Like exams delivered by the Associated Board of Royal Schools of Music, the Conservatoire’s Scottish Traditional Music Graded Exams are divided into four sections and last 15-20 minutes depending on the grade.

Total possible marks in each Scottish Traditional Music Graded Exam are 150. 100 marks are required to reach a Pass; 120 marks to pass with Merit; and 130 marks to pass with Distinction. The four sections of the exam are:

  • Performance (90 marks)

The performance part of the exam has 3 pieces: 1) Airs, 2) Dance Tunes and 3) Recently-composed Tunes. Each piece is marked out of 30. Please see specific instrument guidelines below.

  • Technical Work (18 marks)

Technical work for Scottish Traditional Music Graded Exams will include a limited number of scales, arpeggios and technical exercises, depending on the syllabus.

  • Quick Study (21 marks)

This section, in which you are to play back a short piece of music, can be done by ear or by sight the choice is yours. See Quick Study Guidelines for further details.

  • Practical and Aural Musicianship (21 marks)

Practical and Aural Musicianship (PAM) comprises a short series of tests designed to encourage your understanding of traditional rhythms and tune idioms, and challenge your ability to echo and improvise responses to musical prompts. Please see PAM Guidelines for more details.

Remember the exam is meant to be an enjoyable and rewarding experience, and the examiner will do his or her best to put you at ease. Good luck!

The current repertoire for Traditional Music Graded Exams is valid until December 2024.


Accordion Exam Guidelines
Accordion Syllabus
Accordion – Grade 1 – Bundle
Accordion – Grade 2 – Bundle
Accordion – Grade 3 – Bundle
Accordion – Grade 4 – Bundle
Accordion – Grade 5 – Bundle


Fiddle Exam Guidelines
Fiddle Syllabus
Fiddle – Grade 1 – Bundle
Fiddle – Grade 2 – Bundle
Fiddle – Grade 3 – Bundle
Fiddle – Grade 4 – Bundle
Fiddle – Grade 5 – Bundle


Scottish Clarsach Exam Guidelines
Clarsach Syllabus
Clarsach – Grade 1 – Bundle
Clarsach – Grade 2 – Bundle
Clarsach – Grade 3 – Bundle
Clarsach – Grade 4 – Bundle
Clarsach – Grade 5 – Bundle