We have now written to all those who entered candidates for the live pilot exam to update them about the results of our investigation into the technical problems, the action we are taking together with our supplier PSI, and the refunds we will be making. This refund reflects both our sincere regret about the negative impact of the technical issues and our gratitude to candidates for helping us to learn from the pilot exam. We have asked exam applicants to forward this apology and news to all those directly involved in the live pilot exam so that candidates themselves receive our apology and are aware of the action we are taking.
Our online exams contain objective questions that are marked by a computer, with one mark available for a correct answer and no marks if the answer is wrong. We are not therefore able to adjust the outcomes of right/wrong answers in order to make allowances for a negative exam experience. All results are reviewed before issue to verify outcomes overall and confirm that the test has performed effectively and in line with expectations.
In advance of results being issued we informed candidates of the refunds we will be making to signal our regret for the impact of the technical issues on them, and our gratitude for helping us to learn from the pilot exam. If you feel after receiving your marks that your exam result was significantly negatively impacted by your personal experience please contact us at [email protected] This will not result in an adjustment to the marks but we will consider your individual case and contact you about any further possible action.
Out of approximately 3,500 entries, 800 candidates responded to our survey following the exam and a further 1,548 responses were from Applicants and Responsible Adults.
The technical issues experienced by the vast majority of candidates affected their average overall rating which was 5.5/10 compared to those who did not have any problems at 7.1/10. Responsible Adults rated it overall 4.3/10 and Applicants rated it 7.5/10.
The information we provided was generally rated positively, being on the whole sufficient, provided in a timely manner and clear/easy to find and understand.
In relation to exam content:
- 81% of Candidates found the exam fair
- 92% of Candidates found the exam content covered what they had studied
- 81% of Candidates felt it thoroughly assessed what they studied
- 81% of Candidates who had taken an ABRSM Music Theory Exam before felt this exam was as challenging as previous exams
In relation to the exam layout:
- 92% of candidates rated all the question-types as easy to understand
- 100% of candidates rated all the question-types as easy to use, apart from the click and drag type questions, which 88% found easy to use
- 96% of candidates found the language used in the questions easy to read
3% of our candidates identified as requiring additional support or as neuro-diverse. We compared their scores to the overall scores and do not see any significant differences in scores for exam content or exam layout.
Respondents reported other usability issues which we are working on:
- Scrolling (particularly for the Music in Context question)
- Adjusting notes on the stave
- Having an additional page that provides an overview of the questions and allocated marks
- Having time before the exam to get acquainted with the navigation and flagging tools
- A reminder to tear the paper at the end
Yes, Grade 5 Music Theory is a pre-requisite for Grade 6 and higher Practical and Performance Grades. However, in this coming autumn session, candidates who were unable to start or complete their exam on 26 August can take both their Grade 5 Music Theory and the higher grade Practical or Performance exam. This is an exceptional relaxation of the pre-requisite rule, to recognise the previous lack of opportunity to take these exams generally. We would like you to tell us if you have entered for both the Grade 5 Theory and Grade 6 or higher exam in Autumn 2020, by notifying us at https://gb.abrsm.org/en/contact-us/ and using the subject title “Grade 5 Theory pre-requisite”