Latest Exam News: Updated 22 July

Our new online service for exams from 2020 - FAQs

Access to pre-2020 exam records

We now have a completely new system supporting our new exam booking service. This allows us to offer a better service to teachers, learners and parents. However, our new system is not compatible with the old system, and we are unable to run them both together or provide access to previous records for customers.

We will continue to keep a record of all exams taken between 1994 and 2019. However, you will no longer have access to this information via your online account.

If you need information about pre-2020 exam entries, please contact us. We can provide information relating to individual candidates through our confirmation of marks service.

We will create a new record of all exams taken from January 2020 in our online booking service. Applicants will be able to view these details when they log in to their ABRSM account. Candidates (parents/carers) who have set up an account will also be able to log in to view details of all their exams taken from January 2020 onwards.

Booking online

You can always ask someone to book exams on your behalf. This could be the parent/carer of a candidate, a relative or a friend, or an adult candidate (aged 18 or over). We are unable to accept paper entry forms for the following exams: graded music exams, ARSM, Prep Test, Performance Assessment.

We’ve tested our exam booking service to work with the following browsers:

  • Google Chrome version 74
  • Microsoft Internet Explorer version 11
  • Safari version 12.1.2

We’ve tested these internet browsers on the following operating systems:

  • Windows 8, 8.1 and 10 +
  • Android 7 and 8 +
  • iOS 11 (or later)
  • Mac OSX 12.4

Creating your new ABRSM account

You can click here or go to the Login button on our website, choose ‘Register’ and then complete the online form. You will need to create a unique username and password to do this. If you have an ABRSM applicant number please enter this when you register and use the same surname that you used to create your original account. This will allow us to link up your records. This is particularly important if you are a Visit Organiser as it allows us to add any pre-approved venues to your account.

Our new online service is supported by new systems, which means we need to record your information in a different way. If you want to book graded exams, ARSM exams, a Prep Test or Performance Assessment you will need to create a new account even if you have booked exams with us before and have an Applicant Number.

We are no longer using Applicant Numbers. To set up your account you will need to create a username and password. You will then use these, instead of an Applicant Number, to log in.

However, if you have an Applicant Number from previous exam bookings, you should enter it when you register to allow us to link your new account to your existing personal details. . This is particularly important if you are a Visit Organiser, as it will allow us to link your previous pre-approved visit venue to your new account.

Everyone using our new online exam service will receive a unique Contact ID. This is to ensure we can identify individuals in the system, link up records and exam history, and avoid duplication.

ABRSM applicants (who book exams on behalf of candidates) will be given a Contact ID when they set up an online account. Candidates will be given a Contact ID once they’ve been entered for an exam through the new online service. Contact IDs will appear on all communications about exam bookings.

If you are an applicant, you will not need to use your Contact ID to book exams. However, it is important that you make a note of the Contact IDs for all your candidates. Once candidates have a Contact ID it should be entered, along with their date of birth, every time an exam booking is made for them. This will keep the candidate's records up to date on our system (including any access requirements and prerequisites), ensure all their exam bookings are linked, and make it quicker to enter their details when booking new exams.

Candidates can choose to register and create an account, even if they have not made the exam booking themselves. Parents/carers can set up this account on behalf of a child, but the account must be in the candidate’s name. Candidate accounts are optional, but having an account means that a candidate can log in to view information about their exams, change practical appointments at Public Venues, and view their results and practical mark forms seven days after we have released them to the applicant.

If the applicant includes the candidate (or parent/carer) email address in their exam booking, the candidate (or parent/carer) will automatically receive an email confirming the booking and asking if they would like to create an account. The email will include a link to the registration page. This email will also include the candidate’s Contact ID, which they need to enter when they create their account. Alternatively, once an exam has been booked, the candidate (or parent/carer) can request the candidate’s Contact ID from the applicant. The candidate (or parent/carer) can then go to our website at any time to register and create an account.

