Online Practical Exams
AMEB SA & NT Practical Music and Speech exams are available in various sessions in 2020.
Comprehensive, For Leisure and CPM exams are available online for SA candidates whose exams were cancelled due to the SA lockdown, 19 - 24 November. This format is available in the Online Exams Session, 19 November to 2 December and entry is by transfer only (requests to transfer must be submitted in writing). Please review our COVID-19 Updates page for more information.
Recorded Repertoire, Recorded For Leisure Repertoire, Recorded CPM Repertoire and P Plate exams are available in the Recorded Exams Session, 1 October to 10 December 2020.
We are offering these alternatives to support students’ learning and ongoing development in the face of government restrictions on public gatherings and in an effort to maintain the health and safety of all concerned.
Recorded Repertoire Exams
Record your Repertoire exam pieces from home and submit them for assessment.
Recorded For Leisure Repertoire Exams - NEW!
These exams have just been released nationally as a temporary offering for 2020 only.
Online Comprehensive, For Leisure & CPM Exams
For the 'full' exam experience, this hybrid format is part-recorded, part live.
Online Speech Exams (live)
(This session has ended, but please contact the office for more information)
Rockschool Video Exams
Rockschool has released Performance Certificate Video Exams and Graded Certificate Video Exams
Please read the below information to determine what Exam format is most suitable for you/your candidate. Find out how to prepare for these exams and fulfill the requirements for entry. We have also answered some Frequently Asked Questions.
What exam options are available during the AMEB SA & NT Online Exam Session?
- Recorded Repertoire Exams
AMEB’s Repertoire Exam format (officially released in 2019) has no technical work, aural tests, sight-reading or general knowledge components that require communication between the candidate and examiner. The Repertoire Exam can therefore be offered by recording; candidates can record and submit their pieces for assessment by an AMEB SA & NT Examiner. Repertoire Exams are available from Preliminary to Grade 8 across all AMEB syllabuses (with the exception of Band and CPM*).
Grades 5-8 Repertoire exams are recognised by SACE and can be counted towards community learning at Stage 1 and/or Stage 2.
Recorded program lengths must not exceed the maximum lengths outlined in the current syllabus.
If you elect (or have already elected) to be transferred to this format (and exam type), then you will find the information you need to proceed on this page.
*see below 'Recorded For Leisure Repertoire Exams- NEW!'
Please refer to the 'Instructions' below for more information.
- Recorded For Leisure Repertoire Exams - NEW!
Special dispensation due to COVID-19
Recognising the need for additional exam alternatives during this difficult time, the Federal Board has approved the creation of For Leisure Repertoire Exams - for 2020. These are available for Preliminary to Grade 8 For Leisure subjects. Fees are the equivalent fees for normal For Leisure exams, as advertised in the 2020 Teachers' Handbook.
The outlines for each of the For Leisure Repertoire syllabus options can be found below:
Piano For Leisure (Repertoire) - 2020 only
Singing For Leisure (Repertoire) - 2020 only
Saxophone For Leisure (Repertoire) - 2020 only
At this stage, these For Leisure Repertoire exams are not currently recognised by SACE.
Please refer to the 'Instructions' below for more information and await the official subject outlines before preparing a submission.
- Recorded CPM Repertoire Exams - NEW!
Special dispensation due to COVID-19
Recognising the need for additional exam alternatives during this difficult time, the Federal Board has approved the creation of CPM Repertoire exams, available in the Online Exam Session only. These are available for Advancing - Step 1 to Step 4 in Bass, Drum Kit, Guitar and Vocal exams and Fundamental - Level 1, and Advancing - Level 2, from Preliminary up to Grade 8 in Keyboard exams. Fees are the equivalent fees for normal CPM exams, as advertised in the 2020 Teachers' Handbook.
The outlines for each of the CPM Repertoire syllabus options can be found in the below document:
CPM (Repertoire) syllabus outlines - Online Exam Session Only
Please refer to the 'Instructions' below for more information and await the official subject outlines before preparing a submission.
