Latest exam updates

Performance Grade exams

We are pleased to confirm that we will be offering Performance Grade exams every month for the remainder of 2021. Please check our Dates and Fees page for details.

Grade 5 Music Theory waiver (not applicable in the UK & Ireland)

We are extending our Grade 5 Music Theory waiver until 23 May 2021. This means that candidates with a Grade 6 to 8 Performance Grade exam submission date up to and including 23 May can take their exam without first passing Grade 5 Music Theory. We are making this exceptional arrangement to allow candidates who have been unable to take an exam in recent months to progress with their learning. From 24 May, the Grade 5 Music Theory requirement will return. For exam dates/exam submission dates after 23 May, all candidates taking a Grade 6 to 8 Performance or Practical Grade must first pass Grade 5 Music Theory.

To provide a more candidate-friendly experience, we will be moving the assessment of Music Theory at Grades 1 to 5 to an online exam.

With a focus on creating a more reliable and accessible assessment, our new Online Music Theory assessments give candidates the best opportunity to demonstrate their musical knowledge and understanding.

Theory Resources and Publications

Current publications

Please see our Online Music Theory Exam preparation page here for Grade 1-5 exam support materials.

Music Theory in Practice

We are not making any changes to our Music Theory in Practice books for Grades 1 to 5. These publications still cover all the knowledge and skills you need for our Music Theory exams at these grades from 2020. The sections on rhythm-writing, word-setting and melody writing will not be directly relevant to our current exams, but overall Music Theory in Practice continues to provide plenty of valuable teaching and learning material for the exams.

First Steps in Music Theory and The AB Guide to Music Theory (Part 1)

We are not be making any changes to these books. They cover the basic principles of music theory and provide a thorough introduction to the knowledge and understanding needed at Grades 1 to 5. They continue to offer valuable support for exam preparation as well as wider music theory understanding.

Past Papers from previous years

You are still able to buy Past Papers and Model Answers from previous years (2019 and earlier) for all Grades. Whilst these are not directly related to our current Grade 1-5 exams, they continue to provide valuable teaching material and can be used in addition to the new exam preparation content. 

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