Candidate accounts should be created in the candidate’s name, and their Contact ID and date of birth should be entered where requested. This is to make sure we can create a unique record for the candidate, which links their existing and future exam bookings. If you are a parent/carer who would like to book exams for your child, you will need to set up your own account in your own name to make the booking. Anyone booking an exam should be 18 years or over. When you book exams for your child, please enter their Contact ID (if they have one) and date of birth, to make sure we can link their exam bookings.

We use your date of birth, along with other personal information you supply, to ensure we create a unique and secure record for you.

If you are a parent/carer who would like to book exams for your child, you will need to register and create your own account in your own name to make the booking. You must be 18 years or over to book an exam. When you book exams for your child, please enter their Contact ID and date of birth. This will allow us to create an accurate record for your child that includes all their exam bookings.

When you go to log in click ‘Forgotten your username’ and follow the instructions.

When you go to log in click ‘Forgotten your password’ and follow the instructions.

To change an email address registered to an online account the following steps need to be followed:

  • Click “Login” on the ABRSM homepage and click “Register” or “Register for an account”. In order to change an email address on an existing account, the email address needs to be verified. Therefore this update is done using the registration form.
  • Fill in the details. You will need to provide a new username for the account as you will not be permitted to continue using the existing one. Enter your password and the new email address. Verify the email address.
  • Fill in the rest of your details including your existing Contact ID and the date of birth as registered to the account. These last two details enable the existing account to update rather than registering a new one.
  • Tick the privacy policy and click Register. Once logged in, check the profile details to ensure it is the correct Contact ID and your new email address is registered to the account.

Booking exams – candidate details

We need this information to help us identify all candidates accurately in our system, avoid duplication of records and create an exam history for each candidate. We also need to ask for this information to ensure we meet our responsibilities as a regulated awarding organisation in the UK.

This is optional. Supplying a candidate (or parent/carer) email address will give them the option to set up their own ABRSM account. With an online account, they can log in and view their exam details (date, time and venue), change practical appointments online, and view their results and practical mark forms seven days after we have released them to the applicant.

When you book exams for candidates you can tell us who presented the candidate for the exam. The name you enter here when you book will appear on the certificate under 'Presented by'. The applicant's name will appear here by default. However, the 'presenter' name could also be another teacher, a school or a music centre, for example.

It is the responsibility of the person making the booking to ensure that all details are correct when they book. Once an exam has been booked and paid for you cannot change the details of the booking.

However, you can use our Contact Us form to request the following minor amendments:

  • Minor name change, such as an incorrect spelling or request to print the last name first
  • Date of birth
  • National ID number, as long as you provide supporting documentation
  • ‘Presented by’ name
  • If the time required for the exam remains the same or is shorter, we can change the instrument.
  • If the time required for the exam remains the same or is shorter, we can change the grade. However, we cannot provide a refund if a grade is being lowered (see our Withdrawals, Non-attendance and Fee Refund Policy) and additional charges will apply for changes to a higher grade.

We will not be able to make the following amendments. In these situations we advise you to cancel the booking and make a new booking with the correct details:

  • A change to the grade or instrument which increases the exam time required.
  • A complete change of candidate name. For a Performance Grade, if the candidate’s name on the booking does not match the candidate’s name given in the submitted exam video, we cannot assess the exam.
  • A change of exam type (Performance Grade, Practical Grade, online Music Theory).

Please note cancellations will be subject to our Withdrawals, Non-attendance and Fee Refund Policy and a new booking will be subject to availability.

Booking all exams at Public Venues

Public Venue is the new name for a public exam centre. It's a venue organised by ABRSM for practical or Grade 6 to 8 Music Theory exams taking place during our main exam sessions.

This is when you can go online to book exams to take place in a forthcoming exam session. For practical exams, you will need to book early in the booking period to have the widest choice of dates and venues.

Booking practical exams at Public Venues

When you book exams, you can choose a date and venue from a list of available options, but not a time.

Our practical exams run for different amounts of time with many things affecting the length of each exam, such as grade, time for tuning and extra time for any access arrangements. These time differences mean we cannot offer a list of available exam times for each day as we cannot predict what those exams will be. We could only offer specific time slots if all exams were the same length. We hope that knowing the date and venue of an exam at the time of booking helps teachers, parents and learners to plan. Once you know your confirmed exam time(s) you will have the option to log in and search for alternative appointments, if available, in the event that the time is not suitable.

