Make sure you or your teacher are familiar with the syllabus requirements and that you’ve prepared accordingly. Regular practice of all sections of the exam ensures the best preparation. Teachers are advised to incorporate aural and sight-reading practice throughout regular lessons.
Scales, arpeggios and studies might seem like hard work (and, let’s face it, they can be boring) but the benefits of developing an accuracy of tuning, strong independent fingers or good vocal skills are quickly recognised when tackling difficult passages in your pieces. Remember – all music is full of scales and intervals so give yourself a head start by making the scales second nature.
Make sure you know the feeling or mood you want to convey for each work – the title of the piece will often give you a good clue but ask your teacher if you’re unsure. If you have a picture, story or emotion in your mind as you perform, you can bring it to life for both yourself and the listener.
Successful candidates often have teachers who conduct small performances or mock exams for their studios in the lead up to the exam date. These opportunities allow students to identify and address areas of weakness, and become familiar with any performance anxieties, prior to their assessment. They also provide the student with some trial runs to give both the teacher and student a realistic indication of how they might perform in their exam.
You may also want to check out the advice from our Examiners. Each year, they provide feedback on common areas for improvement and ways to take your exam to the next level.
Read the Examiner's advice
Don’t forget to print your Notification of Examination with the corresponding repertoire list, completed with the information of the pieces you are performing – you’ll need to print this document single-sided and bring both pages to the exam. Can't find your Notification? It's at your fingertips in Score. Find your exam and click the Actions button to view the Notification and print.
Playing From Memory
You are expected to memorise technical work. It is not a requirement in grade exams to play pieces from memory, although this is a good practice to get into, and is certainly encouraged. The Examiner will note where a piece has been memorised on the exam report. While memorising will not automatically mean an upgraded result, it will enhance the performance through greater confidence, which will be recognised by the examiner.
Working with Accompanists
Practice with your accompanist as much as possible before the day of your exam. You will need to balance carefully with each other and the pianist will need to know your preferred speed for each piece. Provide your accompanist with a copy of your Notice of Examination so they are very clear about your exam date, time, grade, venue, etc, so you both arrive punctually and well prepared for your exam. Please note that warm up rooms are not available at all venues and access is often limited when they are. Candidates should not expect to be able to rehearse with their accompanist ahead of their exam.
If using an accompanist, candidates are responsible for arranging all rehearsals and exam attendance.
Rockschool Syllabuses are the exceptions to this section – please read the Specialist section above.
Where AMEB recorded accompaniments are available, candidates may perform with those recordings as an alternative to using an accompanist, however it is the candidate's responsibility to provide and operate suitable equipment for the exam.
We recommend that you practice with your recording regularly to develop an awareness of the accompaniment part, and how it fits with your own. Where candidates are performing with recorded accompaniments in an examination, they must use the '100%' or 'performance' tempo.
Teachers and parents should be mindful of the candidate's age and technical ability when using recorded accompaniments. Equipment should be tested prior to the exam day to ensure it works. Please ensure speakers are of good quality so that the Examiner can comfortably hear the accompaniment.
Use of electronic or digital devices or resources
All equipment should be tested and tagged prior to being plugged into AMEB venue electrical supplies.
It is the responsibility of the candidate to ensure that all of their own equipment is in working order and all resources are ready to go promptly at the start of their scheduled exam time.
It is strongly suggested prior to attendance at the venue that candidates check/test that any devices or electronic or digital resources are working as intended, and where relevant, are compatible with any advertised AMEB requirements. This applies to laptops, tablets, PowerPoint presentations, speakers, recordings, or supporting resources of any kind.
Candidates should ensure they are very familiar with the equipment and know how to troubleshoot common issues to avoid delays in presentation. It is not the role of AMEB Supervisors or Examiners to provide IT or technical support.