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Music Examinations

NMPAT acts as a host for music examinations delivered by the world's two leading providers of graded music exams: The Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM) and Trinity College London. Each term hundreds of candidates are examined by visiting specialists from these two National Partners.

On this page you can discover all the information you need to prepare yourself for your examination.

Examination Boards

The exams are provided by two external agencies. You can find out more about them and their examination requirements here:

Venue and dates

NMPAT examination sessions are held at the Kettering Road Music and Arts Centre in Northampton.  The dates below apply to candidates entered by NMPAT teachers only and will differ from the publicised dates on the relevant exam boards' own websites.

All examinations are between 9:00am and 4:00pm on weekdays. Dates for 2017 to 2018 academic year sessions are planned to be:

Autumn 2017Closing dateExam dates
ABRSM24 September w/c 20 November
Trinity College London5 October w/c 4 December for 2 weeks
TCL Rock & Pop5 October 5 and 6 December
Spring 2018Closing dateExam dates
ABRSM5 January         w/c 12 March
Trinity College London12 January w/c 12 March for 2 weeks       
TCL Rock & Pop12 January 13 to 15 March
​Summer 2018​Closing date​Exam dates
​ABRSM​27 April​w/c 25 June (and possibly w/c 18 June)
​Trinity College London​27 April​w/c 18 June, 25 June, 2 July and 16 July
​TCL Rock & Pop​27 April​17 to 19 July

Appointment slips will be distributed to pupils by their teachers. Please note that it is very unlikely that we will be able to manage requests for changes of time at this stage.


Where an exam is to be accompanied, NMPAT can provide an accompanist for examinations entered through the NMPAT office.

  Cost Description
Grades 1 to 5 £8.00For accompaniment in the examination and a short warm up run through immediately before the exam
Grades 6 to 8 £16.50For accompaniment in the examination, a 20 min pre rehearsal and a short warm up run through immediately before the exam

Please note that pre rehearsals for higher grade examinations will often be arranged at short notice and that it may not be possible to rearrange these.

Important note: All piano accompaniment books and music must be brought to the examination room. Where elements of an exam are to be accompanied by CD, particularly Jazz and Rock & Pop exams, the candidate must bring an original copy of the CD to the examination.

What to expect at the examination

You will be met at the exam room by a steward who is responsible for the smooth running of the day. You should aim to arrive at least 20 mins before your appointment. There will be an opportunity for you to warm up before the exam, once the previous candidate has gone to the exam room. This will be your opportunity to meet any accompanist.

The steward will take you to the exam room and introduce you to the examiner.

Each examiner will have a slightly different approach, but their intention is to help you perform to the best of your ability.

What must I bring to the examination?

To avoid additional stress on the day, please be sure to bring everything you need. This will probably include:

  • Your appointment slip.
  • Your instrument.
  • All music INCLUDING piano accompaniments. For Trinity College London exams, you will also need to provide a photocopy of your pieces to the examiner (these are destroyed after your exam). 
  • Any original CD backing tracks.
  • Essential maintenance equipment: valve oil, spare strings, etc.

When will I get my results?

Results will be distributed via the teachers and may take up to several weeks. The office will not have a copy of your result.

Certificates will be circulated via the teachers after the production of results.

What happens if I am ill or late?

In the event of illness on the day of the exam, it may be possible to arrange another appointment before the end of the examination session. If the illness is more serious and will prevent you from taking the exam, the exam board will usually give a credit note to the value of 50% of the exam fee against re-entry either for the same, or next grade, upon production of a medical note within 30 days of the original exam date.

Please allow plenty of time to arrive for your exam, this helps you to keep as calm as possible.  However if you encounter unexpected delays, please do not panic - ring the NMPAT Office on 01604 637117 and let us know - we can liaise with the steward and the examiner to adjust the timings wherever possible.

NMPAT receives support from:
NMPAT is a company Limited by Guarantee (Company No. 7738151) and a registered charity (Charity No. 1145643)