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International exam regulations
(excluding UK & Ireland)

NB, these Regulations apply to all ABRSM exams except the DipABRSM, LRSM and FRSM diplomas, for which separate syllabuses containing distinct regulations are available.

1 ABRSM subjects, exams and prerequisites

  1. ABRSM exam subjects are listed at www.abrsm.org/exams.
  2. For the graded exams, there are normally eight grades, numbered progressively in order of difficulty from 1 to 8. ARSM (Associate of the Royal Schools of Music) is a post-Grade 8 performance-only diploma exam.
  3. Candidates may be entered for any exam irrespective of age. The candidate’s date of birth must be stated on the entry form for ARSM exams, but is optional in all other cases.
  4. Candidates for graded exams are not required to have previously taken any other grade in the same subject. However, the following prerequisites for entry apply to ABRSM exams as set out below. Please note that ABRSM will not permit a candidate to sit an ABRSM exam if these prerequisites are not satisfied.

    • Practical Grades 6, 7 and 8: Candidates must already have passed one of the qualifications listed at www.abrsm.org/prerequisite. This must have been passed before the closing date for the Practical Exam and a copy of the certificate or mark form must be supplied at the time of entry.
    • ARSM: Candidates must already have passed ABRSM Grade 8 in the same subject or one of the alternatives listed at www.abrsm.org/prerequisite-arsm. This must have been passed before the closing date for the ARSM exam. A copy of the certificate is not required at the time of entry (although ABRSM may request one later). If the certificate is not provided to ABRSM upon request, the prerequisite will not have been satisfied and entry into the exam will be cancelled without any refund of fees paid or payable.
  5. ABRSM graded music exams and ARSM are regulated in England by the Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation (Ofqual) and the corresponding regulatory authorities in Wales (Qualifications Wales) and Northern Ireland (CCEA Regulation). They are part of the Regulated Qualifications Framework (RQF) in England and Northern Ireland. In the UK, ABRSM’s Grade 6–8 exams can contribute towards entry into higher education through the allocation of UCAS points (→ Reg. 17l). For further information, see www.abrsm.org/regulation.

2 Introduction and overlap of syllabuses

  1. ABRSM exams are conducted on the basis of the information and requirements as set out in the relevant syllabus.
  2. Syllabuses for ABRSM’s exam subjects are updated periodically. Advance notice of any syllabus change and details of syllabus validity are provided on ABRSM’s website (www.abrsm.org/exams). The introduction of new scale requirements, sight-reading and/or aural tests does not necessarily coincide with the introduction of new pieces (the latter being the most frequent element of syllabus review).
  3. Following the introduction of any new practical exam syllabus, candidates may choose to perform pieces as set in the lists of the preceding syllabus during a specified overlap period. They may not combine pieces from the preceding and new syllabuses (except in the case of items that appear in both) during the overlap period. No such overlap period necessarily applies to any new scale requirements, sight-reading and/or aural tests. Details of the overlap period that applies are provided on ABRSM’s website (www.abrsm.org/exams).

3 Applicant's role and responsibilities

  1. The applicant’s responsibilities are: to read and comply with these exam regulations, ensuring that those connected with the exam, including the candidate, are aware of relevant matters; to ensure, where a candidate is under the age of 18, that one of the candidate’s parents (or someone else with parental responsibility) has consented to their child being entered for an exam; to submit the exam entry, ensuring the accuracy of the information supplied, including name spellings, levels and exam subjects, and any specific needs; to make payment for the exam; to notify the candidate of the exam date, time and venue; and to receive the exam mark form/certificate and to pass them on to the candidate.
  2. Each Applicant is assigned a personal applicant number on the first occasion that an entry is submitted. The applicant number should be quoted in all communications with ABRSM. In countries where online entry is available (→ Reg. 4b), applicants may request a confidential password which can be used in conjunction with the applicant number and a registered email address to gain access to online exam services. The password should not be disclosed to anyone else and may be changed by the applicant at any time.
  3. All written communications by ABRSM relating to the acceptance of an entry, payment, the appointment allocated and the result are sent to the applicant. Responsibility for an entry cannot be transferred to another party without the applicant’s written consent. While the applicant remains ABRSM’s principal point of contact in all matters, ABRSM may share information regarding an exam with another party, including the candidate, their parents (or those with parental responsibility), in response to a valid enquiry. ABRSM cannot become involved in any dispute or communication breakdown between an applicant and the candidate, their parents (or those with parental responsibility).
  4. ABRSM does not check the identity of applicants and therefore cannot verify degrees or qualifications of applicants appearing on the certificates it issues.

