An apology from ABRSM

4 months ago
Chris Cobb


Over the last couple of days our booking service has been under-performing, creating excessively long wait times for our customers. For many of you this has been hugely frustrating, and we share that frustration.

We’ve been working to make things right and we’ve put in place a couple of temporary fixes which will take us through this booking period and greatly improve the experience. Wait times during online booking are now around 1-10 minutes. We’ll continue to put in place additional fixes ahead of the next practical booking period later this year.

Like many of our customers we’re disappointed, particularly as our systems had largely stabilised and had performed well for the last two booking periods. This has been down to the intensive work we’ve put into overhauling our IT infrastructure and placing more emphasis on the feedback from users to put flexibility and convenience into your hands. Working with partners, we’ve completed hundreds of changes over the last year, making improvements to everything from the booking experience to fundamental system stability enhancements. Many of these changes have gone largely unnoticed - it would be very rare for anyone to comment on a good experience, which is, after all, what we’ve all come to expect from online services.

Throughout this time, we’ve managed a range of booking periods for UK and internationally based candidates with thousands of candidates entered for exams. We are extremely grateful and proud that our transformed systems have enabled us to continue to offer music assessments globally during the challenges of the past couple of years.

Based around feedback we’ve heard loud and clear from teachers and parents, we’re now in the position of trying to go beyond the first aims of the updated booking system and to put in place much more ambitious plans to make the process even better. The issue in this UK booking period has directly related to one of these improvements - we wanted to introduce a new mapping function and, quite simply, it hasn’t worked. We won’t apologise for trying to make these changes to help those booking exams but we can only say how truly sorry we are that it has caused these queuing issues this time.

In spite of these issues, we are pleased to report that over 17,000 bookings did make it through over the first two days – thank you for continuing to work with us. We’ll keep working hard to deliver the best experiences we can so that we can all get back to our shared love of learning, playing and teaching music.

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