Academic Information

General Information
General Information
Detailed information on examination requirements and policies can be found in a current syllabus. The following general information covers commonly asked questions.

Orchestral Instrument and Voice candidates are required to provide their own accompanists. Taped accompaniments are not permitted. Examinations will not be conducted unless an accompanist is present at the examination. All selections requiring accompaniment, must be performed with piano accompaniment only. No other instruments are permitted.

Candidate Standings
The following table summarizes the percentage of candidates across Canada who achieved standings at the Honours, First Class Honours, and First Class Honours with Distinction levels each academic year.

Teachers, students and parents may find it useful to gauge how students’ results compare to candidates from the rest of the country.

Range of Marks 70 - 79 80 - 89 90 - 100
Grade 1 28% 63% 5%
Grade 2 38% 52% 4%
Grade 3 47% 38% 2%
Grade 4 46% 38% 2%
Grade 5 48% 33% 1%
Grade 6 48% 32% 2%
Grade 7 48% 31% 2%
Grade 8 44% 28% 2%
Grade 9 45% 32% 3%
Grade 10 40% 23% 3%
ARCT Performers 41% 29% 7%
Basic Rudiments 12% 29% 51%
Inermediate Rudiments 18% 33% 36%
Advanced Rudiments 18% 32% 36%
Basic Harmony 37% 39% 6%
Intermediate Harmony 37% 16% 1%
Counterpoint 40% 20% 3%
Advanced Harmony 34% 18% 1%
Analysis 28% 35% 13%
History 1: An Overview 29% 31% 11%
History 2: Middle Ages to Classical 28% 28% 11%
History 3: 19th Century to Present 27% 28% 14%

Candidates with Special Needs
Candidates who have special needs may submit a written request to RCM Examinations for special accommodations to be made. Such requests must be made by the registration deadline for the respective session each time a candidate applies for an examination. RCM Examinations will consider each case individually.

Classification of Marks

For Grades 1 - 10
Classification Range of Marks
First Class Honours with Distinction 90 - 100
First Class Honours 80 - 89
Honours 70 - 79
Pass 60 - 69
Grade 10 ARCT Pre-requsite 75 Overall OR 70% in each section

For Performer's and Teacher's ARCT
Classification Range of Marks
First Class Honours with Distinction 90 - 100
First Class Honours 80 - 89
Honours 70 - 79
Pass (Performers) minimum 70
Pass (Teacher's Non-Piano) 75 Overall OR 70% in each section

For Piano Pedagogy Certificate Program
Classification Range of Marks
First Class Honours with Distinction 90 - 100
First Class Honours 80 - 89
Honours 70 - 79
Pass (Elementary, Intermediate, Advanced Viva Voce) Minimum 70
Pass (Advanced Practical) 70% in each section

Composers, artists, editors, and publishers rely on sales revenues to contribute to their livelihood. Photocopying music deprives the creators of due compensation.

Please note that photocopied music will not be permitted in the examination room. Candidates who bring unauthorized photocopies to the examination will not be examined.

Candidates should bring all music to be performed to the examination. Candidates who wish to photocopy one page of a selection for the purpose of facilitating a page turn may do so with permission from the publisher. The Frederick Harris Music Co., Limited is pleased to grant permission to festival, recital, and examination participants to photocopy one page from Frederick Harris Music publications for the purpose of facilitating a page turn.

Re-Evaluations / Re-Calculations of Theory Examinations
Candidates may appeal the mark awarded on a theory examination only for the following reasons:
• an error in the tabulation of marks
• a substantial error or inconsistency in marking
• a clarification of the reasons for the mark received

All enquiries concerning re-calculation or re-evaluation of marks must be addressed in writing to RCM Examinations. Candidates should submit all documentation and fees as outlined below. Please allow four weeks for a reply.

Important: Any re-evaluation or re-calculation of marks may lead not only to an increase to the mark, but also to a lowering of the mark or to a confirmation of the existing mark.

Re-Calculation of Marks
Candidates who find either an obvious error in the tabulation of marks on an examination paper or a question that has not been marked, may request a re-calculation of marks from RCM Examinations. The candidate must submit:
• the original examination paper(s)
• a letter detailing the problem
• the requisite fee for re-calculations

In the event that a calculation or clerical error in the examination marks is found to be in the candidate’s favour, then the mark will be adjusted accordingly and the administrative fee will be refunded.

Re-Evaluation of Theory Papers
Candidates who believe there has been a substantial error or inconsistency in the marking of questions on an examination paper may request a re-evaluation of the entire examination paper.

The candidate must submit:
• the original examination paper(s)
• a letter demonstrating why the candidate’s given answer has been marked incorrectly, citing specific instances
• the requisite fee for re-evaluations

The examination paper will be returned to the candidate, along with a written critique for each question from a member of the RCM Examinations College of Examiners. If the re-evaluation results in a higher mark, then the re-evaluation fee will be refunded.

Deadlines for Requesting Re-Calculation or Re-Evaluation

  • March 1 for Theory Examinations written in the Winter Session
  • September 1 for Theory Examinations written in the Spring Session
  • November 1 for Theory Examinations written in the Summer Session

Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) Eligibility
Candidates who have a Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) may be eligible to use these funds to support private studies in music at the Grade 9, Grade 10, and ARCT levels. Please consult your RESP provider for more information.

Time Extensions
Candidates working towards the Grade 10 certificate or ARCT diploma must complete their theory co-requisites before or within 5 years of their practical examination. Candidates who, due to extenuating circumstances, are unable to complete their theory co-requisites within the 5 year time limit, may submit a request for a time extension in writing to RCM Examinations. Such requests will be considered on an individual basis.

Transfer of Theory Credits
Detailed information on transfer of theory credits can be found in the Theory Syllabus, 2020 edition. In general:
  • Candidates who hold certificates or diplomas in theoretical subjects from other recognized Examination Systems may apply to transfer these credits.

  • To view a list of accepted theory examination equivalents, click here.

  • To apply for a transfer of theory credit, click here to download a request form

  • Candidates for practical ARCT diplomas who hold degrees or diplomas from other music institutions may be exempted from RCM Theory examinations by writing the Comprehensive Theory Examination (for detailed information on this examination, please consult the Theory Syllabus, 2009 edition).

  • To apply for permission to write the Comprehensive Theory Examination, click here to download a request form.

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