Rockschool | Useful Tips!
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Useful Tips!

Here is some General Information for teachers and students who may be new to Rockschool.

General Tips

The Exam

  • Live accompaniment is now allowed in all Rockschool exams.  So you may bring a pianist or guitarist into the exam room.  Please note that accompaniments for Grade book pieces must be the approved Rockschool accompaniments.
  • Self-accompaniment is now allowed.
  • No-one (apart from an accompanist) is allowed in the exam room apart from the examiner and candidate (unless previously discussed and approved by AMEB.)
  • Adaptations to Grade Book pieces are now allowed. These include minor deviations and musical embellishments.
  • Make sure you have enrolled for the correct exam: Grade Exam (3 pieces plus technical work, unseen tests and general musicianship questions) OR Performance Certificate (5 pieces only).
  • Arrive at the venue at least 20 minutes before the exam time and tune your instrument.
  • Every student must bring their Rockschool Grade book to the exam (or a registered downloaded version) and the examiner will sign these in the exam.
  • Backing tracks are now no longer mandatory for Free Choice Pieces.
  • If you are playing to a backing track for your Free Choice Pieces and transposed songs (vocals only) you must bring the tracks to the exam on a device, downloaded and ready to play.  No streaming is allowed and the candidate must operate the device themselves.  USB sticks are no longer allowed.
  • At the start of the exam, you will be allowed 1-2 minutes to set up before the exam commences.
  • All students will do a sound-check before they start their pieces to make sure the backing track volume is at the right level for them.
  • For all free choice pieces a copy of the music must be provided for the examiner to read in the exam.  This needs to be notated but only for the instrument line being assessed (a full score is not required).

Exam Preparation

  • Candidates will be assessed according to the Assessment Criteria for each instrument.  You can find the Assessment Criteria in the Syllabus Guide for your instrument which you can downloaded for free from the instrument page on this website.
  • Students should practise their Grade Book pieces with the backing track (not applicable to solo pieces). This is a key part of the Rockschool program and they will be assessed on their ability to play in sync with the backing track.
  • Backing Tracks – A download code comes with every book.  Go to the RSL website downloads page to access your backing tracks using the code.
  • Free Choice pieces are not allowed for Let’s Rock, Premiere exams.
  • You should not make any adaptations to your instrument which make it easier to play, such as stickers on the frets or keys, or drum pads/dampeners. Adapting your instrument in this way will result in reduced marks.
  • Photo ID is required for all students attending a Grade 6 and above exam. If the candidate doesn’t have photo ID, please use this form to prove identity.

Syllabus Updates

  • Vocals – The new Vocals syllabus is out now.  The old syllabus is no longer available for examination.
  • Guitar, Bass Drums – new repertoire books were introduced in 2019.  There are no changes to the technical work requirements for these syllabuses.

Instrument Specific Tips


  • The new syllabus is now available.  More information is on the Vocals page.
  • There is a 1-year overlap with the old syllabus in 2022.
  • Transposition of songs is acceptable.  Please bring a backing track to the exam in the new key.
  • For any songs sung in a language other than English, an English translation of the lyrics must be provided for the examiner.
  • Vocals candidates may accompany themselves on an instrument they can play while singing, such as guitar, piano or ukulele.


  • All songs must be performed to a backing track apart from the new ‘solo’ options in the 2019 Piano syllabus.


  • All candidates for this syllabus must bring their own keyboard and stand to the exam.


  • All candidates are encouraged to wear ear-plugs or headphones (not noise-cancelling)
  • Please bring your own drum sticks.
  • You are welcome to bring your own cymbals and snare drum from Grade 6 and up.

Electric Guitar

  • Candidates may perform on an acoustic guitar for Grades Debut to 2.  From grade 3 and up they must have an electric guitar.


  • For some pieces the candidate may choose between the two written parts.  For some pieces only one part can be played in the exam.  Please check the grade books carefully to see which parts can be assessed.

Video Exam Tips

  • For lots of information about video exams please visit our dedicated Video Exam page.
  • Video Guidelines – Please download our updated video guideline document found on the Video Exam page.
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