Latest exam updates

Practical Session 2 Update - USA

We appreciate how much the cancellation of our exams has affected learners And we are working hard on solutions to ensure learners can gain their qualifications at the earliest opportunity.

However, on the basis of official and local advice we will be cancelling Session 2 Practical exams scheduled for October-December. Our Representatives will provide further guidance in due course. We are very sorry for the impact on teachers and candidates and we will continue to monitor the situation. Thank you for your loyalty and support while these restrictions remain in place.

We will be gradually rolling out remotely-assessed Performance Grades https://gb.abrsm.org/en/performancegrades/ internationally starting before the end of 2020 and will share exam dates and booking periods soon.

Music Theory November Update - USA

We are still in the process of confirming with our Representatives whether Music Theory exams can take place in every area, based on local official advice. However, we can confirm that the Theory exams in the following areas below have been cancelled. All other areas are currently scheduled to hold a Music Theory exam, however we are monitoring the situation closely and will be in touch if anything changes.

Arizona
California
Colorado
Illinois
Maryland
North Carolina
Ohio
Oregon
Seattle
Virginia
Washington
Wisconsin

Frequently Asked Questions

On this page you’ll find answers to some of the questions we’ve received about the online Music Theory exams. We've broken these down into the following sections: Online Assessment; Exam questions and syllabus changes; Preparing for the exam; The online exam process; Setting up the exam; Taking the exam and Carrying out the System Check. We’ll regularly add more questions to this page. So if we haven’t answered your question yet please keep checking back for the latest updates.

Online assessment

Moving online is the result of long-term development to ensure that we can offer greater flexibility of exams dates and convenience in an increasingly blended learning environment. Due to the impact of COVID-19 on in-person exams everywhere, and potentially into the future, we have brought forward our plans to introduce online Theory exams. We are offering a Grade 5 Theory exam in summer because we want to help as many learners as possible to progress with their music and on to higher grades, including those learners preparing to apply to further education. We are extending the online exam format later in the year to include Grades 1-5, and in future we will be able to offer several dates during the year to take the exam.

Candidates will be able to access a demo of the site so that they can see how the questions will look on screen as well as explore how they can alter the 'look' of the exam system with different sizes and coloured backgrounds to make the exam experience the most suitable for them. They can also get a feel for navigating the exam system, moving from question to question, flagging questions and submitting their answers. Please note that the sample exam paper is a paper representation of an online exam and therefore doesn’t properly explain the way in which the layout will be presented and can be modified for the user.

Where the site is not suitable for some candidates, we can provide an alternative format. Further information can be found on our Accessibility Statement. Please also note that we have a special considerations policy in the event that your exam experience is affected by circumstances beyond your control.

We have undertaken comprehensive due diligence, compliance and risk assessment exercises to ensure that we can deliver an online exam experience that is secure, safe and accessible. Our selection process included an evaluation of safeguarding, data protection, exam security, ease of use and global customer service. PSI has a world leading company with extensive experience of providing certification through online exams. You can find out more about them on their website, but please check the procedures and guidance that we have published on ABRSM’s website for specific information about these exams.

Eventually online exams will replace paper-based exams for Music Theory at Grades 1 to 5 worldwide.  Once online Music Theory exams are available in your territory, paper-based Music Theory exams will no longer be available (except in very limited special circumstances).

We recognise that not everyone has a suitable computer in their home. If this is the case, it may be possible to ask a friend or relative if you can borrow their laptop, or sit the exam in their home. Applicants may also consider approaching local schools, colleges and universities, as well as local music services to ask if their candidate or group of candidates could use the IT facilities there.  

By moving online we are aiming to give candidates more exam dates throughout the year and they will not need to travel to public centres.  Overall the online exam will be more easily accessible for tens of thousands of learners, and through this summer’s exam, we have prioritised those students who are eager to take their Grade 5 Theory exam as soon as possible and move on to higher grades or apply for further education.

It is a central tenet of our approach to music education that we continually explore ways to improve access and lower barriers to our musical progress. We are absolutely committed to making sure that no learner is left out and are working to ensure that this is the case.

