Graded Exams
  A Definitive Guide to Graded Examinations across the Performing Arts

What are the Grades?

Graded exams provide a series of qualifications that offer a progressive learning structure for developing performers. They form a set of motivational milestones from beginner level to a standard of proficiency and artistry appropriate for entry to Higher Education — either colleges specialising in the performing arts or the university and conservatoire sector. Working through the grades represents a typical route for those wishing to become performing artists, as they are an authoritative source of internationally understood benchmarks.

Graded exams are offered in:

  • Music: For example orchestral instruments, piano, electronic keyboards, singing and guitar.
  • Dance: For example ballet, tap, freestyle, modern jazz, ballroom, Spanish and contemporary.
  • Drama & Communication: For example acting, speech and performance arts.
  • Musical Theatre

The graded approach, which typically encompasses eight grades, encourages learners at all levels of competence to develop and display their skills sequentially. It also provides a structure for teaching, monitoring and rewarding individual achievement, leading at each grade to an independent assessment of the candidate by an external examiner.

Preparation for graded exams develops high standards of performance, perception, creativity, knowledge and understanding. Additionally, the grades provide a scheme of clear incremental standards by which candidates, teachers, parents/carers and employers may measure progress in acquiring genuine command of the skills required in each discipline, whether for educational, vocational or social purposes.