RCM Piano Exam Requirements (all grades)

*NOW UPDATED WITH LATEST 2022 PIANO SYLLABUS*

Introduction

If you are a piano student planning to do your RCM practical exams and want to know precisely what you will be graded on – you’ve come to the right place! This guide will tell you exactly what each section of the exam is worth to help you decide how to allocate your prep time for optimal results! We created this RCM Piano Exam Mark Guide with you – the student – in mind!

Note: information contained in this guide contains requirements for both the new 2022 RCM Piano Syllabus (released in March 2022) as well as the old 2015 RCM Piano Syllabus, for comparison.

RCM PIANO EXAM REQUIREMENTS FOR: ELEMENTARY LEVELS (Preparatory A - Level 4)

Preparatory A Piano (new 2022 syllabus)

RCM Preparatory A Piano Exam Requirements 2022 Syllabus

Repertoire: students are required to perform a total of 3 pieces and can earn 2 extra marks per piece if they have it memorized. A maximum of 66 marks can be earned for this section.

Technical Requirements:  consists of technical tests only. A maximum of 14 marks are given for this section.

Ear Tests and Sight Reading: fall under the “Musicianship” component of the test and are worth 10 marks each, for a combined total of 20.

The exam is out of 100, with 60 being the passing grade.

Preparatory A Piano (old 2015 syllabus)

Repertoire: students are required to perform a total of 3 pieces and can earn 2 extra marks per piece if they have it memorized. A maximum of 66 marks can be earned for this section.

Technical Requirements:  consists of technical tests only. A maximum of 14 marks are given for this section.

Ear Tests and Sight Reading: fall under the “Musicianship” component of the test and are worth 10 marks each, for a combined total of 20.

The exam is out of 100, with 60 being the passing grade.

Preparatory B Piano (new 2022 syllabus)

RCM Preparatory A Piano Exam Requirements 2022 Syllabus

Repertoire: students are required to perform a total of 3 pieces and can earn 2 extra marks per piece if they have it memorized. A maximum of 66 marks can be earned for this section.

Technical Requirements:  consists of technical tests only. A maximum of 14 marks are given for this section.

Ear Tests and Sight Reading: fall under the “Musicianship” component of the test and are worth 10 marks each, for a combined total of 20.

The exam is out of 100, with 60 being the passing grade.

Preparatory B Piano (old 2015 syllabus)

rcm preparatory B piano mark guide

Repertoire: students are required to perform a total of 3 pieces and can earn 2 extra marks per piece if they have it memorized. A maximum of 66 marks can be earned for this section.

Technical Requirements:  consists of technical tests only. A maximum of 14 marks are given for this section.

Ear Tests and Sight Reading: fall under the “Musicianship” component of the test and are worth 10 marks each, for a combined total of 20.

The exam is out of 100, with 60 being the passing grade.

Level 1 Piano (new 2022 syllabus)

RCM Level 1 Piano Exam Requirements 2022 Syllabus

Repertoire: students are required to perform a total of 3 pieces and can earn 2 extra marks per piece if they have it memorized. A maximum of 56 marks can be earned for this section.

Technical Requirements:  includes technical tests and 1 etude. Note that no memory marks are given for the etude, which means students can have their sheet music in front of them while playing if they wish. A maximum of 24 marks are given for this section.

Ear Tests and Sight Reading: fall under the “Musicianship” component of the test and are worth 10 marks each, for a combined total of 20.

The exam is out of 100, with 60 being the passing grade.

Level 1 Piano (old 2015 syllabus)

rcm level 1 piano mark guide

Repertoire: students are required to perform a total of 3 pieces and can earn 2 extra marks per piece if they have it memorized. A maximum of 56 marks can be earned for this section.

Technical Requirements:  includes technical tests and 1 etude. Note that no memory marks are given for the etude, which means students can have their sheet music in front of them while playing if they wish. A maximum of 24 marks are given for this section.

Ear Tests and Sight Reading: fall under the “Musicianship” component of the test and are worth 10 marks each, for a combined total of 20.

The exam is out of 100, with 60 being the passing grade.

