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About our exams

Introducing ABRSM exams

We design our exams to inspire and challenge developing musicians and to recognise and celebrate their progress.  

We provide a range of assessments for musicians of all ages and at all levels, from the Prep Test and Initial Grade for beginners to advanced-level diplomas in Performance, Teaching and Directing.  

Assessments are available for instrumentalists and singers, including Singing for Musical Theatre, Jazz and Drum Kit. These can be face-to-face or digital exams. We also offer Music Theory exams that assess musical knowledge and understanding.  

Select a link below to find out about the different kinds of exams we offer. Or scroll down the page for  information about our approach to music exams and assessment. 

Practical Grades

Face-to-face exams for instrumentalists and singers. They’re available at up to nine levels depending on your subject, and focus on all-round musical skills, including performance. The exam includes three pieces or songs and supporting tests. 

Performance Grades

Digital exams for instrumentalists and singers. They’re available at up to nine levels depending on your subject. They have a strong focus on performance and are assessed from a video recording. The exam includes four pieces or songs.  

Music Theory Grades

Available at eight levels with a focus on musical knowledge and understanding and the building blocks of music. Exams are taken online at Grades 1 to 5 and are paper-based at Grades 6 to 8.  


Available at three levels in Music Performance, Music Teaching and Music Directing.  Our new diplomas (from 2024) are assessed digitally and available on-demand worldwide. 

Why take an exam?

Working towards an ABRSM exam encourages the development of musical skills, knowledge and understanding that provide the foundation for a life-long love of music.  

All our exams and assessments offer: 

  • carefully structured requirements 
  • progressive goals to work towards 
  • objective assessment 
  • a way to measure progress 

We regularly review and refresh our assessments. This ensures that they continue to meet the needs of learners and provide pathways that support musical development. At the same time we are developing new assessment opportunities and learning resources to support learners.  

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Our approach to assessment

Our examiners assess all instruments and singing as generalist musicians, not as instrumental or vocal specialists. They use our universal marking criteria to assess the musical outcome which allows them to mark consistently across all subjects. The marking criteria, available in our qualification specifications and syllabuses, explain what the examiner looks for when they make their assessment. 

All our examiners receive comprehensive training before and after joining our examiner team. Continuing professional development, moderation and monitoring means that we have a team of examiners that we trust and know to be impartial, objective and consistent. 


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