Yes, you can select a different date/venue for different candidates as long as there is space available.

The online booking service will show all dates that are available, so there's no advantage to phoning up to check as well.

Once the booking period has closed and we have finalised the timetables we will send you an email to let you know that you can view your confirmed exam appointment online. This will be around two weeks after the booking period has closed. When you log in you will see exam times for candidates, as well as the date and venue that you have already chosen and booked.

This depends on how many candidates you have and the space available on any one date. For the best chance of booking all your candidates together, you will need to log in and book as soon as the booking period opens. This will provide the widest choice of exam dates.

You can book different dates (and venues) for different candidates. If you are booking a large number of candidates at a Public Venue, you may need to book them on different days, rather than all on one day. We would advise you to book as early as possible in the booking period to ensure you have the best chance of keeping all your candidates together.

Candidates who are part of the same booking for the same date and venue will be grouped together. However, we may change the order of your candidates to create the most efficient timetable for each day and to ensure the examiner has the correct breaks.

We recommend that you book your candidates’ exams in the order you would like them to take place. However, we cannot guarantee this will be the final order. We will keep all your candidates grouped together on the same day and at the same venue, but in order to create the most efficient timetable and to make sure the examiner has the correct breaks, we may need to change the order of your candidates.

You will not be able to change the order of candidates once you have booked and paid for your exams. This is to ensure that examiner breaks, which we cannot change, take place at the correct time.

Once the booking period has closed and timetables are confirmed, it may be possible to make late bookings for practical exams if space is available. However, you should not rely on late booking to secure an exam slot. Any available slots are likely to be limited and we cannot guarantee that you will be able to book an exam once the booking periods has closed. We are unable to accept late bookings for Music Theory exams.

We advise you to log in and book your exams as soon as the booking period opens, to make sure you have the widest choice of exams dates.

Rescheduling practical exams at Public Venues

Once the booking period has closed and we have published appointment times, applicants (and candidates with an account) can log in and change an appointment. You can change an exam appointment up to 48 hours before the original exam date.

When you log in and view your exam bookings there will be a clock icon next to each candidate/exam. If you click on the clock icon you can search for alternative available appointments. You will only be able to view appointment slots that are more than 48 hours ahead and that are equal to or longer than the length of your exam. For example, if your exam appointment is 15 minutes long, you will only be able to see alternative appointments of 15 minutes or more. Once you have found a suitable alternative appointment, you can move the candidate/exam into the new slot.

Alternative practical appointments at Public Venues are offered subject to availability. Candidates with Public Venue appointments are not allowed to transfer their exam to a Private Visit. If the Public Venue booking period is open a Private Visit appointment can be cancelled, subject to our Cancellation Policy, and a new booking made for the Public Venue.

We will no longer be offering a change of appointment service through our customer service team. Instead, applicants (and candidates with an account) can log in, search for alternative exam slots and move an exam into a new available time.

Once we have confirmed your practical Public Venue appointment (including the time) you can log in to your account to reschedule the exam. You can do this up to 48 hours/two full days before the start of the exam day. For example, if a candidate’s appointment is on a Friday at 3:00pm, you would have until 11.59pm on the previous Tuesday to log in and reschedule the exam. Or if the exam is on a Monday at 10.00am, you would have until 11.59pm on the previous Friday.

When you reschedule you will only be able to move the exam to a day that is at least 48 hours/two full days ahead. For example, if you log in to reschedule on a Monday, you will only be able to see and select appointments from Thursday onwards. The timetables for the Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday will be closed.

As it is less than 48 hours/two full days before the start of the exam day, you will not be able to reschedule the appointment. If your pupil is unable to attend, please see our Withdrawals, Non-attendance and Fee Refund Policy.

We can only offer an alternative exam appointment if a suitable slot is available. Availability will change over time, from the point at which we confirm appointments until 48 hours/two full days before the final day of the exam session. If you can’t find a suitable alternative at first, we recommend that you try again later or on a different day. Other applicants and candidates will be rescheduling or cancelling exams, so timetables and availability will change on a daily basis.

