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Prep Test

About the Prep Test

The Prep Test is an ideal first assessment before graded exams taken in a face-to-face environment. It provides a goal to work towards and encourages beginner learners to develop good musical and technical foundations. There is no pass or fail and no marks are awarded. Instead, the examiner writes helpful comments on a certificate and hands this to the candidate at the end of the test. 

Why take a Prep Test?

The Prep Test is open to beginner musicians of any age and is available for the following subjects: 

  • Piano 
  • Violin, Viola, Cello, Double Bass 
  • Guitar 
  • Descant Recorder, Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, Bassoon, Saxophone 
  • Horn, Trumpet, Cornet, Flugelhorn, E Flat Horn, Trombone, Baritone, Euphonium, Tuba 
  • Singing

The test takes around 10 minutes and covers many elements that learners will be working on at this early stage, including pitch, time, tone, shape, performance and musical perception.  Most subjects have their own easy-to-use book which contains everything you need for the test. 

What's in the test


Three short exercises 

Set piece/song  

From the Prep Test book for your subject or one of our alternative books

Own choice piece/song 

Around 16 to 24 bars long 

Listening games 

Simple aural tests  

Certificate reprints


Your examiner will be happy to play any piano accompaniments or you can bring your own accompanist.


Prep Test books

We publish Prep Test books for most subjects which cover all requirements apart from the own-choice piece.  

  • As an alternative to the pieces in the Prep Test books, Piano, Violin, Cello, Flute, Clarinet and Trumpet candidates can choose any pieces from our Party Time! books.  
  • Piano candidates can also choose pieces from Piano Star 2, Party Time! on Holiday or Roundabout. 

If the book for your instrument is currently out of print, please contact us for advice.

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