- Online Comprehensive, For Leisure & CPM Exams
For candidates wishing to be tested in Sections I and III, AMEB SA & NT is trialling a hybrid format of online exam consisting of 2 components.
Component 1 - Recorded performances of Section I and II
In order to ensure good sound quality for as much of the exam as possible, Sections I and II of exams will be pre-recorded by candidates and submitted for assessment by an AMEB SA & NT Examiner.
Candidates will be required to submit a recording of Section I (Technical Work) and Section II (Pieces). For Comprehensive subjects, where the current syllabus requires 2 Extra List Pieces, only 1 will be required for performance in the recording.
Once AMEB SA & NT have received a submitted recording, Component 2 (a "mini exam") will be scheduled.
(Please refer to the 'Instructions' below for more information)
Component 2 - A live "mini exam" for Section III
This section includes tests such as Aural, Sight-reading and General Knowledge, all requiring interaction between the candidate and examiner. This component will be examined in a “mini-exam” via Zoom. "Section III Examiners" will examine the candidate at a mutually agreed time for a few minutes.*** This will be recorded and passed for assessment to an Examiner who will also assess all sections of the exam.
Aural tests (if applicable) are shared directly to the candidate's device via recorded audio and Sight-reading tests will be shared to the candidate via a screen share.
General Knowledge questions are tailored to the requirements of the syllabus, but are more generalised. Candidates will still need to ensure that all pencil markings on their scores relating to General Knowledge are removed prior to their "mini exam".
***For those SA candidates who are transferring to the Online Exams Session due to the 19 - 24 November lockdown, please note that the only dates/times available for Section III exams are 8:30am to 12:30pm on 28 and 29 November, and 5 and 6 December. THE SUBMISSION DEADLINE FOR RECORDINGS IS 2 DECEMBER.
Please refer to the 'Instructions' below for more information.
- Rockschool Video Exams
Rockschool has released 2 video exam alternatives for Rockschool candidates.
1. Performance Certificate Video Exams – Premiere to Grade 8
2. Graded Certificate Video Exams (available 2020 only) – these are a new hybrid exam which provide an option for those who are currently preparing for a Grade Exam from Debut to Grade 5. Candidates perform their 3 pieces plus ALL the technical requirements for their grade. However, no aural or sight-reading will be assessed.
More information on these exams can be accessed here. To enrol for a Rockschool Video Exam, please follow the guides and link to our enrolment system 'SCORE', found on our Entering for an AMEB Exam webpage.
- Online Speech & Drama Exams
Session Dates: 1-30 June 2020, Closing date: 15 April 2020, Extended Closing date: 22 April 2020.
Speech and Drama exams are conducted via live Zoom exams. These exams are more suited to individuals or small groups of e.g. 2 people (subject to the current Govt. social distancing restrictions).
Enrolments are open in SCORE now and the session will run for all of June 2020. However, should a candidate wish to be examined before or after June, this may be arranged by request (please email email@example.com). A minimum of 1 hour examining time will be required for Speech exams outside of June.
Once an exam has been scheduled, candidates will need to submit their programs and texts via the Online Speech and Drama Program Submission Form. If the exam is to take place at a candidate's home, please ensure that the email address of the candidate's parent/guardian (or candidate, if over 18 years old) is included on the online form. This will ensure that the Zoom invitation that is sent (subsequent to scheduling) will be received by the relevant person.
- Music Diploma Exams
Please contact the office regarding any possibility of participating in an online alternative for Music Diploma Exams. The Diploma November session has ended, but it may be possible to accommodate an enrolment subject to venue and examiner availability.
Tips to get started (for practical music exams):
1. To transfer an existing enrolment to the Online Exam Session, please advise the AMEB SA & NT office via email (exam type changes also need to be specified). New enrolments cannot be made.
2. Prepare the candidate for the particular exam in accordance with the relevant AMEB syllabus requirements. If they are undertaking an Online Comprehensive exam, For Leisure exam or CPM exam, request the necessary Technical Work.
