Graded Music Exams

Face to Face exams

All of the examining bodies we use offer universally recognised qualifications.

Exam boards have 3 examining period each year held in Spring, Summer and Autumn. The exact dates in each period vary slightly each year but offer a window to take exams of around 5 weeks.


We often act as an external venue for Rockschool and Trinity exams. ABRSM are usually held at a local venue – The St Barnabus Centre in Thorley usually but you pick any venue offered during the booking and payment process online.

remote exams

Due to COVID19 a lot of face to face exams had to be cancelled. This has resulted in each examining board having to find an alternative. At the moment this is a recorded exam which is sent to the board to be marked. 

We believe there will be live virtual exams will be possible in the future and will keep an eye on each exam board.

Examining Boards

RSL ( Rockschool )

RSL was founded on an ethos to provide innovative, contemporary qualifications for music and the arts. Being at the forefront of the industry for over 25 years.

LCM ( London College of Music )

Established in 1877, the London College of Music Examinations (LCME) is the longest-established exam board for the creative arts in the UK and the only one that is part of a leading British university, the University of West London.

ABRSM ( Asscoiated Board of the Royal School of Music )

ABRSM is the UK’s largest music education body, one of its largest music publishers and the world’s leading provider of music exams, holding over 650,000 assessments in more than 90 countries every year. As a registered charity, we also make significant donations towards music education initiatives around the world.

Trinity

Trinity College London believes that effective communicative and performance skills are life enhancing, know no bounds and should be within reach of us all.

We exist to promote and foster the best possible communicative and performance skills through assessment, content and training which is innovative, personal and authentic.

The Process

Booking an Exam.

You will need to book an exam online yourself once you or the student are prepared by the teacher. By booking independently on the relevant exam boards website, you can choose the best date for your circumstances as well as a suitable venue. Please ask staff for assistance if you are unsure of the process. Students will be fully prepared by their teacher for their next upcoming exam grade. If a student is put forward for an exam before they are fully prepared their grade may suffer and you even run the risk of failing the exam. Exams are NOT an “on-demand” service but they should not be considered a regular event. On average, students tend to progress through exams at the rate of 1 grade per year. This is not a guarantee however, just an average.

Exam Booking Deadlines

Please pay close attention to the exam entry deadline dates and ensure you enter for your next exam successfully. You will need to make payment within the published deadlines as delays may mean you have to wait until the next exam period. Below are some useful links that should help you with the exam booking process. However, we always recommend that you check the latest details on the exam boards own website in case there are any recent updates or changes you need to know about.

Orchestral Instrument Exams

These include Flute, Clarinet, All Saxophones, Oboe and Violin and apply to ALL examining boards. As part of the exam you will be required to use the services of a piano accompanist. You can either organise your own or we can suggest a suitable accompanist. You will need to book the accompanist in advance and there is a separate fee for this service paid directly to them. Additionally, the accompanist will need to attend the exam venue for the day of your exam.

Higher Graded Exam Requirements all Boards

In the case of higher grade exams (grades 6, 7 and 8) passing the exam will gain UCAS points for further education. For this reason, grades 6-8 will require the student to present a photo ID to the examiner at the time of the exam.

ABRSM Music Theory

Specific to ABRSM, there is a requirement to pass your grade 5 music theory exam before you can progress to grade 6,7 or 8 practical exams.

Exam Books

All exam boards require you to arrive for your exam with an original piano accompaniment sheet (for orchestral instruments) and/or the chosen pieces to use in the exam. So when buying grade pieces, always choose the version with the instrumental score AND the piano part for your accompanist. Pease look after the piano accompaniment sheets as these cannot be purchased separately if they get lost or damaged.

Exam Certificates

These will be sent to you in the post usually around 3-4 weeks after the exam period closes. There is one exception to this which is the ABRSM Prep test where the certificate is issued on the day of the exam by the examiner. Should a candidate not achieve the minimum required pass mark, regardless of examining board, a certificate will not be issued but you will receive a mark sheet with examiners comments. With careful student preparation by our teachers, this is unlikely to ever be an issue.

Exam FAQ's

Most exams have the same basic structure. The student enters the exam room and performs the appropriate pieces on their instrument. The examiner will ask additional questions which will explore the students knowledge of music theory as well as Aural skills which may involve listening to a phrase played by the examiner and then answering questions about rhythm or note relationships (higher/lower than each other)

Early grades will be the quickest at around 10-15 minutes with higher grades lasting up to 30-45 minutes. It does depend on the instrument, the grade and partly on the examining board.

There is no real right or wrong here. Teachers will prepare students for their exam fully before asking you to enter for the next grade. The time taken is different for every pupil and also depends on how much they study! As an average though we normally say that one grade a year is about right. This is only a guide though so the best person to ask is the teacher.

Your teacher is the person in charge of exams and they will never put a candidate forward for exams until they are sure the student is ready. Sometimes students can skip a grade or even change exam board but in all cases, the teacher will be the best person to decide.

When you book an exam you will create an online account with the exam board. In the event an exam has to be re-scheduled, you will need to log in to your account and see what options are available to you to re-schedule. If an exam was scheduled at the end of their exam period, you may have to wait until the next exam period – this may be 3-4 months away.

Alternatively, you may be able to move exam centre location and get a date you can make. This is never guaranteed however and you should always refer to the exam board for any available dates. Please also be aware that most boards may have fees for certain date lalterations.

All exam board websites will show their scale of fees. Exam fees operate on a sliding scale with the lower grades being the cheapest and highest grades the most expensive. Please refer to the exam board website for their current prices. If you are taking an orchestral instrument exam (e.g. flute or violin) you will also have to organise a piano accompanist for a pre-exam reharsal and to attend the venue on the day. This fee is in addition to the exam fee. Please contact us to book an accompanist.

All exam boards we teach have an internationally recognised curriculum with the highest 3 grades carrying UCAS points. ABRSM or Trinity are a good choice for classical & contemporary courses with Rockschool (AKA RSL Awards) covering everything from Ukulele through rock instruments & vocals to Classical exams as well.

Some people stop ABRSM courses at grade 6 as they need you to pass the grade 5 theory exam before you can sit your grade 6,7 or 8 practical exam.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectet adipiscing elit,sed do eiusm por incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia mollit natoque consequat massa quis enim. Donec pede justo, fringilla vitae, eleifend acer sem neque sed ipsum. Nam quam nunc, blandit vel, ridiculus mus. sunt in culpa qui officia mollit natoque consequat massa quis enim.
Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectet adipiscing elit,sed do eiusm por incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia mollit natoque consequat massa quis enim. Donec pede justo, fringilla vitae, eleifend acer sem neque sed ipsum. Nam quam nunc, blandit vel, ridiculus mus. sunt in culpa qui officia mollit natoque consequat massa quis enim.
Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectet adipiscing elit,sed do eiusm por incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia mollit natoque consequat massa quis enim. Donec pede justo, fringilla vitae, eleifend acer sem neque sed ipsum. Nam quam nunc, blandit vel, ridiculus mus. sunt in culpa qui officia mollit natoque consequat massa quis enim.