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.

Update 13 August 2020 – Music Exams

Unfortunately, there is still uncertainty around how and when we can begin to offer face-to-face Practical Grade exams, including Grades 1-8, ARSM and Diplomas. We recognise that the worldwide response to the coronavirus pandemic will continue to disrupt travel and large gatherings of candidates. We are monitoring the situation and doing all we can to get these exams up and running again. However, everything we do must be in line with guidance from both your government and the UK government to ensure the safety of learners, teachers, examiners and staff. 

We’ve now published further information about our remotely-assessed Performance Grades. We will be gradually rolling out Performance Grades internationally, starting before the end of 2020, following their initial launch in the UK. We’ll let you know more about future exam dates as soon as we can.  In the meantime, you can find out more about these exams here.

Performance Grades

We will be gradually rolling out Performance Grades internationally, starting before the end of 2020, following their initial launch in the UK. We’ll let you know more about future exam dates as soon as we can.  You can find out more about these exams here. We are providing further details as and when we are able to, and you can now read the full guidance document, which includes information about how you should record and submit a remotely-assessed Performance Grade once theses exams are available.

Introducing online Music Theory at Grades 1 to 5 – the headlines

What’s changing and at which grades?

We will be moving the assessment of Music Theory at Grades 1 to 5 to an online exam. We are confident that the online format will provide a more learner-friendly experience for candidates. We have been working on these developments for some time, but in response to the Covid-19 pandemic we have accelerated this work.

At the same time, we have updated some of the Grade 1 to 5 questions to bring them in line with a style of assessment commonly used across the education sector. In addition, there are a few minor changes to the syllabus itself. These changes apply to online Music Theory exams from 2020 onwards. Where online exams are not yet available and we are still offering paper-based exams, there will be no changes to questions and the exams will be based on the ‘from 2018’ Music Theory syllabus.

Please see this page for further details, including a useful syllabus summary.

We have recently shared additional resources to help teachers and learners become familiar with the new online exams. These include:

  • Example Grade 5 exam questions in the online format
  • A step by step guide, taking you through the exam process
  • Video demos of how to set up the new exam, and what the new questions will look like

These new materials can be found on this page.

Please be aware that Music Theory exams at Grades 6 to 8 will continue as paper-based assessments for everyone worldwide. There are no changes to the questions or syllabus for these grades. We will offer these exams when we can do this safely and in line with government guidance.

When is it happening?

The first opportunity to take an online Music Theory exam varies across markets. All of the webpages have been updated with the relevant information, so please refer to our website for specific information for each country.

The following markets will have online Music Theory exams for Grades 1 to 5 in November or December:

  •  UK, Republic of Ireland, Singapore, India, Czech Republic, Russia, Slovakia, Malta

The international roll-out of the new online Music Theory exams for all other markets will take place during 2021, with preparations being made during the rest of 2020. In the meantime, we are doing everything we can to ensure paper-based Music Theory exams for Grades 1 to 8 go ahead in all international markets this year where they can do so safely.

We appreciate your patience and understanding as we work out the best options for the safe delivery of our assessments. We will provide updates on the availability of all our exams and assessments as soon as we can. 

Useful Links


Where to find sheet music

Many retailers are continuing to provide sheet music, books, instruments and accessories through online or mail order services. View our shops list here.

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