3. Confirm that the candidate has:
- Someone to act as Supervisor for the recording - all recordings will require a Supervisor who is over 18 years old to certify that the performer is the person named on the enrolment and attest that the performance was supervised by them and recorded in one take without teaching/coaching assistance. Given current social distancing requirements, it is suggested that the Supervisor is a member of the same household as the candidate. The Supervisor will introduce themselves at the start of recording. (If a candidate is over 18 and lives alone, they are permitted to act as their own 'supervisor' as long as the photo identification provided is a current drivers' licence or passport).
- Suitable accompaniments (as required)
- Access to a device to record their pieces (including technical work, if an Online Comprehensive or For Leisure exam)
- Access to a suitable device to be examined on Section III (if an Online Comprehensive or For Leisure exam)
4. Record the performance 'in one take' (see Instructions below)
5. Upload the recording to YouTube (unlisted)
6. Submit the recording via the online form (see Instructions below), and add, if applicable, any Scheduling Requests for the Section III "mini-exam" in SCORE (account holder will need to do this)
At this stage, the requirements for Recorded Repertoire exams will have been completed. If there is a Section III "mini-exam" required, then you will be notified when this is scheduled and sent further instructions.
The Federal Office has put together a video to guide teachers, parents and candidates in making recorded (also referred to as 'video') submissions. This video specifically refers to 'Recorded Repertoire' exams and is a very useful resource!
- Technical Work for an Online Comprehensive or For Leisure Exam
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to request the technical work required for a candidate.
- Requirements for the Section III "mini exam" (Component 2)
For the “mini-exam”, the candidate will be required to have:
- Reasonable internet connection,
- Access to a suitable portable device (for joining the “mini-exam” via Zoom, viewing Sight-reading, hearing Aural tests and answering General Knowledge questions. A mobile phone is considered too small for these purposes. An iPad, tablet or laptop should be of sufficient size, as long as the device has a camera, microphone and the ability to play audio),
- The music for their pieces, with all markings relating to General Knowledge removed, and
- Their instrument.
If applicable - the examiner will play a test example to ensure the candidate can hear the Aural Tests adequately.
Piano candidates tested in sight-reading will need to be able to position their portable device in a way that sight-reading tests are visible and playable on the piano. With a laptop, this can be done on a grand piano and digital pianos, but is more difficult on an upright piano. Positioning a laptop on top of an upright piano may disadvantage a candidate’s ability to read the sight-reading. An iPad or tablet would be more suitable in this instance.
Other instrumental and vocal candidates will need to position the portable device on a sturdy stand or on a piece of furniture at the appropriate height.
- Exam Scheduling
Recorded Repertoire (including For Leisure Repertoire) exams and Music Diploma Performance Evaluations do not require scheduling. Once we have received the link to the candidate's repertoire, we will endeavour to ensure it is examined and the result and report available to the candidate within 5-12 business days.
Online Comprehensive and For Leisure "mini exams" will be scheduled according to candidate preparedness (once they submit their recordings) and examiner availability. Unsuitable dates for the "mini exam" should be nominated in the enrolment in SCORE (this can be edited by Account Holders) or emailed just prior to submitting the recording. In SCORE, this can be done by:
- Navigating to My Practical Exams,
- Clicking the Action icon and selecting 'Edit Candidate Details' from the drop-down menu,
- Selecting 'Other' as the category of Scheduling Request and
- Typing your request in the given text field. Submit when finished and this information will be communicated to schedulers.
These exams will be scheduled at off-peak internet times to ensure a better internet connection.
Online Speech & Drama exams will be scheduled according to candidate request and examiner availability. The Online Speech Exams Session will run for all of June 2020, but sessions with a minimum examining time of 1hr can be arranged before and after this by request. Entries close 15 April 2020 but will be accepted for one more week after the closing date with a $25/candidate late fee.
- Assessment and Grading
All exams will be graded as usual. The "mini exam" component of the Online Comprehensive and For Leisure format will be ADMINISTERED by another examiner but ASSESSED by the same examiner as will be assessing Sections I and II.
On rare occasions, there may be instances where generalist (non-specialist) examiners are called upon to assess exams. These examiners (specialists in their own fields) are trained and have extensive experience examining across all practical music syllabi in regional areas and interstate.