Want to be sure you’re practicing your Level 1 pieces correctly?

⇒   Watch RCM Level 1 Repertoire performed in full (YouTube video)

⇒   Watch RCM Level 1 Etudes performed in full (YouTube video)

Level 2 Piano (new 2022 syllabus)

RCM Level 2 Piano Exam Requirements 2022 Syllabus

Repertoire: students are required to perform a total of 3 pieces and can earn 2 extra marks per piece if they have it memorized. A maximum of 56 marks can be earned for this section.

Technical Requirements:  includes technical tests and 1 etude. Note that no memory marks are given for the etude, which means students can have their sheet music in front of them while playing if they wish. A maximum of 24 marks are given for this section.

Ear Tests and Sight Reading: fall under the “Musicianship” component of the test and are worth 10 marks each, for a combined total of 20.

The exam is out of 100, with 60 being the passing grade.

Level 2 Piano (old 2015 syllabus)

rcm level 2 piano mark guide

Repertoire: students are required to perform a total of 3 pieces and can earn 2 extra marks per piece if they have it memorized. A maximum of 56 marks can be earned for this section.

Technical Requirements:  includes technical tests and 1 etude. Note that no memory marks are given for the etude, which means students can have their sheet music in front of them while playing if they wish. A maximum of 24 marks are given for this section.

Ear Tests and Sight Reading: fall under the “Musicianship” component of the test and are worth 10 marks each, for a combined total of 20.

The exam is out of 100, with 60 being the passing grade.

Want to be sure you’re practicing your Level 2 pieces correctly?

⇒   Watch RCM Level 2 Repertoire performed in full (YouTube video)

⇒   Watch RCM Level 2 Etudes performed in full (YouTube video)

Level 3 Piano (new 2022 syllabus)

RCM Level 3 Piano Exam Requirements 2022 Syllabus

Repertoire: students are required to perform a total of 3 pieces and can earn 2 extra marks per piece if they have it memorized. A maximum of 56 marks can be earned for this section.

Technical Requirements:  includes technical tests and 2 etudes. Note that no memory marks are given for the etudes, which means students can have their sheet music in front of them while playing if they wish. A maximum of 24 marks are given for this section.

Ear Tests and Sight Reading: fall under the “Musicianship” component of the test and are worth 10 marks each, for a combined total of 20.

The exam is out of 100, with 60 being the passing grade.

Level 3 Piano (old 2015 syllabus)

Repertoire: students are required to perform a total of 3 pieces and can earn 2 extra marks per piece if they have it memorized. A maximum of 56 marks can be earned for this section.

Technical Requirements:  includes technical tests and 2 etudes. Note that no memory marks are given for the etudes, which means students can have their sheet music in front of them while playing if they wish. A maximum of 24 marks are given for this section.

Ear Tests and Sight Reading: fall under the “Musicianship” component of the test and are worth 10 marks each, for a combined total of 20.

The exam is out of 100, with 60 being the passing grade.

Want to be sure you’re practicing your Level 3 pieces correctly?

⇒   Watch RCM Level 3 Repertoire performed in full (YouTube video)

⇒   Watch RCM Level 3 Etudes performed in full (YouTube video)

Level 4 Piano (new 2022 syllabus)

RCM Level 4 Piano Exam Requirements 2022 Syllabus

Repertoire: students are required to perform a total of 3 pieces and can earn 2 extra marks per piece if they have it memorized. A maximum of 56 marks can be earned for this section.

Technical Requirements:  includes technical tests and 2 etudes. Note that no memory marks are given for the etudes, which means students can have their sheet music in front of them while playing if they wish. A maximum of 24 marks are given for this section.

Ear Tests and Sight Reading: fall under the “Musicianship” component of the test and are worth 10 marks each, for a combined total of 20.

The exam is out of 100, with 60 being the passing grade.

Level 4 Piano (old 2015 syllabus)

Repertoire: students are required to perform a total of 3 pieces and can earn 2 extra marks per piece if they have it memorized. A maximum of 56 marks can be earned for this section.

