Latest exam updates

Exam refunds

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

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 candidate 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. Exact dates will be announced soon. Please check here for more information.

An ABRSM exam is an exciting challenge for candidates and we do everything we can to make the experience positive and rewarding. Our examiners aim to put every candidate at ease and to create an atmosphere in which they can give their best performance.

Before the exam | During the exam | After the exam


Mark forms and certificates

CertificateIn the UK and Ireland, we issue candidates’ results online within two to three weeks of the exam. In other countries this may vary.

All candidates receive a mark form which provides a clear, helpful record of what happened during their practical exam. It shows the marks awarded for each exam element and an overall total mark. The comments on the mark form give an indication of the candidate’s strengths and weaknesses in relation to our marking criteria.

Successful candidates also receive a certificate. The certificate celebrates their achievement and provides a record that they have met the standards set in their exam. All certificates incorporate security features to ensure that each one is unique and cannot be reproduced.

Thinking about results

Most candidates pass their exams. This can give a great sense of personal achievement as well as motivation for future learning and music making. When looking at results it helps to remember that success starts at the pass mark and also that exams are just one part of a student’s musical learning and progression.

There are various reasons why candidates might not do as well as expected. Perhaps they were not quite ready for the exam or were overcome by the performance situation on the day. While it is naturally disappointing if a result does not reach the pass mark, it is important to keep this in proportion. The value of the exam is just as much in the progress made during the preparation time as in the assessment itself.

Next steps

By reading the examiner’s comments on the mark form and checking the marking criteria, teachers and candidates can see why a particular mark was awarded. Whatever the result, the mark form can help them decide what to focus on in the future. There is no need to go straight on to the next grade. Ideally, there will be plenty of time between exams for a wide range of different music making, learning and listening activities. These are all things for the teacher and candidate to think about together after an exam and when planning their next steps.

Next : About our examiners

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