Latest exam updates

Practical Session 2 Update

We appreciate how much the cancellation of our exams has affected learners and we’re working hard on solutions to ensure they can gain their qualifications at the earliest opportunity.

Provided travel and COVID restrictions remain lifted, we will open a booking period from 28 September – 12 October with exams to be held November – December. We will continue to keep this under review as our ability to accept bookings remains conditional on the restrictions continuing to be lifted. An update to Applicants will be announced as soon as we can and our Representatives will provide further guidance in due course. We are looking forward to providing candidates with exams again and thank you for your loyalty and support at this difficult time.

Music Theory Exam update – session 3

On the basis of government advice, we are cancelling the Music Theory exams due to take place later in 2020. We are sorry for any inconvenience and thank you for your ongoing loyalty and support.

Taking an online exam

Trial log in and practice questions

We have adapted the style of some questions for use in an online exam. If you are familiar with our paper exams, the online version of some questions will look different. Once the booking period has closed, all candidates entered for an online Music Theory exam will be able to log in, experience the online exam platform and practice a small selection of sample questions before the exam. Candidates can see how the questions will look on screen as well as explore how they can alter the 'look' of the exam system with different sizes and coloured backgrounds to make the exam experience the most suitable for them. They can also get a feel for navigating the exam system, moving from question to question, flagging questions and submitting their answers. We have emailed applicants who have registered candidates for the August exam with instructions and log in details.

Anyone who has not registered for the August exam can also access the example Grade 5 questions in the online format here. These sample questions are designed to show the different question types included in the new exam. We have also produced a reference sheet which contains the exact sample question content you will see on the online system in a pdf format.

Please note that the questions in this online format do not show the full functionality that will be available in the exam as it does not allow candidates to use the zoom function. Candidates can see how this function will work in this exam demo video.

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

Guidance for online Music Theory exams  

This document includes important information for applicants, teachers, parents and candidates. The guidance will take you through:

  • Booking an exam – using our online booking service
  • Where you can take the exam – including our requirements for the exam location and the equipment you will need
  • Candidate ID – needed for all candidates
  • The role of the responsible adult
  • Organising exams for multiple candidates in one location
  • The exam itself – including accessing the online exam platform
  • What candidates need to do at the start of the exam
  • The proctoring and security measures that will be place
  • Results and certificates

Read the full guidance document here.

We have also produced a step by step guide, taking candidates through the exam set up and the exam itself.

In addition, these two video demos show candidates exactly what the exam process entails – from logging onto the system and carrying out the room scan, to answering the exam questions.

Exam Regulations 

If you’re the exam applicant you should read our Exam Regulations, which include an additional section (addendum) to cover online Music Theory exams.

Guide to Remote Proctoring in ABRSM Online Theory Exams 

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 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.

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

Further information

If you’re a teacher or candidate preparing for the exam you may find the following useful:

If your question isn’t answered in these documents, you may find the information you need in our Frequently asked questions.

Key Documents

How to book an online Music Theory exam

Download (PDF)

Running Online Theory exams as a Private Visit and for Multiple Candidates

Download (PDF)

Syllabus summary for Grades 1 to 5 (online exams from 2020)

Download (PDF)

Online Music Theory Exam Guidelines

Free Sample Papers and Model Answers (online exams from 2020) for Grades 1 to 5:

Grade 1

Sample Paper (PDF)

Model Answers (PDF)

Grade 2

Sample Paper (PDF)

Model Answers (PDF)

Grade 3

Sample Paper (PDF)

Model Answers (PDF)

Grade 4

Sample Paper (PDF)

Model Answers (PDF)

Grade 5

Sample Paper (PDF)

Model Answers (PDF)

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