Undertaking piano exams can be a great way of motivating yourself to practice, giving you something big to work towards and giving you a massive sense of achievement when you reach this goal.

It also helps give you a sense of the level you're at, and what levels you have left to achieve. When you reach the top piano level, you also get official letters after your name and receive a recognised music qualification! There is no age limit on who can reach these piano levels and you don't necessarily have to do EVERY single grade (depending on how hard you work).

If you decide you wish to take exams, here is a breakdown of how the levels generally work:

NOTE: In Australia, the AMEB (Australian Music Examinations Board) is our main accredited piano exam system. But other piano exam systems such as the RCM, ABRSM and Trinity all work in a very similar way.

For more information on taking piano exams, read this article.

Internal Exams

Despite all the cool things that come with doing accredited piano exams, it's not for everyone, and there is certainly no pressure to sit for an exam when you're a Virtual Piano Academy student.

However, it can be difficult to maintain focus and motivation when there's nothing to work towards or keep you accountable.

As an alternative, you can sit for an Internal Exam, right here at Virtual Piano Academy. This is a video submission exam that is marked by a panel of Virtual Piano Academy teachers. You will be required to play a number of set things in your exam, but this is tailored more closely to your goals and doesn't box you in to a set syllabus from an external examinations board.

Internal Exams dates can also be tailored around your schedule and set for whichever date you like (unlike accredited piano exams).

Pricing

Internal Exams are not included as part of your regular lesson payments and incur an additional one-off fee of $99 for each Internal Exam you wish to sit. This includes feedback via a written exam report (which looks and works in a very similar way to an accredited exam report) and you will receive an overall mark (marks are given in a similar fashion to an accredited exam). You also receive a certificate.

No refunds, under any circumstances, are given once Internal Exam payments are made. If you decide you no longer wish to sit your Internal Exam, you will forfeit your payment.

Internal Exam Dates

You get to choose the date (in consultation with your teacher). Once this date is set, it cannot be changed (just like an accredited exam). Nothing motivates like a deadline!...so we are strict with this rule, as a way of encouraging you to stick to your goals.

On your Internal Exam day, you must video record everything that is required for the exam (which has been pre-determined by your teacher), and submit your video by 11:59pm that day (just like you would for your Weekly Showcase).

A panel of Virtual Piano Academy teachers will then mark your Internal Exam and give you your feedback, your mark, and your certificate (if you pass).

Internal Exams in Preparation For Accredited Exams

If you're preparing for an accredited exam with the AMEB or ABRSM (let's say Grade 5 for example), you can apply to sit for an Internal Exam beforehand, to give yourself some exam practice!

Compulsory Internal Exams

If you fail an accredited exam or receive a mark lower than a C), we require you to sit a Virtual Piano Academy Internal Exam BEFORE sitting your next accredited AMEB or ABRSM exam. This Internal Exam essentially becomes a pre-requisite before you are able to sit for another accredited exam. Otherwise, Internal Exams are optional, and available to you if you wish to use this service in the lead-up to an accredited exam, or as something you want to use as a goal to work towards.

Find out more information about what happens if you fail an exam here.

What's the Point Of Doing an Internal Exam?

Receiving critical feedback from a number of professional pianists and teachers is priceless for your progress. When undertaking traditional in-person lessons, you're receiving feedback each week from the SAME teacher, sometimes for years in a row. The only way you get feedback from another teacher is during your accredited exams, or if you part-take in an Eisteddfod or school recital etc. Each teacher has different experiences and different teaching philosophies, and it can be eye-opening and inspiring to get a different perspective on your playing once in a while.

An Internal Exam also allows you to work towards something, and have a goal you need to reach. It can be a great motivator. And you will experience a great sense of achievement when you reach this goal!

An Internal Exam also allows you to pin-point any weaknesses in your technique or playing style, that you can then work on improving.

How Do I Apply for an Internal Exam

You can find the form to apply for an Internal Exam inside your Lesson Portal.

Piano Parades

All Virtual Piano Academy students preparing for an Internal Exam (or an Accredited Exam) can make use of our Piano Parades. Find out more here.

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