Preparing for Practical Exams

Are you taking Practical Music Exams this Autumn? Here's some great advice to help you prepare!

Know Your Exam Elements!

There are 4 elements or sections in ABRSM Practical Exams...
  • Pieces and Songs
  • Scales & Arpeggios (For Instrumentalists)
  • Unaccompanied Traditional Song (For Singers)
  • Sight Reading
  • Aural Tests
Candidates can complete these elements in any order - Have a talk with your tutors as to the best order for your exam.

For more details regarding what to expect in your exam visit the ABRSM Website.

Prepare For Each Element

Your tutors will be advising you on which elements require practice. Here are some ideas to help with your preparation at home.

Practice scales daily to build your technique and coordination - it is a good idea to perform your scales element first during an exam as a warm up.

You will have chosen 3 pieces to perform for your exam - Examiner's favour performance and fluency, so practice playing your pieces at different starting points so that you can recover easily if you make a mistake.

In the Sight reading element you will be asked to play/sing a short phrase of music that you haven't seen before. This element can be worth up to 21 marks so it is worth preparing for! A great way to practice this is to try out new pieces at home... Take a look at our range of sight reading books available in store!

The Aural Tests only take a few minutes but Examiners mark candidates on their listening skills and musicality. It may be a good idea to complete some mock aural tests to familiarise yourself with the questions that may be asked. We have Specimen Aural Test books available in store to help you prepare.

ABRSM have some great Apps to help with exam preparation including Trainers for Scales, Sight Reading and Aural Skills

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