- How to make a recording (updated 27 May 2020)
If the recording is for a Repertoire exam, the number of works and the duration of the recording must not exceed the maximum performance time listed in the Repertoire Exam section of the 2020 Manual of Syllabuses for the particular instrument and grade (or for For Leisure Repertoire - listed in the outlines published above).
If the recording is for an Online Comprehensive or For Leisure Exam, examiners will endeavour to listen to as much of the selected Extra List piece presented as required.
Camera and microphone
A high-quality recording device should be used, such as:
· A recent-model smart phone or tablet might be suitable (test both audio and vision). For most recent devices, the built-in microphone and camera will be sufficiently high quality. If your smartphone phone handset is compatible, audio may be further improved by the use of a plug-in microphone, such as a: Zoom iQ7; Shure MV88; RØDE iXY; or RØDE VideoMic. You may also find that recording on a mobile phone is made easier by using an app that allows manual control of audio, such as FV-5 (supported Android devices) or Filmic Pro (IOS devices and some supported Android devices).
· A recent-model laptop or desktop computer with a reasonable front-facing camera built in (if your computer does not have this, a good quality webcam may be suitable).
· A portable audio recorder capable of capturing video (such as a Zoom Q4 or Q2n).
The audio should not be edited or altered in any way, except to raise or lower volume as may be necessary. Candidates must not add artificial reverb.
Minimum recommended recorded resolution is 720i or 720P, with a maximum of 1080i or 1080P (Full HD). This will ensure that file sizes are manageable and the quality is suitable for examination.
It is important to do a test recording to check how the microphone (in the device) is responding and ensure that the instrument is placed an appropriate distance from the recording device (or that the microphone level is set appropriately) so that sound recorded isn't clipping/distorting (this sounds like static and can occur with higher volumes at particular frequencies). If the sound recorded is frequently distorting you may need to experiment in a larger room. If you are using a microphone or recording device, you might need to lower the ‘gain’ on the input signal.
The camera must be positioned to capture the performer’s face, both hands and the instrument. We also recommend a horizontal/landscape-orientation of the device used for recording. Choose a quiet location with good lighting and minimal ambient noise. Please avoid recording in very reverberant places such as a bathroom or stairwell, as they can interfere with recorded sound and make it difficult for an examiner to assess your performance.
Both candidate and accompanist (or recorded accompaniment) should be clearly audible and balanced. If using a recorded accompaniment, spend some time getting a good balance between the recording and your live performance. The candidate should be clearly heard, while feeling connected to the accompaniment part. It is worth experimenting and producing some test recordings to ensure the balance is good.
Recording (remember: do a test recording first!)
If the recording device receives notifications of any sort, it would be useful to put the device in 'Airplane/Flight mode' or 'Do not disturb' before recording. It is also important to check the device has enough battery power or is plugged in.
The Supervisor must introduce themselves in front of the camera initially, saying the Exam Key and the date and time. (If a candidate is over 18 and lives alone, they are permitted to act as their own 'supervisor' as long as the photo identification provided is a current drivers' licence or passport).
When the candidate (and accompanist, if required) are ready to commence the examination performance, the candidate must introduce him/herself e.g. "My name is Jane Smith".
Each technical work example (if applicable) should be introduced* as well as each piece e.g. "My first piece is (name of piece), by (name of composer)". The presentation should proceed as if it was a performance for an examiner situated in the room at the camera location. Recording of technical work and pieces should be continuous (in one take). There can be up to 60 seconds gap between technical work and pieces, but gaps between pieces should be minimal.
*If the candidate prefers, the technical work can be listed (in the order it's performed) on the submission form, rather than announcing it. This would be included in the same field as the pieces are listed and must be noted precisely regarding scale tonality and any specific dynamics and articulation required.
The recording should cease immediately after the last work has finished.
We recommend testing the recording process beforehand.
- How to upload a recording to YouTube
Please note, due to Copyright restrictions, recordings cannot be posted online except as unlisted YouTube videos, and these videos cannot be shared or used for any purpose other than AMEB examination.
