Latest exam updates

Performance Grades – booking for our next session of remotely-assessed Performance Grade and ARSM exams opens in the week beginning 5 April. To check dates click here. You can find all our Performance Grades information and guidance here.

Grade 5 Music Theory waiver (not applicable in the UK & Ireland)

We are extending our Grade 5 Music Theory waiver until 23 May 2021. This means that candidates with a Grade 6 to 8 Performance Grade exam submission date up to and including 23 May can take their exam without first passing Grade 5 Music Theory. We are making this exceptional arrangement to allow candidates who have been unable to take an exam in recent months to progress with their learning. From 24 May, the Grade 5 Music Theory requirement will return. For exam dates/exam submission dates after 23 May, all candidates taking a Grade 6 to 8 Performance or Practical Grade must first pass Grade 5 Music Theory.

Performance Grade exams

We are pleased to confirm that we will be offering Performance Grade exams every month for the remainder of 2021. Please check our Dates and Fees page for details.

Grade 3 Singing

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Mark an ABRSM Grade 3 Singing exam

Our exams for Singing generally consist of three accompanied songs, chosen by the candidate from the appropriate lists in the current syllabus, as well as an unaccompanied traditional song, sight-singing and aural tests. In each Practical exam 150 marks are available. 100 marks are required to achieve a pass, 120 marks to pass with merit, and 130 marks to pass with distinction.

You can watch and assess each element of this Grade 3 Singing exam in any order, but you will need to watch them all to find out the candidate's overall result. After watching each element, you will be asked what level you think the candidate achieved using our assessment criteria as reference. Our Chief Examiner, John Holmes, will then provide his analysis of the performance.

We hope this resource will help you understand how ABRSM exams are assessed and what our examiners are looking for in a performance.

Select an exam element below to watch and mark:


In Singing exams candidates perform an unaccompanied traditional (folk) song of their choice from memory. Learning to sing unaccompanied helps students to develop their sense of key and pulse. It also encourages control of tonality and pitch, sense of rhythm, use of tonal colour, musical communication and memory skills.



Experiencing a selection of good music is an essential part of musical learning. In preparing for our exams, candidates can choose from a broad list of songs appropriate to their standard, each presenting its own challenges. Candidates generally perform three songs in the exam (four at Grades 6-8) and each is marked independently.


Aural Tests

Listening is the basis of all good music making, and developing aural awareness is a fundamental part of any music education. ABRSM aural tests are designed to strengthen the vital connection between listening and performing, and to encourage students to develop their 'inner ear' and ability to hear how music works.


Sight Reading

Being able to sight-sing is a valuable skill with many benefits. It enables students to explore new songs with increased confidence and speeds up the learning process. Good sight-singing skills offer the satisfaction of independent musical discovery, as notation on the page is more readily transformed into sound.


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