We have a lot of frequently asked questions so we've categorised them to help you find your answer faster.

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Q. How do I enter for an exam?
A. Visit our online entry section and complete your entry online.
Q. Can I photocopy the music?
A. Our exam music is copyrighted and may not be copied without permission from Rockschool. However, candidates may photocopy any music you are going to play in the exam to eliminate page turns. The photocopied music will be taken by the examiner at the end of the exam.
Q. How much does an exam cost?
A. The price of an exam varies depending on which grade the candidate is taking. View the exam prices
Q. I am sharing/borrowing a book for practice purposes- do I need my own for the exam?
A. Yes. Every candidate is required to have their own book for the exam. This can be digital or hard copy. View our online shop
Q. When do the exams take place?
A. The exams are held over three sessions per year. View the exam periods and closing dates.
Q. Can I arrange my own exam date?
A. No. We work very hard to always offer every candidate the most convenient date, time and location for your exam. Candidates can help us with this by providing the dates they are unavailable which can be input when entering online.
Q. On what days of the week and at what times are Rockschool examinations held?
A. Exams are held 7 days a week. Please note that this includes school days, weekends and school holidays during the exam periods.
Q. I have missed the entry deadline- can I still apply?
A. Yes, but please be aware that you will be charged a non-refundable late fee if you select an exam period after it has commenced. If you do select an exam period which has commenced we will try our best to enrol you onto it, but can't offer any guarantees.
Q. Should I contact the centre if I need to make changes to my exam?
A. No you should always contact the Rockschool office to make any changes to exams. Only contact your allocated centre if you are enquiring about available equipment or directions.
Q. How much notice do I get before an exam?
A. We give a minimum of four weeks' notice before an exam. If candidates haven't received confirmation from us four weeks before the end of the exam period then please email us as a matter of urgency.
Q. Can I change the exam date or time after it's been confirmed?
A. Candidates must tell us any date(s) they are unavailable for when they enter online. Changing an exam date when it has been confirmed is very difficult. Under extenuating circumstances we will try to alter the date but this can't be guaranteed. Candidates must contact us directly on 0345 460 4747 or email their request in writing to info@rslawards.com.

Any changes to an exam date or time after it has been scheduled will incur a sliding scale of fees: More than one month to the exam - £15.00; within fourteen days of the exam - £25.00.

Deferring an exam to the next period will incur a deferral fee of half the original exam fee.
Q. Where do the exams take place?
A. Exams take place all over the UK. We always aim to offer candidates the most convenient centre possible but, we cannot guarantee this. Please refer to our centre list.
Q. Are there any provisions for candidates with special educational needs?
A. Yes. Candidates can tell us what they need when entering online or alternatively email us at info@rslawards.com and we will do everything we can to support the candidate. View special needs policy.
Q. I am not ready to take my exam, can I defer it?
A: Yes, candidates can defer their exam to the next exam session for a half fee of the original exam price, and if you inform us in advance of scheduling your date you can defer it for free. Candidates must inform us prior to the exam taking place to be eligible for this.
Q. How do I know if I am ready for my exam?
A. We advise that before entering an exam the candidate should be confident and proficient in everything contained in their syllabus book and always talk to their teacher. We advise self taught candidates to have a few lessons with a teacher to check if they are ready.
Q. Do I need to have taken a theory exam, to sit a Rockschool practical exam?
A. No. We do not require candidates to take a theory exam before doing a Rockschool exam.
Q. Do I need to start from the beginning (entry level) or can I go in at any level, for example: grade 5?
A. Candidates can take a Rockschool exam at any grade without having taken the grade before or an equivalent exam. We do assume that if a candidate starts at any level other than Entry Level 2/3 or Grade 1, then they are proficient in the techniques and skills required at the lower grades. Check the syllabus guide and talk to a teacher before entering an exam. View our Teacher Registry.
Q. What are Free Choice pieces/Free Choice elements?
A. A free choice piece is the alternative to playing a song from the grade books. Each Grade (except Debut and Premiere) has two free choice options. Performance Certificates (except Debut and Premiere) have three free choice options. Candidates can perform either:
  • their own composition
  • songs in the public domain, including hits from the charts. For example, a song by their favourite band or artist.
  • pieces from other accredited exam boards
  • a piece from our Hot Rock series
The piece must conform to the free choice criteria which can be found on each instrument's qualification page. If you are doing Free Choice Piece for vocals it must be approved by submitting the piece to freechoicepieces@rslawards.com. A full reply will be given no later than 6 weeks of submission.
Q. I need some advice on the technical aspects of the exams. What should I do?
A. We have companion guides for Guitar, Bass, Drums, Band Based Keys and Vocals. We also have Technical Companions for Guitar, Bass and Drums which give extra support and guidance for teachers and candidates on the technical sides of the exam.

The syllabus guide for each instrument has a breakdown of the technical requirements for each grade. You can also email info@rslawards.com and your questions will be answered by our Syllabus Adviser.
Q. Do I need to bring my syllabus book to the exam?
A. Yes, you will need the book to be signed or the download code noted by the examiner
Q. What equipment do I need to bring?
A. The centre will provide backline equipment for your exam i.e. amplifiers and drum kit.

Guitar and Bass candidates must bring their own instrument and leads and we recommend bringing spare strings. If the candidate is using effects then we suggest you use batteries, where possible.

Drum candidates must bring their own sticks. For grades 6, 7 and 8, drummers can also bring their own cymbals, hi hats or entire kit. If the candidate wants to bring their own kit, they must notify Rockschool when they enter the exam. Drummers who wish to play electric kit will be required to provide the kit regardless of grade taken. RSL centres will provide an acoustic kit as standard.

Vocal candidates must bring their own microphones from Grade 4 upwards.
Q. Will I have to perform my pieces from memory?
A. No, Rockschool doesn't require any of its exam candidates to learn from memory currently.
Q. Will the centre have a practice room?
A. Rockschool endeavours to have practice rooms in all of its centres but it is not guaranteed. Please refer to our centre list for a full list of facilities available.
Q. Can I use photocopied sheets for my free choice piece?
A. Candidates must bring two copies of music for the free choice piece; an original copy of the tune for the performance and a second copy (photocopy) for the examiner.
Q. What if I'm ill at the time of my exam?
A. The candidate must contact Rockschool as soon as they know they will not be able to take the exam. We will defer your exam to the next period upon receipt of a doctor's or hospital note.
Q. When will I get my exam results?
A. Candidates will receive their results by post a maximum of 3 weeks after an exam. Please note that we cannot give results out over the phone or by post before this.
Q. I've lost my certificate. Can I get a replacement?
A. Yes. Download and fill in our Certificate Replacement Form and follow the instructions within. Replacement certificates cost £10 each and will be marked with the words "Replacement Certificate".
Q. The name is incorrectly spelt on the certificate. Can I get a replacement?
A. Certificates will have the spelling of the name as it is entered during the online entry process. If we have made an error we will replace it. Download the certificate replacement form here.

If the name on certificate supplied is found to be incorrect there is a cost of £10 to replace the certificate with the correct name.

Any errors can be amended in the time between issuing the initial letter and confirmation of the exam date. After this point a fee is incurred on any certificate amends.
Q. How do I make an appeal?
A. RSL operate a full appeals process. If the candidate feels their case fits the criteria, download the Appeal Request form and send it to us.