Latest exam updates

Practical Session 2 Update - Qatar

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 November-December. 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 and will share exam dates and booking periods soon.

Music Theory Exam update – session two

On the basis of government advice, we are cancelling the Music Theory exams due to take place later in 2020. We are sorry for any inconvenience and thank you for your ongoing loyalty and support

ARSM index

ARSM video library

ARSM is a post-Grade 8 diploma that’s all about performance.

To help give you an idea of what this new exam is all about we’ve produced a series of useful guidance videos and resources featuring John Holmes, ABRSM's Chief Examiner.

Quick links

What is ARSM?


A set of videos in which John introduces the ARSM diploma, explaining the benefits of the assessment and how it relates to our Grade 8 and DipABRSM exams.

Videos in this playlist

A showcase of performances


These videos feature candidates performing each piece in turn, followed by commentary from John, who discusses the ARSM marking criteria and provides an insight into what our examiners are looking for.

The films are condensed versions of an ARSM exam and are representative of the whole performance. We have focused on areas of the performance which led to the overall result.

Videos in this playlist

The marking criteria


In this series of films John provides an insight into how the assessment of an ARSM exam works, focusing on the marking scheme and the qualities of communication, interpretation and delivery.

Videos in this playlist

The programme


In this set of videos John discusses the task of putting together a programme of repertoire for ARSM, providing an insight into the factors to take into consideration when doing so.

Videos in this playlist


“It gives you somewhere to aim for. If you've done Grade 8, it's a nice bridge to DipABRSM."

Member of the Junior Department

Royal Academy of Music

“The stamina involved in sitting down and playing in front of someone for 30 minutes is quite a big challenge, but it's fun. ”

Member of the Junior Department
Royal Academy of Music

“It really helps you deal with pressure and helps you get used to being in a performance environment. ”

Member of the Junior Department

Royal Academy of Music

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