Exam Tips

Here is some General Information for teachers and students who may be new to Rockschool.

General Tips

The Exam

    • Live accompaniment is now permitted.  Please let us know in advance if you are bringing an accompanist.
    • No-one is allowed in the exam room apart from the examiner,  candidate and accompanist (unless previously discussed and approved by AMEB.)
    • Make sure you have enrolled for the correct exam: Grade Exam (3 pieces plus technical work, unseen tests and general musicianship questions) OR Performance Certificate (5 pieces only).
    • Arrive at the venue at least 20 minutes before the exam time and tune your instrument.
    • Every student must bring their Rockschool Grade book to the exam (or a registered downloaded version) and the examiner will sign these in the exam.
    • You are no longer required to perform Free Choice Pieces with a backing track.  But any you do bring should be brought to the exam on a device, such as a smartphone, tablet or laptop.  No USBs please.
    • At the start of the exam, candidates are allowed 1-2 minutes to set up before the exam commences.
    • All students will do a sound-check before they start their pieces to make sure the backing track volume is at the right level for them.
    • You should not make any adaptations to your instrument which make it easier to play, such as stickers on the frets or keys, or drum pads/dampeners. Adapting your instrument in this way will result in reduced marks.

Exam Preparation


  • Students should practice with the backing track. This is a key part of the Rockschool program and they will be assessed on their ability to play in sync with the backing track.
  • Free Choice pieces are not allowed for Let’s Rock, Premiere exams.


Syllabus Updates

Instrument-Specific Tips


      • The new Vocals syllabus is out now!
      • The technical work is the same as the old syllabus but any starting note is allowed.  Check the new grade books for all the details.
      • Transposition of songs is acceptable.  Please bring a backing track to the exam.
      • You may now bring an accompanist to the exam.  Piano accompaniments are provided in the new syllabus.
      • Vocals candidates may accompany themselves in free choice pieces on an instrument they can play while singing, such as guitar, piano or ukulele.
      • For any songs sung in a language other than English, an English translation of the lyrics must be provided for the examiner.


      • Candidates may sing a song if they wish as long as the song features the piano part.
      • All songs must be performed to a backing track apart from the new ‘solo’ options in the 2019 Piano syllabus.


      • All candidates for this syllabus must bring their own keyboard to the exam.


      • All candidates are encouraged to wear ear-plugs or headphones.
      • Please bring your own drum sticks.
      • You are welcome to bring your own cymbals and snare drum from Grade 6 and up.

Electric Guitar

      • Candidates may perform on an acoustic guitar for Grades Debut to 2.  From grade 3 and up they must have an electric guitar.

Acoustic Guitar

      • At Diploma level, please use the guidelines for ‘Guitar’.


    • For some pieces the candidate can choose between the two written parts.  For other pieces only one part can be played in the exam.  Please check the grade books carefully to see which parts can be assessed.