Practical Exam Information
> Downloaded musical scores
> Electronic exam reporting
> Notices of Examination
> Page turning
> Presentation of works not in the syllabus
> Recording Practical examinations
> Syllabus Objectives
> Tuning of instruments
> Trainee examiners
> Certificates – completion of Additional Requirements
> How we program Practical exams
Accompaniment is essential for AMEB Practical examinations wherever the pieces presented are provided with piano accompaniments, with the exception of Extra List pieces.
As it is the examining authority, it is not appropriate for AMEB Victoria to recommend teachers or accompanists for AMEB examinations. The Melbourne Conservatorium of Music has a list of accompanists which can be found on this page. In addition, the Victorian Music Teachers’ Association (VMTA) has a list of music teachers and accompanists on this page.
Pieces presented for some subjects can be accompanied by an official AMEB digital recorded accompaniment.
Digital recorded accompaniments are currently available for the following subjects:
Flute Series 3 (Preliminary to Grade 3)
Percussion Series 1 (Preliminary to Grade 4)
Violin Series 9 (Preliminary to Grade 3)
Musical Theatre Series 1 (Preliminary to Grade 3)
Cello Series 2 (Preliminary to Grade 3)
Clarinet Series 3 (Preliminary – Grade 3)
Alto and Tenor Saxophone Series 2 (Grade 1 to Grade 3)
Singing for Leisure Series 1 (Preliminary to Grade 4)
Contemporary Popular Music
For all other subjects, candidates must provide their own accompanist (who may be the teacher), but the accompanist may remain in the examination room only when actually required. If the necessary accompaniment is not offered in the examination, the following procedure will apply (Regulation 24):
List works which require accompaniment may not be heard or assessed without the necessary accompaniment. The examiner is not permitted to play the accompaniment for the candidate. If there is one such work lacking accompaniment the result will be reduced by one level; e.g. A down to B, etc. If there are two or more such pieces then the result will either be reduced by two levels, from A to C or, if the result would have been other than an A, ‘unable to assess’ will be stated on the report sheet, and an explanation made in the general remarks.
Click here for information on accompaniment for video Repertoire examinations.
Downloaded musical scores
Candidates who present for examination using scores obtained through free download from websites should note that they bear responsibility to ensure copyright clearance for their use of the material has been obtained. Candidates should note that heavy penalties apply for the improper use of copyright material.
Electronic exam reporting
Progressively, AMEB Victoria will move towards electronic reporting of grade examinations. An Examiner may use a notebook or tablet computer in the examination room to type reports, and it is possible that keystroke sounds might be audible at times.
Notices of Examination
Candidates’ examination notices will be forwarded to teachers at least three weeks prior to the commencement of the examination session. Teachers should check examination notices and immediately advise AMEB Victoria of any errors or inaccuracies. Please advise our office immediately if you have not received examination notices three weeks prior to the commencement of the examination session.
Each candidate must bring his/her notice to the examination. Candidates for Practical examinations must write on the notice the titles of the pieces to be presented for examination and present the notice to the examiner, for information.
A page-turner may be used by candidates and/or accompanists. Accompanists and page- turners may only remain in the examination room when actually required.
In general, the Copyright Act prohibits the use of photocopied music. Photocopies should not be used by candidates in AMEB examinations, unless an exception to copyright applies, or the relevant music publisher has granted permission for the candidate to make a copy.
In some circumstances, a copy of sheet music may be required for use by the examiner. If performing from memory, candidates should provide a published edition of the music to the examiner.
APRA/AMCOS permit a temporary copy of legal sheet music to be made for use by an examiner. Information on each musical work to be performed should be listed on the APRA/AMCOS Copyright Declaration Form (available here), which must be presented to the examiner together with the copies of the sheet music. Copies of sheet music will not be returned to the candidate and will be destroyed by AMEB. The candidate is obliged to destroy any other copy of the sheet music, including any digital copy made through a scanning/printing process.
If you are unsure of the provisions of the Copyright Act, please refer to the “Guide to Music Copyright for Australian Educators” on the APRA/AMCOS website or contact APRA/ AMCOS on 1300 852 388 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
A candidate who presents for a practical examination will receive the report and certificate, where applicable, within two weeks of the completing the exam.
Presentation of works not in the syllabus
Teachers and candidates are advised that the examination syllabus set out in the current AMEB Manual of Syllabuses must be strictly adhered to. If a candidate presents a work which is not in the current syllabus, the following procedure will apply (Regulation 25):
If a candidate presents a work which is not prescribed for the grade or diploma within the syllabus for which the candidate has entered, the examiner will indicate this to the candidate and will advise that the work cannot be heard. The candidate will be given the opportunity to substitute another work from that grade or diploma, but if no substitute is offered, the candidate will be asked to proceed directly to the next item of the examination.
On the examination report the examiner will note that the omitted work cannot be assessed as it is not prescribed for the particular syllabus, grade or diploma for which the candidate has entered.
In grade examinations the absence of one work reduces the overall result by one grading. If two or more works are not assessed because the works presented are not prescribed for the grade within the syllabus for which the candidate has entered, the overall result will be noted as ‘not able to assess’ with an explanation being given in the general remarks. In diploma examinations, the absence of one or more works will result in no award being given.
Recording Practical examinations
Teachers are not authorised to record practical examinations conducted in a studio with or without the knowledge of the examiner.