4 Exam entry

  1. Entries must be submitted by the applicant by the published closing date (www.abrsm.org/dates) using either the online entry form or a paper entry form by post. Entries cannot be accepted by letter, email, fax or telephone.
  2. Online entry (currently available in Malaysia and Singapore) is made via ABRSM’s website (www.abrsm.org/exambooking). The applicant gains access to the online entry form using the applicant number and confidential password (→ Reg. 3b).
  3. Postal entry is made using the current paper entry form, published by ABRSM. Paper entry forms are downloadable from www.abrsm.org/exambooking and available from local representatives (or, where there is no local representative, from ABRSM’s office in London).
  4. ABRSM may refuse, invalidate or cancel any entry received after the closing date has passed. In such cases, the entry fee(s) will be refunded (→ Reg. 1dii for ARSM exception).
  5. Although ABRSM discourages applicants from entering candidates for two practical exams in any one subject (whether at the same or different levels) in the same session, this is not forbidden. It should be noted that this may result in candidates being assessed twice by the same examiner.
  6. Candidates for theory exams should be entered only in the period in which the specified day and time are suitable for them (see www.abrsm.org/dates). Candidates may be entered for only one theory exam in any given period.

5 Payment

  1. Exam fees must be paid in full at the time of entry.
  2. Where the entry is made on behalf of more than one candidate, a single payment must be made by the applicant. ABRSM cannot process a separate payment for each candidate.
  3. Once an entry and payment have been submitted, the exam fees are generally non-refundable if the candidate does not sit the exam, except in the limited circumstances set out in Reg. 10 below and ABRSM’s Policy for Withdrawals, Non-Attendance and Fee Refunds (available at www.abrsm.org/policies).
  4. Any query regarding a payment made or an outstanding amount is notified to the applicant by the local representative as soon as possible after the entry has been processed. Where any such query has not been resolved by the date of the exam, ABRSM reserves the right to withhold the release of exam results/certificates for all candidates entered by the applicant. In cases where payment fails and ABRSM is obliged to pursue payment, an additional fee may be charged to cover administrative costs and bank charges.

6 Place of exams: Public centres

  1. ABRSM provides public centres for practical and theory exams as arranged by its local representatives.
  2. The precise venue cannot be confirmed until after the examining timetables have been arranged. It is notified to the applicant with the exam appointment(s).
  3. ABRSM reserves the right to not open a public centre if the number of entries is insufficient. In such cases, an appointment is offered at an alternative venue.
  4. A suitable exam environment (one that is quiet, properly lit, heated and ventilated) is offered at all public centres. For practical exams, public centres provide a waiting room/area and an exam room containing a suitable piano (upright or grand), which usually cannot be heard from the waiting room. A steward is present at all public centres. For theory exams, an exam room is provided with tables that allow reasonable spacing of candidates. An invigilator is present for the duration of the exam.
  5. It is recommended that candidates under the age of 15 are accompanied to the public centre by a responsible adult. Space in the waiting room may be limited. Candidates should therefore bring no more than one escort and arrive no more than ten minutes before the start of the exam (unless specifically instructed otherwise).
  6. For practical exams, an additional room or area is made available where possible for candidates to briefly warm up. However, ABRSM cannot always guarantee to provide this facility.
  7. All exam centres provide a music stand, but candidates are welcome to bring their own if they prefer.

