Latest exam updates

Music Theory exams – March 2021

  • Online Music Theory exams (Grades 1 to 5) – we are cancelling the online exams planned for 16 March. Exams in May and June will go ahead as planned.
  • Paper Music Theory exams (Grades 6 to 8) – we will not be offering these exams in March. The next exams at Grades 6 to 8 will be in June 2021.
  • Grade 5 Music Theory requirement - from 1 January to 30 April 2021 only, candidates can take Grade 6 to 8 Performance or Practical exams without first passing Grade 5 Music Theory. From 1 May 2021, the Grade 5 Music Theory requirement will return with flexibility about timing. If you receive an email asking for your proof of prerequisite, please ignore this. We will still release any results in line with the arrangements outlined here.

For more information click here.

ARSM index

ARSM video library

ARSM is a post-Grade 8 diploma that’s all about performance.

To help give you an idea of what this new exam is all about we’ve produced a series of useful guidance videos and resources featuring John Holmes, ABRSM's Chief Examiner.

Quick links

What is ARSM?


A set of videos in which John introduces the ARSM diploma, explaining the benefits of the assessment and how it relates to our Grade 8 and DipABRSM exams.

Videos in this playlist

A showcase of performances


These videos feature candidates performing each piece in turn, followed by commentary from John, who discusses the ARSM marking criteria and provides an insight into what our examiners are looking for.

The films are condensed versions of an ARSM exam and are representative of the whole performance. We have focused on areas of the performance which led to the overall result.

Videos in this playlist

The marking criteria


In this series of films John provides an insight into how the assessment of an ARSM exam works, focusing on the marking scheme and the qualities of communication, interpretation and delivery.

Videos in this playlist

The programme


In this set of videos John discusses the task of putting together a programme of repertoire for ARSM, providing an insight into the factors to take into consideration when doing so.

Videos in this playlist


“It gives you somewhere to aim for. If you've done Grade 8, it's a nice bridge to DipABRSM."

Member of the Junior Department

Royal Academy of Music

“The stamina involved in sitting down and playing in front of someone for 30 minutes is quite a big challenge, but it's fun. ”

Member of the Junior Department
Royal Academy of Music

“It really helps you deal with pressure and helps you get used to being in a performance environment. ”

Member of the Junior Department

Royal Academy of Music

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