Yes.  Candidates can take their exam in their own home or in any other suitable location that meets our requirements. It will be possible for multiple candidates to take their exams at a suitable venue, for instance an educational institution which has previously hosted exams, as long as this can be done safely and in line with government guidelines.  More information is available in our Online Music Theory Guidelines.

We will have rigorous processes in place to ensure that we can identify candidates and that exam conditions meet the requirements set out in our regulations. At the start of the exam, the candidate will be required to display their Candidate (photo) ID, take a photo of themselves using the exam software and film a scan of the room. They will then be able to sit their exam. A responsible adult should be in the room to help the candidate with this if they are under 18.

This video demonstrates how candidates should do this in the exam.

We have rigorous processes in place to ensure the security and validity of our online exams.

The candidate will be filmed for the duration of the exam via the webcam and exam software, and each exam will be reviewed by trained proctors. Further information can be found in our Remote Proctoring in ABRSM Online Theory Exams Policy and our Online Safeguarding Policy Statement.  The online exam platform, proctoring and test delivery are provided by a third-party supplier called PSI who deliver over 15 million assessments every year. After the exam PSI will supply us with the candidates’ results and inform us of any concerns raised by the exam proctors. We will investigate any potential infringements in line with our Malpractice and Maladministration Policy.

Proctoring is a little like remote invigilation and is designed to check that individual candidates take their exams in accordance with our regulations and requirements. The candidate will be filmed for the duration of the exam via the webcam and exam software, and trained proctors will review each exam. The proctor is the person who views the video recording of the assessment and is responsible for alerting us to any suspicious activity.

For candidates who require a paper based exam for accessibility reasons, this should be made clear at the time of entry by choosing the necessary ‘Access Arrangement’ or by emailing [email protected]. This does need to be done by the end of the Booking Period.

The price can be found on the Dates and Fees page.

Unfortunately not. The sample questions are there only to give candidates the opportunity to try out the type of questions they will find in the online exam.

From midnight on the exam day, the practice questions will no longer be available to allow the live exam data to be loaded. Candidates will still be able to download the software but will not be able to progress through the usual checks until at least 30 minutes before the live exam.

For online Music Theory exams in 2020 this is unfortunately not possible but we hope to be able to provide translations in certain markets from 2021 onwards.

Exam questions and syllabus changes

As a regulated awarding organisation, we regularly review and refresh all of our exams and syllabuses to ensure their continuing quality, reliability and authority. Our aim is to maintain our standards, conform to best practice in assessment design and make sure our exams meet the needs of teachers and learners. We have made these changes to our Music Theory exams in consultation with experts. We have updated some of the Grade 1 to 5 questions 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 and we have adapted the style of some questions so that they work for an online exam.

No. Where online Music Theory exams for Grades 1 to 5 are available, all Music Theory exams at these grades will be assessed online (except in very limited special circumstances) using the updated exam papers and new syllabus. Where online exams are not yet available, paper-based exams at these grades will use the old style of paper. 

We have adapted the style of some questions so that they work for an online exam format. These are small changes, and candidates who have been entered for the exam will have the opportunity to try an example practice question for each question type before taking the exam.  The question types are:

  • Multiple Choice: where the candidate selects the correct answer(s) from a list of given answers. This also includes True/False questions.
  • Fill in the blank: where the candidate types an answer into an answer box. This is usually used to complete a sentence.
  • Matching: where the candidate selects answers from a pull-down list of options.
  • Drag and drop: where the candidate drags an image onto another larger image. An example is dragging a note-head onto a stave.

Several Grade 5 example questions in the online format are available. These show the different question types included in the new exam.

Yes. Online Music Theory Practice questions will be available and candidates who have booked an exam will be provided a link to download the browser software, RP Now, enabling them to try out the whole test experience, including the remote ID check and proctoring of the exam. Applicants who have entered candidates for the August Grade 5 exam should have already received this information.

