Latest exam updates

Exam refunds

To support customers affected by ongoing COVID restrictions, for Practical and Performance Grade exams from 1st January to 31st May 2021 any absent candidate will automatically receive a refund. This includes Performance Grades where the candidate has been unable to record and upload their video. You do not need to contact us to request a refund. However, it will help us if you can log in to your account and cancel the exam. Find out more: https://www.abrsm.org/en/latestupdates

For Online Music Theory exams and any paper based exams taking place outside of the UK/Ireland we anticipate COVID restrictions will not prevent candidates from sitting their exam so absentee candidate will not automatically receive a refund and our normal Withdrawal, non-attendance and fee refunds policy still applies.

Music Theory exams – March 2021

  • Online Music Theory exams (Grades 1 to 5) – we are cancelling the online exams planned for 16 March. Exams in May and June will go ahead as planned.
  • Paper Music Theory exams (Grades 6 to 8) – the next exams will take place in June. Please note, dates and booking periods for Grades 1-5 and Grades 6-8 may be different from now on. For full details, see our dates and fees page.
  • Grade 5 Music Theory requirement - from 1 January to 30 April 2021 only, candidates can take Grade 6 to 8 Performance or Practical exams without first passing Grade 5 Music Theory. From 1 May 2021, the Grade 5 Music Theory requirement will return with flexibility about timing. If you receive an email asking for your proof of prerequisite, please ignore this. We will still release any results in line with the arrangements outlined here.

For more information click here.

Performance Grade booking

We will be offering Performance Grade exams every month for the remainder of 2021. Exact dates will be announced soon. Please check here for more information.

Theory worksWelcome to Music Theory Trainer

Bring music theory to life with fun and engaging challenges at Grades 1–5.

ABRSM Music Theory Trainer contains over 6,000 specially-written questions designed to test and challenge your music theory knowledge.

Start by learning the basics then test yourself and see if you can get a perfect score. Every time you complete a round, you’ll unlock the next level. Watch your music theory knowledge build up in these fun challenges and become a music theory expert!

Hey, phone users! Music notation is complex and phone screens are small. This app is best viewed on an iPad but there's still lots you can learn and enjoy if you’re using the app on a smaller phone. Make sure you check out the preview screenshots in the App Store.

Why music theory is important

Music theory is the study of how to express yourself with music. Understanding music theory means knowing the language of music – it's a way to explain the music we hear.

Music theory is not just learning how to build chords, intervals or key signatures. Every single concept in music theory is an idea or foundation for learning how to express your thoughts with sound and music.

How many times do you listen to music (from a playlist on your phone to your exam pieces) and think "that bit of this piece sounds just like a section from another one"? Why does that connection happen? 

The connection is likely to be a catchy chord sequence, a rhythmic motif or the mood that a particular cadence can create. Being able to understand the theory behind these connections will help you progress as a performer or composer.

For example, when you create your own music, understanding harmony will enable you to create a sound world that is poignant, magical, happy or sad, and to communicate these expressive intentions to other performers via a common language.

When you perform music, you use your musical knowledge to interpret the composer’s intentions from the score and realise musical detail and style so that you can bring the music off the page, along with your own musical ideas and intentions.

Download Theory Works

Available on the iTunes App Store

Get it on Google Play

Learn about

  • The musical stave, pitches and clefs
  • Scales, keys and chords
  • Rhythm and time signatures
  • Musical terminology and signs
  • Voices and instruments
  • And much, much more!

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