What is the ABRSM Exam Discount Scheme?
ABRSM is piloting an Exam Discount Scheme designed to ease some of the financial barriers that families can face in accessing exams. If students have reached the standard required to take ABRSM exams but have been put off by the cost of exam fees, this scheme will enable music services to set a discount of up to 95% that enables them to access exams and receive a recognised qualification.
The scheme is administered by Music Mark and is offered through music services in all four nations of the UK, the Isle of Man and Channel Islands. Only music services can apply for and use the discounts.
How does it work?
Full details can be found in the scheme’s Operating Guidelines, which music services should read in full before proceeding.
Discounts will be made available to music services through the use of discount codes. Each local authority area will receive a discount allocation based on published school roll numbers with adjustments for deprivation.
At the start of each term, and no later than three weeks before the relevant exam booking deadline, music services should contact Music Mark to request confirmation of their discount allocation for the relevant period.
To use the scheme, music services will need an ABRSM account for booking exams. If they don’t have one already, then can set one up here.
They should then identify students to whom they would like to offer a discount and determine the reason and level of discount (up to 95%), most likely in line with their remissions policies. Please see ‘Basis for discounts’ below for details.
Music services will then need to complete a template spreadsheet and submit this to Music Mark, who will check it and request a discount code or codes from ABRSM.
When completing the spreadsheet, music services must include an ABRSM Contact ID for each student. If students have taken an ABRSM exam since 2020 they will already have a Contact ID. If not, they will need to create an ABRSM account to obtain a Contact ID. A parent/carer or other responsible adult can create the account on behalf of the candidate, but the account must be in the candidate’s name.
Music Mark will issue the code or codes for the music service to enter into ABRSM’s online booking service to generate a discounted invoice.
We have put together the following templates that you are welcome to adapt and use as you wish:
In May 2023, Music Mark and the ABRSM ran an explainer webinar on the scheme and how to use it. You can watch a recording of this webinar below:
Basis for discounts
Music services will have discretion as to the reasons for offering discounts, but we anticipate that most will be one of the following:
- students who meet local remissions policies
- students eligible for FSM or Pupil Premium (or equivalent)
- Looked After Children
- students in areas with low exam uptake or who have not previously taken exams on grounds of cost
They will have discretion to allow discounts on other grounds, e.g. sudden financial hardship (loss of employment or family break-up). Other reasons should be checked with Music Mark well in advance. In cases of doubt, ABRSM’s decision will be final.
Full details regarding the basis for requesting discounts can be found in the scheme’s Operating Guidelines.
Discounts can be used against the following exams:
- Instrumental & singing: Prep Test, Practical Grades (Initial to Grade 8), Performance Grades (Initial to Grade 8), ARSM diploma and Performance Assessment
- Music Theory: Grades 1 to 5 (online), Grades 6 to 8 (paper-based)
Data and evaluation
Music Mark will monitor use of the scheme and report regularly to ABRSM. During the pilot, we may approach music services for case studies to illustrate the impact of the scheme.
Terms and conditions
By participating in this scheme, music services agree to the terms and conditions outlined in the Operating Guidelines.
Get in touch
Music services should contact Music Mark with any questions about the Exam Discount Scheme. Queries sent to ABRSM will be directed to Music Mark, as managing partner for the scheme.