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Latest exam updates

Grade 5 Music Theory waiver (not applicable in the UK & Ireland)

We are extending our Grade 5 Music Theory waiver until 23 May 2021. This means that candidates with a Grade 6 to 8 Performance Grade exam submission date up to and including 23 May can take their exam without first passing Grade 5 Music Theory. We are making this exceptional arrangement to allow candidates who have been unable to take an exam in recent months to progress with their learning. From 24 May, the Grade 5 Music Theory requirement will return. For exam dates/exam submission dates after 23 May, all candidates taking a Grade 6 to 8 Performance or Practical Grade must first pass Grade 5 Music Theory.

Performance Grade exams

We are pleased to confirm that we will be offering Performance Grade exams every month for the remainder of 2021. Please check our Dates and Fees page for details.


Between 1993 and 1999 ABRSM carried out three substantial programmes of research into the teaching, learning and playing of musical instruments in the UK. The ABRSM reports based on that research had a significant impact on the music education environment.

With the Wider Opportunities programme established, the publication of Darren Henley’s February 2011 report into music education in England, the November 2011 National Plan for Music Education and the setting up of the Music Education Hubs network in England – plus the deepest recession in the UK for many years – now seems an appropriate time to look again at what is happening to musical instrument teaching and learning.

This report, we believe, will be of huge significance in a changing music educational environment. Its significance has been enhanced by the willing cooperation of the many organisations that have helped ABRSM with this project.

I extend my thanks to them but also to those within ABRSM who have driven this project with such energy and determination, most notably our Director of Strategic Development, Lincoln Abbotts; our Business Development Director, Ben Selby; our Research Manager, Claire Milner and our communications team of Tony Pinkham and Tríona Doherty.

Leslie East

Leslie East
Chief Executive, ABRSM

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