You won’t be able to change the order of your candidates. This is to ensure that the examiner’s breaks take place at the correct times, and that we make the most efficient use of the exam day.

Yes, as long as there is a free space of the right length available. If you log in to your account you will be able to select the candidate and see if there is a space available in the afternoon. If there is no space available you could widen your search to look for spaces on different days or at different venues. You can do this up to 48 hours/two full days ahead of the start of the exam day.

Booking Music Theory exams at Public Venues

We are unable to accept late entries for Music Theory exams, so please make sure you book all your candidates before the booking period closes.

Booking exams at Private Visits

All visits are now called Private Visits, rather than special visits or visits, and the same rules around booking dates apply for everyone. You can book a practical Private Visit up to 28 days before your chosen start date, even it falls within a main exam session.

A practical Private Visit takes place at an approved venue organised by an applicant (the Visit Organiser) on a date (or dates) of their choice. To hold practical exams at a Private Visit there must be at least three hours of examining time. This can include bookings made by the Visit Organiser and any Permitted Applicants.

Music Theory Private Visits take place at an approved venue organised by an applicant (the Visit Organiser). This venue must be an educational institution, a music service or an educational department at a prison/hospital. All Music Theory exams take place on set dates in our main exam sessions and must be booked during the main session booking period.

Visit Organisers book and run Private Visits. The Visit Organiser is responsible for going online to book and create their Private Visit and for sharing their Venue Code with any Permitted Applicants. Applicants cannot book exams at a Private Visit without the permission of the Visit Organiser. The Visit Organiser can ‘remove’ Permitted Applicant status at any time should they wish to. Visit Organisers are also responsible for finalising the timetable and for sharing this information with their candidates and any Permitted Applicants.

Permitted Applicants are applicants who have received permission from a Visit Organiser to book their candidates at a Private Visit.

Venue Codes allow us to identify Private Visits on our system. Once we’ve approved a Private Visit venue and it appears on our system, it will be given a unique identification code. The Visit Organiser will need to share this code with any Permitted Applicants, who will then need to enter the code when they book their candidates at the Private Visit. Once the Permitted Applicant has entered the Venue Code, they will remain a Permitted Applicant at the Private Visit for any future bookings.

We will not share Venue Codes with anyone, as only the Visit Organiser can decide who to allow as a Permitted Applicant at their Private Visit. The Visit Organiser can log in and view their Permitted Applicants at any time and can remove Permitted Applicant status if they wish to.

As a Visit Organiser you may need to request approval for your Private Visit venue before you can make a booking. This can take up to eight working days. We’re introducing this process to ensure that all exam venues meet our standards and those of our UK regulators. You only need to request approval for your venue once. Once approved, this will apply for all your future Private Visit bookings at that venue.

If you held a visit during 2019 you will not need to request approval for your venue, as long as it has not changed. Your venue will be pre-approved in our system. To ensure we link you, as the Visit Organiser, to your pre-approved venue please enter your old Applicant Number on the registration form when you create your new online account.

If you are a new Visit Organiser, have a new venue or have not booked a visit in 2019 you will need to apply for venue approval before you book a Private Visit.

The standard exam day is 8 hours 5 minutes long, which includes 6 hours 30 minutes of examining as well as time allocated for examiner breaks. When you book a Private Visit you can specify for your exam day(s) to start at 9.00am or 9.30am. For any special requests, please contact us before the 28-day deadline. No further changes are allowed after the 28-day deadline, including late bookings.

Visit Organisers and any Permitted Applicants can book candidates at a practical Private Visit up to 28 days before the Private Visit start date. At this point we will confirm the visit if it meets our requirements.

The Visit Organiser can log in and rearrange their Private Visit timetable once we have ‘confirmed’ the Private Visit booking. We will email the Visit Organiser and any Permitted Applicants at the point of confirmation to let them know that they can log in to view their exam times.