The syllabus objectives introduce each of the three levels of a syllabus. They specify the required areas of achievement within each syllabus and are the basis upon which candidates and teachers work and upon which candidates expect to be assessed. The detailed Grading Descriptors report the candidate’s achievement against the objectives for the level and the specific syllabus requirements for the grade.
A teacher or school may not change the order of candidates in a particular examining program. AMEB practical examination timetables may not to be altered or amended except by AMEB Victoria.
Tuning of instruments
Candidates presenting for string examinations (Violin, Viola, etc.) at Fifth Grade and above are required to tune their own instruments.
AMEB has a comprehensive and rigorous program for examiner training and professional development. A Trainee Examiner may be present during an examination and may conduct all or part of an examination. However, the Supervising Examiner will be responsible for the examination and will provide the official assessment and written report.
For candidates presenting for examinations at the AMEB Studios in Hawthorn, warm-up facilities will be offered for a period of approximately 10 minutes to candidates in Piano Grades 7 and 8 Collaborative, Grade 8 Solo, Certificate of Performance, Associate and Licentiate; all voice and instrumental subjects. Candidates may be accompanied to the warm-up room by their accompanist/associate artist and teacher. Warm-up facilities are provided for the purpose of warming-up and tuning instruments; candidates and accompanists should not expect to have sufficient time to rehearse repertoire. Note also that the availability of warm-up facilities at other examination venues cannot be guaranteed and should not necessarily be expected.
Certificates – completion of Additional Requirements
Certificates for successful candidates in AMEB Practice of Music Grade
6, Grade 7, Grade 8, Certificate of Performance, Associate Diploma
or Licentiate Diploma cannot be released until the examination
is completed by the achievement of the Additional Requirement in theory (refer to Regulation 19). The candidate should notify AMEB Victoria following completion of the Additional Requirement; this will allow the Grade exam certificate to be released. Each successful Diploma candidate who has completed the Additional Requirement will receive an invitation to receive their diploma award at the next AMEB Victoria Conferring of Diplomas Ceremony.
Practical Exam Administration
How we program Practical exams
AMEB Victoria engages examiners who are specialists in their field; a practice that is unique to the AMEB. The majority of AMEB Examiners are practising teachers and performers, who add AMEB examining duties to their busy schedules; others are semi-retired musicians and educators who have enjoyed distinguished careers. AMEB Practical examinations are organised in timetables of 3 to 4 hours with a specialist examiner, in order to provide the best possible assessment service, whilst achieving economies of scale and thereby keeping examination fees as low as possible.
Practical exam sessions
To enable examinations to be conducted in hundreds of schools, private studios and AMEB exam centres throughout Victoria, practical examinations are organised in Sessions. In metropolitan Melbourne there are five Practical Sessions during which examinations are offered for instruments with larger numbers of enrolments. Examinations for instruments with lower numbers of enrolments are consolidated in two Special Subject Sessions, which enables the allocation of specialist examiners. Practical examinations in regional Victoria are offered in two Practical Sessions.
Timetabling practical examinations is a complex process, in which the administrators match demand for examinations in each instrument with the availability of specialist examiners and suitable venues. For example, during the fourth school term AMEB Victoria schedules over 12,000 practical examinations in more than 40 separate instruments (including voice) – each instrument having two or more alternative exam formats covering 8 or 9 Grades and 2 Diplomas. It is therefore important that (at the time of enrolment) the administrators are informed of dates to be avoided as, after examinations are programmed, it is almost impossible to change a timetable without disrupting the schedules of other candidates.
Once all the enrolments for a particular Session have been received, the administrators can commence programming examinations – matching demand for each instrument with the availability of specialist examiners and suitably-equipped venues – and taking note of any special requests by schools and individual candidates. Programming exams can take three to five weeks to finalise and we endeavour to give candidates at least one month’s notice of the date, time and location of their examination.
Closing dates for enrolments
Closing dates for practical examination sessions are therefore established two months prior to the commencement of the particular Session. To enable candidates who have missed the Closing Date to enter for an examination in the Session, enrolments are accepted up to 7 days later, upon payment of a late fee. If candidates do not wish to pay the late fee, they can defer enrolment to the next available Session.
Absence from a scheduled examination
If a candidate is not able to present for examination once the examination has been scheduled, two options are available:
(a) Withdraw from the examination, or
(b) Request that the exam be re-scheduled within the current year (enrolments cannot be deferred to the following calendar year, as AMEB Victoria’s financial year ends on 31 December)
All the costs of providing the exam (except posting the certificate) are incurred whether the candidate presents for examination at the appointed time, or not. The examiner is paid for their time and all our administrative costs and overhead costs have been incurred. Although the cost of administering a one-off (re-scheduled) examination is much greater than the cost of timetabling the initial exam, we offer the second examination at a 25% discount. In other words, the re-scheduling fee is 75% of the published exam fee.
Where the candidate is unable to attend the scheduled exam due to a certified medical problem, we offer to re-schedule the exam within the current year, if possible, at a 50% discount off the published exam fee. In other words, where an acceptable medical certificate is provided, the re-scheduling fee is 50% of the published exam fee. If it is not possible to offer an alternative examination time during the current year, a 50% refund on medical grounds can be claimed (and a new enrolment could be made in the following year). Refunds, if any, will be paid towards the end of the year.