Violin, narrow depth of field

Exam Regulations



  • Be prepared for the exam when called by the examiner (i.e. instrument taken out of its case and tuned/warmed up, and exam book(s) ready to use).
  • Bring your own music stand, where appropriate; this applies to all centres outside of the RIAM.


  • Failure to produce original music in any exam will result in disqualification.
  • For recitals, bring a list of the pieces you will perform and a copy of the original music for the examiner.
  • Bring a copy of pieces for examiners for all instruments, including singing and music theatre. For piano, this applies only to pieces not in the piano albums for Grades VI–VIII and the Senior Certificate grade.
  • Bring proof of purchase for sheet music bought online in cases where ‘authorisation for use’ does not appear on the music.
  • Bring your piano album with you even if you are playing from memory.
  • Where applicable, play one piece from each list, A, B, and C.
  • Bring your theory certificate. Candidates taking a practical exam, who have passed the written Theory and Harmony exam at the equivalent grade or higher, will automatically be awarded 5 full marks in the practical (Elementary to Grade V), a full 15 marks for Aural and Theoretical tests (Grades VI to VIII), and a full 10 Marks for Aural and Theoretical tests (Senior Certificate).


  • Read the syllabus carefully for instruments and pieces that require accompaniment. Please note that in some cases not all pieces areaccompanied. Performing a piece with or without accompaniment where not appropriate, will mean a mark cannot be awarded for that piece. The candidate must organise their own accompaniment for the day of the exam.


  • Training and monitoring sessions take place in the RIAM twice a year. This means up to two trainees may be in the exam room with a senior examiner: the senior examiner will award the official result.


The Local Centre aims to give two to three weeks’ notice to the applicant (i.e. school, teacher, parent/guardian, candidate) of the exact date and venue that the examiner has been schedule to visit. The time indicated on the timetable is the call time, which is ten minutes in advance of the exam appointment.

Candidates must attend the exam venue for the call time. The RIAM aim to accommodate, where possible, any requests by the applicant (venue, dates) during the registration process.


Any candidate failing to attend their exam on the date and time assigned to them will forfeit the entry fee.

In case of illness, a medical certificate with a cover note should be sent in writing with name of candidate, address, exam number, date, venue, subject of exam (i.e. theory, piano, singing etc.) within seven days of the date of the exam. In such instances, every effort will be made to reschedule or postpone the exam, or where appropriate offer refund. If you are aware of dates on which you or your student will not be available to be examined, then these must be listed on the application.


The RIAM Local Centre is committed to facilitating candidates with special needs where possible. In order to facilitate your child or student please complete the online application with supporting documents.

The special needs information must be uploaded with the application in order for the RIAM to accommodate the required needs on the day of the exam. Without the supporting information, Examiners will be unable to accommodate specific requirements.


There are numerous exam options beyond the traditional graded exams. These include:

CARA Awards; Recitals; Duets; Chamber Music; Choral singing; Orchestra; Theory and Harmony. Explore these options further:


While it is not obligatory to sit the Theory and Harmony exams, we strongly recommend preparing theory through the Music Workout books.

This complements the practical component of music tuition, strengthening the student’s comprehension of the pieces they perform, as well as the scales and arpeggios they play. There are also many sight-singing and clapping exercises and exercises for intervals, all of which feature on the aural tests at various levels.


Keep up to date with any errata that may be relevant to your instrument. All details can be found on the RIAM website:




Music Workout is a series of theory workbooks (Preparatory to Grade 8).

Let’s Get Reading and Let’s Read Some More are a series of piano sight-reading books (Preliminary to Senior Certificate).

Sample Aural Tests (Junior and Senior Grades).

Complete Scales and Arpeggios: Elementary to Grade V (Piano).

Scales Made Simple (Violin, Preliminary to Grade V and Grade VI to Senior Cert).

Scales Made Simple (Cello, Primary to Grade V and Grade VI to Senior Cert).

Visit our Exam Support and Teacher Support pages for online support for the Local Centre exams.



Encouraging  students  interested  in  composition,  the  Local  Centre  welcomes  pieces  for Elementary to Grade V, with the possibility of being published in the piano albums, as well as a cash prize. For more details, please visit the following link:

Submissions should be sent to the following: Local Centre Composition Competition, Senior Examiners, The Royal Irish Academy of Music, 36–38 Westland Row, Dublin 2.


Composers are invited to submit compositions for possible inclusion in the RIAM’s Piano Albums from Elementary to Grade V.  For more details, please visit the our Compose for Us page.

Submissions may be sent via post to the Chief Examiner (see address above) or by email to


An opportunity to study at the RIAM, or to win a cash prize, for candidates who are awarded a minimum of 90 in their exam. Terms and conditions apply. Please visit our Exams Scholarships page for more information. Due to COVID-19 scholarships and prizes have been cancelled for Academic year 2020/21.