Supporting learners to be ready for their Digital exam entry

Supporting learners to be ready for their Digital exam entry

Picture of Francesca Christmas

BY: Francesca Christmas
10 February 2022

While one of the huge benefits of our Digital Grades & Diplomas is that they can be taken at any point in the year and whenever your student is ready, we know from feedback from teachers that the lack of a set deadline that the booking of a face-to-face exam provides, can present its own challenges. In this guest blog from Trinity’s Director of Music, Francesca Christmas, we explore some of the strategies to help with planning for and taking a Digital Grade or Diploma.

One of the benefits of our Digital Grade & Diploma exams is that they can be taken at a candidate’s convenience, in a place they feel comfortable, to enable them to perform at their best. We’ve heard from 1000s of teachers globally over the last year how Digital Grades & Diplomas have opened up the world of graded exams to pupils who wouldn’t have otherwise been able to access an in-person, face-to-face exam. However, one of the benefits of working towards a fixed exam date is that your pupils have a date to aim for, a point in time at which they have to be ready! No opportunity to ‘just push it back a week’, which sometimes translates to a couple of weeks, a month, or more.

Here are a few tips to make the most of the convenience and accessibility of a video filmed for a Digital Grade or Diploma entry, and simultaneously draw on some of the formalities of an in-person exam to encourage and incentivise that all-important final take.

Set an exam date

Draw from the best of both worlds and set a date for recording the exam that suits you and your pupil. Work towards it in the same way you might a face-to-face exam date, which will help you to plan your lesson time and your pupil plan their practise schedule. Check with the pupil’s family if they will be undertaking the recording of the exam, and encourage them to prepare for the final video take accordingly. Make use of our filming guide to ensure that everyone understands what is required from the final recording.

Use video takes as part of your lessons

As you get closer to the ‘exam date’, start using video recordings of pieces as a reflective tool with your pupil. What did they think worked well? What should they concentrate on during the following week? You can even do some ‘dummy runs’ of full exam recordings to familiarise your pupil with the process of the exam video: which order should they perform their pieces; where do they need to hold music up to the camera; how to hold focus between pieces etc, to help demystify the process for them.

Invite an audience

Identify a lesson just before the ‘exam date’ to invite parents, siblings or friends to watch the full performance. Help your pupil develop a sense of occasion and dry run the full exam video in front of an appreciative audience! Did you know you’re allowed an audience when you record the final exam video? If this contributes to a sense of performance for your pupil, then go for it!

Plan your venue and equipment

Who will be recording the final performance on ‘exam day’? If a family member, talk them through the video guidance, discuss the best room in the house, and forward them some of these useful documents to support them. Remember you don’t need high-end mics and a studio – some of the best performances we see are taken on a smart phone in the kitchen. If you’re taking on the role of camera person for your pupil, make sure you have a quiet space in your school or venue so that nothing interrupts your pupil on ‘exam day’.

Celebrate success

Major holidays such as Easter are excellent opportunities to celebrate success! Why not create an opportunity to re-watch the exam submission with the student’s family and friends – make an event of it and maybe present their certificate to them afterwards? If you teach online, invite families to join for the last couple of minutes of a lesson and, if a certificate has gone directly to the candidate at home, ask them to show this to you. This would also mean that, if you are not seeing them for a little while over the holidays, their last interaction with you before the break is a really positive and uplifting one – making them excited to return! An advantage of having the exam recorded and submitted before Easter is that you can make a start on new repertoire during the final school term and make sure they are already engaged in learning exciting new pieces before the start of the long summer holidays.


If you want to ensure your students’ hard work can be celebrated before the holidays, enter today to get results before the Easter break. We can’t wait to see your submission!


Get more support on preparing for a Digital Grade or Diploma entry with our Teachers’ Guide or by visiting the UK Digital Grade & Diploma support page.

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