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Latest exam updates

Practical Update 

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

However, on the basis of official and local advice due to COVID-19, we have made the decision to cancel all Practical exams in Hong Kong until further notice. This decision affects all 2020 bookings for Graded Music Exams, ARSM, Diploma, Choral Singing and Ensemble exams, but does not currently affect any bookings for Music Theory exams. Following this decision, we will process 100% refunds for all existing Practical exam bookings and our Representatives will provide further guidance in due course.

We are sorry for the impact on teachers and candidates and thank you for your loyalty and support while these restrictions remain in place. We are continuing to review when live Practical exams can resume in Hong Kong and will offer them again at the earliest possible opportunity.

Our new remotely-assessed Performance Grades provide an alternative progression route for students during this period of disruption. The Performance Grades are equivalent to our Practical Grades in demand, recognition and value. They are based on the same repertoire and syllabuses, assessment criteria and quality assurance measures as our existing exams and will be assessed by the same highly trained examiners. Booking will open in Hong Kong before the end of the year and you can record your video submission any time from now on. Find out more here.

For all press and media enquiries please contact Daniel Harris on 07989 309058

or email [email protected]

Full statement provided to the Telegraph

3 years ago


At ABRSM it’s our mission to inspire musical achievement. We do everything we can to support students’ progression and success in music, whatever their needs and musical destinations. We believe that learning music theory gives students the tools they need to get the most from their musical activities. Our commitment to the teaching and learning of core musical skills, knowledge, and understanding is unwavering. And we back this up by continuously developing new print and digital resources supporting the varied needs of students and teachers. We also have a longstanding requirement that candidates must pass Grade 5 (or above) in Music Theory, Jazz or Practical Musicianship before they can enter for a practical exam at Grade 6, 7 or 8. As part of our responsibility to teachers and students, we review and refresh all our assessments on an on-going basis. To do this we consult with customers and education experts, including teaching staff from our Royal Schools of Music partners. The revised exam papers are based on our existing Music Theory syllabus and will continue to assess the same broad areas of music theory. Although we’ve made some small changes to the papers, the underlying knowledge you need remains the same. Our panel of expert Theory Examiners will continue to mark all our exam papers to the same rigorous standards as now. When making these changes, we took into account best practice in assessment and question design. As a result we’ve introduced Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs) for one element of the exam. MCQs are an accessible, reliable and proven way of assessing certain aspects of knowledge. They are an existing and accepted element of school exams and the vast majority of candidates will be familiar with them. 11 August 2017 Further information:

  • Improving our Music Theory exams blog post
  • Sample papers for Grades 1 to 5 (2 sets) to view, download and print
  • Multiple choice quiz for musical terms and signs
  • To find out more about the changes, please visit www.abrsm.org/theory2018
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