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.

Withdrawals, Non-attendance and Fee Refund Policy

Consumer and cancellation rights

When booking a music exam, you are entitled to cancel the contract within the period of 14 days after the day on which the contract is entered into (cooling-off period). 

If you are due to take the music exam before the expiry of the cooling-off period, then you have expressly requested that we begin the supply of services (i.e. the provision of the music exam) before the end of the cooling-off period, and acknowledged and agreed that you will lose the right to cancel after the exam day.

If you cancel your entry, we will reimburse payments received from you, subject to our statutory right to retain a portion of the entry fee to cover our reasonable costs as follows:

  1. We will process any refund due to you as soon as possible and, in any case, no later than 28 days after the day on which we were informed about your decision to cancel the contract.
  2. UK refunds are processed via cheque, however payment methods may vary outside the UK.
  3. If you cancel your entry after the cooling-off period, we will not offer any refund of the entry fee for the cancelled exam.

Customers outside of the UK should contact their local representative

Withdrawals and non-attendance

A candidate who is withdrawn from an exam or who does not attend may be eligible for a partial refund, under certain circumstances. The candidate may be re-entered at the next exam session, but a new entry and full payment must be submitted. Neither a cancelled entry nor the entry fee already paid can be transferred from one session to the next.

Illness and injury

Provided that the withdrawal is notified to ABRSM in writing as soon as possible and is sent no later than the day of the exam and is supported by documentary evidence. This should normally be a medical certificate, although a letter from someone in authority, such as a head teacher, confirming the candidate’s indisposition or injury may also be accepted. Notice given only to an examiner, steward or invigilator is not sufficient to qualify for a refund, if applicable.

Exceptional personal circumstances

If a candidate is withdrawn due to exceptional personal circumstances, such as bereavement, family crisis, or personal trauma an application must be made in writing by the applicant no later than the day of the exam with full details substantiating the request. 

Circumstances beyond the candidate’s control

Where a candidate misses a Practical exam due to circumstances beyond their control (such as a major travel incident that causes serious difficulties getting to the exam, or an accident to their instrument immediately before the exam). In this case a candidate’s Practical exam appointment may be rescheduled within the current exam session, although this may mean travelling to an alternative venue. 

Should rescheduling not be possible and in the case of non-attendance for a Music Theory exam, the applicant must notify ABRSM in writing as soon as possible with full details substantiating the request.

A candidate in quarantine for any infection must be withdrawn. If exams are cancelled owing to quarantine, alternative appointments/fee refunds may be offered at ABRSM’s discretion.

Special terms for non-attendance due to COVID (updated 26 February 2021)

To support customers affected by ongoing COVID restrictions, for Practical and Performance Grade exams from 1st January to 31st May 2021 any absent candidate will automatically receive a refund. This includes Performance Grades where the candidate has been unable to record and upload their video. It is not necessary to contact ABRSM to request this however, please log in to your account to cancel the exam. We will issue refunds within 28 days of the exam session ending (not the exam date).


Updated February 2021.

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