We advise that before entering an exam the candidate should be confident and proficient in everything contained in their syllabus book and always talk to their teacher. We advise self-taught candidates to have a few lessons with a teacher to check if they are ready.
No. We do not require candidates to take a theory exam before doing a Rockschool exam.
Candidates can take a Rockschool exam at any grade without having taken the grade before or an equivalent exam. We do assume that if a candidate starts at any level other than Debut or Grade 1, then they are proficient in the techniques and skills required at the lower grades. Check the syllabus guide and talk to a teacher before entering an exam.
A free choice piece is the alternative to playing a song from the grade books. Each Grade (except Debut and Premiere) has two free choice options. Performance Certificates (except Debut and Premiere) have three free choice options. Candidates can perform either:
their own composition
songs in the public domain, including hits from the charts. For example, a song by their favourite band or artist.
pieces from other accredited exam boards
a piece from our Hot Rock series.
The piece must conform to the free choice criteria which can be found here. Free Choice Pieces do not have to be approved in advance for any instrument, but if you are unsure about the eligibility of your piece please email a copy of the score complete with your notated part to email@example.com.
Please note: all Free Choice Pieces must be performed with a backing track that doesn’t include your instrument’s part.
We have companion guides for Guitar, Bass, Drums and Vocals. We also have Technical Companions for Guitar, Bass and Drums which give extra support and guidance for teachers and candidates on the technical sides of the exam. These publications are available as digital downloads here.
The syllabus guide for each instrument has a breakdown of the technical requirements for each grade. You can also email firstname.lastname@example.org and your questions will be answered by our Syllabus Adviser.