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.

Join us as a volunteer

If you're a musician or music-lover, have you thought of joining our network of volunteers without whom the running of ABRSM's exams would be impossible?

They're known as Honorary Local Representatives (HLRs) in the UK & Ireland, and number over 200. They help to make sure that our exams run smoothly and provide a network of support for local teachers and their students.

Representatives have been part of the fabric of ABRSM since its inception in 1889 and played an important part in ensuring the integrity of 'local' exams when they were first introduced. For this reason, in the earliest days they weren't allowed to be musicians (this is no longer the case) and a list of the founding representatives reveals a range of volunteers from a lieutenant general in Cheltenham and a rector in Aberdeen to a justice of the peace from Derby.

Giving back to the community

Today, our volunteers have many different reasons for joining the ABRSM family. Many say it's an opportunity to give something back to their community and support music-making in their area.

Jean Stewart, an HLR of over 15 years from Doncaster, enjoys the opportunity to meet other teachers: "As a private piano teacher, it can be lonely at times, so it's a fantastic way of keeping up to date with what's going on and the latest from ABRSM."

Michael Sadka from Cornwall particularly enjoys "feeling part of a community and helping spread the beauty of music".

But it's "not a job to be taken lightly", Helen Hopkins from Wales reminds us. "It can be time consuming and exhausting, but I feel it's my duty to accommodate the exams. I love providing a welcoming atmosphere for the children." Helen and her husband run Wilks Music Store, the oldest music shop in Swansea, and have been holding exams in a purpose-built room adjoined to the shop for over 30 years, with a lengthy visitors' book to prove it.

Another optional role of a representative is to organise High Scorers' Concerts. These provide a fantastic opportunity for local children to come and play their pieces in front of a friendly and supportive audience and celebrate their success. They always have a "real buzz about them" and are "a joy to arrange" notes Jean.

What we look for

So what qualities and skills do you need as a representative?

You should enjoy working with young people, have plenty of patience, good organisational skills and tremendous diplomacy. As a representative, you'll deal with the ordinary to the bizarre, from flat tyres and late candidates to noisy neighbours, forgotten music and occasional examiners locked in toilets!

You also need unfailing patience and the ability to keep calm under pressure. We want to ensure the conditions are right for each candidate and that their experience of the exam is positive.

Benefits you'll enjoy

As an HLR, you're assured of full support from staff at our London office and are kept up to date through our regular newsletters. You also receive discounts on our publications and free or discounted places on our courses.

A more unusual benefit for Helen (and one we can't guarantee!) was the invitation by one of the examiners at her centre to sing Elgar's Sea Pictures with his orchestra in London.

"It was such a wonderful and unexpected opportunity," Helen reminisces, adding that it "really encouraged me to pursue my singing!"


Becoming an HLR

Many HLRs are in post for several years, but when a position becomes vacant it's usually advertised to applicants in the relevant part of the country. To find out more, please contact us using this form.

Download an HLR person specification.

If applying, we ask you to provide some brief background information about yourself and the names of two people who'd be willing to provide a reference (both referees should know you for at least five years and normally one should be involved in music in your area).

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