Music Exams - Not For Everyone!
If you wish to, you can be entered to take a formal music examination such as those run by the Associated Board of the Royal School of Music (ABRSM). These, for example, start at Grade 1 and finish at Grade 8 and include practical (playing) as well as a listening (aural) part. Your teacher will tell you if you are ready to take one. The exams take place at the end of each term and registration closes at the beginning of the term. If you have entered for an exam you have the option to practice with accompaniment (if relevant) and practice the aural as part of your theory lesson. Depending on the instrument other examination boards are used.
It is also possible to take exams at Grades 1 to 5 for music theory. In fact, to move beyond Grade 5 at the practical (playing) side you have to have passed a Grade 5 theory exam.
Pupils only take exams if they want to. Whilst a formal qualification is nationally recognised, if you simply want to turn up and play - you can!