We also have step by step guidance and video demos, which take you through the exam process. Several Grade 5 example questions in the online format are also available. These show the different question types included in the new exam.

In advance of the exam, you should check the compatibility of your systems by going to https://systemcheck.rpexams.com. We recommend using Chrome as your browser for this. This check must be done prior to exam day in order to reduce interference with the live exam.

We are removing the requirement to demonstrate accurate copying of music.  Candidates will demonstrate their knowledge of where, on the stave, music sits by using the drag and drop feature. They will be able to familiarise themselves with this by practising with our test questions before the exam. 

Using multiple-choice questions will not make these exams easier. We first introduced multiple-choice questions to the 2018 syllabus.  We are now including more as they are an accessible, effective and reliable way to test knowledge. They are widely-used in many different types of assessment, including school tests and exams, so are familiar to the majority of candidates.

Our online exams at Grade 1 to 5 will be marked automatically. There will be a total of 75 marks available rather than 100 marks.

Yes! We have not changed the value of the marks or the grade bands available. The new qualifications will still be awarded at a Pass, Merit or Distinction - just like the current versions. What has changed is the total number of marks available and the grade boundaries.

In order to accommodate the new style of assessment the marks required for each fixed grade boundary are as follows:

  • Total marks available : 75 (instead of 100)
  • Distinction: 65 marks (instead of 90)
  • Merit: 60 marks (instead of 80)
  • Pass: 50 marks (instead of 66)

No. The changes to the exam format will have no effect on the level or value of this qualification. If a candidate achieves a Pass, Merit or Distinction having taken the new exam, this will be equivalent to a Pass, Merit or Distinction for existing exams.

Our graded Music Theory exams are progressive assessments. Each grade builds on the skills, knowledge and understanding gained at the previous grade. Candidates who are successful in achieving Grade 5 in Music Theory will have gained all the understanding needed to embark on studying at Grade 6 level. This will be no different for the new Grade 5 theory exams.

We have no immediate plans to make any changes to Music Theory exams at Grades 6 to 8 and these exams will continue to be assessed through a written paper.

We have no immediate plans to make further changes to the Music Theory syllabus at Grades 1 to 5. If any future changes are made, they will be to ensure assessments best support candidates – and will follow thorough review and expert consultation.

Preparing for the exam

ABRSM continues to value and strongly support the teaching and learning of Music Theory. The knowledge and skills tested, and for which marks are awarded, remain the same, with some very minor changes to some details in the syllabus. We have produced a free set of Sample Papers and Model Answers for Grades 1 to 5 and a new series of workbooks, Discovering Music Theory, that support the teaching and learning of Music Theory is available on 8 October. Several Grade 5 example questions in the online format are also available. These show the different question types included in the new exam.

 

Yes.  As the core musical understanding required for the exams is not changing, our existing books will still be helpful along with the new Sample Papers and Model Answers– a free set is available at Grades 1 to 5. In addition, several Grade 5 example questions in the online format are available. These show the different question types included in the new exam.

We are also publishing new books in October, which will provide the best and most up to date preparation materials for Grades 1 to 5.  We recommend candidates use these resources once they are available.

 

No. The core musical understanding required for the new Music Theory exams remains the same, so you don’t need to change your teaching approach.  However, it is important that candidates are familiar with the different style of exam questions that will be used in the new exams.

To help, free Music Theory Sample Papers and Music Theory Sample Model Answers for Grades 1 to 5 are available. Several Grade 5 online sample questions are also available in the online format, which show the different question types included in the new exam. 

Finally, in October we will be publishing books of Music Theory Sample Papers and Music Theory Sample Model Answers for each of Grades 1 to 5, as well as a new series of music books, Discovering Music Theory, designed to support teachers and learners as they prepare for exams at these grades.

