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The February to March deadline is 14 December

Vocals Grade 3

Vocals Grade 3 adds improvisation elements and concentrates on fundamental areas of technique, such as perfect intervals, bends, small leaps and arpeggios. At exam time, you'll be tested across a series of three or five performances, depending on the exam you choose.

Key Skills at Grade 3

What you'll learn at Grade 3:

  • Quick dynamic changes, bends, wider ranges, head voice, small leaps, limited improvisation
  • The major and natural minor scales and the major and minor arpeggios
  • Perfect intervals and spoken rhythms

What You're Marked On

Your Vocals Grade 3 exam lasts 30 minutes and is split into five key sections. Refer to the Vocals Syllabus for in­-depth information and guidance on Vocals Grade 3.

Performance Pieces

Candidates must prepare a total of three pieces for a Grade Exam and five pieces for a Performance Certificate.
There is an option of two Free Choice Pieces for a Grade Exam and three Free Choice Pieces for a Performance Certificate.

Info: As of October 2016, the 'Improvisation Requirements' for 'Performance Pieces', as published in older editions of the 2014 Vocal syllabus, are no longer a mandatory requirement for Rockschool Vocal candidates. While we encourage individual musical interpretation and candidates are free to improvise, the previous 'Improvisation Requirements' are no longer mandatory. Download our 2016 Vocals Syllabus Specification (2.2MB, .pdf) for more details.

Learn more about Free Choice Pieces...

Technical Exercises

At Grade 3 there are four groups of Technical Exercises. The examiner will ask for a selection from each group.

  • Scales
  • Arpeggios
  • Intervals
  • Technical Studies

Sight Reading/Improvisation and Interpretation

At Grade 3 a choice between Sight Reading OR Improvisation and Interpretation will be offered. A previously unseen test will be used in the exam and an example of this can be found in the Vocals Grade 3 Female book or Vocals Grade 3 Male book.

Sight Reading


  • Female: C major or D minor
  • Male: F major or E minor
  • Tempo: 75-85bpm
  • Range: Up to a perfect 5th

At Grade 3 the Sight Reading test consists of whole notes (semi­breves), half notes (minims), quarter notes (crotchets), eighth notes (quavers) and quarter note rests in 4/4. The test is four­-bars long, starts with the root note and is in one of the above keys (the examiner will decide which).

Improvisation and Interpretation


  • Female: G major or E minor
  • Male: G major or E minor
  • Tempo: 80-90bpm

At Grade 3 the examiner will give the candidate a chord sequence in the key of G major or E minor (the examiner will decide which). The candidate must improvise a melody over the backing track and the chord sequence will be heard three times.

Ear Tests

There are two Ear Tests at Grade 3; Melodic Recall and Rhythmic Recall.

Melodic Recall
  • Female: C major or A natural minor scale
  • Male: F major A natural minor scale
  • Tempo: 90bpm

The examiner will play a two­-bar melody played to a drum backing. It will use a range of up to the first five notes of the above scales (the examiner will decide which) and the first note will be the root note.

Rhythmic Recall
Part 1: Rhythmic Recall
  • Tempo: 90bpm

The examiner will play a two-­bar rhythm played on a single note to a drum backing. The test will be heard twice and each time the test is played it is preceded by the root note and a four­beat count-­in.

Part 2: Identification

The candidate will then be asked to identify the rhythm heard in part 1 from two printed examples shown by the examiner.

General Musicianship Questions

General Musicianship Questions are included to test further musical understanding and voice knowledge. At Grade 3 you will be asked five questions, four on general music knowledge, and the fifth will be about voice.

  • Four general music knowledge questions on the piece including; pitch, intervals, repeat marks, staccato marks, slurs, time signatures, note values and rests and D.C., D.S., al Coda and al Fine markings
  • One question based on voice including; the ‘break', transition, sustain and voice preparation

You can find an expansive list of general musicianship questions in the Vocals Companion Guide.

Vocals GMQ Sample (90KB, .pdf)


Your Grade 3 exam lasts 30 minutes for a Grade Exam or 25 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 Vocals Grade 3 exam now! Simply buy or download the Vocals Grade 3 Female book or Vocals Grade 3 Male book, and start preparing alongside your singing teacher.

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

Books for Vocals Grade 3

  • Vocals Grade 3 Book Cover Vocals Grade 3

    TThe Female Vocals Grade 3 book contains everything you need to pass your first Vocals Grade exam.

  • Vocals Grade 3 Book Cover Vocals Grade 3

    The Male Vocals Grade 3 book contains everything you need to pass your Vocals Grade exam.

  • Vocals Companion Guide Book Cover Vocals Companion Guide

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

  • Workbook Grade 3 Book Cover Workbook Grade 3

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