How we can help you pass grades

We can prepare pupils for Associated Board practical exams. These are available in most instruments and voice. The Associated Board also offer written theory of music exams.

We organise a special Associated Board exam session in Camden just after the end of every term. To enter your child we need the completed application and payment by the deadline. Please send the application form as soon as the teacher says your child is ready. Then confirm the booking with a payment before the deadline.

Exam preparation sessions are available at our Senior Saturday Music Centre. We tailor them to each pupil.

Exams provide a progressive system of assessments. They start with the Prep Test. This is a gentle introduction where the examiner gives encouraging feedback. There is no pass or fail.

What the music grades are

Grades 1 - 8 need 100 marks out of 150 to pass. Pupils can study in their own time and at their own pace and there is no need to take every grade. Many pupils skip a level or enter for strategic grades.

The 'grades' are recognised as international benchmarks. They are valued by teachers and institutions all over the world. Grades 6 upwards also carry UCAS tariff points.

To enter at grade 6 and above, pupils need to have passed grade 5 theory.

Exams don't suit all pupils, but, for some they provide clear attainable goals and are good for motivation.

The Music Service enters pupils for practical and theory examinations three times a year.

What the exam involves

During the exam pupils will be asked to perform three prepared pieces of music. Most pieces have a piano accompaniment. All candidates, apart from those entering for piano or guitar, will need an accompanist. We are usually able to provide an accompanist for pupils we enter. Pupils are welcome to bring their own though.

As well as the pieces, candidates are asked to play some prepared technical exercises called scales and arpeggios. Also, candidates are asked to play a short piece of music they have not seen before. This is called sightreading. Finally, the examiner will ask candidates to take three or four short aural tests.