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ABRSM Singapore - The Best Guide And All You Need To Know (2022)

Updated: Oct 29, 2022

If you have come across the name, ABRSM, in your music pursuits, and are not sure what it is, fret not! This guide will help you understand everything you need to know about ABRSM


  1. What is ABRSM?

  2. What Music Examinations does ABRSM offer?

  3. What is ABRSM Performance Grades?

  4. How does ABRSM's Online Exams (Performance Grades) work?

  5. What to expect for ABRSM Singapore Practical Grade Exam?

  6. How do I apply for ABRSM examinations (Singapore)?

  7. ABRSM Online Music Theory Exams (Grades 1-5)

What Is ABRSM?

ABRSM stands for the Associate Board of the Royal Schools of Music, and it is most popularly known as an organization that conducts music examinations, and awards graded music qualifications from beginner up till diploma level. The ABRSM exam board is based in the UK, but the music examinations conducted by ABRSM are widely available in many parts of the world. ABRSM examinations are available in Singapore, and its graded music qualifications are popularly pursued by many piano students, with many piano teachers in Singapore preparing their students for the ABRSM music examinations.

What music examinations does ABRSM offer?

ABRSM conducts the following examinations, arranged in order of level (first on the list being the lowest level of qualification, and last on the list being the highest level of qualification):

  • Prep Test

  • Practical Initial Grade

  • Grades 1-8 (Performance Grades and/or Practical Grades*)

  • ARSM (Diploma)

  • DipABRSM (Diploma)

  • LRSM (Diploma)

  • FRSM (Diploma)

Amongst the above, the Grades 1 to 8 examinations are the most popularly applied for. *Read further for clarification on what is Performance Grades and Practical Grades.

Furthermore, ABRSM also conducts music theory examinations from Grades 1-8, and these are as popular as their Performance Grades and Practical Grades examinations.

Here's a list of instruments that ABRSM conducts exams and awards music qualifications for:

  • Music Theory (non-instrument specific)

  • Piano

  • Bowed Strings

  • Violin

  • Viola

  • Cello

  • Double Bass

  • Woodwind

  • Descant Recorder

  • Treble Recorder

  • Flute

  • Oboe

  • Clarinet

  • Bassoon

  • Saxophone

  • Brass

  • Horn

  • Trumpet/Cornet/Flugelhorn

  • E Flat Horn

  • Trombone

  • Baritone & Euphonium

  • Bass Trombone

  • Tuba

  • Harp

  • Harp (Pedal)

  • Harp (Non Pedal)

  • Percussion

  • Percussion (Combined)

  • Snare Drum

  • Timpani

  • Tuned Percussion

  • Other Instruments

  • Singing

  • Musical Theatre

  • Organ

  • Harpsichord

  • Guitar

  • Jazz

  • Jazz Piano

  • Jazz Flute

  • Jazz Clarinet

  • Jazz Saxophone

What are ABRSM Performance Grades?

It might escape one's notice initially, but ABRSM Performance Grades are to be distinguished from ABRSM Practical Grades. What is the difference between ABRSM's Performance Grades and Practical Grades? ABRSM Performance Grades refer to its online examinations, whereas ABRSM Practical Grades refer to its face-to-face examinations. While these examinations share some similarities, they are not entirely the same. Refer to the list below to understand the different components to the exam

  • Practical Grades consists of 4 exam components

  • 3 Exam Pieces

  • Sight Reading

  • Aural

  • Scales & Arpeggios

  • Performance Grades consists of 1 exam component

  • 4 Exam Pieces in video recording

ABRSM Practical and Performance Grades are considered equivalent qualifications.

How does ABRSM's Online Exams (Performance Grades) work?

To recap, ABRSM's performance grades consist only of 1 component, and that is to perform 4 exam pieces in an uninterrupted and unedited video recording.

As with the face-to-face Practical Grade examinations, the online Performance Grade exam candidates are required to choose their pieces from the same ABRSM exam repertoire list that we mentioned previously. To recap, this exam repertoire list changes every two years, and is divided into 3 further lists, commonly known as List A, List B, and List C. Candidates of the online Performance Grade examinations are required to choose one piece from each list.

The fourth piece is a piece of the candidates own choice, but it should be of similar level as the other pieces chosen. To avoid any potential confusion on what constitutes 'similar level', most candidates simply choose their fourth piece from ABRSM's exam repertoire list for the same grade. And as the fourth piece is the candid