The online exam process

The safeguarding of young people is of paramount importance to us, and we are entirely confident that PSI’s policies and systems uphold this fundamental principle. The proctoring service is one that records and reviews videos for potential issues of malpractice. There is no live monitoring, nor does a proctor have access to the candidate’s computer. PSI proctors will review the videos for behaviour that could call into question the security of the exam, and provide a report to ABRSM for further investigation. Access to the videos is tightly controlled, restricted to the corporate VPN, and monitored. All proctors are subject to background checks that are commensurate with our own safeguarding policy, including criminal record checks.

Please see our remote proctoring guidance here which tells you more about it.

ABRSM is the data controller for the purposes of the Data Protection Act 2018, which means that we remain directly responsible to you for all the personal information you share with us in order to do the exam. PSI is our supplier, and the data processor, and is bound contractually to meet not only the requirements of European data protection law, but also ABRSM’s service levels. PSI’s security infrastructure is maintained to the highest international security standards, including holding ISO27001 industry standard accreditation for information security management and GDPR compliance.

In order to take the exam, candidates will download a secure browser and go through an ID authentication process. The whole session is recorded through the RPNow product via recording of both webcam and desktop and the videos are encrypted and stored on servers in the US. The videos are streamed one by one by a certified proctor who reviews the recording to flag and report any potential violations that could compromise the integrity of the exam.

The test data collected by the ATLAS Cloud software is held on EU servers.

This blog piece may be helpful for those with concerns about security and proctoring.

You can find more information on PSI’s privacy standards here and more information about ABRSM and data protection here.  

We have produced step by step guidance and video demos, which take you through the exam process.

Online Music Theory practice questions will be available and candidates who have booked an exam will be provided a link to download the browser software, RP Now, enabling them to try out the whole test experience, including the remote ID check and proctoring of the exam.

For anyone who is not registered for the exam several Grade 5 example questions in the online format are also available. These show the different question types included in the new exam.

We know exams can be daunting, and we certainly don’t want to add to candidates’ anxiety. Due to the uncertainty around gathering in public venues, we have prioritised moving exams onto this online platform so that we can offer exams more safely and reliably.

The exam will be recorded via the candidates’ webcam and watched at a later time by a proctor (the exam invigilator). No candidates will be watched live. Recording in this way allows us to maintain the integrity of the exam as we can identify those few people who are not following the exam regulations. This ensures the exams are fair to all, and candidates achieve the results they deserve.

Access to the videos is tightly controlled, restricted to the corporate VPN of our exam supplier, and monitored. All proctors are subject to background checks that are commensurate with our own safeguarding policy, including criminal record checks. The exam recording is securely stored and will be deleted after 60 days. The Responsible Adult (for candidates under 18) can be present for the duration of the exam if desired.

You can do a system check now by going to https://systemcheck.rpexams.com. We recommend using Chrome as your browser for this. This check must be done prior to exam day in order to reduce interference with the live exam.

No. The RP Now proctoring software will prompt you in advance of starting the exam to close these. This is integral to ensuring security of exams. This is a temporary measure while the RP Now proctoring software is running.

Yes. PSI have undertaken their standard tests to ensure the system can handle the expected volume of candidates. PSI and ABRSM have also carried out joint testing.

  • Laptop or desktop computer with webcam facility, internet access and the following:
    • Operating system: Windows 8, 8.1, 10, 32bit (x86) and 64bit (x64) / Mac OS 10.13, 10.14 and 10.15. RAM: Recommended + 2 GB
    • Free Disk Space: 1 GB
    • Screen resolution: 1368 X 769 or higher
    • Bandwidth: 300 Kbps upload and download
    • Minimum web camera resolution: 640 X 480
    • Download: ability to download and install software (admin rights required)
    • Webcam that allows for a 360 degree scan of the exam room. If this is not possible on your computer you are able to use a mobile phone or digital camera – guidance on this can be found below in the ‘Setting up the exam’ section
    • Monitor: only one monitor is allowed. An additional monitor cannot be attached to a
  • It is not possible to take the exam on a tablet or phone, and it cannot be run on a Chromebook.

Yes, you can do this here https://systemcheck.rpexams.com

Setting up the exam

You will be provided with a link to the exam software and will just need to click on it and proceed through the prompts to install it. The process to uninstall will depend on the computer and operating system you’re using. Your computer’s own ‘help’ function will explain, but we have also produced a screenshot guide to explain the steps.

