Our online service will be unavailable on Monday 21 September and Tuesday 22 September while we make some important updates. We will provide a new message here once the service is available again.

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.

About our exams

We have designed our graded music exams to motivate instrumental and singing students of all ages and a wide range of abilities. They are available at eight levels – Grades 1 to 8 – and provide:

  • progressive goals to aim for;
  • recognition for achievement;
  • carefully structured syllabus requirements;
  • one-to-one assessment by an expert professional;
  • an objective guide to a candidate’s skills and progress.

There are no age restrictions and students can start with any grade or skip grades if they want to.

All-round musicianship

We believe in the importance of all-round musicianship and this forms the basis of our exams. To become an all-round musician students need a range of interlocking skills – in performance, technique, notation, and listening and musical perception – as well as knowledge, understanding and creativity. These are the things we assess in our exams.

To succeed in our exams candidates need a combination of skills and understanding. Broadly, we assess:

  • performance skills through pieces or songs;
  • technical skills through scales and arpeggios (or unaccompanied traditional song for singers);
  • notation skills through a sight-reading test;
  • and listening skills and musical perception through aural tests.

How music works

We also encourage students to learn about the way music works. They can explore musical knowledge and understanding as well as creative skills through our Music Theory, Practical Musicianship and Jazz exams.

Understanding how music works helps students to make music with greater awareness, confidence and sensitivity. It also becomes increasingly important as they progress with their learning. So, candidates who want to take an instrumental or Singing exam at Grade 6 or above must first pass Grade 5 (or above) in Music Theory, Practical Musicianship or a solo Jazz instrument. This ensures they have the knowledge and understanding they need to successfully interpret and perform the music in our higher grade syllabuses.

A holistic approach

This holistic approach helps students to understand, perform and enjoy music. It provides strong foundations for musical growth and a set of skills which students can use for the rest of their lives.


Next : The exam elements

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