We allocate exam appointments on the basis of providing convenient appointments to as many candidates as possible while scheduling examiners’ time efficiently.

Exam date preferences

Applicants have the option to indicate certain date preferences as part of the entry process. We would like to emphasise that these are only preferences and we cannot guarantee to fulfil these. Candidates should be ready for an exam from the first day of the exam session.

Exam timetables

We arrange exam appointments from Monday to Saturday only, between 9.00am and 5.30pm. We do not normally arrange appointments before or after these times.

We choose dates based on:

  • The dates when the venue is available
  • The pattern of preferred weeks given by applicants
  • The need to create viable and economical schedules for our examiners

When we allocate work to our examiners we also have to consider the following:

  • The dates when they are available to work for us
  • The need to keep travelling time and costs to a minimum
  • The need to ensure each examiner visits different areas from one session to the next

We then allocate individual dates and times to each entry taking into account, wherever possible, the date preferences given by the applicant.

The initial allocation of appointments is done by computer but this is then reviewed by a member of ABRSM staff who will make adjustments to ensure that, where possible:

  • Grade 6 to 8 singers are not given appointments early in the day
  • Harp candidates are given appointments at the beginning or end of a morning or afternoon session to make setting up easier
  • Special requests (see below) are taken into account

Special requests

We are happy to accept special requests by email at the time of entry where:

  • Entries use the same accompanist and wish to be scheduled consecutively
  • Certain days/times should be avoided for religious reasons

We will make every effort to meet these requests but we cannot guarantee this.

In addition, we cannot consider preferred weeks and special requests for entries received after the closing date. Please refer to our late entry policy.

Changing exam appointments at ABRSM-run centres

We understand that there will be times when the allocated appointment is not convenient and we will make every effort to offer an alternative. However this depends on space being available in the timetable.

We strongly advise applicants not to cancel or try to rearrange exam appointments solely because they are early in the exam session. The later weeks are always the most popular and are usually oversubscribed, and therefore an alternative, later date may not be available. Spaces in those weeks only become available through cancellations which are notified to ABRSM in advance.

If, as the applicant, or parent/guardian, you would like to request an alternative appointment we have two options:

  • By telephone: you can phone us on +44 (0)20 7636 5400 and speak with one of our customer service team. Please have the applicant number ready.
  • By online request form: for single appointment change requests, you can fill in an online change of appointment request form. Once submitted a response will be received within 5 days. Please note this form is for UK & Ireland public centre appointments only, with the exclusion of Dublin. For changes to appointments in Dublin, please contact Local Representative, Miriam Halpin.

We understand that it is often simpler for a parent/guardian to contact us to arrange a new appointment rather than the applicant. We are happy to deal with parents/guardians providing they confirm that they have permission from the applicant and can provide the correct applicant number.

We do not normally offer the option of transferring candidates from an ABRSM-run centre to an alternative date at a Visit, but if as the applicant you know of a suitable Visit, you may request this providing you have permission from the Visit organiser and there is space available in the Visit timetable. If the transfer involves booking additional examiner time, we reserve the right to make a charge to cover our costs.

We may ask callers why they are requesting an alternative appointment. This simply allows us to monitor our systems and processes and improve the service we offer.

If we do offer an alternative appointment this cannot be reserved or accepted provisionally.

In addition, we do not keep a waiting list for alternative appointments.

Changing dates for Visits*

Once we have notified the organiser of the Visit date, there will be a minimum charge of £300 per full day or £200 per half day to change the date. This covers part of the cost of paying the original examiner and searching for and booking a replacement examiner.

We can only accept requests to change Visit dates from the organiser.

*Full information about ABRSM-run centres and the range of Visit options is available on this website.

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