Exam Accreditation


ABRSM graded music exams (Theory & Practical) are accredited by Ofqual in the UK and are part of the National Qualifications Framework (NQF). Practical and Theory exams at Grades 6–8 also attract points towards university entrance in the UK (see under UCAS below).

Ofqual is the Office of the Qualifications and Examinations Regulator which regulates all national public exams such as GCSEs and A-levels. Ofqual is responsible for accrediting qualifications offered by ‘awarding bodies’ such as ABRSM. Accredited qualifications can only be offered by awarding bodies recognised by Ofqual. All ABRSM graded music exam certificates bear the Ofqual logo.

The National Qualification Framework. All accredited qualifications in the UK are given an NQF level. This allows a qualification to be clearly benchmarked and compared to other qualifications. The NQF has 9 levels (entry level and levels 1–8). The table below lists the NQF levels for ABRSM exams alongside an example of a standard UK qualification with the same NQF level to help demonstrate how ABRSM exams compare to UK school, college and university qualifications.


ABRSM Exams Grades 1-3 (NQF Level 1) attract the same NQF level as GCSE at Grades D-G

ABRSM Exams Grades 4-5 (NQF Level 2) attract the same NQF level as GCSE at Grades A*-C

ABRSM Exams Grades 6-8 (NQF Level 3) attract the same NQF level as A Levels

DipABRSM (NQF Level 4) attracts the same NQF level as a Certificate of Higher Education

LRSM (NQF Level 6) equates to NQF level for Bachelors Degree, Graduate Certificate or Diploma

FRSM (NQF Level 7) equates to NQF level for Masters Degree, Postgraduate Certificate or Diploma

UCAS – the University and College Admissions Service. All students applying to UK universities apply through UCAS. Universities offer places on courses usually on the grounds that a student will gain a specific minimum number of UCAS points. These points are collected through qualifications. ABRSM exams at Grades 6–8 are included in the UCAS points tariff. The point recommendations for ABRSM exams are as follows

ABRSM Grade 6 Practical

Pass 25 | Merit 40 | Distinction 45

ABRSM Grade 6 Theory

Pass 5 | Merit 10 | Distinction 15

ABRSM Grade 7 Practical

Pass 40 | Merit 55 | Distinction 60

ABRSM Grade 7 Theory

Pass 10 | Merit 15 | Distinction 20

ABRSM Grade 8 Practical

Pass 55 | Merit 70 | Distinction 75


Pass 20 | Merit | 25 | Distinction 30

Explanation of ABRSM Exam Marking

Online Theory exams are marked out of 75

Pass 50-59
Merit 60-64
Distinction 65-75

Practical exams are marked out of 150 points

Piece A 30 points
Piece B 30 points
Piece C 30 points
Aural 18 points
Sight Reading 21 points
Scales & Arpeggios 21 points

Pass 100-119
Merit 120-129
Distinction 130-150

Performance exams are marked out of 150 points

Four pieces of equal value. This exam is pre-recorded by the candidate.

Pass 100-119
Merit 120-129
Distinction 130-150

If you would like tuition to help with an upcoming exam please contact us on 0203 794 6200 or email us or alternatively use the contact form here.