No. The recording of the exam only takes place on the exam day for the live exam. It starts from the room scan and continues until the candidates close down the exam software at the end of the exam. These exam demo videos take you through the exam process, and show you when the recording starts and finishes.

All candidates sitting an online Music Theory exam will be required to show their ID when prompted. We accept a wide range of ID, including a completed ABRSM Candidate Identification Form. You can find out more in our Candidate ID Policy. This policy is currently for the UK only.  We will provide policies for other territories later in 2020.

You will need to email [email protected] explaining the situation. It is important you do get in touch ahead of the exam as this will be raised as a concern during the proctoring process. We may need to ask the candidate to provide further proof of identification.

The room is expected to be free from notes, books of any kind, any depiction of musical notes or any representation of a piano keyboard. If this is not possible then all books should remain closed and out of reach, and any depiction of musical notation or representation of a piano keyboard, including an actual piano, should be covered so they are not visible. 

The room must be free from visible keyboards, or any representation of a piano keyboard. If it’s not possible to remove the keyboard altogether, it should be covered so it is not visible.

Candidates can check what is required to be seen during the room scan by viewing the step by step guide found here, or by viewing guidance video found here.  

While the candidate is showing their ID, a Responsible Adult is able to carry out the room scan using a mobile phone or digital camera When the room scan is requested, the candidate should hold the phone or camera screen to the computer camera, and play back the room scan video.

If no Responsible Adult is available then the candidate is able to do this but the footage must be made and shown to the camera when the software prompts them to do the room scan.

The name given should be the candidate’s name as it appears on the original booking. The email address and telephone number (optional) are requested in case PSI Support need to contact you regarding the exam. For candidates who are under 18 or vulnerable adults the email address and telephone number (optional) should be the Responsible Adults.

These are sent by email to the applicant who made the entry two weeks before the exam and should be forwarded on to the candidate/parent. If these have not been received within two weeks of the exam then please contact ABRSM at [email protected]. On the day of the exam, if you are based in the UK or Ireland contact ABRSM at [email protected] or by phoning +44 (0)20 7636 5400 . If you are outside the UK and Ireland, contact your local representative.    

Taking the exam

The Responsible Adult can be present for the duration of the exam if desired but for venues hosting multiple candidates this is required. For candidates under 18 or vulnerable adults the Responsible Adult must be present at the beginning of the exam to aid with the necessary room scans and ID checks.

Yes. This can be any type of paper (e.g. manuscript; plain) as long as it is blank and does not show any musical notation or any representation of the piano keyboard. Candidates must show any paper to the camera at the start of the exam to confirm that it is blank. At the end of the exam they must hold up the paper to the camera and destroy it, ideally by tearing it into pieces.

This video demonstrates how candidates should do this in the exam.

We encourage candidates to use the toilet before their exam. Essential toilet breaks are allowed, but they should not be frequent and shouldn’t last more than five minutes. If a candidate will need frequent toilet breaks, they should contact our Access Coordinator to discuss this. Candidates should let the proctor know they are having a toilet break by speaking or holding up a written note to the camera. Candidates will not receive any additional time to complete their exam.

Water and other drinks are allowed during the exam. Candidates just need to ensure their drink is in a transparent container, with no writing or design on it.

Candidate’s passwords will be emailed to the applicant after the Booking Period and it is their responsibility to forward this on. There is no ‘Retrieve Password’ function for the pilot on 26 August so if customers do not have their password on the day they should contact [email protected].

If you are based in the UK or Ireland contact ABRSM at [email protected] or by phoning +44 (0)20 7636 5400 on the day of the exam. If you are outside of the UK and Ireland then contact your local representative.

The candidate’s details should be entered exactly how they appear on the original booking – even if the details are incorrect. If the original booking details were incorrect then email [email protected] with the requested amendment. Although we cannot amend this before the August exam it will be amended in advance of results being released.

