Our guide to preparing for exam success in 2024

Our guide to preparing for exam success in 2024

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BY: Guest Writer
17 January 2024


With the new year now well under way you may already be planning and looking forward to your next or perhaps even your first music exam with Trinity! It may seem like there is a lot to prepare for, and if it is your first exam you might be feeling a bit overwhelmed.

But don’t worry as we are here to fully support you and offer all the guidance you need so you can just focus on your performance. In this blog we’ve focused on some of the key areas to consider and provided some useful links to further resources to help you.


Choosing the right exam

At Trinity we offer a range of exams to suit your musical interests and performance environment.

  • Classical and Jazz exams from initial to Diploma level and Rock & Pop exams ranging from Initial to Grade 8 where you choose your repertoire and take a final exam either face-to-face or digitally.
  • Awards and Certificates in Music Development which enable all learners to be individually assessed while making music in a class or solo context whereby you are observed, and assessments may be made during everyday music teaching and learning.
  • Music certificate exams which offer a performance-only alternative to graded exams for solo performers or groups, at Foundation, Intermediate and Advanced levels. Great for those wishing to gain certification as part of an ensemble.
  • Music theory grade exams which range from Grade 1 to Grade 8 and Music theory diplomas.
  • Musical theatre exams which allow candidates to integrate acting, singing and movement through the performance of pieces from published works of musical theatre from Initial to Grade 8.
Choosing your repertoire.

Trinity has a wide range of repertoire encompassing everything from the Western classical tradition and jazz and its technical institutions in our Classical and Jazz syllabus, to Rock and Roll and contemporary pop music in our Rock & Pop syllabus. Choosing your repertoire then may seem tricky, but Trinity has lots of resources that can help with this.

This blog about choosing the right repertoire offers some practical tips for how to approach this, and on our website you can find a range of support resources, such as this guidance around choosing your Singing repertoire   or these resources exploring the Piano repertoire.

This blog about personalising your performance offers tips and advice on choosing your overall programme including adding your own composition for some digital exams. Rock & Pop exams offer the option to include own choice songs for some of their exams, check this blog on choosing an own choice song for guidance.


Check you have the correct syllabus

It is important to check that all pieces are from the same syllabus and the repertoire is valid for your intended exam season. Classical and Jazz syllabuses can be accessed here, Rock & Pop syllabuses can be accessed here and Diplomas can be accessed here. All Trinity publications including scales and theory workbooks can be purchased from our online shop and from sheet music retailers and a growing number of publications can be purchased as an ebook through our digital music store.

Digital or face-to-face?

Whether you are taking face-to-face or digital exams we have lots of support on offer. If you are taking a digital exam we have guidance around recording and submitting your exam, as well as a range of webinars that take you through the process from beginning to end such as Get ready for digital this autumn and Submitting your Trinity Digital Music exam. Our Classical and Jazz and Rock & Pop checklists for digital exams, found here, should answer all of your questions.

For face-to-face exams find your local centre or local representative to book exams in your region by using the map here. Check out upcoming music exam dates and booking periods in the UK and Ireland by using this page. This blog about getting ready for your Trinity exam should give you lots of tips and ideas when preparing.

Backing tracks and Accompanists

If your repertoire has an accompaniment you will need to think about how you will be accompanied. If you choose a person to accompany, you make sure you have enough time to practice prior to your exam.

If you are a Digital candidate taking Initial – Grade 8 exams, you may use recorded accompaniments/backing tracks in place of a live accompanist or duet partner. Other pre-recorded accompaniments may also be used, but these should not deviate from the original, or provide extra help to the candidate. This blog about choosing your accompaniment can help you with guidance on accompaniments for exams.

Rock & Pop exams must always be accompanied by the Trinity backing tracks, under all circumstances. Trinity backing tracks can be found on the website SoundWise which allows you to download files as MP3’s or stream backing tracks in your exam. You may wish to hear the music in full by using the practice room offering transposition tools for vocals and spotify playlists for each exam. You can access Rock & Pop resources here.

You can find guidance on recording your exam digitally here on the Trinity website. You can find more support and information on recorded accompaniments here.

We hope you have found this summary useful and it will support you as you prepare for your exam. But don't forget we are always on hand to help you with any other queries, simply drop us an email to ukandireland@trinitycollege.com or message us via our Facebook or X channels: /TrinityArtsUKI 


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