Latest exam updates

Grade 5 Music Theory waiver (not applicable in the UK & Ireland)

We are extending our Grade 5 Music Theory waiver until 23 May 2021. This means that candidates with a Grade 6 to 8 Performance Grade exam submission date up to and including 23 May can take their exam without first passing Grade 5 Music Theory. We are making this exceptional arrangement to allow candidates who have been unable to take an exam in recent months to progress with their learning. From 24 May, the Grade 5 Music Theory requirement will return. For exam dates/exam submission dates after 23 May, all candidates taking a Grade 6 to 8 Performance or Practical Grade must first pass Grade 5 Music Theory.

Face-to-face practical exams

We have postponed the start of Session 2 practical exams to allow us to plan with more certainty and book exam venues in good time. We hope to open a booking period in June or July with exams between September and December, exact dates to be confirmed. However, we are keeping these dates under review as we can only accept bookings if COVID-19 travel and government restrictions are lifted. We will provide an update nearer to the booking period.

Performance Grade exams

We are pleased to confirm that we will be offering Performance Grade exams every month for the remainder of 2021. Please check here for dates and fees. We are extending the introductory 15% discount for these exams so that it applies to all remotely-assessed Performance Grade and ARSM exams in 2021. Just enter code ABPG15MY when you book using our online service. Please also read our discount information and terms and conditions here.

Refunds for Practical and Performance Grade exams from 1st January to 31st July 2021

To support customers affected by ongoing COVID restrictions, for all ABRSM exams in all countries, any absent candidate will automatically receive a full refund. This includes Performance Grade exams 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. For Practical exams in public venues, we will issue refunds within one month of the end of the exam session (not the exam date).

  • For Private Visits we will issue refunds by the end of the month following the month of the visit date.
  • For Performance Grades we will issue refunds within one month of the end of the exam session (not the exam date).
  • For online Music Theory (Grades 1 to 5) we will issue refunds within one month of the end of the exam window. 
  • For Diploma exams we will issue refunds within one month of the end of the exam session
Withdrawals, non-attendance and fee refunds

If a candidate is withdrawn from an exam or doesn't attend, the applicant (person who made the exam booking) is responsible for cancelling the exam using the online service. If a refund is possible, we will return exam fees the applicant/organisation who made the payment.

Cancelling an exam using the online service

To cancel an exam, the applicant (who made the exam booking) should log in to their account and go to the relevant booking. A bin icon is displayed to the right of the candidate’s entry in ‘Booking details’. Click the bin icon to cancel the exam and then confirm this in the pop up window. Log in to your account.

Public Venue exams

For exams at Public Venues, you can cancel an exam booking within 14 days of the date of booking. (This is the consumer and cancellation rights ‘cooling-off period’). Cancellations during the 14-day cooling-off period must be made by the applicant using our online service and fees will be refunded back to the original payment card. Applicants will receive a credit confirmation by email.

If you cancel a Public Venue exam booking outside the ‘cooling-off period’ we will not offer any refund of the exam fee for the cancelled exam other than in the circumstances specified in paragraphs f, g, h or i of our Withdrawals, Non-attendance and Fee Refund Policy. In this instance the applicant must notify ABRSM in writing at [email protected] as soon as possible and no later than the day of the exam.

Private Visits: practical exams

Visit Organisers and Permitted Applicants can cancel an exam up to 28 days before (and not including) the first day of the Private Visit and receive a full refund. Cancellations made during this period must be made by the applicant using our online service. Fees will be refunded to the original payment card and the applicants will receive a credit confirmation by email.

If an exam is cancelled less than 28 days before (and not including) the first day of the Private Visit, we will not offer any refund of the exam fee other than in the circumstances specified in paragraphs f, g, h or i of our Withdrawals, Non-attendance and Fee Refund Policy. In this instance the applicant must notify ABRSM in writing at [email protected] as soon as possible and no later than the day of the exam.

Private Visits: Music Theory exams (Grades 6 to 8)

Visit Organisers and Permitted Applicants can cancel an exam up to 28 days before (and not including) the first day of the Private Visit and receive a full refund. Cancellations made during this period must be made by the applicant using the online service. Fees will be refunded to the original payment card and the applicants will receive a credit confirmation by email.

If an exam is cancelled less than 28 days before (and not including) the first day of the Private Visit, we will not offer any refund of the exam fee other than in the circumstances specified in paragraphs f, g, h or i of our Withdrawals, Non-attendance and Fee Refund Policy. In this instance the applicant must notify ABRSM in writing at [email protected] as soon as possible and no later than the day of the exam.

Circumstances considered for a refund

A candidate who is withdrawn from an exam or does not attend, may be eligible for a partial refund, but only under the circumstances specified in paragraphs f, g, h or i of our Withdrawals, Non-attendance and Fee Refund Policy. The applicant must notify ABRSM in writing at [email protected] as soon as possible and no later than the day of the exam. Notice given only to an examiner, local representative, steward or invigilator isn't sufficient to qualify for a refund.

A candidate who is withdrawn from an exam may be re-entered in the next exam session. In such cases, a new exam booking and full payment must be made as we are unable to transfer bookings and payments from one session to the next.

Illness or injury

We will provide a partial refund of up to 75% of the exam fee, provided the conditions above are met and that written notification is supported by documentary evidence. This should normally be a letter from someone in authority, such as a head teacher, confirming the candidate’s indisposition or injury, or a medical certificate. The documentary evidence must be sent no later than four weeks after the exam date.

Exceptional personal circumstances

We may provide a discretionary refund on compassionate grounds in cases such as bereavement, family crisis or personal trauma, provided that the conditions above are met and that the written notification is supported by full details substantiating the application.

Death or serious indisposition of teacher

We may provide a discretionary refund to a candidate whose exam preparation is severely curtailed by the teacher’s death or long-term serious illness. In cases of occasional missed lessons due to the teacher’s minor or short-term illness, or cases of a dispute with the teacher leading to lessons being discontinued, no refund can be made.

Application for such a refund must be made in accordance with the conditions above, although it may be made by someone other than the applicant. We may request details of an independent person who we can contact to verify the application.

Circumstances beyond the candidate’s control

Where a candidate misses their exam owing to circumstances beyond their control (e.g. a major travel incident or damage to the candidate’s instrument immediately before the exam), we may give a discretionary refund, provided that the conditions above are met and that the written notification is supported by full details substantiating the application.

A candidate in quarantine for any infection must be withdrawn. If exams are cancelled owing to quarantine, we may offer alternative appointments/fee refunds at our discretion.

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