At this point, the Visit Organiser can log in and view all the candidates at their Private Visit, including those booked by Permitted Applicants. They can then use the online timetabling tool to rearrange their exam day(s) if they wish. It is the responsibility of the Visit Organiser to contact their candidates and any Permitted Applicants to let them know about the revised exam times. The Visit Organiser can make changes to the timetable up to 48 hours before the start date.

If space is available, Visit Organisers and Permitted Applicants can add candidates as late bookings once the Private Visit has been confirmed (28 days before the visit start date). You can book candidates into available space up to 48 hours (two full days) before the visit start date. You can only add candidates as late bookings if space is available within your confirmed visit dates and times. We finalise visits as full days or half days and we cannot add further days or extend a half day to a full day once the visit has been confirmed. For example, if you have five hours of exams on one day you can only add late bookings that fit in the remaining time on that day; or if you have exams in a morning only, you can only add late bookings that fit in any time available at the end of the morning session – you would not be able to change a morning session into a full day.

Booking exams - Jazz

We are making some changes to the way we provide Jazz exams. Candidates who want to take a Jazz exam can do this at ABRSM Jazz Visits, organised by us on set dates in our main exam sessions. We will provide a list of ABRSM Jazz Visits with dates, venues and Venue Codes when the booking period opens. To book exams, choose your ABRSM Jazz Visit, go to the Private Visit section of our exam booking service and enter the Venue Code. You can then enter candidate and exam details, book and pay.

Jazz exams can take place at a practical Private Visit, as long as there is at least one hour of Jazz examining time and the total examining time for the visit is at least three hours.

Booking exams – payments

For graded music exams, ARSM, Prep Test and Performance Assessment booked online you can pay by Visa debit or credit card, Electron or Maestro debit card, Mastercard, or PayPal. Please ensure you have the relevant payment card ready before you log in to book your exams. Your booking will not be confirmed until your payment has been processed, unless otherwise agreed with us in advance.

Cancellations

If you know in advance that a candidate can't make their practical exam appointment, you can log in to look for an alternative slot and change their appointment. You can do this up to 48 hours before the exam date. If it is less than 48 hours before the exam date, any cancellation will be subject to our Withdrawals, Non-attendance and Fee Refund Policy.

We cannot offer alternative dates for Music Theory exams. Please see our Withdrawals, Non-attendance and Fee Refund Policy.

For practical and Music Theory exams at Public Venues and Music Theory exams at Private Visits, if you cancel an exam during the booking period or within 14 days of the date when the exam booking was made, we will automatically refund the fee. For practical exams at Private Visits, if you can cancel an exam more than 28 days before the visit start date we will automatically refund the fee. All other cancellations are be subject to our Withdrawals, Non-attendance and Fee Refund Policy.

To cancel an exam, log in and click ‘Booking details’ to view the relevant booking. You will see a list of candidates/exams with a bin icon at the end of each line. Click on the relevant bin icon to cancel a candidate’s exam.

Results and mark forms

We want to release results more quickly and provide the complete mark form as soon as results are ready to view. Moving to digital mark forms enables this by removing delays caused by postal deliveries and handling of paperwork. The new mark forms are clear to read and easy to share between applicants, candidates and parents.

The new practical mark forms will look very similar to the current ones. They will follow the same layout, but with easy-to-read typed comments instead of handwriting.

We will continue to send printed certificates in the post for graded practical and Music Theory exams and ARSM. For the Prep Test and Performance Assessment, examiners will continue to hand out completed certificates at the end of the assessment.

In the exam room

Recordings will help us to help you if you have queries about an exam. It’s a service that we have wanted to offer for many years, and teachers and candidates have also been asking us to introduce this. In addition to helping with queries, recordings will assist with other quality assurance processes and examiner training.

Not at all. The recording happens automatically in the background on the examiner’s iPad, and candidates will not be aware of this.

No, this is now part of our exam regulations for all our practical music performance exams and is standard practise for many other awarding organisations.

Only authorised ABRSM staff will be able to access the recordings. The recordings will be stored for three months after the exam date and then deleted.

We are not making video recordings. All iPads used by our examiners are supplied by ABRSM with the camera function disabled.

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