While exams aren’t essential, they’re a useful way to judge your progress as you learn your instrument. Some music exams are taken all over the world and you can earn internationally recognised qualifications.


There are 8 grades. Depending on your instrument and how much you practise, you can probably expect to take your Grade 1 exam within a year or two of starting lessons. Grade 5 is roughly equivalent to GCSE standard, and Grade 8 is about A level standard. You can get UCAS points for Grades 6-8.


If you want to think about music as a career, you should probably expect to be about Grade 8 standard when you leave school.




When and where are the next ABRSM practical music exams?

This year Lewisham Music will be hosting exams at their new community music spaces – First Floor, The Fellowship, Randlesdown Road, Bellingham, SE6 3BT in the week beginning Monday 11 July.


Exam costs

ABRSM is a national organisation and it sets the fees for its exams – we have no control over these charges. We are able to offer a discounted cost for young people eligible for Pupil Premium and Looked After Children (in care).


Prep Test = £43

Initial Practical Grade = £43

Practical Grade 1 = £48

Practical Grade 2 = £55

Practical Grade 3 = £64 

Practical Grade 4 = £69

Practical Grade 5 = £76

Practical Grade 6 = £88

Practical Grade 7 = £94

Practical Grade 8 = £111 


Exam accompaniment – what is an accompanist?

An accompanist is a musician who plays an accompaniment part during the exam to provide rhythmic and/or harmonic support for the pieces, this will usually be on a piano. Accompanists are not required for piano exams and some guitar exams (please check with your tutor).


How do I find an accompanist and how much does it cost?

If your child requires an accompanist, Lewisham Music will provide one at an additional cost.


Practical Grades 1-3 = £10

Practical Grade 4 = £12

Practical Grade 5 = £15

Practical Grade 6 = £18

Practical Grade 7 = £20

Practical Grade 8 = £25


How to apply for an exam

The deadline has now passed to express an interest in taking an exam. If you’ve recently applied then a member of the team will be in touch shortly.


Once we receive your form, you will be sent a code to apply directly on the ABRSM website. Please note that if your child is eligible for the Pupil Premium discount then we will enter your child and invoice you directly for the reduced cost, we will just need to see proof of eligibility first. If your child requires our Accompanist then please make sure you select this on the form as this is an additional offer that we provide, this will also be invoiced separately.


What happens in exams?

You’ll play three short pieces, some technical exercises (typically scales and arpeggios) and answer some tests of musicianship (or ‘aural’ tests). They provide a test of all-round musicianship, not just the ability to play pieces.


Can I use photocopies of the music?

No. You must purchase the original exam books and pieces.


Further information

For more information about ABRSM exams please click the button below and head to their website where you’ll find support, advice and useful practice/preparation tips.


ABRSM website


If you have any questions about exams then please get in touch.