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Exam Tips

Are you feeling nervous about your exam? Here are some tips...

  1. It’s ok to be nervous – it means you care about this exam and your music.
  2. Be prepared – if you are really well prepared then even if you get nervous you will still play well.
  3. Put on a performance at your school or at home (with piano accompaniment) a week or so before the exam. You might even like to make a program listing the pieces you are playing, or tell your audience a bit about each piece before you play e.g. the meaning of the title and the name of the composer. If you can, record the performance so you can listen/watch your playing and see where you can improve.
  4. Try to keep calm before the exam and breathe before you start playing.
  5. Wash your hands before you go into the exam so your fingers don’t stick to the fingerboard!
  6. Enjoy the exam – the examiners want you to do well so try to enjoy sharing your music with them.
  7. Practise, Practise, Practise!
  8. Believe in yourself – you can achieve anything with determination and hard work!

What to take with you to the exam

  1. Yourself! Allow plenty of time to find the exam venue and to have a quick tune and warm up (if there is a room available). Remember that presentation is important too – dress in something comfortable and smart.
  2. Your manners! Greet your examiner with a "Hello" or "Good morning/Good afternoon" and don't forget to thank them at the end of the exam.
  3. Your piano accompanist – make sure you have given them the correct time and location of your exam.
  4. All your music – list pieces, extra list pieces (if applicable) and Technical Work Book. Make sure you have rubbed out any General Knowledge notes you may have pencilled into your parts.
  5. Any accessories you may need e.g. for a cellist you would need your donut (black hole), rosin, a cleaning cloth and a mute (if applicable).
  6. Some water and a healthy treat in case you need to wait around.
  7. A smiling face – no matter what happens on the day, you have worked hard and improved your playing, so now it’s time to enjoy the experience!

Grade Notes and Tools

  • Preliminary Grade
  • Preliminary Grade
  • Grade One
  • Grade One
  • Grade Two
  • Grade Two
  • Grade Three
  • Grade Three
  • Grade Four
  • Grade Four