Frequently Asked Questions - Music Examination

What is IPVAEB Examinations?

The IPVAEB Examination Board provides a holistic approach to music assessments, and a guidance for people studying music privately, from foundation through advanced levels.

The examination system allows students to track their learning progress. The examinations also provide measurable objectives for parents and teachers to better understand a student's learning progress.

How is IPVAEB Examination different from other examination systems?

IPVAEB currently offers graded exams and diploma assessments for Music. The exam syllabuses have been carefully chosen and are based on core musical skills and performance skills. These set a strong foundation to inspire musical achievements for candidates.

As such, the IPVAEB syllabus is valid from 2018 onwards and do not have any expiration dates. New repertoires will be added from time to time and the existing repertoires will remain valid unless otherwise stated in our updates. These helps to provide candidates with a wide variety of pieces and songs to choose from.

What is a practical examination and what does it include?

IPVAEB practical examination is a comprehensive evaluation of a student’s understanding and performance ability on their chosen instrument at a specific level. The practical examination encompasses the performance of repertoires and études, aural skills, sight-reading and/or musical awareness.

Upon successful completion of the examination, students will have access to the examination results in approximately 4 weeks, and a certificate will be awarded for students who passed the examination.

How do I prepare for a practical examination?

Students should work with their teachers to choose and prepare a selection of repertoires from any three periods, one etude, and technical preparation on Scales, Sight-reading and Aural requirements according to the examination syllabus.

Students should always consult with their teacher about setting goals and determining the appropriate time to register for an examination.

What is Video Recording (VR) practical examination?

IPVAEB offers two modes of practical examination throughout the year. Video Recording (VR) practical examination is one of the two modes offered.

VR practical examination will take place at a designated/authorized music studio equipped with high quality video and audio recording equipment. There will be no examiner on-site and the examination will be supervised by a qualified invigilator.

VR practical examination is only applicable to graded examinations from Preliminary to Level 8. The examination syllabus is the same as Studio Face-to-Face(F2F) examination.

What is Studio (F2F) practical examination?

Studio Face-to-Face (F2F) practical examination is another mode of examination conducted at the authorized/designated music studio. A qualified examiner from IPVAEB Examiners Council will be on-site to carry out the examination.

How do I register for an examination?

You may register for the examination online or you may download the registration form to submit manually. Registration without payment will be invalid.

Who are the examiners?

The examiners are members of IPVAEB Examiners Council. They are qualified music educators and music professionals, each of whom is a specialist in their respective field of musical instrumentation.

All IPVAEB examiners must meet the minimum qualification standard before being invited to attend the examiner training workshop. Selected candidates must then go through a 3-month apprenticeship training before being commissioned as a full-fledged examiner.

All IPVAEB examiners continue to attend regular training workshops, conferences and annual professional development programs, and are subject to annual performance reviews.

How many examiners will there be in each examination?

For Preliminary level to Level 8, there will be one examiner for the individual candidate. There will be two examiners for Diploma and Advanced Diploma candidate.

Are parents and/or teachers allowed to watch the examination?

For graded practical examinations from Preliminary level to Level 8, only the candidate and examiner/invigilator are allowed in the examination room. Parents and Teachers will have to wait at the designated waiting area.

For Artistic Performance Diploma (APD) and Advanced Artistic Performance Diploma (AAPD), the board is adopting the recital format held in a small recital room, hence, parents, friends and teachers are allowed to attend the examination recital.

What are the marking schemes for practical examinations?

IPVAEB sets a high standard for excellence in music education and examination, and aims to establish clear and progressive learning objectives. Candidates are expected to demonstrate a masterful command of the instrument and an ability to communicate an understanding of stylistic characteristics and structural elements of each repertoire selection with interpretive insight and a mature musical personality. Candidates may play repeats in the examinations provided it is stylistically appropriate. Candidates should select a balanced program with contrasting styles of performances.

Candidates must achieve a Pass (at least 60 percent) in order to be awarded a Certificate in the examination. Three general criteria on the performing repertoires, approximately equal in importance, will be considered in the examinations: Technical Competency, Musicality, Musical Knowledge and Interpretation.

Classification of Marks for Graded Examination

First Class Honors 90 - 100

Honors 80 - 89

Merit 70 - 79

Pass 60 - 69

Ungraded 54 or below

Classification of marks for Diploma and Advanced Diploma

First Class Honors 90 - 100

Honors 80 - 89

Merit 70 - 79

Pass 55 - 69

Fail 54 or below

What is a theory examination?

Theory examinations are the evaluations of a student’s comprehensive understanding of Music Theory, Harmony, Analysis, and Music History. IPVAEB offers three levels of theory examinations: 1) Elementary; 2) Intermediate; and 3) Advanced.

The Music Theory Examinations will be conducted online. Online Music Theory Examinations are available on every last week of the odd months, i.e. January, March, May, July and November (except September).

What are the practical and theory examinations dates?

IPVAEB conducts several sessions of examinations annually. The graded practical examinations for Preliminary level to Level 8 are conducted as follows:

Practical Examinations Examination Dates

VR Practical Examinations January, March, April, August

F2F (Face-to-Face) Practical Examinations June/July and November/December

Artistry Performance Diploma (APD) June/July and November/December

Advanced Artistry Performance Diploma (AAPD)

Music Theory Examinations January, March, May, July, November

Can I take an examination more than once?

Yes. Students may re-register for and/or retake an examination as many times as they desire.

Is there any age restriction on taking the examination?

There is no age restriction on taking IPVAEB examinations.

What are Artistic Performance Diploma and Advanced Artistic Performance Diploma?

The Artistic Performance Diploma (APD) and Advanced Artistic Performance Diploma (AAPD) in Piano Performance provide an opportunity to evaluate a candidate’s concert performance according to a set of professional criteria. Hence, Candidates are expected to demonstrate a masterful command of the instrument and understanding of stylistic characteristics and structural elements of each repertoire selection with interpretive insight and a mature musical personality.

These diploma examinations are evaluated as a professional concert performance, hence performance by memory is mandatory.

The examination will be adjudicated by two professors from our partnering universities. The public is welcome to attend the examination recital.

What is the pre-requisite for registering for diploma examination?

There is no pre-requisite for taking the Artistic Performance Diploma (APD). To register for Advanced Artistic Performance Diploma (AAPD), the student must attain IPVAEB Artistic Diploma (or DipABRSM / ATCL equivalent); and IPVAEB Music Theory Intermediate Level (or equivalent).

What are the Certificate in Piano Pedagogy (CPP) and the Diploma in Piano Pedagogy (DPP)?

The Certificate in Piano Pedagogy (CPP) and Diploma in Piano Pedagogy (DPP) provide structured curriculum focusing on the elements of piano pedagogy that are foundational to strong teaching practices. The program focuses on teaching strategies that meet the needs of individual students while preparing teachers to work with a wide range of ages and abilities, and train teachers to become excellent and knowledgeable educators.

Do students need to take an examination at each level?

No, students can register for an examination at any level and are not required to “start at the beginning” or take the examinations in progressive order.

There is no pre-requisite for music theory for graded examinations.

What is the dress code for practical examination?

Smart casual. No shorts, Tee shirt, and slippers are allowed

Can I get a refund if I am not able to take the examination on scheduled date with valid reason?

You may write in to claim a refund or full credit for your next registration with valid reason and proof

General Information