Latest exam updates

Exam refunds

To support customers affected by ongoing COVID restrictions, for Practical and Performance Grade exams from 1 January to 31 May 2021 any absent candidate will automatically receive a refund. This includes Performance Grades where the candidate has been unable to record and upload their video. You do not need to contact us to request a refund. However, it will help us if you can log in to your account and cancel the exam.

For Online Music Theory exams and any paper based exams taking place outside of the UK/Ireland we anticipate COVID restrictions will not prevent candidates from sitting their exam so absentee candidates will not automatically receive a refund and our normal Withdrawal, Non-attendance and Fee Refunds Policy still applies.

Music Theory exams – March 2021

  • Online Music Theory exams (Grades 1 to 5) – we are cancelling the online exams planned for 16 March. Exams in May and June will go ahead as planned.
  • Paper Music Theory exams (Grades 6 to 8) – the next exams will take place in June. Please note, dates and booking periods for Grades 1-5 and Grades 6-8 may be different from now on. For full details, see our dates and fees page.
  • Grade 5 Music Theory requirement - from 1 January to 30 April 2021 only, candidates can take Grade 6 to 8 Performance or Practical exams without first passing Grade 5 Music Theory. From 1 May 2021, the Grade 5 Music Theory requirement will return with flexibility about timing. If you receive an email asking for your proof of prerequisite, please ignore this. We will still release any results in line with the arrangements outlined here.

For more information click here.

Performance Grade exams

We will be offering Performance Grade exams every month for the remainder of 2021. Please check here for dates and fees. We are extending the introductory 15% discount for these exams so that it applies to all remotely-assessed Performance Grade and ARSM exams in 2021. Just enter code ABPG15NZ when you book using our online service. Please also read our discount information and terms and conditions here.

Assessment delivery

Discover useful resources and guidance to get you set up and familiar with the system before your next Online Music Theory exam.

On this page you will find information about:

Get set up ahead of your exam

Here are some useful documents and videos to help you get started:

  • System requirements - outlines all the technical requirements you need to take an Online Music Theory exam
  • Software installation - get support with downloading the RPnow software that you need to take an Online Music Theory exam
  • Exam set up reference guide - complements the video guides below, which take you through set up, step-by-step.

These two important videos talk you through the exam process – from logging onto the system and carrying out the room scan, to answering the exam questions.

Starting the exam, doing a room scan and showing candidate ID
  • Where possible, the room candidates take the exam in should be free from notes, books of any kind, any depiction of musical notes and any representation of a piano keyboard. As shown in the demo. 
  • If a candidate is not able to access a room free of these items, then all books should remain closed and out of reach, and any depiction of musical notation or representation of a piano keyboard, including an actual piano, should be covered so they are not visible.
Navigating the online system and example online questions

How is ABRSM delivering this online assessment?

The exam platform, proctoring and test delivery are provided by a third-party supplier called PSI who deliver over 15 million assessments every year.

This policy provides information about the proctoring for our online Music Theory exams.

(Proctoring is a little like remote invigilation and ensures that individual candidates take their exams in accordance with our regulations and requirements.)

The candidate will be filmed for the duration of the exam via the webcam and exam software, and trained proctors will review each exam. The proctor is the person who views the video recording of the assessment and is responsible for alerting us to any suspicious activity

Get familiar with the exam format

Practice questions

Several Grade 5 example questions in the online format are now available. These sample questions are designed to show an example of the question types and question functionality included in the new exam.

We also have a reference sheet available which contains the exact sample question content you will see on the online system in a pdf format.

Candidates will also have the opportunity to test the full functionality within the online platform after they have registered for the exam.

In the meantime, we have some free sample papers and model answers to download at Grades 1-5 to help candidates become more familiar with the new question styles.

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