You will have an additional five minutes added to the exam, of which you may use three minutes to prepare the Sight-reading test. You are welcome to indicate that you are ready to play before the three minutes has elapsed, but the examiner will not ask you to play before this time.
You are welcome to use a tinted overlay for any part of the exam and no prior permission is required.
Access to lyrics
If you have an SpLD you may bring a copy of the lyrics of your songs for reference. Please be aware that reference to the lyrics that is deemed to inhibit communication will mean that you may not be able to achieve the highest marks for your songs.
If you have an SpLD you may take the scale book into the exam room for reference only. This means that you may have the scale book open on a music stand and glance over if necessary. If the examiner deems you to be reading from the music, you will not be disqualified but neither will you be able to achieve full marks for this section.
Flash cards: If you wish to use flash cards for this section of the exam, please contact the access coordinator ahead of making an exam booking to discuss arrangements.
Replays: Examiners will be aware that you may forget which scale you are playing, and will allow a replay. Examiners will also be aware that you may need some processing time to recall the key signature and finger patterns required. No penalty will be made for a lack of ‘prompt’ responses. If you need to replay numerous scales, however, this may impact on the mark awarded.
Right and left: Examiners have been asked not to refer to ‘right hand’ or ‘left hand’ scales but to ‘this hand’ or ‘the other hand’, demonstrating if necessary.
Every examiner will follow the rubric printed in the new Specimen Aural Tests books, thus avoiding any variations in the way in which the aural tests are delivered.
Making notes: For tests requiring you to remember what you have been asked before the playing of a musical extract you will be allowed to take a pencil and piece of paper into the exam room to make a note of which features you need to listen for. The examiner will collect this piece of paper at the end of the exam.
Additional attempts: Examiners will use their discretion in allowing an additional attempt at the aural tests.
Large print tests
ABRSM’s default for large print tests is a 14mm stave on white paper. Tests may be printed on A4 or A3.
If you request a large print sight-reading test, you will receive a large print copy of aural test B at Grades 4 to 8.
Modified print tests
Rather than a straightforward enlargement, ABRSM can make further modifications based on your preferences, for example, larger note-heads and beaming, or a larger font for performance directions.
If you request a modified print sight-reading test, you will receive a modified print copy of aural test B at Grades 4 to 8.
If you require modified print, you should send a covering letter at the time of entry along with a sample of the notation required. Please include details of all typographical specifications. You can email musical examples written in Sibelius or MuseScore to [email protected]
Further information on modified stave notation (MSN) is published by the UK Association for Accessible formats (UKAAF) and their contact details can be found at the end of these guidelines.
Sight-reading tests on coloured paper
If you require tests on coloured paper you should indicate this by contacting the access coordinator before the published entry deadline. You will need to post three sheets of the required paper to ABRSM at the time of entry.
Sight-reading tests on separate sheets
If you require tests reproduced on a separate sheet of paper, you should indicate this by contacting the access coordinator before the published entry deadline. You are then welcome to make any notes on the test during the preparation time.
Use of large print or modified print scores in exams
You are welcomed to use your own large print or modified print copies in the exam provided you bring the original with you. This provision is made under the Code of Fair Practice published by the MPA, which allows you to make an accessible copy for your own use. No prior permission is required.
Aural repetition in place of Sight-reading
This test may be a more appropriate alternative for some candidates with severe learning difficulties or who learn music by ear rather than notation. If you select this provision on the online entry form, we may contact you to confirm it is the most appropriate option.
The aural repetition test consists of a short passage played three times on the piano by the examiner, who will first play and name the key-chord and starting note, and indicate the tempo before asking you to repeat the passage on your instrument. You will be given 15 seconds to try out the test following the second and final playings. You can obtain specimen tests from ABRSM.
Organ, Trumpet, Horn and Harpsichord exams
These exams involve either a transposition exercise or a figured bass realisation. The additional time will be split between the Sight-reading and these additional tests.