7 Place of exams: Visits (including special visits)

  1. Practical and theory exams may be held at premises provided by the applicant in accordance with the regulations and requirements stipulated below. These are known as 'visits'. Applicants hosting a visit are responsible for all matters relating to the successful running of the relevant ABRSM exams at their premises, including the health, safety and welfare of candidates and other visitors to the premises. Applicants hosting visits should ensure they have adequate insurance cover. Except in relation to liabilities that cannot be excluded by law, ABRSM cannot accept liability for any damage, injury, expense or loss (including consequential loss) incurred during the course of a visit. Applicants must make sure that appropriate safeguarding steps are taken and arrangements made to protect the health and well-being of candidates. This includes ensuring no candidate under the age of 18 is left alone with an adult who has not been subject to appropriate recruitment and vetting procedures in line with current guidelines and in accordance with ABRSM’s Safeguarding Policy, Procedures and Code of Practice (→ Reg. 19).
  2. Practical exams

    Depending on the country, practical exams may be held at:

    • schools, where there are at least three hours of examining;
    • studios or residences of teachers, where there is no public centre conveniently near and there is a sufficient number of candidates to justify a visit from the examiner;
    • special venues for subjects that cannot be taken at a public centre (e.g. Harpsichord, Organ, Percussion, Choral Singing).
  3. Normally, exams should not begin before 8.30 or end later than 18.00. A 15-minute break should be scheduled each morning and afternoon, and a lunch break of around 1 hour 15 minutes should be allowed. The maximum total examining time for a day should generally not exceed 6 hours 30 minutes.
  4. Two or more applicants may combine their entries to meet the minimum time requirement, but the exams must be held at a single venue. An applicant wishing to participate in another applicant’s visit must seek permission from them before submitting an entry. The applicant hosting the visit is responsible for the provision of suitable facilities and arrangements (→ Reg. 7e) and for compliance with instructions and timetables from ABRSM.
  5. Schools and teachers at whose addresses practical exams are held must provide a suitable exam room. This should be quiet, properly lit, ventilated and heated, with a writing table and chair for the examiner, and a suitable piano (→ Reg. 7f) that ideally would not be heard from the waiting area. There should be someone to act as a steward outside the exam room for the duration of the exams in accordance with ABRSM’s instructions.
  6. A piano must be provided in the exam room (unless the visit is solely for an ARSM exam where no accompaniment is needed). It must be properly regulated and in tune (a’ = 440). A digital piano may be used provided it has a clearly recognisable piano tone, a touch-sensitive keyboard with full-size weighted keys, and an action, compass and facilities that match those of a conventional acoustic piano, including a sustaining pedal.
  7. Where a visit is solely for a Choral Singing exam, an examiner attendance fee is charged (www.abrsm.org/datesandfees).
  8. Theory exams

    In some countries, theory exams may be held as a visit at a school of general education or music centre approved by ABRSM, provided no suitable public centre is located nearby. Completion of the entry form requires the head teacher to accept responsibility for the safe custody of the papers and proper conduct of the exam.

  9. Applicants hosting a visit are responsible for ensuring suitable facilities and arrangements at their own cost: an exam room that is quiet, properly lit, heated and ventilated with tables that allow reasonable spacing of candidates, and a suitable person appointed by the head teacher to act as invigilator within the exam room for the duration of the exam in accordance with ABRSM’s instructions.

8 Exam dates: Allocation and notification of appointments

  1. Practical exams

    Practical exam dates are provided at www.abrsm.org/datesandfees. Exact dates of practical exams at individual centres can only be arranged once all the entries have been received and processed.

