ABRSM - Guidance for Remotely Assessed Performance Grade Examinations

ABRSM requires the video recording to contain:

  • A continuous, unedited, performance of four pieces
  • At the start  – a completed programme form shown to the camera for 5 seconds
  • Three pieces from the syllabus and a fourth 'own choice'
  • the start of the own-choice piece shown to the camera before the performance begins
  • announcements to the camera 
  • Candidates taking Grades 6, 7 or 8 must show photo ID to the camera at the beginning of the exam.

The performance can take place at the candidate’s school or home, the teacher’s studio,  or anywhere with appropriate space and instruments.  Definitions used here are:

  • Applicant - Anyone 18 or over who submits a booking for an ABRSM exam (school, teacher, parent or an adult candidate).
  • Candidate - The person taking the exam.
  • Contact ID - Everyone using the online booking service is given a unique Contact ID. This ID is also used on submitted materials.
  • Responsible adult - The person who will oversee the exam for candidates under 18. The responsible adult must be aged 18 or over and may be the applicant, teacher or parent/ carer

BOOKING

An 'applicant' (who must be 18 and over) can create an account using this link.  You will need to enterthe following candidate information: Contact ID (if known); name; date of birth; grade and instrument; email address for candidate or parent/carer; and any access arrangements or reasonable adjustments. To book use this link  during the booking period. Click ‘Public Venue Booking’ and select the instrument(s) and grade(s). Select the exam date(s), add candidate details, and pay.

The exam date you select will be the deadline for submitting the video. Once the booking period has closed, ABRSM will email you to let you know you can log in to view your confirmed exam submission slots. You can log in to change an exam submission slot, subject to availability, up to 48 hours before the existing exam submission date. To reschedule use this link.  

The responsible adult should oversee the exam for candidates under 18. They must read this guidance and make sure the requirements are followed. They must be present when the video is uploaded , as they must complete the declaration form. They must stay in the exam room for the duration of the exam and make sure the recording is one continuous take.  

They may also page-turn ; provide accompaniment; help with the video recording device; carry out any pre-performance procedures that must be filmed except showing the candidate’s photo ID.

PRE-PERFORMANCE PROCEDURES

Candidates (or the responsible adult) should show:

1. A completed programme form to the camera at the start of the recording for about 5 seconds. There are links here to a portrait version and a landscape version. The  form should detail, in performance order: each piece title (and any Opus number); the composer name; the list and number for pieces from the syllabus book; details of the 'own-choice piece (incl. publisher if applicable)

2. The opening of the candidate's copy of the own-choice piece - with the following easily visible: title; opening clef(s), key and time signature, tempo marking and any other performance indications; a few lines of music from the beginning of the piece

3. Announcements to camera before beginning the performance; the candidate's name; instrument; grade; piece title; composer name and list information for each piece, in performance order. 

4. For grades 6, 7 or 8, the candidate themselves needs to show a form of photographic identification (photo ID) to the camera. For more information and a list of accepted forms of photo ID, please read the
Candidate Identification Policy at www.abrsm.org/policies. The candidate must show their photo ID to the camera themselves.


TAKING THE EXAM

Once recording has started, the candidate should make their announcements, show documents to camera and perform their repertoire in one continuous take. Any subsequent re-tuning or break during the performance should be included. The recording must not be edited in any way after the exam.

Most smartphones, tablets and laptops are suitable. Camera resolution should be 720p. Lower resolution may produce an unclear picture and higher resolutions may produce files  too large to upload successfully. Video resolution can usually be altered in the device settings.

Either landscape or portrait view is acceptable. The camera should be static with candidate, instrument and music stand  clearly in view. Any accompanist should be in view, with the candidate being the main the focus. The examiner should be able to hear both candidate and accompaniment clearly.

For keyboard instruments, the whole keyboard should be visible and, where applicable and possible, the pedals should also be in view. For percussion candidates, each instrument being played in the exam should be visible throughout.  In certain circumstances, e.g. in Organ exams, the recording device may need to be set at a distance from the candidate in order to secure a balanced sound. This means a clear picture of, for example, manuals and/or pedal board may not be possible; the candidate must, however, be clearly visible.

People present If a responsible adult, or any other person not actively involved in the performance, is in the room they should remain still and silent during the performance and be situated out of the camera view. They should not disrupt or direct the candidate’s performance, or interfere with the recording in any way

We recommend testing the recording device and recording before the exam – to make sure the recording will have clear sound and vision. Check lighting levels, camera position and the legibility of the written programme form on screen. Before starting the recording, check that audible or potentially distracting notifications are disabled on the device, that it is well charged and has enough available storage space.  The recording must be of a good enough quality to allow assessment of all aspects of the performance, including tone quality and dynamic range. Examiners will mark based on what they hear and see, and cannot take poor quality- or balance of- a recording into account. 

File size Recordings must be in one of the following formats: MP4, WMV, MOV or MPG. The file size must not exceed 2GB.  If the resolution of the video is too high, the file may be too large or slow to upload. In these circumstances, the file should be compressed to ensure it uploads successfully. There are a number of platforms available online and through Android and Apple app stores to help with this.

SUBMITTING THE RECORDING AND DECLARATIONS

You can upload the video recording from the point at which the exam booking is confirmed until the exam submission date/time. The upload function will only be available during this period of time. 

When you are ready to upload you will need to login through either account (it does not need to be the same person who made the entry) and select ‘Submit Recordings’. 

Once you have selected the correct candidate you will be able to start the upload process. As part of the upload process, a declaration must be completed to confirm that the recording was made in accordance with our Exam Regulations (see Appendix 1). When the candidate is under 18, this declaration should be made by the responsible adult who was present at the time of the recording. The responsible adult must therefore also be present when the video is uploaded. You will only be able to submit your recording once, so make sure the file you are selecting is the correct one.

ABRSM will keep recordings for 90 days after they have issued the results. They will then destroy them.  The video recording of the exam is made for the sole purpose of ABRSM’s assessment and it must not be shared or used for any other purpose. The video recording of the exam must not be shared with any other person or uploaded to file sharing or social media websites . If the exam recording is shared with anyone other than ABRSM for assessment purposes, the candidate may be disqualified. A video recording of an exam has the status of an examination script and is therefore exempt from subject access requests made under data protection law. However, candidates are allowed to retain a copy of their video recording after submitting it to ABRSM. They can request other information about themselves and how ABRSM uses their personal data in accordance with our Privacy Policy (www.abrsm.org/privacypolicy).