In the top right-hand corner of the exam screen there is an ‘End Test’ button you can click to end the test.

In the top right-hand corner there is a countdown clock which displays how much time you have left to complete the exam. This starts once the candidates has begun the exam – not at the schedule start time – to allow candidates who start late to receive their full time allowance.

Technical support

RP Now is safe to download via the link provided by ABRSM which applicants will receive two weeks before the exam. On the download page no candidate data is collected so it is not encrypted. The recording starts at the ID screen and that page is encrypted along with the rest of the exam process. 

While the RP Now Proctoring software is running candidates are unable to access other apps, programs or browsers to maintain the security of the exam. It takes no action on these apart from closing them down.

You can close these manually or use the ‘Terminate this application’ button. If for any reason they do not close you may need to uninstall the program that is listed as prohibited. On the exam day if this problem occurs you should contact the PSI Support Team via the ‘Contact Support’ option on the screen.

Although this software blocks certain programs from running, at no point does PSI or ABRSM have access to your computer.

Relaunch the browser:

  • Restart the candidate's computer/device
  • Make sure that the candidate is using a wired connection
  • Disconnect other devices that are connected to the wifi/LAN to lessen bandwidth usage
  • Restart the candidate's Router. Unplug it for 2-3 minutes and plug it back in. Relaunch again and check.

If the above troubleshooting didn't work:

  • Check if the candidate can use a different connection or device/computer
  • Connect with hotspot rather than broadband

Other troubleshooting that may help:

  • Go to Control Panel > Hardware and Sound > Sound > Disable all third-party drivers
  • Add Google DNS

If the message specifically shows 0 kbps then the error is related to the software’s ability to connect to the camera and/or microphone - see below

Applicants who have made an exam booking will be provided with a direct telephone number that they can use to contact PSI Support for further help.

The bandwidth required is Bandwidth: 300 Kbps upload and download. If you have this and the error still shows then please follow the guidance below.

Relaunch the browser:

  • Restart the candidate's computer/device
  • Make sure that the candidate is using wired connection
  • Disconnect other devices that are connected to the wifi/LAN to lessen bandwidth usage
  • Restart candidate's Router. Unplug it for 2-3 minutes and plug it back in. Relaunch again and check.

If the above troubleshooting didn't work:

  • Check if the candidate can use a different connection or device/computer
  • Connect with hotspot rather than broadband

Other troubleshooting that may help:

  • Go to Control Panel > Hardware and Sound > Sound > Disable all third-party drivers
  • Add Google DNS

If the message specifically shows 0 kbps then the error is related to the software’s ability to connect to the camera and/or microphone - see below

Applicants who have made an exam booking will be provided with a direct number that they can use to contact PSI Support for further help.

This does not just check that they are working, but that they are working in the RP Now proctoring software

Applicants who have made an exam booking will be provided with a direct number that they can use to contact PSI Support for further help.

RP Now checks the processes that are running on the machine, not what programs are open. Using the ’Terminate this Application’ button should allow the ‘Exam Taker’ to continue. If the software is unable to close a program when you click 'Terminate this application', you should be able to go into ‘Task manager’ on your computer and either close the program there, disable it or choose to stop it auto starting when starting your computer. It is possible you may then need to restart your computer.

Applicants who have made an exam booking will be provided with a direct number that they can use to contact PSI Support for further help.

Grade 5 pilot August 2020

  • Low bandwidth messages and the delayed entry to the exam: PSI has identified causes of both issues and is addressing them now. New features that allow for more specific messages at the start of the exam to flag known issues and reassure candidates are being added to the system.  This will allow real time updates in the future to guide candidates
  • Bug that prevented candidates from ending the test: The end test and nav buttons in certain situations became unresponsive. This caused some candidates to be concerned that their answers had not been properly submitted. The bug did not prevent test answers being automatically submitted at the end of the exam.  PSI has fixed the issue and are conducting extensive testing.
  • Customer support during the exam: As a result of the technical issues, call volumes far exceeded the levels expected for this number of candidates, and this created long waits for many callers. PSI are developing a robust solution which will reduce the requirement for candidates to contact customer support and will adjust customer support capacity on the day of the exam. In addition, ABRSM is testing the possibility of different start times for different exams in the autumn to spread the demand to log on to the test site.