  2. Appointments may be given for any date(s) within the whole of the exam period subject to the availability of ABRSM’s examiners. The applicant must therefore ensure that candidates are ready for an exam from the first day of the exam period in question. In allocating exam dates, ABRSM takes into account wherever possible any date preferences indicated by the applicant at the time of entry. However, date allocations are decided on the basis of scheduling examiners’ time most efficiently while providing convenient appointments to as many candidates as possible. Consequently, ABRSM cannot guarantee to fulfil any preferences indicated by the applicant or accept entries that are conditional on particular dates being allocated or avoided.
  3. Notification of the exam date, time and venue is sent to the applicant as early as possible, generally no later than two weeks before the exam date. ABRSM requires all candidates to be present for examination as scheduled and cannot change an applicant’s allocated exam date(s) once the notices have been issued.
  4. The notification also confirms the names, subjects and levels of candidates entered, as well as any requests for special arrangements/tests (→ Reg. 18). The applicant must check these details and notify the local representative (or if there is no local representative, ABRSM’s office in London) immediately of any error or correction.
  5. Theory exams

    Theory exams are held only on the set dates as published at www.abrsm.org/datesandfees, and at a specified time (→ Reg. 4f).

  6. Notification is sent to the applicant confirming names and grades of candidates entered, plus any request for special arrangements (→ Reg. 18). The applicant must check these details and notify the local representative (or if there is no local representative, ABRSM’s office in London) immediately of any error or correction. A name label is enclosed for each candidate, which must be brought to the exam room (→ Reg. 10f).

9 Withdrawals, non-attendance and fee refunds

  1. The applicant must notify ABRSM of a candidate’s non-attendance or withdrawal from an exam by contacting the local representative or office at which the entry was made as soon as possible in writing, and no later than the day of the exam.
  2. Provided notification is given in accordance with Reg. 9a and the withdrawal or non-attendance is necessary as a result of an event outside of the candidate's or applicant’s reasonable control (e.g. illness, injury, bereavement) and supported by documentary evidence acceptable to ABRSM (e.g. a medical certificate), half of the entry fee may be refunded. Alternatively, at ABRSM’s discretion, a re-entry voucher may be issued entitling the candidate to enter the exam again for the same subject and at the same or a higher grade within one year of the original exam period. A candidate entered on a re-entry voucher is required to pay only the difference between the full fee for the selected grade at the time of re-entry and the value of the voucher. Re-entry vouchers cannot be exchanged for cash.
  3. A candidate re-entered on a voucher and again absent is not entitled to any further concession, refund or re-entry voucher.
  4. A candidate who is withdrawn from an exam may be re-entered in the next exam period if the last date of entry has not passed. In such cases, a new entry and full payment (or re-entry voucher, if applicable) must be made, as entry details/payment cannot be transferred from one period to the next.
  5. As well as refunds under ABRSM’s Policy for Withdrawals, Non-Attendance and Fee Refunds, applicants may cancel their exam application at any time within 14 days from the date of submitting the entry by giving written notice to the local representative or office at which the entry was made (except on occasions where the exam is scheduled to take place within 14 days from the date of submitting the entry form). In this case, the applicant will receive a full refund of any fees paid for the exam. If the applicant is a consumer (which typically includes candidates who are 18 or over and apply for themselves or the parents of candidates who are under 18), ABRSM is under a legal duty to offer the right to change their mind. This is also offered at our discretion to applicants who are not consumers (typically music teachers and schools).

10 Theory exams: Timings and conduct

  1. Timings for theory exams are:

    Grades 1–3: 1½ hours
    Grades 4–5: 2 hours
    Grades 6–8: 3 hours

  2. Candidates with sensory impairments, learning difficulties or particular physical needs may qualify for an additional time allowance (→ Reg. 19).
  3. Candidates are advised to attend 10 minutes before the start of the exam and to bring the name label previously sent to the applicant (→ Reg. 8f).
  4. No candidate arriving more than 35 minutes after the start of the exam will be admitted.
  5. An invigilator is present for the duration of the exam.
  6. The invigilator opens the sealed packet of exam papers in the exam room in the presence of the candidates and informs them that:

