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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.

New Bowed Strings syllabus 2020-2023

What’s new

  • Refreshed repertoire lists for all four instruments at all grades
  • More choice than ever before, with the lists extended to ten pieces (30 pieces in total per grade)
  • Duet option included for the first time – up to Grade 3
  • Cello Exam Pieces (Grades 1–5) published for the first time 
  • New Initial Grade exam introduced – a pre-Grade 1 assessment following the same structure, content and assessment criteria as ABRSM’s existing graded music exams (three pieces, scales, sight-reading and aural tests)
  • All four instruments at Initial Grade supported with an Exam Pack publication containing nine pieces (three per list) from the syllabus, the scales requirements and sample sight-reading tests
  • A separate publication containing sample aural tests for the Initial Grade also available
  • A focus on cross-string teaching at the lower levels with some of the same pieces being set for multiple instruments
  • Revised list structure
  • A focus on cross-string teaching at the lower levels with some of the same pieces being set for multiple instruments. For a list of these pieces see Compatible Pieces.

Syllabus validity

The Bowed Strings syllabus 2020–2023 comes into effect on 1 January 2020. This means that:

  • Candidates can begin to present pieces from the new lists;
  • Candidates can continue to present pieces from the 2016–2019 syllabus lists during the overlap period (see below);
  • Scales and arpeggios, sight-reading and aural test requirements remain exactly the same as for the 2016–2019 syllabus.

Syllabus overlap

From 2020 a one-year overlap period will apply worldwide. This means that all candidates can continue to play pieces from the 2016–2019 syllabus until 31 December 2020 (all pieces must be from the same syllabus).

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