- How to submit a recording to the AMEB
Don't forget, if you're submitting a recording as the first component of a Comprehensive, For Leisure or CPM exam, please add any scheduling requests to the SCORE enrolment prior to submitting the below form. This will ensure schedulers are aware of unsuitable dates for Component 2 ("mini-exam").
For those SA candidates who are transferring to the Online Exams Session due to the 19 - 24 November lockdown, please note that the only dates/times available for Section III exams are 8:30am to 12:30pm on 28 and 29 November, and 5 and 6 December. THE SUBMISSION DEADLINE FOR RECORDINGS IS 2 DECEMBER.
Do candidates' pieces require accompaniment? With the exception of any Extra List piece, if a work is written with accompaniment it must be performed with an accompaniment. It is important that a suitably skilled associate artist is employed, and a suitable accompanying instrument is used, particularly at higher grades. We suggest referring to The Accompanists' Guild of SA to find an accompanist, if you are in SA.
It is acknowledged that working with an accompanist is an essential skill to the developing musician. We do recognise, however, that the ability to meet with an accompanist for either rehearsals or an exam recording may be difficult, due to COVID-19. Below are the options for accompaniment in the Online Exam Session:
Providing the candidate complies with the Commonwealth and State Government’s current health directives about gatherings, physical distancing, home confinement and visitors to a household, a live accompaniment is permitted. The accompanist may be part of the same household as the candidate. The supervisor of the recording may also be the accompanist.
AMEB has produced recorded accompaniments, available for MP3 download from their shop, in the following instruments up to Grade 3:
Cello Series 2
Clarinet Series 3
Flute Series 3
Musical Theatre Series 1
Oboe Series 1
Percussion Series 1 (up to Grade 4)
Saxophone for Leisure Series 1
Saxophone Series 2 (Alto and tenor)
When performing with an official AMEB recorded accompaniment on CD, candidates must use the tempo provided on the CD. When performing using an app that slows down or speeds up tempo without affecting pitch, the candidate may choose a tempo commensurate with their ability and interpretative judgement in demonstrating the technical, musical and artistic objectives for the level.
Special dispensation due to COVID-19
Where no AMEB recorded accompaniment is available for a candidate's instrument and grade, the Board has allowed the use of recordings up to Grade 8 in all practical music syllabuses where they are required. This will be an option during the Online Exam Session only. Please note, some Level 2 pieces may not work well with a recorded accompaniment.
If suitable, commercially-produced accompaniments are available for list pieces, these can be used for recorded and online exams. AMEB and APRA AMCOS have licensed Peta’s Piano to provide some accompaniments for higher grades, primarily covering violin, flute, voice and some brass instruments.
Other Recorded Accompaniments
An accompanist can be engaged to produce an accompaniment for you that you will then be allowed to use as part of your recording of your pieces. We suggest referring to The Accompanists' Guild of SA to find an accompanist in SA.
Some suggestions to ensure the recording is as useful as possible are:
1) The candidate could play for the accompanist (e.g. via Zoom), demonstrating the various tempo changes they wish to make, as well as other interpretative choices, and then the accompanist will produce an accompaniment as best as possible that matches the candidate's playing.
2) The candidate can request tuning notes be included at the beginning of each piece.
3) The candidate can ask the accompanist to include a sufficient recorded 'count-in' if a piece begins with an anacrusis initiated by the candidate or there is no piano introduction.
Finding an accompanist and agreeing on rates is a matter for the candidate and their accompanist. It is a private arrangement and the recording can’t be used in any public format and should only be used for practice and then for the recording for submitting.
This arrangement is made possible under a Casual Blanket Licence provided by APRA AMCOS. This has a number of restrictions for works that are under copyright that you must adhere to as part of this process. These are listed in full on the APRA AMCOS website but the key ones are:
1) That you can’t use the recording to perform in public (e.g. it can’t go up on a public YouTube page)
2) The accompaniment must be an audio recording
3) The recordings can’t be sold commercially – so the accompanist (or candidate) can’t put it on the internet and sell multiple copies.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Will my candidate still receive a certificate for exams undertaken in the Online Exam Session?
