Latest exam updates

Music Theory June 2021 exam update

Unfortunately, in line with government guidelines, the Music Theory 6-8 paper exams have been cancelled for June 2021 due to COVID-19.

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 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.

Music Theory Grades 1-5

Each Music Theory paper carries a total of 100 marks, 66 are required to achieve a pass, 80 to receive a merit and 90 for a distinction.

In the Music Theory papers at Grades 1–5 many of the questions are composite, testing various aspects of the syllabus, and the answers are often right or wrong. Marking is then usually a simple matter of calculation, i.e. by deductions from a maximum or by additions to zero, and this is particularly the case in such questions as naming notes, when 10 correct names are required for 10 marks. In these instances, the criteria are constructed using the principle of deducting marks for faults.

Composite questions covering more than one aspect of the syllabus are considered below in a subject-by-subject format. The criteria for questions which have a regular place in each paper and which require a degree of creativity on the part of the candidate, such as the composition of an answering rhythm, are set out in a mark-banded format.

It should be observed as a general principle that an answer to a question will not receive a pass mark (e.g. 7 out of 10) if it is fundamentally wrong (e.g. a wrong key signature or transposition to a wrong key), despite any merits that it might have; although the latter might well justify a mark which is near a pass (e.g. 6 out of 10).

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