Frequently Asked Questions

How do I enter for an exam?

To enrol for the exam, click on any of the Book Now buttons or simply click here to fill in our online booking form.  

Can I photocopy the music?

Our exam music is copyrighted and may not be copied without permission from Rockschool. However, candidates may photocopy any music you are going to play in the exam to eliminate page turns. The photocopied music will be taken by the examiner at the end of the exam.

How much does an exam cost?

The price of an exam varies depending on which grade the candidate is taking. View the full list of exam fees here.

I am sharing/borrowing a book for practice purposes - do I need my own for the exam?

Yes. Every candidate is required to have their own book for the exam. This can be digital or hard copy. Please find more information on local retailers and our online shop here.

When do the exams take place?

The exams are held over two sessions per year. View the exam periods and closing dates here.

Can I arrange my own exam date?

No. We work very hard to always offer every candidate the most convenient date, time and location for your exam. If you are unavailable on a particular day within the exam period please let us know by emailing  

On what days of the week and at what times are Rockschool examinations held?

Exams are held 7 days a week. Please note that this includes school days, weekends and school holidays during the exam periods.

I have missed the entry deadline - can I still apply?

Yes, we will try to fit you in but we can't guarantee it.  If there is less than one month to the exam a fee of NZ$20 will be charged.   

Who should I contact if I need to make changes to my exam?

You can contact Rockschool New Zealand (which is managed by AMEB in Melbourne) at to make any changes to exams. Changes to exam dates will incur a $20 fee.

How much notice do I get before an exam?

We give a minimum of four weeks’ notice before an exam. If candidates haven’t received confirmation from us four weeks before the end of the exam period then please email us on as a matter of urgency.

Can I change the exam date or time after it’s been confirmed?

Candidates must tell us any date(s) they are unavailable for after they enter online, via email. Changing an exam date when it has been confirmed is very difficult and will incur a NZ$20 fee. Under extenuating circumstances we will try to alter the date but this can’t be guaranteed. Candidates must contact Rockschool New Zealand directly on Deferring an exam to the next period will incur a deferral fee of half the original exam fee.

Where do the exams take place?

Exams take place at one of our Music Centres.  See the full list here.  If you have more than 10 candidates and think you have a suitable venue of your own please contact us to discuss this option.

Are there any provisions for candidates with special educational needs?

Yes. Candidates can contact us at for special exam provisions. We will do everything we can to support the candidate.

I am not ready to take my exam, can I defer it?

Yes, candidates can defer their exam to the next exam session for a half fee of the original exam price, and if you inform us in advance of scheduling your date you can defer it for free. Candidates must inform us prior to the exam taking place to be eligible for this.

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.

Do I need to have taken a theory exam, to sit a Rockschool practical exam?

No. We do not require candidates to take a theory exam before doing a Rockschool exam.

Do I need to start from the beginning (entry level) or can I go in at any level, for example: grade 5?

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.

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.

Do I need to bring my syllabus book to the exam?

Yes, you will need the book to be signed or the download code noted by the examiner.

What equipment do I need to bring?

The centre will provide backline equipment for your exam i.e. amplifiers and drum kit.
  • Guitar and Bass candidates must bring their own instrument and leads and we recommend bringing spare strings. If the candidate is using effects then we suggest you use batteries, where possible.
  • Drum candidates must bring their own sticks. For grades 6, 7 and 8, drummers can also bring their own cymbals, hi hats or entire kit. If the candidate wants to bring their own kit, they must notify Rockschool when they enter the exam. Drummers who wish to play electric kit will be required to provide the kit regardless of grade taken. Exam centres will provide an acoustic kit as standard.
  • Vocal candidates must bring their own microphones from Grade 4 upwards.

Will I have to perform my pieces from memory?

No, Rockschool doesn’t require any of its exam candidates to learn from memory currently.

Will the centre have a practice room?

Rockschool endeavours to have practice rooms in all of its centres but it is not guaranteed.

Can I use photocopied sheets for my free choice piece?

Candidates must bring two copies of music for the free choice piece; an original copy of the tune for the performance and a second copy (photocopy) for the examiner.

What if I’m ill at the time of my exam?

The candidate must contact Rockschool on 0800 180 922 as soon as they know they will not be able to take the exam. We will defer your exam to the next period upon receipt of a doctor’s or hospital note.

When will I get my exam results?

Candidates will receive their results by post a maximum of 3 weeks after an exam. Please note that we cannot give results out over the phone or by post before this.

I’ve lost my certificate. Can I get a replacement?

Yes. Please contact us at to arrange another certificate. Replacement certificates cost NZ$15 each and will be marked with the words “Replacement Certificate”.

The name is incorrectly spelt on the certificate. Can I get a replacement?

Certificates will have the spelling of the name as it is entered during the online entry process. If we have made an error we will replace it. If the name on certificate supplied is found to be incorrect there is a cost of NZ$15 to replace the certificate with the correct name. Please contact us at to arrange a replacement.

How do I make an appeal?

RSL/AMEB operate a full appeals process. Please contact us at to request an appeals form.