AMEB Grades Explained – Everything About AMEB Exams

You are about to take the AMEB exam, but you have no idea what it is or how it works. The Australian Music Examination Board (AMEB) was established in 1976 and is responsible for setting standards for music education in Australia.

This article will explain everything you need to know about AMEB grades. We’ll cover what they mean, how they’re calculated, when your results come out and more!

Here is our AMEB Grades Explained. Check out right now!

AMEB Overview

AMEB Grades Explained

A number of music exams are offered by the Australian Music Examination Board for students to take. These exams are graded, and each grade has a start date.

There are many different types of music certificates that can be earned through the AMEB. This includes Grades 7-8 Jazz Piano, Grades 7-8 Guitar, Grade 7-8 Classical Guitar, Grade 8 Violin or Viola, Grade 8 Flute or Piccolo, Grade 8 Clarinet or Oboe, Grade 8 Trumpet or Cornet, and Grade 8 Brass Wind Instrument.

The Australian Music Examination Board (AMEB) was developed in 1977 to provide a range of opportunities for people in Australia to demonstrate their musical, vocal and instrumental abilities. The AMEB is the only national examination board of its type in Australia.

The AMEB has developed its music examinations to reflect their philosophy of encouraging excellence through an internationally recognised, integrated approach which acknowledges the importance of research and development in teaching and learning.

They provide excellent service worldwide because Australian teachers are highly valued as competent, knowledgeable and professional people who take great pride in their work. It’s also known as the “final stop” for music examinations in the country.

AMEB Grades Explained

Five AMEB Grades

AMEB Grades Explained

Grade One: The AMEB grade one is the youngest and most basic of music examinations. To achieve a pass in this level, candidates must be able to demonstrate sufficient musical knowledge and ability to play their piece correctly. It must be performed with at least 75% accuracy, which means there can’t be very many significant mistakes.

Grade Two: In order to achieve a pass in this level, candidates must demonstrate a higher degree of musical knowledge and competence as well as good technique through sight reading. There are only 3 marks available for technique at this grade, which means that technique is not a key element in the exam but the playing has to sound very proficient.

Grade Three: In order to achieve a pass in this grade, candidates must demonstrate musical knowledge and ability beyond Grade Two. They also have to be able to play their piece with at least 90% accuracy and the playing has to sound very polished and refined. There is no sight reading element in this level at all.

Grade Four: In order to achieve a pass in this level, candidates must demonstrate musical knowledge and ability beyond Grade Three. They also have to be able to play their piece with at least 95% accuracy and the playing has to sound very polished and refined. There is no sight reading element in this level at all .

Grade Five: In order to achieve a pass in this level, candidates must be able to demonstrate a high degree of musical knowledge and ability. They also have to be able to play their piece with at least 100% accuracy and the playing has to sound very polished and refined. There is no sight reading element in this level.

Types Of Australian Music Examination Board Exams

Aussie Music is an examination board in Australia and New Zealand that administers music examinations, provides training to teachers and schools, and offer professional development courses.

AMEB Grades Explained

Music Exams

The AMEB provides different types of exams. The first types of exams is music. It is for beginners just starting out their learning journey. It’s called an Eisteddfod grade or “E” grade. Once you get to about Grade 2 (although it varies depending on the teacher), they’ll start teaching technique (usually in banding).

The music examinations are a mix of both general and jazz standards. Aussie Music were the first to offer students a choice in their exam pieces, ensuring they choose pieces they enjoy performing and is relevant to what they have been studying. They can be asked to perform pieces in any grade or level and this is the exam that will build their repertoire.

After technique, students can go onto their music examinations. These are known as AMEB grades. This is made up of the following:

•  AMEB Grades 1-4 (General)

•  AMEB Jazz Grades 5-6

•  AMEB Rock & Pop Grades 7-8

Once you get to Grade 8, there’s a music degree diploma that you can take to go onto tertiary studies. AMEB Grades 1-4 are known as “General” grades, or sometimes referred to as “Classical”. The AMEB Jazz Grades are an extension of the AMEB General grade levels now combined into one big set of standards now called Jazz standards.

AMEB Grades Explained

Speech Exams

Speech exams are a type of examination on Aussie Music. The exam is divided into four categories, which are sight reading, instrumentation for beginners, sight singing and music examinations.

For sight reading, each student will be given a random piece of music and told to play or sing it. The purpose is to test their ability to read sheet music and recall the notes and key signature.

For instrumentation, students are provided with a set of instruments and tempo list. They then need to play what is written on the sheet as accurately as possible. The music is generally kept at a basic level so students are not required to know advanced techniques or play pieces they have not learnt before.

For sight singing, students will be told the title of the piece and asked to sing it for one minute without accompaniment. This exam tests their ability to carry a tune and read sheet music. Music examinations test their ability to read and play music. This is broken down into grade levels 1-8 for both general and jazz standards.

