Preparing for an ARSM exam

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Check the information on this page to find out how to prepare for and take an ARSM diploma exam.

ARSM qualification specification (syllabus)

The qualification specification includes the syllabus and essential information about:

  • entry and exam requirements;
  • preparing for and taking the exam;
  • the assessment process;
  • results.

ARSM diplomas are available for the following classical instruments and for singing. Download a PDF to view the repertoire lists.


Piano (PDF)

Harpsichord (PDF)

Organ (PDF)


Violin (PDF)

Viola (PDF)

Cello (PDF)

Double Bass (PDF)

Guitar (PDF)

Harp (PDF)


Recorder (PDF)

Flute (PDF)

Oboe (PDF)

Clarinet (PDF)

Bassoon (PDF)

Saxophone (PDF)


Horn (PDF)

Trumpet / Cornet / Flugelhorn (PDF)

E Horn (PDF)

Trombone & Bass Trombone (PDF)

Baritone & Euphonium (PDF)

Tuba (PDF)


Percussion (PDF)

Singing (PDF)

For the exam, candidates must complete a programme form listing full details of their programme in the order of presentation.

  • Face-to-face exams – give the programme form to the examiner at the start of the exam.
  • Digital exams – show the programme form to the camera at the start of the video recording.

Candidates can download and print a blank form (below) or use a blank piece of paper. Instructions for completing the form are available in the qualification specification.

Candidates can choose to take their ARSM diploma as a face-to-face exam or a digital exam, which we assess from a video recording. For digital exams, read the guidance below before booking and taking the exam. Additional information and guidance videos are available on our Performance Grades pages. Performance Grades are also digital exams and many aspects are the same for both types of exam.

Face-to-face ARSM examswe are extending the special accompaniment arrangements so that unaccompanied performances are allowed until 31 December 2022. Arrangements beyond that are subject to review.

Digital ARSM examsthe special accompaniment arrangements end on 31 July 2022. From 1 August, candidates must have live accompaniment. Recorded accompaniment is not an option for digital ARSM diplomas.

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