Music exams are a great opportunity for students to measure their achievement. Preparation for exams gives students motivation to practice harder and to improve their skills. Exams lay good foundations for music making while encouraging students to reach their full potential and also help them to take pride in their achievements.
We offer preparation for Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM) exams at Huntington Beach School of Music.
ABRSM is the world's leading specialist in music assessment. Exam includes performance and music theory.
The exams are graded in eight levels – Grades 1 to 8. There are no age restrictions and students can start with any grade or skip grades if they want to. You can find more information about the ABRSM exams at the link below:
The venue nearest to us is located in Los Angeles. Please check the updated local exam venues.
Exam dates and fees
- Dates: exams are held twice a year in April to May (for 1st session) and October to November (for 2nd session)
- Fees: depending on grades. From $70 to $355 for performance and $47 to $99 for music theory
- Please check the updated exam dates and fees
Frequently asked questions
Only one parent/guardian may accompany a student to the exam. Under no circumstances will siblings under 18 be admitted to the waiting area, so please ensure you have alternative arrangements in place for siblings to be looked after.
This is usually allocated two weeks before the exam.
These are usually emailed to your teacher 2 or 3 weeks after the exam.
Yes - bring all your books. You can look through all of them in the waiting area but you only take in your pieces book. You do not give the examiner a copy.
No, the exam board have very strong anti-copying rules and will disqualify any student using a photocopied piece. If you are playing something from the alternative syllabus, please ensure you have the book. Speak to your teacher for details if required.
A pass mark of 100 is required and the breakdown of the scoring system is also attached. 120 is a Merit and 130 is a Distinction.
You can read and see how the examiners have marked each element of the exam via this sample for piano exams.
Yes! You will be nervous on the day and the best way to prepare for nerves is to make yourself nervous as many times as possible through mock exams or festivals. The more you put yourself into this situation, the less you will feel nervous on exam day. Please do not bring siblings to the mock exam - treat it as the trial run for the real exam.
Some centres have them, but most regularly do not. Please ensure you are fully warmed up at home.
Sight-reading is 14% of the overall mark. It is possible to fail this section and still pass the overall exam, but ONLY if the other 3 sections are sufficiently over the pass mark. The biggest tip for sight-reading is that you must always keep going. Never stop and never go back to correct a wrong note.
Arrive in the waiting room at least 10 minutes before your exam is due to start. Last-minute panics do not help the playing or singing.
You must print this out at home, fill it in and hand it to the steward on arrival. List your pieces in the order you would like to play them. Write down the letter and number found at the top of the page to help the examiner identify the piece that you are playing before you start playing it.
ALWAYS play your scales first to warm up. The examiner will give you a choice of pieces or scales first. Say to them you would like to play your scales first.
Yes! When you walk in, say hello and give them a big smile. You will be amazed how many students shuffle in and ignore the examiner. Also say "thank you" and goodbye at the end. Examiners appreciate you making the effort to communicate with them and a bit of politeness goes a long way!
One re-start may be allowed at the very beginning of the exam, but any further ones will result in marks being docked, so do keep going. The golden rule is to keep going in every part of the exam. If you stumble on your pieces, look to the next bar or section that you can start from and move forwards to that bit.