The first section of the sight reading exam is completely random as Aussie Music believe this gives students an opportunity to perform as they would on a stage, which builds confidence. The second section is based around what they have been studying for the past few months.

If there is only one grade being tested, students are given a mix of pieces from different grades. This helps them prepare for their general music examinations where they will be tested on pieces that are designed to build upon each other as they progress up the grades.

The instrumentation exam is the same format as the sight reading exam. Students are given a list of instruments to choose from and are required to play what is written on the sheet music for one minute without mistakes. This exam tests their ability to play in time, read sheet music and know how an instrument sounds on certain notes.

The sight singing exam is very similar to the general music examinations. It tests their ability to carry a tune and read sheet music, as well as being able to interpret dynamics within a piece of music.

The only difference is that the pieces are written at a lower grade level so they are more achievable for those who have started early or have been playing for a shorter amount of time.

AMEB Grades Explained

Theory Exams

The theory exam is broken down into five sections:

•  Rhythm

•  Harmony

•  Scales and Intervals

•  Reading Music Notes and Keys Signature

•  Chords and Fingering Positions

The examination has a different format depending on the grade level being tested. AMEB Grades 1-4 have a set of pre-reading music notes so students can read “a”, “b” and “c” as well as two ledger lines above or below the staff.

The next part of the exam is to play sixteenth notes and quarter notes in time. The following sections test reading music, such as intervals of a fifth and octave or playing different chords and finger positions on the piano.

AMEB Grades 5-8 have a more challenging exam with additional requirements. The first section is rhythm which tests their ability to read rhythms at three levels: eighth notes, sixteenth notes and quintuplets. The second section is harmony which tests their understanding of chord types for triads, seventh, ninths and seconds.

The third section focuses on the guitar only. In this part students are required to read tablature notation as well as standard sheet music. They will be asked to play a chord and pick notes in a scale.

The fourth section is very similar to the rhythm section in that it tests their ability to read rhythms at three levels: eighth notes, sixteenth notes and quintuplets.

AMEB Grades Explained

The theory exam is not performance based so students do not need to play or sing anything. They are tested on how well they can answer questions about their instrument.

Students are given time to answer multiple choice questions about their instrument or about music in general. The final part of the theory exam is an essay question where students must explain how to play a certain piece on their instrument.

To prepare for these exams, students are encouraged to study throughout the year by downloading past papers and listening to CDs which test all different areas of the theory examinations.

Students can practice what they know by drawing up their own set list and playing it at home. Teachers are also available to students if they would like to get extra help or go over certain areas that they need more support in.

As well as individual grades, AMEB runs ensemble exams which CM has attended for the past three years. The ensemble exams are only available to AMEB students, however if a student has friends at another school who are also interested it is possible for them to join in.

The ensemble exams consist of two grades 1 pieces and one Grade 2 piece. Students practice these three pieces together throughout the year so they can be prepared for the exam.

AMEB Grades Explained

Video Exams

AMEB Music Examinations (AMEBs) are video recorded tests. They evaluate students on their ability to read music and play their instrument in front of the camera. As well as tests on Rhythm, Chord Knowledge, Quality of Performance and Singing Voice.

Students must first submit an application before they can participate in the video exam program. The application includes your name, address, email address and phone number as well as details about the exams you wish to participate in.

Upon receiving this application AMEB will send off a registration form for students to print out and return or bring with them on the day of their test. This form includes information about fees, terms of use and parental consent.

Students are required to bring photo identification to the exam in order to be able to obtain their results. Results are emailed to students when they are available, usually within two weeks of the test date.

AMEB also sends out a hard copy of student results through regular mail, however this can take up to six weeks. Teachers will receive a copy of results for each student that they have in their class.

Rockschool Exams

AMEB Grades Explained

You’re tired of practicing at home and you want to play in front of people. You’ve tried playing with your friends but it never works for you!

Imagine getting the chance to play live on stage, surrounded by an audience who is cheering for you. This could be a once in a lifetime opportunity that will help boost your confidence and make you feel like rock stars!

AMEB’s Rockschool Exams are performance based exams which test students musical knowledge through practical application. Students get the chance to perform their own piece or learn new music from other artists.

Students can prepare for these exams by listening to CDs which test all different areas of the theory examinations as well as past papers so they know what to expect on the day.

They can also practice what they know by drawing up their own set list and playing it at home. Teachers are there if students would like to get extra help or go over certain areas that they need more support in.

The Rockschool exams consist of three grades, Grades 1-3. The general requirements for these grades are as follows:

Grade 1 – You should be able to competently play or read music that is notated in the treble clef only, with no more than two ledger lines above the stave.

Grade 2 – You should be able to competently play or read music that is notated in the treble and bass clefs, with no more than two ledger lines above or below the stave.

Grade 3 – You should be able to competently play or read music that is notated in treble, bass and alto clefs, with no more than three ledger lines above the stave; although one line might be occasionally encountered at top or bottom of the stave.

