Pass, Merit or Distinction? How examiners mark your ABRSM music exam.

STOP PRESS: View our students’ results from the Summer 2014 ABRSM Session


Many students want to know how to get a Distinction in their music exams. There is a very useful guide written by ABRSM called These Music Exams which details the marking scheme that examiners use.

Summer 2014 - Here's Safiya (age 8) with her Grade 5 Distinction Jazz Piano Certificate. Click here to see more of our students' exam results.
Summer 2014 – Here’s Safiya (age 8) with her Grade 5 Distinction Jazz Piano Certificate. Click here to see more of our students’ exam results.

Here is a blank ABRSM mock exam form for use by teachers in accordance with the ABRSM exam marking criteria. There will be a session focussing on some of the Alternative List pieces in November – the session is for piano teachers. More details here: One Day Workshop for Piano Teachers in London

Many students do not realise that they can practice the aural tests at home but there is a really fantastic web site that you can use to help you prepare. See this link – there are lots of free tests plus it’s very reasonably priced to subscribe:

http://e-musicmaestro.com/auraltests/

Congratulations Anne-Marie: Grade 8 Piano Distinction
Congratulations Anne-Marie: Grade 8 Piano Distinction
Grade 1 Distinction, 144/150
Grade 1 Distinction, 144/150
Click to view our recent ABRSM exam results and certificates
Click to view our recent ABRSM exam results and certificates

I thought it may also be useful to see some of the comments sheets from examiners to compare and contrast this with the Marking Criteria. See below for the PDF with the breakdown of marks and the comments from actual exams ranging from Passes to Distinction.

Click here for the ABRSM Examiner's Comments
Click here for the ABRSM Examiner’s Comments

See some of our students’ recent exam successes:

Now available for our students: ABRSM Scale Practice Charts

Grade 3 ABRSM Piano Scale Practice chart

 


Music Scholarship & Aptitude Test 1-to-1 Lessons: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/o/se22-piano-school-16475016451


We offer 1-to-1 Music Aptitude Test lessons for students applying to schools such as Ashmole, Kingsdale, Marylebone, Twyford, Moulsham and many more.

Meet the Student: Hannah

Hannah Piano Award WinnerHannah talks about the importance of Mock Exams: I first sat a mock exam before my Grade 1 Piano exam. I was a very nervous student and whenever I played in front of other people I always made mistakes. Lorraine suggested I sit a mock exam with Graham Fitch who was the adjudicator at the Dulwich Piano Festival last year. The purpose of the mock exam was to ensure I was prepared for any mishaps that might happen on exam day and allow me the time to overcome these before the real exam. I still found the mock exam stressful and had butterflies in my tummy.


Hannah-CircleHowever he was very nice and put me at ease. He talked me through my performance and offered suggestions on areas to improve. This is really good for your confidence before doing the real exam. I now sit mocks for all exams and have sat them for my Grade 2 Piano and my Grade 1 Cello. I have done well in all three of my exams and I am sure sitting the mock has helped and I would encourage students to sit them.

Written by Hannah Wickham, age 10 (Dulwich Hamlets Junior School). Hannah is taking her Grade 3 exam next month and studies with Lorraine Liyanage

ABRSM Music Exam facts and figures!

August 19th 2021: We need your vote! Just one click for the SE22 Piano School would mean the world to us. Voting closes September 17th 2021. Thank you. VOTE HERE

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Grade 8 Distinction - student of Lorraine Liyanage
Grade 8 Distinction – student of Lorraine Liyanage

Click here to view more ABRSM Exam results
Click here to view more ABRSM Exam results

Later today I will be publishing our ABRSM and Rockschool exam results from the July Summer session. In the meantime, here’s some interesting information taken from the ABRSM web site about the number of candidates entering for graded exams by instrument. You can see just how popular the piano is in the UK and also what grades candidates achieved at examinations. As a keen harpsichordist, it’s a shame that only 15 students entered exams in 2009. I’m hoping to boost those numbers by getting more pianists learning the harpsichord too! I organise harpsichord competitions for musicians of all ages and abilities as well as workshops at Handel House Museum and Peregrine’s Pianos.

1) Entries by instrument/subject.
Source: ABRSM page 

2009 entries by instrument including graded music exams, Prep Test and Performance Assessment
Instrument Entries
Piano 124,090
Theory of Music 45,275
Violin 35,587
Flute 28,832
Singing 27,657
Clarinet 23,022
Alto Saxophone 10,812
Cello 8,166
Trumpet 7,821
Guitar 5,035
B Flat Cornet 3,401
Descant Recorder 2,897
Oboe 2,768
Trombone 2,459
Viola 2,072
Jazz Piano 1,803
Horn 1,393
Harp 1,392
Jazz Alto Sax 1,209
Bassoon 1,077
Double Bass 1,033
E Flat Horn 960
Euphonium 651
Treble Recorder 574
Tenor Saxophone 509
Organ 490
Percussion 479
Baritone 402
Tuba 379
Practical Musicianship 290
Jazz Clarinet 268
Soprano Saxophone 257
Jazz Trumpet 212
Jazz Flute 172
Jazz Tenor Saxophone 119
Jazz Trombone 53
Bass Trombone 22
Jazz Cornet 22
Jazz Soprano Sax 16
Baritone Saxophone 15
Harpsichord 15
E Flat Soprano Cornet 7
Jazz Baritone Sax 3
Jazz Flugelhorn 2

2) Practical exam statistics
Source: ABRSM Page 

2009
Grade Pass Merit Distinction Fail Total
1 29,833 29,822 14,982 1,253 75,890
2 25,893 19,269 7,370 1,646 54,178
3 22,506 16,262 6,016 1,714 46,498
4 16,337 10,819 4,119 1,610 32,885
5 15,116 9,318 3,772 1,953 30,159
6 6,044 4,258 1,948 855 13,105
7 4,053 3,033 1,782 701 9,569
8 3,307 2,851 2,542 858 9,558
          271,842

3) Theory Exam statistics
Source: ABRSM Page 

2009
Grade Pass Merit Distinction Fail Total
1 1,004 1,886 4,312 385 7,587
2 615 1,414 2,881 183 5,093
3 1,212 1,662 1,409 533 4,816
4 773 915 636 339 2,663
5 7,709 7,528 3,695 3,094 22,026
6 433 136 27 246 842
7 121 74 16 21 232
8 143 88 12 96 339
          43,598

I believe that the average age for a candidate taking Grade 1 piano is 10. I cannot find the exact reference for this, although there is mention of this in an old copy of ‘Libretto‘, a magazine published by the ABRSM. This also states that the ‘typical Grade 5 practical candidate is 14 years old’.

ABRSM’s graded music exams for individual instruments, singing and Theory as well as diplomas and Music Medals are accredited by the regulatory authorities in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and are part of the National Qualifications Framework. In Australia, Canada and South Africa, ABRSM exams can be used for credit towards the relevant qualifications taken by students completing compulsory secondary education. The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) includes Grades 6–8 in the tariff for UK university and college entrance.

We offer 1-to-1 Music Aptitude Test lessons for students applying to schools such as Ashmole, Kingsdale, Marylebone, Twyford, Moulsham and many more.


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