    • they must complete their question paper without help and without reference to notes, musical calculators or books of any kind, and that any candidate infringing this rule or helping another will be disqualified;
    • they must stick their name label (→ Reg. 8f) at the top of their paper;
    • they must write their answers clearly and legibly, otherwise marks may be lost;
    • they are not allowed to take copies of the papers nor their rough notes from the room;
    • the time allowed is printed at the top of each question paper.
  7. At public centres, ABRSM provides plain ruled manuscript paper on which candidates may do any rough working. At visits, this may be provided by the host. Candidates should bring their own pens or pencils. They may not bring mobile phones, other electronic devices or any unauthorised material or equipment (such as their own manuscript or other paper, any representation of the piano keyboard or any recording device) into the exam room. Candidates must not attempt to communicate with one another during the exam. Any candidate infringing these rules may be disqualified.
  8. Candidates may hand in their papers at any time after 40 minutes from the start of the exam but, having done so, must leave the room and may not return. Once candidates have left the exam room, they are no longer under the invigilator’s supervision (→ Reg. 19a).
  9. As each paper is handed in, the invigilator ensures that the candidate’s full name appears legibly at the top.
  10. The invigilator dispatches the papers to ABRSM in accordance with the instructions issued by ABRSM, having first sealed them in secure envelopes before leaving the exam room.
  11. ABRSM does not accept responsibility for the loss of any papers in the post after their dispatch to ABRSM by the invigilator. In such cases, the entry fees are refunded.
  12. Where possible, ABRSM endeavours to make translations of the exam script available for theory exam candidates. Requests for translations must be made at the time of entry.

11 Practical exams: Timings and conduct

  1. Timings for practical exams are provided at www.abrsm.org/examtimings. These indicate the approximate duration of each exam and allow for the candidate’s entry and exit, any tuning time, as well as time for the examiner to complete the mark form between exams. Examiners may, at their discretion, take more or less time than the specified timings.
  2. Candidates with sensory impairments, learning difficulties or particular physical needs may qualify for an additional time allowance (→ Reg. 18).
  3. An additional three minutes are allowed where an interpreter is used (except for ARSM exams) (→ Reg. 13b).
  4. Candidates are advised to attend 10 minutes before the start of the exam. 
  5. It is not permitted to bring any unauthorised material or equipment (such as recording devices) into the exam room, and mobile phones must be switched off. Anyone infringing this rule may be disqualified.
  6. With the exception of the steward and the local representative, no one is permitted to listen outside the exam room or to remain near the door.
  7. Generally, only one examiner is present in the exam room. A second examiner may be present for reasons of examiner training or quality assurance.
  8. For monitoring, quality assurance, training and moderation purposes, exams may from time to time be recorded by ABRSM. Exams may also be recorded for use in public seminars and for marketing purposes. These recordings become the property of ABRSM but candidates will not be identified or identifiable in any recordings used for public seminars or marketing purposes.

12 Candidate list and attendance order

  1. The steward is provided with a candidate list showing the timetable for each day, including each candidate’s appointment time. Wherever possible, candidates are timetabled in the same order as they were listed at the time of entry.
  2. Should the applicant wish to alter the order in which candidates are examined, the following instructions must be observed: the overall time allocated to the exam must not be changed; the timing of any scheduled lunch break must not be affected; the revised candidate list (indicating precisely the new appointment time for each candidate) must be presented to the steward by the first candidate before the start of the exam.

13 Accompanists, interpreters and page-turners

  1. Applicants must ensure that candidates provide their own live accompanist. The candidate’s teacher may act as accompanist. Under no circumstances will the examiner do so (except in the prep test). For graded exams, the accompanist may remain in the exam room only while engaged in accompanying. If necessary, the accompanist may simplify any part of the piano accompaniment provided the result is musically satisfactory.
  2. Exams are normally conducted in English. A candidate who is not comfortable using English is permitted to bring an independent person (who is neither the candidate’s music teacher nor a relative) into the exam room as interpreter. In all cases, approval must be requested in advance from ABRSM.
  3. With the exception of an accompanist and/or interpreter, the candidate is generally not permitted to bring another person into the exam room. However, if permission is requested in writing from ABRSM at the time of entry, the applicant may nominate someone who is neither the candidate’s music teacher nor a relative of the candidate to be present.
  4. Page turns (also see Reg. 14g regarding photocopying music):

    • Candidates: in a Grade 1–5 exam, candidates are generally required to make any page-turns in their music themselves. In a Grade 6–8 or ARSM exam, candidates are permitted to bring a page-turner to assist with awkward page turns; prior permission is not required. Organ candidates at any grade may bring a page-turner (who may also act as registrant); prior permission is not required. A candidate’s teacher may act as page-turner. Examiners are unable to help with page-turning.
    • Accompanists: in a Grade 6–8 or ARSM exam, a candidate’s accompanist is permitted to bring a page turner to assist with page-turns in the piano part; prior permission is not required.

