Exams with ABRSM-preparation and registration



ABRSM Exams:

To find the most up to date information go to the Singapore ABRSM website at: http://sg.abrsm.org/en/exam-booking/exam-dates-and-fees/

Introduction: ABRSM is an abbreviation for the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music. The examiners come to Singapore three times a year all the way from the U.K. to conduct exams for approximately one month. You will need to prepare for a year to do an exam. Exams are held in February-March and July-September and the registration is done six months beforehand.

On this page I will cover the following topics:

  • REGISTRATION: Dates, Fees, Venue, and Results notification
  • MARKING Scheme: Four Sections of the Exam
  • How and Why Marks are given

Exam Registration

The practical and theory exam are conducted as two separate exams and students are registered for these exams separately. Practical exams are usually held in February-March or July-August or August-September or September but registration starts as early as half a year before the exam. You can register for exam through a music school, a private teacher, or by yourself – simply go down to the ABRSM exams office during the registration period to register for exams or send in the completed form. If you already had registered for exams before (as an applicant), you can register for exams online.

ABRSM Representative Office

Singapore Symphonia Co Ltd

4 Battery Road #19-01

Bank of China Building

Singapore 049908

Registering as an applicant and/or a candidate

An applicant refers to the person registering for the exam. An applicant can be a music school, music teacher, parent, or yourself. A candidate is the person represented by an applicant for an exam. So, if you are registering for exams yourself, you can both be an applicant and a candidate. If your teacher is registering for you, you are the candidate and your teacher the applicant. All correspondences of the exam are sent to the applicant only and any changes with regards to the exam can only be made by the applicant.

Exam Dates for 2016

2016 Practical exams (session one)

Registration period: 12-23 October 2015


Singapore 16 February – 24 March (subject to minor changes)

2016 Practical exams (session two)

Registration period: 29 February – 11 March


Singapore 4 July – 5 August (subject to minor changes)*

2016 Practical exams (session three)

Registration period: 4-15 April


Singapore 10 August – 15 September (subject to minor changes)*

Notification of Exam Dates and Venue

Exam dates and venue are usually released one month before the exam. Practical exams are usually conducted in a music school and Theory exams are usually conducted in classrooms, multipurpose halls or function rooms.

Practical exams are only held on weekdays 9am-5pm. Please note that the practical exam dates, once given CANNOT be changed unless the candidate has a valid reason and proof(school exam schedule / MC) to show that he/she cannot have the exam on that day. Students who wish to take the exams must be prepared to take leave from school or work if the exam date clashes with their school / work.

Theory exams are held on Saturdays.Exam dates are fixed and if the candidate is not able to make it on that day, he/she will have to re-enter for the exam on the next period. Re-entry voucher may be given if the candidate has valid proof of his/her absence.

Exam Results

Practical exam results are usually released about one month after the exam whereas theory results are released after two to three months as they are sent to UK for marking. The marking schemes for both exams are as follows.


Practical Exams

Practical exams are marked out of a total of 150, with 100 marks required for a pass, 120 for a merit and 130 for a distinction.

There are four parts in the violin/viola exam.

  • Prepared Pieces
    Candidate needs to play 3 prepared pieces from a set list. Book to buy: Violin Exam Pieces ABRSM Grade__.
  • Scales and Arpeggios
    Candidate needs to memorize and play out scales and arpeggios. Book to buy: Violin Scales and Arpeggios ABRSM Grade __.
  • Sight-Reading
    The Examiner will provide an unseen short piece for the candidate to play. Book to buy: Improve your sight-reading Grade __Violin, by Paul Harris.
  • Aural
    Candidates are tested on pulse or rhythm clapping, echo singing, and for grade 4 and above, sight-singing and general questions after listening to a short piece. Book to buy: Aural Training in Practice ABRSM Grades 1-3 or 4-5 or 6-8.
Practical Exam Marking Scheme
Category Passing Mark Full Marks
Pieces 1   Piece from List A 20 30
1 Piece from List B 20 30
1 Piece from List C 20 30
Scales and Arpeggios 14 21
Sight-Reading 14 21
Aural 12 18
Total 100 150

Theory Exams

Theory exams are marked out of a total of 100, with 66 marks required for a pass, 80 for a merit and 90 for a distinction.


For practical exams from grade 1 to 5, there are no pre-requisites to taking these exams. Candidates registering for grades 6, 7 and 8 must have already passed one of the following qualifications:

• ABRSM Grade 5 Theory (or above)

• ABRSM Practical Musicianship Grade 5

• ABRSM Solo Jazz subject Grade 5

• Grade 5 Theory (or above) from any of these exam boards: Trinity Guildhall, London College of Music (LCM), Australian Music Exam Board (AMEB), University of South Africa (UNISA)

There are no pre-requisites for taking any music theory exam.

Important notes for students taking the exams:

• Do arrive 15-20mins earlier than your scheduled time. This will ensure that there are no last minute panics. Sometimes examiners might finish examining the previous student earlier so you might have to go in slightly earlier than your scheduled time.

• Do check the exam venue correctly. Different buildings and streets might have similar names.

• Remember to bring any form bring ID – student pass, birth cert, passport, IC, driving licence, etc.

• Remember to bring your exam pieces book for the practical exam and your own pencil and eraser for the theory exam

• Do bring a jacket to the exam room in case it is cold.

ABRSM – how and why marks are given:

The following tables illustrates the basis of marking within the board result bands. Each piece will be assessed independently using the principle of marking from the required pass mark negatively or positively, rather than awarding marks by deduction from the maximum or addition from zero. In awarding marks, examiners will balance the extent to which the cumulative qualities and abilities listed below are demonstrated and contribute towards the overall result.

For Pieces

Pieces MC 2014

For Scales, Sight-reading and Aural

Supporting MC 2014

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