We have now written to all those who entered candidates for the live pilot exam to update them about the results of our investigation into the technical problems, the action we are taking together with our supplier PSI, and the refunds we will be making. This refund reflects both our sincere regret about the negative impact of the technical issues and our gratitude to candidates for helping us to learn from the pilot exam. We have asked exam applicants to forward this apology and news to all those directly involved in the live pilot exam so that candidates themselves receive our apology and are aware of the action we are taking.

Our online exams contain objective questions that are marked by a computer, with one mark available for a correct answer and no marks if the answer is wrong. We are not therefore able to adjust the outcomes of right/wrong answers in order to make allowances for a negative exam experience. All results are reviewed before issue to verify outcomes overall and confirm that the test has performed effectively and in line with expectations.

In advance of results being issued we informed candidates of the refunds we will be making to signal our regret for the impact of the technical issues on them, and our gratitude for helping us to learn from the pilot exam. If you feel after receiving your marks that your exam result was significantly negatively impacted by your personal experience please contact us at [email protected] This will not result in an adjustment to the marks but we will consider your individual case and contact you about any further possible action.

Out of approximately 3,500 entries, 800 candidates responded to our survey following the exam and a further 1,548 responses were from Applicants and Responsible Adults.

 

The technical issues experienced by the vast majority of candidates affected their average overall rating which was 5.5/10 compared to those who did not have any problems at 7.1/10. Responsible Adults rated it overall 4.3/10 and Applicants rated it 7.5/10.

 

The information we provided was generally rated positively, being on the whole sufficient, provided in a timely manner and clear/easy to find and understand.

 

In relation to exam content:

  • 81% of Candidates found the exam fair
  • 92% of Candidates found the exam content covered what they had studied
  • 81% of Candidates felt it thoroughly assessed what they studied
  • 81% of Candidates who had taken an ABRSM Music Theory Exam before felt this exam was as challenging as previous exams

In relation to the exam layout:

  • 92% of candidates rated all the question-types as easy to understand
  • 100% of candidates rated all the question-types as easy to use, apart from the click and drag type questions, which 88% found easy to use
  • 96% of candidates found the language used in the questions easy to read

3% of our candidates identified as requiring additional support or as neuro-diverse. We compared their scores to the overall scores and do not see any significant differences in scores for exam content or exam layout.

Respondents reported other usability issues which we are working on:

  • Scrolling (particularly for the Music in Context question)
  • Adjusting notes on the stave
  • Having an additional page that provides an overview of the questions and allocated marks
  • Having time before the exam to get acquainted with the navigation and flagging tools
  • A reminder to tear the paper at the end
  • We will update our existing FAQs and guidance in advance of the exam
  • We will produce simplified and specific guidance for candidates and Responsible Adults so they know what to expect in the exam, understand their responsibilities and know what to do in certain circumstances
  • We are reviewing the on screen text and overall display of the exam so information is clearer and candidates know what is required and when
  • We are updating our Quality Assurance processes around exam questions
  • We will adjust our customer support available on the phone and email in advance of and on the day of the exam

Yes, Grade 5 Music Theory is a pre-requisite for Grade 6 and higher Practical and Performance Grades. However, in this coming autumn session, candidates who were unable to start or complete their exam on 26 August can take both their Grade 5 Music Theory and the higher grade Practical or Performance exam. This is an exceptional relaxation of the pre-requisite rule, to recognise the previous lack of opportunity to take these exams generally. We would like you to tell us if you have entered for both the Grade 5 Theory and Grade 6 or higher exam in Autumn 2020, by notifying us at https://gb.abrsm.org/en/contact-us/ and using the subject title “Grade 5 Theory pre-requisite”

Still got a question? Get in touch using the below form.

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