14 Exam music and performance requirements

  1. Practical exams (except ARSM)

    Practical exams are conducted in accordance with the applicable syllabus. Applicants must ensure they review the syllabus and draw relevant parts of the syllabus to the attention of candidates.

  2. Applicants, teachers and candidates are advised to pay close attention to the exam requirements as well as to the requirements indicated in the current syllabus lists. A ‘piece’ comprises all the music set under one number-heading in the syllabus lists (unless an option is specifically indicated) and may comprise more than one movement from a work or more than one item from an album.
  3. Candidates failing to observe specific syllabus requirements or regulations (e.g. performing a piece not listed in the syllabus, or not being prepared to perform the full extent of a piece as indicated in the syllabus) may be penalised or, in certain cases, disqualified.
  4. Where appropriate, the initial tempo indication (or section title) of a piece/movement is listed in the syllabus. Where a piece/movement comprises more than one tempo indication (or section title), the whole piece/movement is still required to be played in the exam (unless otherwise indicated).
  5. The individual sections of the exam may be undertaken in any order at the candidate’s choice (although ideally accompanied pieces should be performed consecutively). If an accompanied exam begins with any section other than the pieces, the steward should be advised in advance so that the accompanist can be summoned at the appropriate time.
  6. Examiners may ask to look at the music before or after the performance of a piece (a separate copy is not required as the candidate’s or accompanist’s copy will suffice). Examiners may decide to stop the performance of a piece when they have heard enough to form a judgement.
  7. Copyright laws prohibit the making or use of unauthorised photocopies (or other kinds of copies) of copyright works. Application should be made to the copyright holder before any copy is made. It is the applicant’s responsibility to make sure that candidates act within the law with respect to the making and use of photocopies (or other copies). ABRSM reserves the right to withhold the exam result of any candidate where it has evidence of the use of an illegal copy (or copies) in connection with that exam.
  8. ARSM exams

    ARSM exams are conducted in accordance with the applicable syllabus. Applicants must ensure they review the syllabus and draw relevant parts of it to the attention of candidates.

  9. Applicants, teachers and candidates are advised to pay close attention to the exam requirements as well as to the requirements indicated in the current ARSM repertoire lists. An ARSM item comprises all the music set under one number-heading in the repertoire lists (unless an option is specifically indicated) and may comprise more than one movement from a work or more than one item from an album.
  10. Candidates failing to observe specific syllabus requirements or regulations (e.g. offering an inappropriate standard of own-choice piece, presenting a programme that is too short/long, or not performing repertoire chosen from the set lists as specified) may be penalised or, in certain cases, disqualified.
  11. Where appropriate, the initial tempo indication (or section title) of a piece/movement is listed in the repertoire lists. Where the piece/movement comprises more than one tempo indication (or section title), the whole piece/movement is still required to be played in the exam (unless otherwise indicated).
  12. Examiners may ask to look at the music before or after the performance of the whole programme (a separate copy is not required as the candidate’s or accompanist’s copy will suffice). Examiners may decide to stop the performance if the upper time limit is exceeded.
  13. Use of photocopies: → Reg. 14g.

