Face-to-face Exams

Face-to-face Exams

RSL Awards’ comprehensive range of syllabus materials provide every candidate with the practical skills and theoretical understanding necessary to perform to the highest level across a broad range of repertoire.

Each student can develop a level of musicianship which will support them in almost any musical environment, whilst enabling both teacher and student to choose their own area of specialism as they move through each syllabus.

Our face-to-face exam options mean candidates can enter an exam at a Public Exam Centre or teachers can arrange a private exam session at their own venue made up of any combination of instruments from both our Rockschool and RSL Classical syllabus materials.

Find a Public Exam Centre (UK & Ireland)

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Book a Private Exam visit!

Based outside the UK? Contact your local RSL representative.

Why Take Graded Music Exams?

Feel Rewarded

Ranging from beginner to advanced levels of study, RSL Awards’ graded music exams ensure hard work is rewarded regardless of age or previous musical experience. Gain a benchmarked record of your musical progress on your instrument as you work through the grades.

Expand Your Knowledge

An RSL Awards graded music exam will improve your technical proficiency, performance skills and theoretical understanding which can be applied to other areas of your musical learning – all whilst getting to know some of the most iconic tracks and genres from the world of music.

UCAS Points

RSL Awards' graded music exams carry huge recognition. As well as acquiring the skills and knowledge needed in preparation for real life musical situations, at Grades 6, 7 and 8, you can bolster your university application, with up to 30 UCAS Points awarded at Grade 8.

Types of Face-to-face Exams Available

Across the UK and Republic of Ireland, we have a wide network of public examination venues. At each grade, candidates will have the option of taking one of two different types of examination...

Grade Exam

A Grade Exam is a mixture of music performances, technical assessment and a range of supporting tests (dependant on grade and instrument). As part of the performance section of the exam (worth 60% of the overall exam marks), the candidate must prepare to perform three pieces from their Rockschool or RSL Classical Grade book (two of which may be Free Choice Pieces). Each performed piece is marked out of 20.

The other 40% consists of Technical Exercises and supporting tests, which include: Sight Reading, Improvisation & Interpretation, Ear Tests, and five General Musicianship Questions. The pass mark for this style of exam is set at 60%.

Number of Pieces: 3
Technical Exercises: Examiner Selection of Scales, Arpeggios/Broken Chords, and Technical Studies
Unseen Tests: Sight Reading OR Improvisation, Ear Test, and General Musicianship Questions

Performance Certificate

During the Performance Certificate a candidate must play five pieces with each song marked out of 20 (up to three of these can be Free Choice Pieces). The pass mark for this exam is also set at 60%.

Number of Pieces: 5
Technical Exercises: None
Unseen Tests: None

Host a Private Exam Session

RSL Private Exam Days are hosted at a venue of your choice, enabling your students to sit their Graded Exam in the comfort of a familiar setting, using equipment they are accustomed to. Students often prefer this format due to this familiarity, whilst it also reduces the amount of time spent outside of school. These exams can be done through an examiner visit or alternatively via a live-stream at the venue or direct from the student's home.

For teachers, this introduces a higher degree of flexibility as the exam date itself is not limited to specific Exam Periods, like our public examinations. All private centres are given access to discounts on official RSL Awards publications, as well as additional resources and support to help make each learners experience as enjoyable as possible.

Please click here for more information or get in touch via the button below for more information...

contact an RSL exams officer

Next Exam Period

Find out all of our UK graded music exam periods and closing dates, as well as exam fees per grade here:

Graded Music Exams: Dates & Fees

Grading Criteria

Download the grading descriptors and mark schemes for all Graded Music Exams.

Graded Music Exams – Mark Scheme and Grading Descriptors

Further Information

Face-to-face Graded Music Exams

How to book your RSL Awards Graded Music exam...

Our online exam entry process is extremely simple. Whether you are taking an exam face-to-face or online, you just need to fill out the online booking form which you can find here...


Please see our walkthrough video of how to enter candidates for their exams in the UK...

Safety Guidance

Join us at your local exam centre! We implemented safety guidance for delivering exams during the pandemic in June 2020, which has proved practical and sustainable. As we move into a post-lockdown environment, we will be retaining this guidance in the form of recommendations. We encourage and expect all candidates, teachers, examiners, and others attending examination venues to continue to adhere to these guidelines whenever practical and feasible, and also to respect the wishes of others regarding social contact and distancing.


Hit the button below to keep up to date with our COVID-19 graded music exam guidance...

COVID-19 Exam Guidance

Remember, RSL’s world leading digital exams are always an option if venturing out to an exam centre is not possible for you at the moment.

More Information

Hit the links below to find out more about what happens on an RSL Awards graded music exam day:

General Information

Rockschool FAQs

RSL Classical FAQs

Photographic ID

All candidates at Grades 6 to 8 are required to show valid photographic identification when attending or recording their examination.

  • For face-to-face exams, candidates should show their ID to the examiner at the start of the exam.
  • For live stream exams, candidates should show their ID to the examiner via the screen at the start of the exam.
  • For recorded digital exams, candidates should clearly display their ID to the camera for at least 10 seconds in accordance with the video exam guidelines.

Any official documentation which includes photographic ID may be used such as:

  • Passport
  • Driving License
  • Travel Pass
  • ID card

Candidates who do not possess valid photographic ID must instead complete a ‘Photographic ID Form’, including a current photograph of the candidate and witnessed by a parent/guardian, teacher or other nominated person, and present this in place of photo ID.

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