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Latest exam updates

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.

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 here for dates and fees. We are extending the introductory 15% discount for these exams so that it applies to all remotely-assessed Performance Grade and ARSM exams in 2021. Just enter code ABPG15SG when you book using our online service. Please also read our discount information and terms and conditions here.

Singapore office

On government advice, we will be following a more flexible and hybrid way of working. Although working from home is still encouraged, from 12 April we will be able to answer a limited number of calls and applicants can contact us via the Local Contact - ABRSM: Local exam contacts. We will continue to update you when further information is published by Ministry of Manpower.

For all press and media enquiries please contact Jon Flinn on 07811 397122

or email [email protected]

Improving our Music Theory exams

3 years ago

We’re making some small changes to our Music Theory exams at Grades 1 to 5. Our aim is to create a better exam experience for candidates with more focus on the essential knowledge and understanding needed at this level.

Same syllabus, same standards

The revised exam papers are based on our existing Music Theory syllabus and will continue to assess the same broad areas of music theory to the same standards. The exams will still cover:

  • knowledge of western music notation, including common signs and terms
  • understanding of fundamental musical elements, such as intervals, keys, scales and chords.

What’s changing and when

Revised exam papers will be used in all countries from 1 January 2018, with no overlap period. There are no changes to questions at Grades 6 to 8. We’re introducing modernised questions and assessment methods in some parts of the exam at Grades 1 to 5. We are also removing rhythm-writing, word-setting, melody-writing and the Grade 5 SATB short/open score question at these grades. For all grades (1 to 8) we’re updating the design of the papers to ensure they are clear and easy to understand.

Practice materials – coming soon

In July, you’ll be able to find free practice materials for the refreshed papers on our website. These include two complete sets of Practice Papers to view, download and print, and an online resource for trying out some of the questions. From January 2018, you will also be able to buy new Printed Practice papers and Model Answers for the updated exams. In the meantime, you can find out more about the improvements to our Music Theory exams and check our FAQs here.

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