15 Special consideration

  1. Special consideration may be given at ABRSM’s discretion to a candidate whose performance in an exam is felt to have been affected by, or who does not complete an exam owing to, circumstances beyond their reasonable control. Further details including the application for special consideration procedure are contained in ABRSM’s Special Consideration Policy, available at www.abrsm.org/policies.
  2. ABRSM’s Special Consideration Policy does not apply to candidates suffering from illness or injury in advance of an exam. The recommended course of action here is withdrawal, followed by application for a partial refund or re-entry voucher (→ Reg. 9). It is not advisable for a candidate who is unwell to attend an exam, nor for a candidate suffering from illness or injury to attempt an exam under disadvantageous circumstances that cannot be taken into account by the examiner.
  3. Examiners are not permitted to determine whether special consideration should be given. These decisions are made only by ABRSM, provided that the application for special consideration is validly made in accordance with ABRSM’s Special Consideration Policy (available at www.abrsm.org/policies).
  4. Candidates can be assessed only on the performance given during an exam. Consequently, an application for special consideration will not generally result in an adjustment to marks. Where a section of a graded exam is not attempted, marks for that section cannot be awarded, but a candidate may still be successful and be awarded a certificate provided that the marks awarded for the sections attempted total 100 or more in a practical exam and 66 marks or more in a theory exam.

16 Results and certificates

  1. ABRSM’s marking schemes are outlined at www.abrsm.org/markingcriteria as well as in the relevant syllabus.
  2. Examiners report directly to ABRSM and are not permitted to divulge any information regarding exam results to any other person.
  3. No marks are awarded for the prep test or performance assessment. A certificate with constructive comments is written by the examiner and presented to the candidate at the end of the assessment.
  4. Results for practical exams are usually issued as soon as possible after the exam date by local representatives.
  5. A mark form is issued for each candidate. All mark forms are clerically checked and reviewed prior to issue. For practical exams, the mark form gives a breakdown of the marks awarded for each section and the total number of marks as well as the examiner’s comments. When a candidate achieves marks totalling less than half the overall pass mark, a mark form showing only the examiner’s comments will generally be issued with no marks recorded. For theory exams, the mark form gives a breakdown of the marks awarded for each question and the total number of marks. Theory exam papers are not returned after marking.
  6. All successful candidates receive a certificate specifying the subject and level at which they have been examined. Successful ARSM candidates may append the letters of the qualification after their name. While indicating a high standard at the level, a Distinction in Grade 8 or ARSM does not necessarily imply suitability for admission to any of the Royal Schools of Music or any higher education institution, or for a professional career in music. Certificates do not certify that the holders are qualified to teach. 
  7. Unless the applicant requests otherwise and in writing, the results (mark forms/certificates) are posted to the applicant named on the entry form, whose responsibility it is to pass them on to candidates. Applicants also receive a list of candidates showing the results obtained by each. In countries where online entry is available, results are also made available to the applicant at www.abrsm.org and can be accessed using the applicant number and confidential password (→ Reg. 3b).
  8. Results are issued only in accordance with the procedures described in Reg. 16g. ABRSM will not disclose exam results by telephone or email.
  9. Except where ABRSM has been negligent or at fault, ABRSM does not accept responsibility for the loss or non-receipt of any results after their dispatch by post. Results of practical exams will be sent by registered post if a request is made by paying the postal registration fee with the exam fee.
  10. While ABRSM’s policy is to release results only to the applicant (→ Reg. 16g), ABRSM reserves the right to confirm results to another concerned party (e.g. a parent or head teacher) in cases of serious illness or death of the applicant, or failure by the applicant to pass on results within eight weeks of their dispatch by ABRSM. ABRSM will endeavour to verify any such circumstances, following which written confirmation of results and/or duplicate certificates may be issued directly to the relevant party. 
  11. On application and payment of the necessary fees, the result of a past exam may be confirmed in writing to a concerned party (e.g. an applicant, candidate or parent). A duplicate certificate can be supplied upon request and receipt of the necessary fees. For further details and to submit a request, please use the Contact Us form at www.abrsm.org/examdatesandfees.
  12. The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) includes Grades 6–8 in the points tariff for UK university and college entrance. At the discretion of individual institutions, candidates may benefit from the allocation of UCAS points (www.ucas.com).

17 Complaints, appeals and feedback

  1. Complaints

    Complaints should be made in accordance with ABRSM’s Complaints Policy. A copy of the most up-to-date version of the Complaints Policy is available from ABRSM at any time upon request and can also be found at www.abrsm.org/complaints.

