Introducing Performance Grades
Performance Grades are digital exams that focus on performance. They are assessed from a video recording submitted by the candidate and are available for the following levels and subjects:
- Initial Grade: piano and bowed strings only
- Grades 1 to 8: a range of instruments and singing plus Singing for Musical Theatre
The exams are equivalent in demand and value to our Practical Grades but have a different emphasis with a focus on performance, including communication, interpretation and delivery.
Select a link below to find out more. Or for more detailed information, read the qualification specification and syllabuses on our ‘preparing for an exam’ page.
Performance Grades are open to learners of any age.
If you are taking a Performance Grade at Grade 6, 7 or 8, then you must pass ABRSM Grade 5 or above in Music Theory, Practical Musicianship or any solo Jazz Practical Grade before booking your exam.
Candidates perform four pieces or songs as a continuous programme. Three pieces/songs must be from our syllabus (one from each list) and one is the candidate’s own choice.
You can find full programming requirements and timings in the syllabus here.
Performance Grades are available on-demand. There are no booking periods or exam sessions so candidates can choose when to record, book and submit their exam. Candidates can submit their exam as soon as they’ve booked or at any time during the next 28 days. You can only submit a video once.
Once submitted, each exam recording is assessed by one of our highly-trained examiners.
There are 150 marks available. You need:
- 100 marks for a pass
- 120 marks for a merit
- 130 marks for a distinction
Examiners use our marking criteria to assess:
- the individual pieces or songs focusing on pitch, time, tone, shape and performance
- the performance as a whole
Each piece or song is marked out of 30 and there are 30 additional marks available for the performance as a whole.
You can read the full marking criteria in the Performance Grades qualification specification available here.
Or watch and mark a Performance Grade exam and listen to an examiner commentary to find out more.
All candidates receive a digital mark form showing their marks with comments from the examiner. This is usually available within a week of submitting the exam video, subject to our quality assurance checks. Successful candidates also receive a certificate.