ABRSM Performance Grades Access arrangements and reasonable adjustments

These guidelines are for candidates with specific needs wishing to take a Performance Grade exam. They detail the access arrangements and reasonable adjustments ABRSM offer for these exams.

There are some important differences between our Practical Grade exams and our Performance grade exams in relation to candidates with specific needs.

  • Performance Grades include no supporting tests (aural tests, Sight-reading or Scales).
  • Your performance may be recorded on a date and at a time to suit you, as long as you submit the recording by the closing deadline.
  • There is no limit to the number of takes for your recording.
  • There is no requirement to answer questions or respond in any way to an examiner.

Before reading these guidelines, we recommend you also read our Access Arrangements and Reasonable Adjustments Policy, which can be found at www.abrsm.org/specificneeds.

You should review the information in these guidelines before making an exam entry.

If you have questions or specific requirements that are not covered by these guidelines, please contact ABRSM’s Access Coordinator.

It is important to understand that while we are able to make provisions for the administration of the exam, for example extra time or alternative tests, we are not able to make any concessions in the marking – all candidates will be treated equally.

Please ensure you select the most relevant access provision when making your exam entry.

It is important that you select the relevant access provision for each exam even if you have requested access arrangements or reasonable adjustments previously.

If none of the access provisions cover your specific needs or you have questions about the reasonable adjustments to which you are entitled, please contact ABRSM’s Access Coordinator as early as possible before the entry deadline.

Please note that ABRSM is unable to provide reasonable adjustments where we are notified after the exam entry has been made.

In order to grant reasonable adjustments, ABRSM requires appropriate supporting evidence. Please refer to our Access Arrangements and Reasonable Adjustments Policy for further information.

It is not always possible to enter full details of your specific needs on the exam entry form. If this is the case, please contact ABRSM Access Coordinator to discuss what arrangements may be suitable. It is important that you do this as early as possible and no later than the published exam entry deadline.

Please note that ABRSM cannot guarantee to provide reasonable adjustments where we are notified after the published closing date.

ABRSM is aware that you may need to disclose information that is personal and sensitive. To know how we handle your information, please read our privacy policy and information for candidates with specific needs.

We are always happy to pass information to the examiner about your specific needs or anything that may impact on the exam. Examiners always appreciate having this type of information in order to be sensitive in their written comments on the mark form.

If you wish to supply information in relation to your specific needs, please contact the ABRSM Access Coordinator as soon as possible.

Marks will always reflect the standard of your performance. However, examiners will aim to avoid comments that may draw undue attention to your specific needs and any access arrangements.

If, for whatever reason, you are unable to introduce yourself and your repertoire, or hold up your programme and the beginning of your own-choice piece/song, this may be done by the responsible adult or your accompanist. The examiner will only start their assessment once you start to perform.

No supporting documentation is required.

While social distancing requirements are in place, ABRSM has published alternative arrangements for accompaniments which can be found at www.abrsm.org/performancegrades. These special arrangements are subject to review from 7 November 2020.

After this time, if you have concerns over finding, affording or working with an accompanist, for any reason, please contact the Access Coordinator on the details below before making your exam entry.

Extra time is not permitted for your programme. However, rest breaks of up to five minutes may be taken during the performance. This could be one long rest, or several shorter rests.

The video should be left running but the examiner will not take these breaks into consideration in the assessment.

It is not possible for you to split your performance over two sessions or two days. However, you have flexibility over when you make your recording and how many takes you attempt. YOUR FINAL PERFORMANCE SHOULD BE MADE IN ONE TAKE WITHOUT ANY EDITING TOGETHER OF SEPARATE ATTEMPTS.

While your rest breaks are not assessed, you may also wish to consider how you manage them. For example, Is it most effective to stay sat in your chair, or walk off-camera and make a fresh return to the performing area?

As well as considering where you may need rest breaks from a practical point of view, you may also wish to consider how your rest breaks can most effectively be taken in the context of your performance. For example, your programme may fall neatly into two halves with scope for a rest between these, or the mood and character of a piece may lend itself to a moment of stillness immediately afterwards.

You should write to the Access Coordinator, detailing where you intend to take your rest breaks so that this may be passed to the examiner before they receive your video.

No supporting documentation is required.

Performing to a camera and being recorded

We are aware that some candidates may have particular difficulties performing to a camera, or anxiety about the process of being recorded.

Eye contact is not something that is specifically assessed. That said, it may be helpful for you to be aware of exactly where the camera is located in relation to your performing space and your accompanist.

If you are likely to be put off by the presence of the camera, you may wish to consider having something on the wall behind it to focus your attention, such as a favourite picture or even a small live audience if social distancing requirements can be met. You may find it helpful to practice in the same spot as you will use for your performance so that it is more familiar by the time you come to give your performance. Alternatively, you may find that your attention is easily distracted, so ensuring the performance venue is as plainly furnished and decorated as possible may be helpful.

No supporting documentation is required.

It’s a good idea to factor in a technical rehearsal so that you can check how the video looks as well as the sound quality and balance before you attempt your performance. Remember, you have flexibility over when you make the recording and you can therefore leave plenty of time between the performance and the deadline for submitting it to ABRSM. You can find further advice on the technical requirements for submitting videos at www.abrsm.org/performancegrades

We are aware that some candidates may routinely require prompting to start a particular piece or to play pieces in a particular order. This should be undertaken by the responsible adult or accompanist.

While the continuity, pacing and flow of the whole performance does form part of the assessment, there are other elements of the overall performance that may be assessed, such as choice and order of repertoire, balance, variety, performance setting and engagement with the music.

You should write to the Access Coordinator, detailing the nature of the prompting that is necessary so that this may be passed to the examiner before they receive your video.

No supporting documentation is required.

Contact details

Access Coordinator

4 London Wall Place

T +44 (0)20 7467 7342
[email protected]

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