Enter for your Bass exam in four quick steps

The February to March deadline is 14 December

Bass Grade 3

At Bass Grade 3, you'll learn some new scales and arpeggios that will see you unlock walking bass lines, improvisation and solo work. Then you'll be tested across three or five longer compositions, mixing Rockschool pieces with your own creations*.

Key Skills at Grade 3

What you'll learn at Grade 3:

  • Soloing, improvising, walking bass lines
  • Major and Natural Minor scales. Major and Minor Pentatonic scales. Blues scales, Major and Minor arpeggios, Dominant 7th arpeggios
  • Playback and performance skills

What You're Marked On

Your Bass Grade 3 exam lasts 25 minutes and is split into five key sections.

Performance Pieces

At Grade 3:

  • Pieces last up to two minutes. They introduce improvisation and solo work and the development of stylistic techniques
  • Candidates must prepare a total of three pieces for a Grade Exam and five pieces for a Performance Certificate
  • Pieces are over two pages
  • *There is an option of two Free Choice Pieces for a Grade Exam and three Free Choice Pieces for a Performance Certificate

Learn more about Free Choice Pieces...

Technical Exercises

A selection will be asked from three sections:

  • Scales
  • Arpeggios
  • Riff

Sight Reading or Improvisation

At Grade 3 you will be offered either Sight Reading or Improvisation.

Sight Reading
  • Four bars in G major or A minor
  • ½ and ¼ and 1/8 notes with ¼ note rests in 4/4
  • 90 seconds' preparation and practice
  • Four bars in G major or A minor
  • 30 seconds' preparation
  • One practise play-through, with backing

Ear Tests

There are two ear tests at Grade 3: Melodic and Rhythmic Recall. These help develop the two key bass skills of lead and rhythm playback.

Melodic Recall
  • You will hear a two bar melody in G Minor Pentatonic played twice with a drum backing track
  • You will then have a period of practice
  • You will then be asked to play the melody along with the drum backing. The first note will be the tonic and the first interval will be ascending
Rhythmic Recall
  • You will hear a two-bar rhythm played with a drum backing on the fourth (low E) string of your bass
  • You will then have a period of practice
  • You will be asked to play the rhythm along with the drum backing
  • You will then be asked to identify the test from a set of two examples

General Musicianship Questions

General Musicianship Questions are included to test your musical understanding and further instrumental knowledge. The five questions are broken down as follows:

  • Four questions on the piece, including clef, meaning of time signature, note and rest values and the construction of a major and minor chord
  • One question on your instrument, including parts of the bass, location of volume and tone controls on the bass and the volume/gain controls on the amp

These files are extracts from Rockschool's Companion Guides for Bass Book.

Bass GMQ Sample (48KB, .pdf)


Your Grade 3 exam lasts 25 minutes for a Grade Exam or 20 minutes for a Performance Certificate. Candidates are asked to arrive at least 15 minutes before their exam starts.

Get Started Today!

You can start working towards your Bass Grade 3 exam now! Simply buy or download the Bass Grade 3 book, and start preparing alongside your bass teacher.

If you don't have a bass teacher, you can quickly find the nearest teacher to you with our handy find a music teacher map.

Books for Bass Grade 3

  • Bass Grade 3 Book Cover Bass Grade 3

    The Bass Grade 3 book contains everything you need to sit your Grade 3 exam.

  • Bass Companion Guide Book Cover Bass Companion Guide

    The Bass Companion Guide book features over 200 "unseen" test examples.

  • Bass Technical Handbook Book Cover Bass Technical Handbook

    Brush up on every riff, scale and arpeggio you'll need to know to pass all of your Grade Exams.

  • Workbook Grade 3 Book Cover Workbook Grade 3

    The Rockschool Grade 3 Theory Workbook is the ideal preparation for your Grade 3 theory exam.