Skip to main content

About Music Theory exams

繁體中文 / 简体中文

Important information about online Music Theory exams - due to the global IT outage, we cannot guarantee that candidates will be able to take online Music Theory exams at the moment. We advise candidates to avoid taking their exam today (19 July) or over the weekend (20 and 21 July). 

Introducing Music Theory

Our Music Theory Grades assess knowledge and understanding of the way music works. Exams are available at Grades 1 to 8. 

Why take a Music Theory exam?

Developing an understanding and knowledge of music theory helps musicians at all levels to perform with sensitivity, awareness and control. Our Music Theory exams are open to learners of any age. You can start with any grade and skip grades if you want to. 

If you're taking a Practical or Performance Grade 6, 7 or 8, you must pass Grade 5 or above in Music Theory before you book your exam. This is to make sure that you have the understanding you need to interpret and perform music at these higher grades. We also accept Grade 5 in Practical Musicianship or a Jazz Practical Grade subject.

About the exams

Our Music Theory exams cover the essential building blocks of music, starting with the basics of rhythm and notes at Grades 1 to 5 before moving on to harmony, counterpoint, composition and a broad knowledge of western music at Grades 6 to 8. 

Music Theory Grades 1 to 5
We assess Music Theory at Grades 1 to 5 through an online exam

Exams are available on-demand. There are no booking periods or set dates so you can choose when to book and when and where to take your exam.  From the date of booking you have 28 days to log in to your ABRSM account and take your exam.  

There are a small number of dates when you will not be able to take exams. You can check these on our dates and fees page

You can take your exam in any suitable location where you have access to a laptop or desktop computer with a webcam and an internet connection.  

The exam platform, proctoring and test delivery are provided by PSI who deliver over 15 million assessments every year.

Check our online Music Theory guidance and practice resources for more information.

Music Theory Grades 6 to 8

At Grades 6 to 8 we assess Music Theory through a paper-based exam. These exams take place on set dates as listed on our dates and fees page.

More information
Guidance for online exams

Before you take an online Music Theory exam at Grades 1 to 5, read our guidance and watch the videos on starting and taking the exam.  

Online practice exams  

Our online practice exams and free downloadable practice papers are essential preparation resources for anyone getting ready for a Music Theory exam at Grades 1 to 5. 

Don’t miss out!

Join our community today. Subscribe to our mailing list and be the first to receive updates on all the latest news from ABRSM

an exam