Award Categories

The examination is marked out of 100 with a pass mark of 60.

Award categories are as follows:

Certificates are awarded for candidates achieving pass/merit/distinction. Candidates achieving Blue or white will receive a marksheet only.

Please note the award structure for our Performance diplomas differs from our practical grades, and does not include a Merit category.

Marking Criteria

The marking criteria for the exams offered by MTB can be downloaded here:

Important Notes:

The exact content of each syllabus is available on the syllabuses page and is tailored to the specialisation of the candidate.

There are no unprepared elements (such as unprepared sight reading or aural tests) in MTB qualifications. Candidates are expected to practice all elements to be presented in the assessment (including the published reading and listening skills) as part of their preparation for taking the examination.

Grade 5 music theory is not required to move on to grade 6-8.


MTB graded exams are carried out by the teacher in their usual environment and there are no unprepared elements in the exam.  Many SEND candidates therefore can be supported by preparing in their own time using their own proven learning methods. For any reasonable adjustment requests around SEND and further information, please visit our SEND page. 


Once an exam is submitted it will be marked by an instrument specialist examiner.* For example, a violin exam will be marked by violin specialist, a piano exam by a piano specialist etc. Within 2-3 weeks of submission the marksheet will be sent by email to the centre that conducted the exam.  The marksheet follows the sections listed above with comments made on the recital and technical elements of the exam and marks broken down by the assessment criteria.

*Exams containing 2 or more pieces with Jazz improvisation will be marked by a Jazz specialist who will specialise in that section of instruments (i.e. Wind, Brass etc.)


4-6 weeks after receiving your marksheet you will receive your certificate.  The certificate will be sent to you following approval from the MTB exam board for that month’s results.  The exam board is conducted by senior members of the MTB team including the Chief examiner, Lead Moderator & Head of Quality assurance who review results and exam marking for that month and ensure standardisation and maintenance of our high standards amongst the examining team.  During this process it is possible, although unusual, that results may be adjusted up or down, your result is therefore provisional until you receive your certificate.

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