Blog Archives

How do I know if I am ready for my exam?

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.

What are Free Choice pieces/Free Choice elements?

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
Please note: all Free Choice Pieces must be performed with a backing track that doesn’t include your instrument’s part.

I need some advice on the technical aspects of the exams. What should I do?

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 and your questions will be answered by our Syllabus Adviser.