes made on rough paper before the exam begins will be confiscated;
- make sure they are not in possession of a mobile phone, smart watch or other electronic storage device during their exam;
- fill in their exam paper without help or reference to notes, musical calculators or books of any kind. Any candidate infringing this rule or helping another candidate may be investigated for malpractice and subject to a penalty (further information about our Malpractice and Maladministration Policy can be found at www. abrsm.org/policies);
- write their answers clearly and legibly, or marks may be lost.
o. Candidates may leave the exam room at any time after 40 minutes from the start of the exam. If a candidate wishes to hand in their exam paper, they should stay seated and raise their hand until an invigilator approaches them to collect it.
p. Candidates who are allowed to temporarily leave the exam room must be escorted as appropriate. They should stay seated and raise their hand until an invigilator approaches them.
q. After handing in their exam paper, candidates must leave the exam room and may not return. Once candidates have left the exam room, they are no longer under the invigilators' supervision.
r. As each exam paper is handed in, the invigilators will check that the candidate’s full name appears clearly at the top.
s. Candidates must not take any exam papers or rough notes from the room.
t. After the exam
The invigilators seal the exam papers in secure envelopes and send them to us in line with given instructions.
u. We do not accept responsibility for exam papers lost in the post. In these cases, the entry fee is refunded.
a. Marking criteria
Our marking criteria are given at www.abrsm.org/markingcriteria and in the relevant syllabus.
b. Issuing results
Examiners report directly to ABRSM and are not allowed to pass information about exam results to any other person.
c. Results are posted to the applicant named on the entry form, unless the applicant tells us otherwise in writing. The applicant is responsible for passing results on to candidates. Applicants can also access results at www.abrsm.org using their applicant number and password.
d. Results for Practical exams are usually issued in line with the schedules on our website at www.abrsm.org/results. Results for Music Theory exams are published online approximately 4–6 weeks after the exam date, and applicants should receive mark forms/certificates within three months of the exam.
e. Except where we have been negligent or at fault, we do not accept responsibility for the loss or non-receipt of any results after they have been posted. If an applicant has not received results within the expected time, they should tell us. If we confirm that results have been posted, the applicant should contact their local postal sorting office, in case they are being held for collection.
We allow 28 days after posting for undelivered or wrongly delivered results to be returned to us. During this time, the applicant may ask for written confirmation of marks. If results are still missing after this period, the applicant should tell us and we will issue replacement mark forms/certificates.
f. We may confirm results to another concerned party (e.g. a parent or headteacher) in the following circumstances:
- Serious illness or death of the applicant
- Failure by the applicant to pass on results within eight weeks of being sent by ABRSM
In these cases, we will try to verify the circumstances, after which written confirmation of results and/or duplicate certificates may be issued directly to the relevant party.
g. The result of a past exam may be confirmed in writing to a concerned party (e.g. an applicant, candidate, parent).
h. Results are only issued in line with the procedures described above; we will not give exam results by telephone or email.
i. Mark forms
Marks are not awarded for the Prep Test or Performance Assessment. A certificate with helpful comments is written by the examiner and presented to the candidate at the end of the assessment.
j. A mark form is issued to each Practical grade and ARSM candidate. All mark forms are read and clerically checked before being issued. The mark form shows the marks awarded for each section of the exam and the total number of marks, as well as comments from the examiner. If a candidate achieves marks that add up to less than half the overall pass mark, the mark form will only show the examiner’s comments (i.e. with no marks).
k. A mark form is issued to each Music Theory candidate. The mark form gives a breakdown of the marks awarded for each question and the total number of marks. Music Theory exam papers are not returned after marking.
Successful candidates receive a certificate showing the exam subject and level that they have been examined at. Successful ARSM candidates may add the letters of the qualification after their name.
m. Certificates do not certify that the holders are qualified to teach.
n. We can supply duplicate certificates on request. For details of the fee and to download a certificate replacement form, see here.
o. Entry to higher education
A Distinction result at Grade 8 or ARSM level does not necessarily suggest suitability for admission to any of the Royal Schools of Music or other higher education institution, or for a professional career in music. Candidates should contact individual institutions for details of the relevant entrance requirements.
p. 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 (ucas.com).
q. Candidates are encouraged to include their ABRSM qualifications on university applications even if they do not accrue UCAS points. This is especially important for ARSM, which is a Level 4 qualification and therefore does not have a UCAS points tariff value.
a. Special consideration may be given by ABRSM to a candidate whose performance in an exam is felt to have been affected by, or who does not finish an exam because of, circumstances beyond their reasonable control.
b. Examiners are not allowed to decide whether special consideration should be given. This decision can only be made by ABRSM, and only if a valid application for special consideration is made. Further details, including the procedure for applying for special consideration, are given in our special consideration policy.
a. Questions about results
Specific guidance for questions about results and marking appeals can be found at www.abrsm.org/examconcerns.