You’ve just finished your first Rockschool Exam and you feel on top of the world! AMEB sends out results within four weeks but some students will receive their results sooner than others.

When getting ready to take another exam many students start playing songs by artists they look up to, as well as listening to CDs and practicing at home.

Many students feel that AMEB’s Rockschool exams give them a boost in confidence and they love the opportunity of performing live on stage throughout their exams.

At your next exam you get up on stage knowing exactly what you’re going to play, but when it comes time for your performance you feel like everything has gone wrong! You can’t remember certain parts of your song or you’ve forgotten how to play the notes.

AMEB Grades Explained

AMEB Piano Syllabus

You are about to embark on a journey of musical discovery. This will be the first time you have played an instrument, and it is important that you understand how music grades work in Australia.

Music grades are used to show your progress as a musician over time. They can also be used by teachers to assign appropriate repertoire for lessons or exams. Grades are awarded based on the level of difficulty of pieces being performed, not just how well they are played.

The AMEB syllabus lists all possible grade levels for each piece so you know what kind of performance is expected at each stage in your development as a pianist/pianist teacher/etc.

There are six levels within the AMEB piano syllabus, each following a pattern of naming. Elementary 1-2 > Preparatory > Preliminary  > Foundation  > Intermediate  > Advanced

Each level is broken into two parts, Book A & Book B. These are further broken down by looking at the difficulty of pieces being performed for that specific grade.

AMEB Repertoire Books

You are a music teacher and want to understand the AMEB Grades. Here’s an explanation of what each grade means in terms of musical literacy, performance ability and technical skill.

[Bridge:] Each book contains 10 pieces that can be performed at a specific level according to your students’ abilities. The repertoire books contain a wide range of styles from classical to jazz, folk tunes, popular songs and original compositions by Australian composers for students at grades 1-8.

The repertoire books offer what you need to teach and assess your students, with:

– Pieces graded from simple to more difficult.

– Supplementary exercises for reading music and developing technique and style.

– Performance strategies and technical advice for each piece.

– Suggestions about how pieces can be performed as a solo or ensemble.

– Information about each piece’s origins and context.

– A listening CD featuring a performance of all the pieces in an appropriate style.

– A Teacher Guide to provide you with background information, teaching strategies and advice for rehearsal and presentation.

AMEB Syllabus Explained

AMEB Grades Explained

The AMEB music syllabus takes into consideration specific musical components including form, dynamics, tone/texture, tempo/rhythm and genre. The ABCs of Music by James Bastien is an insightful book that offers great insight into the AMEB grade examinations for beginners especially.

It’s designed to improve your competency in reading sheet music. It’s a great book for those who are looking to pass their AMEB grade exams at Grades One, Two and Three.

AMEB uses a five-point grading scale which includes T for “tolerable”, P for “pass”, D for “fairly good”, C for “good” and A for “very good”. You can achieve a pass by demonstrating an understanding of your instrument and the concepts in the AMEB music syllabus. However, achieving grades above P requires more complex skills involving tone, tempos and rhythms rather than just playing through your piece.

Once you begin your music classes, you’ll likely experience the different phases of the syllabus as they will be explained in class by your instructor. You’ll be introduced to concepts such as tonic and dominant keys. You’ll also be introduced to the different elements in music like dynamics, tone/texture and tempo/rhythm that are included in the AMEB music syllabus.


AMEB Grades Explained

How many subjects in each level of AMEB?

The syllabus is divided into three levels, namely Primary (3-5), Intermediate (6-7) and Senior (8-10). There are four subjects at each level of AMEB: Music, dance, drama and visual arts.

What is the end of year performance and grade?

The final level of AMEB examinations is called “Grades”. Each subject has its own grade. At the end of the year, students receive a certificate for each subject they complete and their AMEB Grades Outcomes are announced at an annual concert. For every band on the Outcome, the student receives a “Merit”, “Excellence” or “Distinction”. The AMEB Grades Outcomes form an important part of students’ resumes when applying for Conservatoriums and performing arts schools.

Do you need a teacher to study for AMEB exam?

No, I don’t need a teacher to study for AMEB exam. Because there are many teachers on internet that can help me learn how to pass the AMEB exam. They have free videos and audios that will teach you everything about the syllabus of your desired level of AMEB exams.

You can also ask them questions through email or social media accounts like Facebook or Twitter because they respond quickly and helpfully! The best part is these teachers are friendly and funny so it makes learning fun too!


In conclusion, we hope this article has been informative and answered any questions you may have had about AMEB Grades. Now that we’ve covered what these scores mean for your child’s future education prospects, it is important to know how they are calculated.

The Australian Curriculum Framework defines a grade as “a judgement of the level of attainment in relation to criteria or standards set by a particular assessment instrument or authority” (Australian Curriculum Assessment Authority).

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