Exam detail

Each exam has three components: pieces, technical work and supporting tests, with different requirements depending on the grade.

All Trinity College London examiners are professional musicians, and they take special care to make candidates feel relaxed in the exam room, creating a positive environment for you to demonstrate your talents to your full potential.


We caught up with Eva while she took her Grade 4 Cello Exam at Trinity Laban, one of our London public exam centres.

Pieces (66 marks)

Technical work (14 marks)

Supporting tests (20 marks)

Candidates perform three or four pieces (depending on the instrument and the grade) from lists featuring a wide range of styles and genres. Supporting a range of teaching approaches is at the heart of our syllabuses, with many pieces suitable for group and whole-class programmes. Duets are also now an option for Initial to Grade 3 for some subjects, offering greater flexibility.

Technical work
Developing a strong technical foundation is crucial to playing with confidence and enjoyment. We have developed technical work that is intuitive and relevant to your specific instrument, and which will build confidence in your technique.

We recognise that learners have different strengths and so candidates can choose from a number of different options for their technical work. These options include scales and arpeggios, specially written studies (such as lip flexibility exercises for brass, or rudiments for drum kit) and orchestral extracts (at Grades 6-8 for certain instruments).

Supporting tests
Our exams aim to develop holistic musicians, and supporting tests play a key role. Candidates choose two supporting tests from a selection including sight reading, aural, musical knowledge and improvising. Find out more about our supporting tests

Entry requirements

Trinity's graded exams are open to all learners, with no age restrictions or other limitations. There is no requirement to have passed lower grades, theory exams or other qualifications, although the grades represent a system of progressive mastery and the outcomes for each level assume confidence in the requirements of previous grades. Trinity is committed to making its exams accessible to all, and each candidate is treated individually when considering how assessments can be adapted for those with special needs. For more information, visit our music special needs page.

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