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Exam Structure

Trinity College London’s practical examination grades are numbered from 1 to 8 in increasing order of difficulty. In many subjects, an Initial examination acts as an introduction to the examination system.

The structure of Graded Examinations is as follows:


Candidates play three pieces*

*with the exception of singers in grades 6-8 who sing four songs and percussionists who play two pieces and a study

There is flexibility in the way that candidates may select their pieces, allowing them to play to their own strengths, pursue their own interests and show their enjoyment of music-making and learning.

Pre-recorded accompaniments may be used for exams up to and including Grade 3 (Grade 8 for Drum Kit, Percussion and Jazz Woodwind).


Technical Work

Most instruments have a choice between playing scales and arpeggios and playing studies/exercises/orchestral excerpts that explore similar technical areas.

Pianists must play three short exercises and a small number of scales and arpeggios (four of each in early grades). Singers choose a set of vocal exercises.


Supporting Tests

Up to and including Grade 5 candidates can choose any two of:-

  • Aural
  • Sight Reading
  • Improvisation
  • Musical Knowledge

In Grades 6, 7 and 8:

Test 1 must be Sightreading.

For Test 2 there is a choice between Aural and Improvisation

See the Supporting Tests page for more information.


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