Latest exam updates

Exam refunds

To support customers affected by ongoing COVID restrictions, for Practical and Performance Grade exams from 1st January to 31st May 2021 any absent candidate will automatically receive a refund. This includes Performance Grades where the candidate has been unable to record and upload their video. You do not need to contact us to request a refund. However, it will help us if you can log in to your account and cancel the exam. Find out more: https://www.abrsm.org/en/latestupdates

For Online Music Theory exams and any paper based exams taking place outside of the UK/Ireland we anticipate COVID restrictions will not prevent candidates from sitting their exam so absentee candidate will not automatically receive a refund and our normal Withdrawal, non-attendance and fee refunds policy still applies.

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) – the next exams will take place in June. Please note, dates and booking periods for Grades 1-5 and Grades 6-8 may be different from now on. For full details, see our dates and fees page.
  • 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.

Performance Grade booking

We will be offering Performance Grade exams every month for the remainder of 2021. Exact dates will be announced soon. Please check here for more information.

How to practise performing for your exam

1 year ago
Charlotte Tomlinson

Charlotte Tomlinson

Charlotte Tomlinson is an internationally renowned Performance Coach with an expertise in moving musicians through issues with performance anxiety & physical tension.

How to practise performing for your exam

Practising for a performance is very different from practising for a lesson. When you take your practising head into the performance, you are more likely to stop and correct as you go along, when what you want is to let go and play, trusting all the work you have put in. When you practise performing, you give yourself the experience of performing so it becomes much more normal. You know much more what to expect and you are less likely to be nervous. So, let’s explore the steps towards this.

Plan in advance with your teacher when you are going to be ready for your exam. Make sure it is quite a few days before your performance or exam and put that date in the diary. That is when you want your pieces and scales to be ready.

Find opportunities to run your pieces through (and your scales) frequently between that date until the exam. It might be a mock exam with your teacher, a run through for your parents or friends, or just playing through without stopping to correct, in your practice room.

Be the observer on your own mock-performance: Review what went well and what didn’t go well so you can improve on those things in your practice. Above all, how do you feel? Did the run through make you nervous? If it did, then you can practise managing those nerves in advance and they won’t surprise you when it comes to the exam.

Use visualization. If you can’t play in the venue beforehand, you can do a lot with your imagination that can help. Imagine where you are going to be playing and create the feel of the exam room as much as you can. You can also practise walking tall as you go into the imaginary exam venue and practise smiling at the imaginary examiner. Then get yourself settled at the music stand or at the piano, and take a long, slow breath before you start, to calm and prepare yourself.

Testing out these things in advance, even if it’s just in your imagination, can give you enormous confidence. You will feel you know what you are dealing with and you will give yourself the very best chance of giving a good exam.

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