Graded Music exams
We major on the courses offered by ABRSM and Rockschool (RSL Awards) for most of our instruments. We also offer tuition using different examining boards e.g. Trinity College London.
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.
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.
Deadlines for each exam period
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.
Trinity College London
Overview page of Trinity website
Booking a Trinity exam information
Useful documents to download:
FAQ’s for candidates and applicants – Download PDF here
Exam information & Regulations – Download PDF here
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 grade 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 exam
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.
There is a choice of repertoire from the “Lists” printed in each grade book. These pieces will need to be ordered as either single sheet music (some can also be downloaded & printed at home) or as one piece in a collection/book.
You can order music for exams through the retail shop on site.
Exam books & Piano accompaniment music
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.
No photocopies of any music are allowedin the exam and each student should bring their own individual copy of each grade book.
Shop staff will be able to advise/show you what the different books look like and you can purchase these from the shop attached to the school.
Rockschool (as the name suggests) are more likely to be more noisy exams in general! Drums being the loudest.
There is a serious point here which is the use of ear protection.
For all drum exams you MUST have ear protection.
We insist you have ear protection because exam use an acoustic drum kit which is loud enough to cause hearing damage, so ear protection is vital.
We cannot be held responsible for any temporary or permanent hearing loss/damage due to noise levels however caused. If you don’t have ear protection, buy some from the shop before the exam.
Please bring your Rockschool grade book into the exam and give it to the examiner at the start of your exam for signature. In addition, grades 6 – 8 will require a form of photo ID which can be shown to the examiner on the day.
Without the Photo ID Rockschool cannot release the exam certificate.
Exam certificates (all boards)
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.