What you need to know about exams (ABRSM)
The practical and theory exam are conducted as two separate exams and students are registered for these exams separately. Practical exams are usually held in February to March or July to September but registration starts as early as half a year before the exam. You can register for exam through a music school, a private teacher, or by yourself – simply go down to the ABRSM exams office during the registration period to register for exams or send in the completed form. If you already had registered for exams before (as an applicant), you can register for exams online.
ABRSM Representative Office
Singapore Symphonia Co Ltd
4 Battery Road #19-01
Bank of China Building
Registering as an applicant and/or a candidate
An applicant refers to the person registering for the exam. An applicant can be a music school, music teacher, parent, or yourself. A candidate is the person represented by an applicant for an exam. So, if you are registering for exams yourself, you can both be an applicant and a candidate. If your teacher is registering for you, you are the candidate and your teacher the applicant. All correspondences of the exam are sent to the applicant only and any changes with regards to the exam can only be made by the applicant.
For more information about exam registration and fees, visit http://sg.abrsm.org/en/exam-booking/fees/
Practical exam results are usually released about one month after the exam whereas theory results are released after two to three months as they are sent to UK for marking. The marking schemes for both exams are as follows.
Practical exams are marked out of a total of 150, with 100 marks required for a pass, 120 for a merit and 130 for a distinction.
There are four parts in the piano exam.
- Prepared Pieces
Candidate needs to play 3 prepared pieces from a set list.
- Scales and Arpeggios
Candidate needs to memorize and play out scales and arpeggios.
Examiner will provide an unseen short piece for the candidate to play.
Candidates are tested on pulse or rhythm clapping, echo singing, and for grade 4 and above, sight-singing and general questions after listening to a short piece.
|Practical Exam Marking Scheme|
|Category||Passing Mark||Full Marks|
|Pieces||1 Piece from List A||20||30|
|1 Piece from List B||20||30|
|1 Piece from List C||20||30|
|Scales and Arpeggios||14||21|
Theory exams are marked out of a total of 100, with 66 marks required for a pass, 80 for a merit and 90 for a distinction.
For practical exams from grade 1 to 5, there are no pre-requisites to taking these exams. Candidates registering for grades 6, 7 and 8 must have already passed one of the following qualifications:
• ABRSM Grade 5 Theory (or above)
• ABRSM Practical Musicianship Grade 5
• ABRSM Solo Jazz subject Grade 5
• Grade 5 Theory (or above) from any of these exam boards: Trinity Guildhall, London College of Music (LCM), Australian Music Exam Board (AMEB), University of South Africa (UNISA)
There are no pre-requisites for taking any music theory exam.
Important notes for students taking the exams:
• Do arrive 15-20mins earlier than your scheduled time. This will ensure that there are no last minute panics. Sometimes examiners might finish examining the previous student earlier so you might have to go in slightly earlier than your scheduled time.
• Do check the exam venue correctly. Different buildings and streets might have similar names.
• Remember to bring any form bring ID – student pass, birth cert, passport, IC, driving licence, etc.
• Remember to bring your exam pieces book for the practical exam and your own pencil and eraser for the theory exam
• Do bring a jacket to the exam room in case it is cold.
For those who have never took an exam before, here is a video of a Grade 1 exam