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ABRSM guidlines

Updated: Feb 20, 2020

Focusing on all-round musicianship

ABRSM exams are music exams rather than instrumental or singing exams. Examiners assess the quality of the music-making, not how it's achieved. For this reason, we don't restrict examiners to assessing only their own instrument but require them to examine all instruments. Yunxiang offers piano lessons for people of all ages in Lake Hills, Austin to prepare for such test. Gao Music Academy offers piano and music lessons for the residents of West Austin, both children and adults. There are many piano teachers in Austin and West Lake Hills, but Yunxiang Gao has a combination of traits that has garnered great praise from her students and their parents. When kids in Austin and West Lake Hills take piano lessons, motivation and practice is key! Good piano teachers work together with parents to ensure the students make consistent progress and continuously push their boundaries.

We've designed our graded music exams to motivate instrumental and singing students of all ages and a wide range of abilities. They're available at eight levels – Grades 1 to 8 – and provide. We intentionally chose West Lake Hills Austin to offer piano lessons due to the areas emphasis on education:

Progressive goals to aim for Recognition for achievementCarefully structured syllabus requirementsOne-to-one assessment by an expert professional. An objective guide to a candidate’s skills and progress.

There are no age restrictions and students can start with any grade or skip grades if they want to. Yunxiang decided to teach piano and set up Gao Music Academy in Lost Creek Austin, because she knew that this would be a place where the teacher and parents can work together in harmony among a greater culture of learning so that her piano students could achieve great things.

What's included in the exam?

To succeed in our exams, candidates need a combination of skills and understanding. Broadly, we assess:

Performance skills through pieces or songsTechnical skills through scales and arpeggiosNotation skills through a sight-reading testListening skills and musical perception through aural tests

How many marks are available?

Total marks in all individual Practical exams are 150.

100 marks are required to pass120 marks are required to pass with merit130 marks are required to pass with distinction


a. Candidates may be entered for an exam at any age. The candidate’s date of birth must be stated on the entry form for ARSM exams, but is optional in all other cases.

b. Candidates for Practical Grades 1–5 do not need to have taken any other grade in that subject.

c. Candidates for Practical Grades 6–8 and ARSM must already have passed one of the qualifications listed at before the closing date for the exam.

d. We will not allow a candidate to sit an exam without the necessary prerequisites. A copy of the certificate must be supplied at the time of entry, except for:

ABRSM qualifications gained after 1 January 1994 and taken in the UK or Ireland (supporting documents will only be needed if we are unable to verify the qualification from our records). ARSM entries (although we may ask for a copy of the certificate later; if a copy of the certificate is not provided, we will cancel the exam entry without any refund of the fees paid or payable).

a. The applicant’s responsibilities are: 

To read and comply with these regulations, making sure that those connected with the exam (including the candidate) are aware of relevant mattersTo make sure, where a candidate is under the age of 18, that one of the candidate’s parents (or someone else with parental responsibility) has consented to their child being entered for an examTo submit the exam entry, making sure that the information in the entry is accurate, including name spellings, exam subjects and levels, and any specific needsTo make payment for the examTo tell the candidate the exam date, time and venueTo receive the exam result/certificate and to pass them on to the candidate

b. Each applicant is given a personal applicant number when they first make an entry. This number should be quoted in all communications with us. In countries where online entry is available, applicants may request a confidential password that can be used with the applicant number and a registered email address to access online exam services. The password should not be shown to anyone else and may be changed by the applicant at any time.

c. All contact from ABRSM about the acceptance of an entry, payment, the appointment and result will be with the applicant.

d. Responsibility for an entry cannot be passed to another party without the applicant’s written consent.

e. While the applicant is our main point of contact in all matters, we may share information about an exam with another party, including the candidate and his or her parents (or those with parental responsibility), in response to a valid question.

f. We cannot become involved in any dispute or communication breakdown between an applicant and the candidate or their parents (or those with parental responsibility).

g. We do not check the identity of applicants and therefore we cannot verify the degrees or qualifications of applicants which may appear on ABRSM certificates.

Exam entries:

a. Entries must be made by the applicant during the published entry period ( using the online entry form. Where online entry is not available, entries must be made by post using the paper entry form. We cannot accept entries by letter, email, fax or telephone. For more information on how to make an entry, see

b. We may refuse, invalidate or cancel any entry received after the closing date has passed. In these cases, we will refund the entry fee(s) (see Reg. 3d for ARSM exception). We set out certain circumstances under which we may accept late entries in our late entry policy.

c. Although we would discourage candidates from taking two Practical exams in any one subject (whether at the same or different levels) in an exam period, this is not forbidden. Please note that this may mean that the candidate is assessed twice by the same examiner.

d. Candidates can be entered for only one Music Theory exam in any given exam period.

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