What is an amanuensis?
ABRSM use the term ‘amanuensis’ to describe someone who will either read questions aloud (a reader), write down answers (a scribe), or both.
Who can use an amanuensis?
Any candidate who is unable to access the written paper or write down their answers independently may request the use of an amanuensis.
A candidate who is visually impaired and cannot access a large print or braille paper may use an amanuensis to read the questions and write down their answers.
A candidate with specific learning difficulties may use an amanuensis to either read the questions or write their answers down, or both.
A candidate who has a physical disability or a long-term or chronic injury may use an amanuensis to write down their answers.
Entering the exam with an amanuensis
Candidates wishing to use an amanuensis should add code A to the entry form.
Who will the amanuensis be?
ABRSM does not provide amanuenses as it is the responsibility of the applicant to provide one. Anyone can act as an amanuensis as long as they meet these criteria:
The amanuensis should be musically literate, educated to at least the equivalent level of the exam being taken.
Ideally, the amanuensis should have worked with the candidate at least once before, either in music lessons or in another exam. If this is not possible, it is very important that the candidate and amanuensis have sufficient time to practice ahead of the exam.
We ask that the amanuensis is not the candidate’s music teacher or related to the candidate unless absolutely necessary.
Where will the exam take place?
As candidates using an amanuensis will need to work in a separate room, we ask that, if possible, applicants arrange a venue in the local area.
Music Theory exams may be held as a Visit at any school of general education or LEA music centre approved by ABRSM. Completion of the entry form requires the head teacher to accept responsibility for the safe custody of the papers and proper conduct of the exam. Music Theory exams cannot be held at teachers’ private studios or houses.
Applicants hosting a Visit are responsible for ensuring suitable facilities and arrangements at their own cost: an exam room, which is quiet as well as properly lit, heated and ventilated, and with tables that allow the reasonable spacing of candidates; a suitable person appointed by the head teacher to act as invigilator within the exam room for the duration of the exam in accordance with ABRSM’s instructions.
If this is not possible, we will do our best to arrange for the exam to be held in another room at the main ABRSM centre. However, this cannot be guaranteed, and when it is not possible we may have to look further afield. In this case, we will refund any travel expenses incurred.
Venue, staff and moderators
Present in the exam room will be the candidate, amanuensis and an invigilator.
From time to time, ABRSM may send a moderator to act as invigilator as part of ABRSM’s monitoring and quality assurance processes.
Who will invigilate the exam?
Candidates taking the exam in their own venue are kindly requested to arrange for an invigilator. This is usually a teacher at the school. If this is not possible, we will send somebody to invigilate.
For candidates taking their exam in a separate room at the main ABRSM centre, ABRSM will provide a second invigilator.
When will the exam take place?
The exam will take place on the same date and at the same time as all other Music Theory exams. It is therefore important that the venue is available at this time.
Will there be extra time?
The following extra time allowance will be given to candidates using an amanuensis, provided we are informed on entry:
Grades 1–3 30 minutes
Grades 4–5 40 minutes
Grades 6–8 60 minutes
The exam paper
The exam paper will be sent to the head teacher at the school hosting the exam.
Coloured and enlarged papers
Candidates who have difficulty reading from white paper may request the exam paper to be printed on coloured paper.
20 sheets in the correct colour and of the required size should be provided at the time of entry. Large print papers are available in A3 format and come as standard on white paper. Requests must be made at the time of entry each time the candidate is entered for the exam.
Candidates may request their results in alternative formats, such as braille or large or modified print. To do this, please inform ABRSM at the time of entry.
- Inform ABRSM at the time of entry that your candidate requires an amanuensis
- Provide ABRSM the name and address of your candidate’s amanuensis as soon as possible and no later than three weeks before the exam date
- Ensure that information is passed on to the amanuensis, as a signed agreement is required in order that the exam be validated
- Abide by the exam regulations
- Try to provide a venue and invigilator if you are not able or do not want to do so
- Pay for any travel costs incurred should you need to travel out of your local area to a venue that we have provided
- Provide you with results in a format that you are able to access on request