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NEW Online ABRSM Theory Exams

NEW Online ABRSM Theory Exams

Everything you need to know

ABRSM are gradually transitioning their theory exams from the old paper based exams to online ones, starting with the online Grade 5 pilot on 26 August 2020 in the UK and rolling out to all countries during 2021. There will be another online session in November  for UK, India, Singapore, Czech Republic, Ireland, Malta, Russia and Slovakia. 

What is changing: Exam Format.

  • There are new question types including more multiple-choice.

  • The requirement to demonstrate accurate copying of music has been removed. 

  • There will be a total of 75 marks available rather than 100 marks. Candidates will need 50 marks for a Pass, 60 marks for a Merit and 65 marks for a Distinction.

What is changing: Syllabus

  • Grade 2: candidates currently have a choice of the harmonic or melodic form of minor scales. This is changing to harmonic.

  • Grade 3: questions about phrase structure are no longer included.

  • Grade 5: identifying the progression 6/4 5/3 (Ic-V) on the dominant note in any of the keys set for this grade is no longer be required.

  • Grade 5: the requirement that candidates can recognise and name perfect, plagal and imperfect cadences has been added. Currently candidates have to indicate suitable chord progressions for two cadences – now they have to name those cadences.

  • The number of terms and signs has been reduced.
A list of the new terms needed for grades 1-5 ABRSM Theory
A list of the Theory signs needed for Grades 1 and 2 ABRSM Theory from 2020

You can find downloadable PDF of this table  as well as  some sample papers for the new style exams HERE


  1. How does this work for adult learners? Who moderates the exam, or can you go to a centre and do it there?

    1. It's done on your own computer at home with a special software that uses your webcam to make sure you're not cheating


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