What is ABRSM


The Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM) is the largest music education body and music publisher in the United Kingdom. It is the world’s leading provider of music exams which offers assessments to more than 630,000 candidates in 93 countries every year.


In 1889, Sir Alexander MacKenzie, principal of the Royal Academy of Music has proposed to Sir George Grove, director of the Royal College of Music that their two music training institutions unite to create a music examining body. The newly founded body was known as ABRSM and it was aimed to promote high standards of musical education and assessment.


In the beginning, ABRSM provided their music exams mainly to the United Kingdom and throughout the Dominions. During the twentieth century, the popularity of ABRSM exams grew rapidly and expanded to various countries.


1892: The Cape Colony

1895: Australia, New Zealand, and Canada

1903: Malta

1907: West Indies

1948: South Africa, India, Pakistan, Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), Malta, Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), Cyprus, Singapore and Kenya


By 1981, ABRSM was examining over 460,000 candidates a year in a wide variety of instruments.


Graded Music Exams


ABRSM offers their graded music exams for more than 35 subjects including instrumental, singing, and music theory. In each subject, the exam is divided into 8 grades. The subjects are listed as below:


ViolinBowed Strings

  • Violin
  • Viola
  • Cello
  • Double Bass



  • Descant Recorder
  • Treble Recorder
  • Flute
  • Oboe
  • Clarinet
  • Bassoon
  • Saxophone


French HornBrass

  • Horn
  • Trumpet/Cornet/Flugelhorn
  • E-flat Horn
  • Trombone
  • Baritone and Euphonium
  • Bass Trombone
  • Tuba


OthersUpright Piano

  • Piano
  • Singing
  • Guitar
  • Harp
  • Organ
  • Percussion
  • Harpsichord



  • Jazz Piano
  • Jazz Flute
  • Jazz Clarinet
  • Jazz Sax
  • Jazz Trumpet/Cornet/Flugelhorn
  • Jazz Trombone
  • Jazz Performance Assessment
  • Jazz Ensembles


Practical Musicianship




After completed grade 8 of the respective subject, students can proceed to the advanced exam of diploma which is divided into 3 categories:

  • Music Performance
  • Music Direction
  • Instrumental / Vocal Teaching


Group Assessments


  • Ensembles
  • Jazz Ensembles
  • Choral Singing


Read more about the ABRSM graded piano exam from MyJourneyToDistinction.com including exam marking scheme, syllabus, and useful tips for the exam preparation.

For more information about ABRSM and their exams, please visit the official ABRSM website.

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