General Information

General Information: Graded Music Exams


Candidates should arrive 15 minutes before their exam is due to start.

Most centres will have a practice room but it is not guaranteed. Please refer to our centre list to see if one is available at your preferred centre.

All candidates must bring the appropriate hard copy grade book or digital equivalent to be signed or noted by the examiner. Your result may be withheld if the appropriate materials are not presented on the day. If you are taking a grade 6, 7 or 8 examination then you must bring photographic identification. Your result may be withheld if the appropriate ID is not presented on the day. If you do not have appropriate ID then please complete the ID form available on the RSL website and bring it with you to your exam.

The centre will provide backline equipment for your exam i.e. amplifiers and PA system.


The examiner will provide the backing tracks for any pieces from the Rockschool Grade Book or Hot Rock/Rockschool Classic series.

Candidates must bring two copies of sheet music if they are taking a Free Choice Piece; an original copy of the tune for the performance and a second copy (photocopy) for the examiner.

The audio can be on any device with a 3.5mm jack output. We recommend that the audio is brought on two different sources as a back-up. Please note that the audio cannot be streamed from a device and must be a downloaded audio file for accessible playback on the exam day. Scores must be fully staff notated and backing tracks must be without the examined part.

Please note that candidates will not be allowed to have live accompaniment, by themselves or another performer.

Photocopied pages are permitted to help avoid page turns, as long as the original hard copy grade book/digital equivalent is presented on the day. Please note that examiners will not be able to assist with page turns at any point during the exam.

Notated repeats are required in accompanied pieces (ie. where played to a backing track) but for solo pieces (ie. without a backing track) can be considered optional – this is across all Rockschool and RSL Classical syllabuses.

Instrument Information

Guitar and Bass
Candidates must bring their own instrument and leads and we recommend bringing spare strings. If the candidate is using effects then we suggest you use batteries, where possible. Candidates should be fully tuned up before entering the exam room.

Candidates must bring their own instrument and we recommend bringing spare strings. Candidates should be fully tuned up before entering the exam room.

RSL centres will provide an acoustic kit as standard. Drum candidates must bring their own sticks. For those grades 6, 7 and 8, drummers who have notified Rockschool on their entry that they wish to bring their own equipment they may bring their own cymbals, hi hats, pedal, snare or even entire kit.

Drummers who have applied to play an electric kit will be required to provide the entire kit regardless of grade taken and must have notified RSL on entry.

Candidates must bring their own microphone from Grade 6 upwards though some centres will be able to provide one. Please ensure that you check with the exam centre directly prior to the exam day.

The following instruments are accepted for use in Piano exams, at all grades.

A number of our exam centres in the UK have acoustic pianos. The remainder have digital pianos. Candidates are advised to contact Rockschool to check their nearest centre if they specifically wish to perform the exam on an acoustic piano. See also

Candidates must bring their own keyboard and appropriate stand for use in the exam, plus any additional required equipment. Please refer to our syllabus guide for specific requirements for each grade.

During the Exam

Candidates be allowed a few minutes to set up before the exam commences.

A sound check will be given at the start of the exam to ensure that the candidate is satisfied with the audio levels
Candidates should be aware that on occasion there may be an additional RSL staff member or trainee in the room with the main examiner. Candidates will always be asked if they are happy with this situation should it occur, and are very welcome to decline if they are not comfortable with it. The additional staff member/trainee will then step out of the room for the duration of their examination.

Teachers and parents will not be allowed into the room during the exam except in exceptional circumstances, with permission having been granted under the Reasonable Adjustments process.

With the exception of certain Technical Exercises where memory requirements apply, it is permitted to use grade books which contain notes made during the course of a candidate’s study. However, it isn’t permitted to make notes during the exam.

Restarts on songs and technical exercises will only be permitted if candidates are less than 1/3 of their way through. Candidates must communicate this to the examiner in enough time for the piece to be restarted.

Safeguarding is covered by either having glass in the exam door or CCTV monitoring which the steward will regularly check. No recordings are made via the CCTV system and this is not available to view for parents or other people accompanying the candidate

On occasion, candidates may have their exams recorded by RSL. The candidate/parent/guardian will be contacted prior to the day of exams to give their permission for RSL to retain and use these recordings in tandem with their exam report, for training and benchmarking purposes. The candidate/parent/guardian should note that none of the recordings will be made available in the public domain and they will be held for a maximum of 6 years.

Candidates/parents/guardians are not permitted to make any recordings of the exam.

After the Exam

Pending moderation, candidates will receive their results online and then by post. We aim to release results a maximum of 3 weeks after the exam and certificates will follow in the post afterwards.

Please note that we cannot give results out over the phone or by post before the moderation is completed.

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