Latest exam updates

Practical Exams Update – Italy

We appreciate how much the cancellation of our exams has affected learners and we are working hard on solutions to ensure learners can gain their qualifications at the earliest opportunity.

However, on the basis of official UK Government advice, due to Covid-19, ABRSM has made the decision to cancel all Practical Exams in Italy until further notice. This decision affects all 2020 Practical Exams, ARSM and Diplomas. Following this decision, we will process refunds for all existing exam bookings and we will provide further detailed guidance on this process including timescales soon.

We are sorry for the impact on teachers and candidates and thank you for your loyalty and support while these restrictions remain in place. We are continuing to review when live Practical exams can resume in Italy and will offer them again at the earliest possible opportunity.

Our new remotely-assessed Performance Grades provide  an alternative progression route for students during this period of disruption. The Performance Grades are equivalent to our Practical Grades in demand, recognition and value. They are based on the same repertoire and syllabuses, assessment criteria and quality assurance measures as our existing exams and will be assessed by the same highly trained examiners. Booking will open in Italy before the end of the year and you can record your video submission any time from now on. Find out more here.

Latest updates  - 23 October

Performance Grades – first exam session

Performance Grades are our new performance-focused exams, which examiners assess remotely from a video recording submitted by the candidate. Candidates prepare four pieces or songs and can record their exam performance in a location of their choice, at a time that suits them. Remotely-assessed ARSM exams are also available.

The booking period for our first remotely-assessed Performance Grade and ARSM exams is 1 to 8 December 2020 and the exam session runs from 5 to 31 January 2021.

Visit our Performance Grades pages  for further information and syllabuses.  For more advice and tips, visit our YouTube Performance Grades playlist.


Online Music Theory – 2021 dates

Earlier this year we announced that we are moving Music Theory at Grades 1 to 5 to an online exam and have made some changes to the questions and the syllabus for these exams. Candidates will be able to take their exam in any location where they have access to a laptop or desktop computer with a webcam and the internet.

In 2021 we are offering six dates for Grade 1 to 5 exams and the following are confirmed:

  • Tuesday 16 March at 17.00 (Booking period: 1 to 8 February)
  • Sunday 23 May at 10.00 (Booking period: 6 to 13 April)
  • Saturday 19 June at 10.00 (Booking period: 4 to 11 May)

These are global dates and will be the same for all candidates worldwide. Online Music Theory exams later in the year will take place in August, October and November. We will publish exact dates for these exams on our website soon, along with planned dates for paper-based exams at Grades 6 to 8.

You can find all our online Music Theory information and resources here.

Face-to-face practical exams in 2021

We have now published planned dates for face-to-face practical exams in 2021. However, we will need to keep these dates under review as we can only accept bookings if COVID travel and government restrictions are lifted. We will provide an update nearer to each booking period.

To check exam dates for 2021 click here.

Useful Links


Where to find sheet music

Many retailers are continuing to provide sheet music, books, instruments and accessories through online or mail order services. View our shops list here.

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