How difficult is the ABRSM class 5 theory

How to Learn ABRSM Music Theory

I am a music theory teacher who specializes in training students for the ABRSM exams. If you want to take the exams, it is a good idea to start with 1st grade, although it will be quite easy to do. I often hire students who want to take 5th grade (or higher) and have large knowledge gaps - for example, how to properly transfer notes into groups. You will most likely whiz through the early grades, but you will likely still acquire a fair bit of knowledge that you didn't have before.

You don't have to buy the ABRSM books, there are alternatives. For example, on my own website you can find free courses for grades 1-8. Many people find the ABRSM books quite difficult, especially for the later grades (6-8).

Once you've passed 5th grade, the exams are much more about applying theory in a practical sense. By 5th grade, you're basically learning the facts about how music is written down and how it works - notes, scales, chords, and so on. In 5th grade there is a composition question worth 15% of the exam, but the composition should demonstrate your theoretical knowledge (clefs, cadences, structure, etc.). In grades 6 to 8, a whopping 50% of the exam is assigned to "subjective" questions. You are asked to write a 4 part harmony, need to understand the figured bass and harmonization, and the compositional question is now worth 20%. . Because of this, you definitely need a Grade 6 through 8 teacher in case you want to continue like this - you need someone to assist you with your answers for this part of the exam.

The ABRSM also publishes previous work and model answers for all grades - these are an integral part of self-teaching if you are planning to take the actual exams.

For more information about the exams, please visit and