Tarik Rahman

Preparing for Classical Piano Exams

Tarik Rahman
Preparing for Classical Piano Exams

Preparing for classical piano exams adds an extra element of structure and concrete goals to your piano lessons, and provides an excellent source of motivation.

The Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM) is the exam board of the Royal Schools of Music, which include the Royal Academy of Music, Royal College of Music, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, and the Royal Northern College of Music.

The ABRSM offers graded classical piano exams from Grade 1 to Grade 8, as well as advanced diplomas. These piano exams are QCA-accredited, with Grades 6-8 corresponding with Level 3 of the National Qualifications Framework, and the A-Level.

Everyone is eligible to take these exams, and our classical piano teachers can make sure that you pass with high marks!

If you wish to benefit from the ABRSM exam program, the first step is to tell your classical piano teacher. Your piano teacher will assess your current level, and recommend the appropriate exam grade to begin preparing for. Beginner classical piano students often start by preparing for the Prep Test, which offers a good introduction to the exam system, and stepping stone into the Grade 1 exam.

Once your grade level has been determined, it is time to purchase your piano exam books. For the Prep Test, there is one book that covers all the material on the exam. For Grades 1 to 8 there are four parts to each piano exam, and four corresponding books available for each grade level, including Piano Exam Pieces, Scales and Arpeggios, Piano Specimen Sight-Reading Tests, and Specimen Aural Tests. These books are widely available in music stores.

The last step is to choose the date for your exam. You can book the exam yourself, on the ABRSM website, and your classical piano teacher can help you decide which exam session to enter, in order to give yourself enough time to adequately prepare.

In addition to classical piano exams, the ABRSM also offers exams in music theory and jazz piano. It’s even possible to take pop/rock piano exams, which are offered through a different exam board called Rockschool.


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