Exam Tips

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

General Tips

The Exam

    • No live accompaniment is permitted.  All pieces must be performed to a pre-recorded backing track.
    • No-one is allowed in the exam room apart from the examiner and candidate (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.
    • All backing tracks for Free Choice Pieces and transposed songs (vocals only) must be brought to the exam on a usb stick.  No devices please.
    • 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.

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


  • Guitar, Bass Drums – new repertoire books are out now.  There are no changes to the technical work requirements for these syllabuses.
  • Piano – A brand new syllabus (repertoire and technical work) was released in February 2019.
  • Keys – A brand new syllabus (repertoire and technical work) was released in February 2019.
  • Vocals – This syllabus is currently under review.
  • Acoustic Guitar, Ukulele and Music Production are new syllabuses so will be current until at least 2022.

Instrument-Specific Tips


      • Ad-libbing and re-working of the melody is no longer a requirement for Grade 3 and up.
      • Transposition of songs is acceptable.  Please bring a backing track to the exam.
      • Female candidates may use songs from the Male grade books and vice versa.
      • All songs must be performed with a recorded backing track not a live accompanist, unless the candidate would like to accompany themselves.
      • Vocals candidates may accompany themselves in free choice pieces on an instrument they can play while singing, such as guitar, piano or ukulele.


      • Candidates may sing a song if they wish (for Free Choice pieces), 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.