Latest exam updates

Music Theory results – update 6 April

Practical Exams Update - Turkey

Refund Update - We will shortly contact all applicants by email to request their bank account details for processing refunds for the cancelled exams. Refunds may take up to 2 months to process and we are aiming to process all refunds by the end of December 2020 latest. Please bear with us as we have a high number of refunds to process from both practical sessions in 2020. Thank you for your patience.

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 UK Government advice, due to Covid-19, ABRSM has made the decision to cancel all Practical Exams in Turkey until further notice. This decision affects all 2020 Practical Exams, ARSM and Diplomas. Following this decision, we will process refunds for all existing exam bookings and we will provide further detailed guidance on this process including timescales soon.

We are sorry for the impact on teachers and candidates and thank you for your loyalty and support while these restrictions remain in place. We are continuing to review when live Practical and Music Theory exams can resume in Turkey and will offer them again at the earliest possible opportunity. We would also like to thank our Representative in Turkey for their support during this very challenging time and their efforts in rescheduling exams which have now been cancelled due to Covid-19 restrictions.

Our new remotely-assessed Performance Grades provide  an alternative progression route for students during this period of disruption. The Performance Grades are equivalent to our Practical Grades in demand, recognition and value. They are based on the same repertoire and syllabuses, assessment criteria and quality assurance measures as our existing exams and will be assessed by the same highly trained examiners. Booking will open in Turkey before the end of the year and you can record your video submission any time from now on. Find out more here.

15,000 musicians sign up for innovative new music exam

1 week ago

Remote performance exam success shows music learning revolution here to stay, UK’s leading music exam board says.

Demand for an innovative new music exam which focuses on students’ performance, lets them choose what they play and is 100% assessed online via video recordings has outstripped all expectations after almost 15,000 students -  triple the expected number - signed up.

ABRSM, which developed the new Performance Grade, says the scale of interest comes despite strong demand for traditional face-to-face exams and points to a permanent post COVID-19 shift in UK music learning. 

The new exam breaks with 131 years of ABRSM tradition by assessing students entirely on their performance of their chosen music and how they bring it to life, including the essential skills of communication, interpretation and storytelling. The exam room comes to the candidate, who chooses where and when to make their recording, and each video is then assessed by an ABRSM examiner.

ABRSM chief executive Michael Elliott said: “We’ve been working on a wide range of digital resources and opportunities for a long time but accelerated our efforts when COVID-19 emerged.

“The Performance Grade is part of this and, whilst maintaining our commitment to excellence, is a major departure from anything we’ve done before.  The fantastic response reflects the extent to which teachers and learners have been open to try something different, but equally valuable. It also seems to reflect a deeper and more sustained appetite, both for exams which have a different focus, and for digital learning and assessment methods.”

ABRSM launched digital sheet music downloads and a popular online platform, Play On, to support learners during and beyond lockdown and conducted a survey which showed that 87% of music teaching had moved online within weeks of lockdown taking effect.

Mr Elliott added: “The Performance Grade is all about sharing the thrill of performance, putting students in control and giving them the chance to share their love of performing by communicating their musical interests, tastes, strengths and personality. 

“It’s a very exciting addition to what we already offer because it complements our Practical Grades and gives students an additional progression route. 

“Curating a programme of music is a fundamental part of this, which is why we’ve placed such an emphasis on choice. Candidates are able to select three pieces or songs from lists which we provide and given free rein to choose the fourth piece. They also choose how to arrange their four pieces or songs into a programme and take responsibility for giving a convincing overall performance.”

The Performance Grade is a regulated qualification and is available at Grades 1 to 8. It carries the same value as traditional Practical Grades and students are able to switch between Practical and Performance Grades as they progress. Candidates will be awarded the same UCAS points for Performance Grades at Grades 6 to 8 as they would have received for Practical Grades for the same levels.


Note to editors

Established in 1889, ABRSM is one of the UK’s leading music education organisations, one of its largest music publishers and the world’s leading provider of music exams, offering assessments to more than 600,000 candidates in over 90 countries every year. ABRSM’s mission is to inspire achievement in music. It does this globally by supporting music teaching and learning worldwide in partnership with four Royal Schools of Music: the Royal Academy of Music; Royal College of Music; Royal Northern College of Music and Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.

Media enquiries to Jon Flinn on 07811 397122

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