Latest exam updates

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.

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.

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This section outlines what your students need to know for the exam day.

Programme form

ClarinetCandidates need to make sure they have completed a programme form, which they should give to the examiner at the start of the exam.

Music for the examiner

Examiners may ask to look at the music before or after the performance of the whole programme. A separate copy of the music is not needed – examiners can use the candidate’s or accompanist’s copy.

Candidates who are performing from memory must also bring copies of their music.


Performing from unauthorized photocopies (or other kinds of copies) of copyright editions is not allowed. If ABRSM has evidence an illegal copy is being used, we may withhold the exam result.

In the UK, copies may be used in certain limited circumstances – for full details, see the MPA’s Code of Fair Practice at In all other cases, application should be made to the copyright holder before any copy is made, and evidence of permission received should be brought to the exam.

At the exam venue

Pianos - at ABRSM centres


  • A suitable upright or grand piano will be provided.
  • We can’t arrange for candidates to practise before the exam, but examiners will recognize that candidates may not be used to the instrument.
  • It’s fine for candidates to take a few moments to try out the piano before beginning the performance.

Pianos - at visits

  • A suitable piano must be provided, if needed.
  • A digital piano may be used, provided it has a touch-sensitive keyboard with full-size weighted keys and an action, tone, compass and facilities that match those of a conventional acoustic piano, including a sustaining pedal.

A music stand will be available at ABRSM centres although candidates are welcome to bring their own if they prefer. A chair/stool will also be provided for those who need it, e.g cellists. Double bassists should provide their own stool if required.

Candidates aren’t allowed to bring any material or equipment (such as devices capable of recording) unconnected with their exam to the exam room. Mobile phones must be switched off during the exam. 


Examiner and candidateIn most cases there will be just one examiner in the exam room; however, for training and quality assurance purposes, a second examiner may sometimes be present.

ABRSM will send the applicant the mark form (and certificate for successful candidates) after the exam. Examiners will never give the result on the day, or comment on what it is.

Before beginning

Candidates are very welcome to test the acoustic of the room by briefly playing or singing before beginning their performance. Pianists, in particular, are encouraged to take a few moments to get used to the piano.

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