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ABRSM Early 2021 News

ABRSM is rolling out online music theory exams for grades 1-5 during 2021. Read their message below:

Introducing online Music Theory at Grades 1 to 5 – the headlines

What’s changing and at which grades?

We will be moving the assessment of Music Theory at Grades 1 to 5 to an online exam. We are confident that the online format will provide a more learner-friendly experience for candidates. We have been working on these developments for some time, but in response to the Covid-19 pandemic we have accelerated this work.

At the same time, we have updated some of the Grade 1 to 5 questions to bring them in line with a style of assessment commonly used across the education sector. In addition, there are a few minor changes to the syllabus itself. These changes apply to online Music Theory exams from 2020 onwards. Where online exams are not yet available and we are still offering paper-based exams, there will be no changes to questions and the exams will be based on the ‘from 2018’ Music Theory syllabus.

Please be aware that Music Theory exams at Grades 6 to 8 will continue as paper-based assessments for everyone worldwide. There are no changes to the questions or syllabus for these grades. We will offer these exams when we can do this safely and in line with government guidance.

When is it happening?

The first opportunity to take an online Music Theory exam varies across markets. All of the webpages have been updated with the relevant information, so please refer to our website for specific information for each country.

The following markets already had online Music Theory exams for Grades 1 to 5 in November or December 2020: UK, Republic of Ireland, Singapore, India, Czech Republic, Russia, Slovakia, Malta.

The international roll-out of the new online Music Theory exams for all other markets will take place during 2021. In the meantime, we are doing everything we can to ensure paper-based Music Theory exams for Grades 1 to 8 go ahead in all international markets this year where they can do so safely.

Email us in case you have questions about ABRSM exams at


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