ABRSM Music Theory Exams consist of three accompanied songs at all grades, chosen by the candidate from the appropriate lists in the current syllabus, an unaccompanied song, sight-singing and aural tests. Grade 6–8 exams consists of four accompanied songs rather than three.
The ABRSM (Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music) is an examinations board and registered charity based in London, UK, which provides examinations in music at centers around the world. ABRSM is one of four examination boards accredited by Ofqual to award graded exams and diploma qualifications in music within the UK's National Qualifications Framework (along with the London College of Music, Rockschool Ltd, and Trinity College London).
More than 600,000 candidates take ABRSM exams each year in over 93 countries. ABRSM also provides a publishing house for music which produces syllabus booklets, sheet music, and exam papers and runs professional development courses and seminars for teachers.
ABRSM’s Music Theory exams give students:
✰ knowledge of the notation of western music, including commonly used signs and terminology
✰ an understanding of fundamental musical elements such as intervals, keys, scales, and chords
✰ an ability to apply theoretical knowledge and understanding to score analysis
✰ skills in harmonic completion of extracts and melody writing (at Grades 6–8)
Candidates are assessed on their ability to identify, use and manipulate musical symbols, to complete extracts and to answer questions relating to the elements of music according to the parameters detailed in the full syllabus at www.abrsm.org/theory.
Check the syllabus here.
Candidates for Grade 6, 7 or 8 exams must already have passed ABRSM Grade 5 (or above) in Music Theory, Practical Musicianship or a solo Jazz instrument. For full details including a list of accepted alternatives, see Regulation 1d.
✰ Registration Deadline: end of October
✰ Training Period: September – March
✰ Registration Deadline: end of April
✰ Training Period: March – September
Training sessions for the preparation for each grade will differ and depends on the requirements. There is a minimum of 6 months of 24 sessions to prepare for each grade. Higher grade exams will require a minimum of 36 sessions to prepare.