Nord Anglia Education
Nord Anglia
22 February, 2019


News Default Image
The Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM) was established in 1889. They have the authority of the four leading music conservatoires in the UK and maintain strong links with these.

They are one of the leading exam boards for examinations in music and operate in over 90 countries worldwide.  They also provide music publications and teaching qualifications.
BISS Puxi is a registered public centre for ABRSM practical exams. This means that anyone from around the world at any age can sit a practical exam here.  It is administered as a separate but additional entity to the regular music programmes that the school offers. 
If you are a BISS Puxi student, we can organise and submit the application forms for you.   If you are from outside BISS and would like to sit the exam at our campus, you can choose BISS Puxi as your examination centre and submit the application forms and fees to ABRSM directly.

What is involved in an exam?

There are two types of exam: practical and theory

Practical Exams 
A practical exam means that you play an exam on an instrument or voice. There are four sections to the exam. 

  1. Play three pieces from the grade syllabus 
  2. Scales, arpeggios and broken chords or traditional song for singing 
  3. Sight reading 
  4. Aural tests 

Each exam grade level has a list of pieces (syllabus) which you must choose from. To find out more about these syllabuses and practical exams, please follow the link on the ABRSM website:

Theory Exams 
A theory exam means that you are tested on your written musical knowledge. They generally last about 1 ½ hours and are on a set date three times a year.  

When are the exams?

The exam dates vary every year. For up to date information on application deadlines and exam dates for Shanghai, please see

Where are the exams?

The practical exams are held in BISS Puxi secondary campus. There are practice rooms for warm ups available. The theory exams are held in an exam centre in central Shanghai, Puxi. For more information please see

How much are the exams? 

The fees depend on which grade level you are taking and they change each year. For up to date information on fees, please see:

How can I apply for ABRSM exams in Shanghai? 

Applications in China differ from those in the UK and Europe. To apply for an ABRSM exam in Shanghai you need to: 

  1. Download the application form and fill in the information
  2. Include two passport sized photographs 
  3. Include a photocopy of your passport 
  4. Include the correct fees for each exam 

You can download the application forms here: ABRSM Application Form

If you are a BISS Puxi student, we can help to fill in the forms and submit them for you. If you are not a BISS student and wish to sit your exam at BISS Puxi, please complete the application choosing BISS Puxi as your examination centre and send this along with the fees and passport photos directly to: 

Vindhya Chen ABRSM 
Villa A, No.7 Dong Hu Road, Xuhui District, Shanghai 

Please note, BISS Puxi will only assist with forms for BISS Puxi students. 

Do I have to do an exam? 

No. These are entirely voluntary but are a good goal to aim for for students who have instrumental or voice lessons. They are also transferrable between different countries and the higher grades can count towards points on university applications. 

What are the exam grade levels? 

Exams are levelled by: 

  • Preparatory Test 
  • Grade 1 
  • Grade 2 
  • Grade 3 
  • Grade 4 
  • Grade 5 
  • Grade 6 
  • Grade 7 
  • Grade 8 
  • Diploma (DipABRSM) 
  • Licentiate (LRSM) 
  • Fellowship (FRSM)
How do I know which grade level to choose?

This is a difficult question and depends on your practice routine and progress. You should discuss this with your instrumental or vocal teacher. They will know which level you are working at and how long it will take to prepare for the next exam.

What age do I have to be to do an exam?

Any age! These exams are for anyone to sit including adults. However, it would be unusual for students under the age of 8 to be ready for an exam. 

When and how do I find out my results? 

Results are usually given within 4-6 weeks. Certificates and critique sheets will be sent to the school. 

Where can I buy a music?

You can buy music in Shanghai from: 
Shanghai Tiantian Art Music Store 
Address: 20 Fen Yang Road, near Shanghai Conservatory of Music Shanghai
Tel. & Fax: 6431 8488, 6466 1610

Or order it online from or or 

Children of all ages benefit from extracurricular activities. They can help children to develop socially, emotionally, scholastically and physically. Activities increase a child's confidence levels and teach them responsibility and discipline.