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About Viola exams

We offer a range of assessments for viola players, from the Prep Test and Initial Grade for beginners up to Grade 8 and diplomas in Music Performance for advanced musicians.  

Read on to find out more about Viola exams. 

What's new

The new Bowed Strings syllabuses for Practical and Performance Grades feature refreshed repertoire lists for all instruments, including Viola. There are no changes to the scales and arpeggios, sight-reading and aural tests in the Practical Grade syllabus.  

The new syllabuses come into effect on 1 January 2024 and there is a one-year overlap period.  

Our history
Viola – Practical Grades

Practical Grades are face-to-face exams that focus on all-round musical knowledge and skills, including performance. In the exam you perform three pieces, play scales and arpeggios and take sight-reading and aural tests.  

Viola players can take Practical Grades at Initial Grade and Grades 1 to 8. 


Download a PDF of the full Viola Practical Grades qualification specification. This includes the syllabus and marking criteria as well as detailed information about exam requirements.

Viola – Performance Grades

Performance Grades are digital exams assessed from a video recording. They have a strong focus on performance, including communication, interpretation and delivery. In the exam you perform a programme of four pieces.  

Viola players can take Performance Grades at Initial Grade and Grades 1 to 8. There are no booking periods or exam sessions so you can choose when to book, record and submit your exam.  

As well as reading the qualification specification and syllabus for your instrument, you should read our Performance Grade guidance which includes important information about recording and submitting your exam video. Follow the link below to find out more.  

Watch a performance

Mary from Bexley Music plays New Year by Taki, arranged by Nancy Litten, from our Initial Grade syllabus for Viola.

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an exam