Latest exam updates

Exam refunds

To support customers affected by ongoing COVID restrictions, for Practical and Performance Grade exams from 1 January to 31 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.

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 candidates 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. Please check here for dates and fees.

Syllabus overlap information

In the first year of any new Practical syllabus, candidates can for a limited period choose to perform pieces set in the lists of the preceding syllabus, but they can't combine pieces from the preceding and new syllabus (except in the case of items that appear in both).

No such overlap period applies to any new scale requirements, sight-reading and/or aural tests, which take effect from 1 January of their year of introduction.

Practical Grades: Candidates worldwide may play set pieces from the 2016–2019 syllabus until 31 December 2020. All pieces must be from the same syllabus – candidates may not perform a mixture of pieces from the 2016–2019 and 2020–2023 syllabuses.

Please note, due to COVID-19 we are happy to extend this overlap to the first opportunity for candidates to take their exam in 2021. Special permission is no longer required. Candidates should inform the examiner, and/or indicate on the programme form, that they are playing pieces from the 2016–2019 syllabus.

Any candidate starting preparations for an exam in 2021 must use the new 2020–2023 syllabus.

Performance Grades: Candidates worldwide may play their three set pieces from the 2016–2019 syllabus until 31 December 2020. All three set pieces must be from the same syllabus – candidates may not perform a mixture of pieces from the 2016–2019 and 2020–2023 syllabuses. This restriction does not apply to the fourth, own-choice piece, which may be chosen from anywhere. NB, the Performance Grades syllabus for 2020–2023 should be followed for all other exam requirements.

Please note, due to COVID-19 we are happy to extend this overlap to the first opportunity for candidates to take their exam in 2021. Special permission is no longer required. Candidates should indicate on the programme form that they are playing pieces from the 2016–2019 syllabus.

Any candidate starting preparations for an exam in 2021 must use the new 2020–2023 syllabus.

 

Practical Grades: Candidates worldwide may use the 1990–2019 syllabus until 31 December 2020. All exam requirements must be from the same syllabus – candidates may not present a mixture of requirements (i.e. pieces or supporting tests) from old and new syllabuses.

Please note, due to COVID-19 we are happy to extend this overlap to the first opportunity for candidates to take their exam in 2021. Special permission is no longer required. Candidates should inform the examiner, and/or indicate on the programme form, that they are using the 1990–2019 syllabus.

Any candidate starting preparations for an exam in 2021 must use the new Percussion syllabus, available for four subjects – Snare Drum, Timpani, Tuned Percussion and Percussion (Combined). 

Performance Grades: Candidates worldwide who wish to use set pieces from the old Percussion syllabus should follow the 1990–2019 Performance Grades syllabus. As exams were disrupted due to COVID-19, and the situation for 2021 remains uncertain, the provision of this syllabus allows a candidate to take a Performance Grades exam using the repertoire they have prepared from the old Practical syllabus. This Performance Grades syllabus is valid for the first opportunity for candidates to take their exam in 2021. Special permission is not required from ABRSM. Candidates should indicate on the programme form that they are playing pieces from the 1990–2019 syllabus.

Any candidate starting preparations for an exam in 2021 must use the new Percussion syllabus, available for four subjects – Snare Drum, Timpani, Tuned Percussion and Percussion (Combined). 

 

 

 

Practical Grades: Candidates worldwide may play their three pieces and scales from the 2019 & 2020 syllabus until 31 December 2021. All three pieces and scales must be from the same syllabus – candidates may not perform a mixture from the 2019 & 2020 and 2021 & 2022 syllabuses.

Performance Grades: Candidates worldwide may play their three set pieces from the 2019 & 2020 syllabus until 31 December 2021. All three set pieces must be from the same syllabus – candidates may not perform a mixture from the 2019 & 2020 and 2021 & 2022 syllabuses. This restriction does not apply to the fourth, own-choice piece, which may be chosen from anywhere.

The syllabuses for all brass instruments have been extended to 31 December 2021.

New syllabuses are being developed to take effect from 1 January 2022 and notice of overlap arrangements for 2022 (Practical and Performance Grades) will be posted here during 2021.

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