Any student can take exams. The normal process is that your teacher will tell you when they think that you are ready to take an exam. You then get an entry form from reception, the teacher signs it and you then hand it in with the entry fee before the closing date for entries. Exams are normally taken at the end of each of the 3 terms. The closing date for entries falls at the end of the first week of each term. Once entered you’ll get confirmation of the time and date of the exam by post.
The college deals with the following exam boards:-
- The Associated Board of the Royal School of Music (ABRSM) - used for most practical instrument exams and theory exams
- The London College of Music - used particularly for percussion and keyboard exams
- The Guildhall School of Music and Drama
Practical Exam Format
A practical exam lasts from just over ten minutes, at Grade 1, to possibly 30 minutes at Grade 8.
It typically consists of the following parts:-
- playing scales. The examiner will choose some from the set that are specified for your instrument and grade.
- playing of 3 pieces (which you will have chosen and practised - endlessly - in the months beforehand)
- playing a piece provided by the examiner to test sight reading
- aural tests. These usually involve listening to a piece and describing it in musical terms that you’ve covered in theory lessons, listening to a piece played twice but with rhythmic and/or melodic differences and identifying what the differences were, and singing - either repeating a phrase played by the examiner or sight-singing (at higher grades)
It is possible to take practical exams without theory up until Grade 5. In order to be able to take Grade 6 or higher you first have to have passed the Grade 5 theory exam. The good news is that there is no theory exam needed beyond this at Grades 6 to 8. The bad news is that the Grade 5 theory exam includes everything you’ve learnt from Grades 1 to 5 inclusive.
The Music College provides, if you want to, the ability to take theory exams at any level. We usually use the ABRSM board. Practice papers are available and can be bought from reception.
Using Music Exam Results for University and College Entrance
It is possible to use the results of ABRSM practical and theory examinations to count towards the total number of points needed by the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS). [[ucas.htm]] More information is available….