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.

ARSM index

ARSM video library

ARSM is a post-Grade 8 diploma that’s all about performance.

To help give you an idea of what this new exam is all about we’ve produced a series of useful guidance videos and resources featuring John Holmes, ABRSM's Chief Examiner.

Quick links

What is ARSM?


A set of videos in which John introduces the ARSM diploma, explaining the benefits of the assessment and how it relates to our Grade 8 and DipABRSM exams.

Videos in this playlist

A showcase of performances


These videos feature candidates performing each piece in turn, followed by commentary from John, who discusses the ARSM marking criteria and provides an insight into what our examiners are looking for.

The films are condensed versions of an ARSM exam and are representative of the whole performance. We have focused on areas of the performance which led to the overall result.

Videos in this playlist

The marking criteria


In this series of films John provides an insight into how the assessment of an ARSM exam works, focusing on the marking scheme and the qualities of communication, interpretation and delivery.

Videos in this playlist

The programme


In this set of videos John discusses the task of putting together a programme of repertoire for ARSM, providing an insight into the factors to take into consideration when doing so.

Videos in this playlist


“It gives you somewhere to aim for. If you've done Grade 8, it's a nice bridge to DipABRSM."

Member of the Junior Department

Royal Academy of Music

“The stamina involved in sitting down and playing in front of someone for 30 minutes is quite a big challenge, but it's fun. ”

Member of the Junior Department
Royal Academy of Music

“It really helps you deal with pressure and helps you get used to being in a performance environment. ”

Member of the Junior Department

Royal Academy of Music

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