Exams to help you pursue excellence
We have a strong history of excellent exam results with the AMEB, Rockschool and ANZCA, and we offer the support and training students need to fulfil exam requirements.
Exam certificates can be very useful in school, university and scholarship applications, as well as on resumes for job applications, and they are a great way to tangibly demonstrate what all your hard work has achieved.
Even more beneficial than an exam certificate is the process of learning exam material - pieces, technical work, aural skills, sight reading skills, improvisation, and general knowledge. We consistently see that students who prepare for exams make excellent gains in their musical development.
Sitting for the actual exam is an optional extra - many students enjoy this final step in officially completing a grade, but some students prefer just to move to the next grade without this step. However, even for students who do not wish to sit for the examination, the preparation is excellent training that really benefits students. We recommend that students proceed with a formal examination so that they receive formal recognition of their hard work.
Exam diplomas - work towards a recognised qualification
Aside from the musical development that exams encourage, at the upper end of the exam system students have the opportunity to earn diplomas, which gives them a recognised qualification such as an AMus, LMus or PerfDip. This is a fantastic way to stand out from the crowd when it comes to future employment and tertiary course entry and scholarships. Even if your studies and ultimate profession are in a field other than music, a music performance diploma qualification demonstrates that you are a well-rounded and disciplined learner who is able to persist with an activity over many years, and that you're a person who is willing to go the extra mile. We encourage our senior students to pursue examinations at this level - once you have sat for a Grade 8 exam, we can talk further about diplomas.
Private lesson students
Students who do private lessons have the opportunity to prepare for:
- AMEB Musical Theatre
- Rockschool Vocals
- Rockschool Piano
- Rockschool Guitar
- AMEB Pianoforte (ie "classical piano")
- AMEB Piano For Leisure
- AMEB Theory of Music
- Rockschool Theory
Rockschool exams in Vocals, Piano and Guitar, offer two exam types for each grade - the Grade exam (where candidates present 3 songs, technical work, aural tests, sight reading and general knowledge), or a Performance exam (which consists only of 5 songs).
The AMEB have also introduced a similar format - Comprehensive exams (with 3-6 pieces, technical work, aural tests, sight reading and general knowledge) and the new Repertoire exams, with 4-5 pieces only.
In the AMEB system, there are additional theory exam requirements for students completing Grade 6 and above on an instrument. Rockschool offers an excellent theory syllabus, but does not require students to complete theory grades alongside practical exams. We will help students prepare for both AMEB and Rockschool theory exams. Students may also elect to start theory exams before they reach a Grade 6 performance level, which we encourage.
Exam fees, books, backing tracks, and in some cases an accompanist, will incur extra costs. You may also be required to sit for a theory exam which will incur additional exam and book fees. We will provide you with a guide to costs before you commit to sitting for an exam.
Where we have sufficient students to meet exam board requirements, we will host exams at SVA. If there are not sufficient students for the AMEB to send someone to us for a particular exam series, parents will need to take students to an exam location in Sydney city. In some situations you can also choose a Wollongong location.
Register your interest
We email our current students in Term 4 and Term 1 each year to invite expressions of interest for upcoming exams.