HomeEducationChanges to ABRSM Music Theory in 2018

Changes to ABRSM Music Theory in 2018

Changes to ABRSM Music Theory

Changes to ABRSM Music Theory in 2018

Latest news from ABRSM about the theory practice papers

Earlier this year we announced some small changes to our Music Theory exams at Grades 1 to 5.
The revised exam papers will be used in all exams at these grades from January 2018.  We’ve designed the revised papers to improve the exam experience for candidates while focusing more on the essential music theory knowledge and understanding needed at this level.

So, what can you expect to see in the updated papers at Grades 1 to 5?

We’ve introduced multiple choice questions for musical terms and signs, and updated some questions to improve clarity. We’ve also removed the rhythm-writing, melody-writing and word-setting questions, and the Grade 5 SATB short/open score question.  For all grades (1 to 8) we’ve refreshed the design to make sure the exam papers are easy to read.

What’s behind the changes?

Learning about music theory and the way music works is such an important part of any music education. It gives you tools you need to get the most from your music making. In making these changes we consulted a range of experts, including colleagues from the junior departments at the Royal Schools of Music. We also gathered views from teachers and students, and drew on best practice in assessment and question design.

Do you need to learn anything new?

No! The revised exam papers continue to assess the same areas of music theory to the same standards – the underlying knowledge you need to cover is not changing.

And how can you prepare for the revised exams?

We’ve published a number of free online resources to help you prepare.  At www.abrsm.org/theory2018 you’ll find free downloadable practice papers and answers, and a handy terms and signs quiz.
From January 2018 you’ll also be able to buy printed Practice Papers and Model Answers.
(NOW AVAILABLE FOR PRE-ORDER ON MUSICROOM) For Grades 1 to 5, these are based on questions from the 2017 exams adjusted to reflect the revised questions that all candidates will be answering from 2018 onwards.
In addition, all existing ABRSM books and past papers still provide excellent preparation material for our Music Theory exams. Here’s a quick summary of what’s on offer:


  • First Steps in Music Theory  – introducing the basic principles of music theory and still a good guide to the understanding needed at Grades 1 to 5.


Revised exam papers for ABRSM Music Theory Grades 1 to 5 will be used from 1 January 2018, with no overlap period. There are no changes to questions at Grades 6 to 8.  You can find out more about the changes to Music Theory at Grades 1 to 5 and supporting resources at www.abrsm.org/theory2018.
Source: https://gb.abrsm.org/en/theory2018

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