We welcome feedback about results and other matters. All feedback is logged and plays a valuable part in our quality assurance procedures. Specific guidance can be found at www.abrsm.org/examconcerns.
a. We are committed to inspiring achievement in music. Our qualifications are used by thousands of people to support their music learning or teaching. Many people also use them when applying to study at further and higher education institutions.
It is therefore vital that our qualifications remain a valuable and reliable measure of a candidate’s skills and knowledge. We therefore take any form of malpractice or maladministration very seriously.
- Malpractice is defined as any act which compromises or is an attempt to compromise the assessment process, the integrity of any qualification or the validity of a result or certificate; this also includes any act which damages our reputation or credibility as an awarding organisation
- Maladministration is defined as any act which breaches the regulations through a mismanagement of administrative processes, particularly where such a breach could compromise the integrity of a qualification or assessment
b. Applicants and candidates must follow the requirements set out in these exam regulations and all other ABRSM policies about the delivery of our exams. In cases where applicants or candidates have committed malpractice, a sanction or penalty may be given. Further information about our malpractice and maladministration policy can be found here.
a. We acknowledge that we have a responsibility for the safety and welfare of children taking our exams or under our 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.
b. Our safeguarding policy, procedures and code of practice, produced in consultation with NSPCC, is available here. The policy includes a code of practice for all who work on behalf of the organisation. We are committed to reviewing our safeguarding policy and code of practice at regular intervals and may change the content from time to time.
c. Any concerns about a child’s or children’s welfare and/or safety must be reported immediately to ABRSM using the safeguarding concerns report form, available here.
a. We are 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, representative, invigilator or steward.
a. We will process personal data about individuals (including applicants, candidates and others) in line with General Data Protection Regulation and other related data protection legislation. We will process such personal data:
- 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
- In order to comply with any court order, request from or referral to an appropriate authority, or legal, regulatory or good practice requirement
b. We are registered as a data controller with the UK Information Commissioner’s Office under registration number Z6618494.
a. 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.
b. 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.
1. After the Booking Period, applicants will be sent a link to the Online Music Theory exam platform which they need to forward to their candidates.
2. Applicants will also be sent a password for each candidate, which the candidate will need to log in on the exam day.
Equipment and exam security
3. To complete the exam candidates will require a laptop/desktop with a webcam facility.
4. The exam platform, proctoring and test delivery are provided by a 3rd party supplier called PSI. Candidates will be filmed for the duration of the exam via the webcam and exam software, and each exam will be reviewed by trained proctors after the exam is completed. It is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure the necessary parental consent has been granted for candidates to be filmed.
5. Candidates will be required to display their Candidate ID, take a photo of themselves using the exam software and film a scan of the room at the start of the exam.
6.Candidates should refer to Remote Proctoring in ABRSM Online Theory exams to see what material they are allowed in the exam and what the proctors are required to look for.
7. For vulnerable adults, candidates under 18 and any venues hosting multiple candidates a Responsible Adult must be present in the room at the beginning of the exam to help with the initial set up.
8. Candidates are able to sit at venues hosting multiple candidates. For these venues, a Responsible Adult is required and candidates must sit either back to back, face to face or sufficient distance away from each other to ensure they cannot see each other’s screens. All candidates must be appropriately socially distanced. Once the necessary ID checks and room scans are complete and the exam has started, the candidate needs to state in to the microphone “I am sitting with other candidates and the Responsible Adult is present” so the proctor is aware. Candidates should not attempt to communicate or collude with other candidates during the exam.
9. Candidates displaying suspicious activity will be reported to ABRSM, who will review the video of the assessment and take appropriate action in line with the Malpractice and Maladministration Policy (abrsm.org/policies).