  2. Enquiries about results and appeals

    Specific guidance for enquiries about results and marking appeals can be found at www.abrsm.org/examconcerns.

  3. Feedback

    ABRSM welcomes feedback about results or other matters. All feedback is logged and plays a valuable part in ABRSM’s quality assurance procedures. Specific guidance on procedures and a feedback form can be found at www.abrsm.org/examconcerns.

18 Access for candidates with specific needs

  1. ABRSM aims to make its exams accessible to all candidates, although it should be understood that while the examiner is informed of candidates’ needs, no special concession or allowance in marking is made, and each candidate’s performance is judged according to the standard generally expected. ABRSM publishes separate guidelines covering provisions for blind and partially sighted candidates, deaf and hearing-impaired candidates, candidates with dyslexia, dyspraxia or other learning difficulties, candidates with autistic spectrum disorders (including Asperger syndrome) and candidates with other specific needs. Where ABRSM’s guidelines are not applicable or a candidate has particular physical access needs, each case is considered on an individual basis. Guidelines and further information are available from the local representative or at www.abrsm.org/specificneeds if there is no local representative. 
  2. All requests for access arrangements must be made at the time of entry. For graded exams, prep tests or performance assessments, the applicant should record the relevant code on the entry form. When making an entry for an ARSM exam or where further arrangements are required, the applicant should attach a covering letter to the entry form giving full details. The local representative will then liaise with the access coordinator to determine any reasonable adjustments required for the exam. Applicants are responsible for obtaining appropriate consent to reveal information about a candidate’s specific needs to ABRSM.

19 Safeguarding

  1. ABRSM acknowledges responsibility for the safety and welfare of children taking its exams or otherwise under its temporary care. All staff and volunteers working on behalf of ABRSM are required to accept this responsibility and commit to practices that protect children from harm.
  2. ABRSM’s Safeguarding Policy, Procedures and Code of Practice, produced in consultation with the NSPCC, is available at www.abrsm.org/safeguarding. The policy includes a code of practice for all who work on behalf of the organisation. ABRSM is committed to reviewing its policy and code of practice at regular intervals and may change the content from time to time.
  3. Any concerns regarding a child’s or children’s welfare and/or safety must be reported immediately to ABRSM using the Safeguarding Concerns Report form available at www.abrsm.org/policies.

20 Equal opportunities

ABRSM is committed to providing equality of opportunity and treatment for all, and will not unlawfully discriminate on the basis of any protected characteristics in its dealings with any candidate, applicant, parent, teacher, examiner, local representative or steward.

21 Data protection

  1. ABRSM will process personal data about individuals including applicants, candidates and others in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998 (as amended or superseded, including from 25 May 2018 the General Data Protection Regulation) and other related legislation. ABRSM will process such personal data:

    • as set out in ABRSM’s Privacy Policy, available at www.abrsm.org/policies, which may be amended from time to time;
    • as set out in these exam regulations and in order to perform its obligations under any contract with individuals, and where otherwise reasonably necessary for ABRSM’s purposes;
    • in order to comply with any court order, request from or referral to an appropriate authority, or legal, regulatory or good-practice requirement.
  2. ABRSM is registered as a data controller with the UK Information Commissioner’s Office under registration number Z6618494.

22 Other important terms

  1. Changes to exam regulations

    ABRSM reserves the right to change or add to these exam regulations from time to time for legal, safety or other substantive reasons in order to assist the proper delivery of exam services. The latest version of these exam regulations will be available at www.abrsm.org or otherwise upon request by contacting ABRSM.

  2. Law that applies to exam regulations and where legal proceedings may be brought

    The contract between the applicant and ABRSM is governed by English law. The applicant and ABRSM must bring legal proceedings in respect of this contract in the English courts.

  3. Rights in relation to enforcement of exam regulations

    If ABRSM chooses to not enforce any part of the contract or delays enforcing it, this will not affect ABRSM’s right to enforce the same part later (or on a separate occasion) or the rest of the contract.

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