Yes. However, certificate printing will not be immediate, as all administrative staff are working remotely. The examiner’s report can be used to prove the result, if needed for any purpose. A letter of attainment can also be requested for successful candidates.
Certificates will be printed when the office resumes its normal operations. Account holders residing in postcodes 5000-5299 will be advised when certificates are ready for collection and all other account holders will be mailed their certificates. Any uncollected certificates will be posted in December 2020.
- My candidate wishes to sit a Piano Repertoire exam, but they have prepared pieces according to the Old Syllabus (pre 2019) Piano. Will they be able to sit an Repertoire Exam in the Online Exam Session?
Special dispensation due to Covid-19
The AMEB Federal Board has approved the extension of the Pre-2019 (Old) Piano Syllabus. Withdrawal of the Old Piano Syllabus will be deferred until 31 December 2021. If a candidate preparing for an Old Syllabus Piano exam wishes to change to a Repertoire format in the Online Exam Session, the candidate's exam will be changed to the New Piano Syllabus Repertoire exam, but examiners will not penalise the use of pieces selected from the Old Piano Syllabus. Certificates do not distinguish between Old and New syllabuses.
- Can each piece (and any Technical Work) be recorded in separate 'takes'?
No. It is important that the exam be recorded 'in one take' and that recordings represent a single, continuous performance, as it would be in an in-person exam.
- The Old Piano (pre 2019) Syllabus is due to be withdrawn at the end of 2020. What will happen if my candidate (who is preparing using this syllabus) is unable to sit an in-person exam in 2020?
The AMEB Federal Board has approved the extension of the Old Piano (pre 2019) Syllabus. Withdrawal of the Old Piano Syllabus will be deferred until 31 December 2021.
- Can a candidate perform on a piano which is not necessarily performance-standard?
During 2020, in light of these extraordinary conditions, candidates will be afforded a degree of leniency with regard to sound quality and type of keyboard used for piano exams and for accompaniments. We understand that access to a quality, tuned instrument, may be limited. In this case, no candidate will be disadvantaged by this in their assessment. However, if the condition of the piano is likely to impair a higher-level candidate's ability to express their own musicality to an extent where they are dissatisfied with the recording, then it may be worthwhile considering a recording from an alternative instrument or deferring to a later, in-person session.
- Are P Plate Piano Exams or Keyboard Inductions available during the Online Exam Session?
P Plate Piano Exam recordings can be submitted in the Recorded Repertoire format.
Keyboard Inductions will not be available during the Online Exam Session.
- What if the recording submitted is not of examinable quality?
If the Examiner finds that the recording is not of acceptable quality the performance cannot be assessed. It will be necessary to submit a new recording for examination and a reschedule fee of $25 will be charged to cover the Examiner’s time.
- If my student was enrolled for e.g. May Session 1, do they have to submit their recording in e.g. May Session 1?
There is a lot more flexibility regarding the submission of music recordings during the Online Exam Session. Candidates are encouraged to send their recording when they are ready. AMEB SA & NT will ensure that assessment occurs in a timely manner. If there is a "mini-exam" component (for the Online Comprehensive and For Leisure Exams), this will be scheduled after the recorded Sections I and II are received, according to the Scheduling Requests input in to SCORE.
- Why is this webpage called 'Online Practical Exams'?
This page specifically outlines content relating to Practical Exam alternatives during this next season.
The process of creating material for examination is not necessarily done online. However, submissions and assessment occur online for all the exam options. Component 2 of our Online Comprehensive and For Leisure exams occurs online and the Speech & Drama exams are undertaken exclusively online.
For Practical Music, we only have one session currently open for examination between April and September. This session is called the 'Online Exam Session'.
- Got another question?
Please don't hesitate to contact AMEB SA & NT by email: 9am-5pm Monday to Friday, or by phone (08 8313 8088) 9am-1pm Monday to Friday.
Our office is operating in a virtual environment and our Hartley Building office premises at The University of Adelaide is not staffed. We anticipate returning 25 November 2020.