Technical Requirements:  includes technical tests and 2 etudes. Note that no memory marks are given for the etudes, which means students can have their sheet music in front of them while playing if they wish. A maximum of 24 marks are given for this section.

Ear Tests and Sight Reading: fall under the “Musicianship” component of the test and are worth 10 marks each, for a combined total of 20.

The exam is out of 100, with 60 being the passing grade.

Want to be sure you’re practicing your Level 4 pieces correctly?

⇒   Watch RCM Level 4 Repertoire performed in full (YouTube video)

⇒   Watch RCM Level 4 Etudes performed in full (YouTube video)

RCM PIANO EXAM REQUIREMENTS FOR: INTERMEDIATE LEVELS (Level 5 - Level 8)

Level 5 Piano (new 2022 syllabus)

RCM Level 5 Piano Exam Requirements 2022 Syllabus

Repertoire: students are required to perform a total of 3 pieces and can earn 2 extra marks per piece if they have it memorized. A maximum of 56 marks can be earned for this section.

Technical Requirements:  includes technical tests and 2 etudes. Note that no memory marks are given for the etudes, which means students can have their sheet music in front of them while playing if they wish. A maximum of 24 marks are given for this section.

Ear Tests and Sight Reading: fall under the “Musicianship” component of the test and are worth 10 marks each, for a combined total of 20.

The exam is out of 100, with 60 being the passing grade.

Starting at level 5, students must also write a co-requisite theory exam if they wish to earn a Comprehensive Certificate for their particular level. For level 5, the co-requisite theory exam is Level 5 Theory.

Level 5 Piano (old 2015 syllabus)

Repertoire: students are required to perform a total of 3 pieces and can earn 2 extra marks per piece if they have it memorized. A maximum of 56 marks can be earned for this section.

Technical Requirements:  includes technical tests and 2 etudes. Note that no memory marks are given for the etudes, which means students can have their sheet music in front of them while playing if they wish. A maximum of 24 marks are given for this section.

Ear Tests and Sight Reading: fall under the “Musicianship” component of the test and are worth 10 marks each, for a combined total of 20.

The exam is out of 100, with 60 being the passing grade.

Starting at level 5, students must also write a co-requisite theory exam if they wish to earn a Comprehensive Certificate for their particular level. For level 5, the co-requisite theory exam is Level 5 Theory.

Want to be sure you’re practicing your Level 5 pieces correctly?

⇒   Watch RCM Level 5 Repertoire performed in full (YouTube video)

⇒   Watch RCM Level 5 Etudes performed in full (YouTube video)

Level 6 Piano (new 2022 syllabus)

RCM Level 6 Piano Exam Requirements 2022 Syllabus

Repertoire: students are required to perform a total of 3 pieces and can earn 2 extra marks per piece if they have it memorized. A maximum of 56 marks can be earned for this section.

Technical Requirements:  includes technical tests and 2 etudes. Note that no memory marks are given for the etudes, which means students can have their sheet music in front of them while playing if they wish. A maximum of 24 marks are given for this section.

Ear Tests and Sight Reading: fall under the “Musicianship” component of the test and are worth 10 marks each, for a combined total of 20.

The exam is out of 100, with 60 being the passing grade.

Students must also write a co-requisite theory exam (Level 6 Theory) if they wish to earn a Comprehensive Certificate for this level.

Level 6 Piano (old 2015 syllabus)

Repertoire: students are required to perform a total of 3 pieces and can earn 2 extra marks per piece if they have it memorized. A maximum of 56 marks can be earned for this section.

Technical Requirements:  includes technical tests and 2 etudes. Note that no memory marks are given for the etudes, which means students can have their sheet music in front of them while playing if they wish. A maximum of 24 marks are given for this section.

Ear Tests and Sight Reading: fall under the “Musicianship” component of the test and are worth 10 marks each, for a combined total of 20.

The exam is out of 100, with 60 being the passing grade.

Students must also write a co-requisite theory exam (Level 6 Theory) if they wish to earn a Comprehensive Certificate for this level.

Want to be sure you’re practicing your Level 6 pieces correctly?

⇒   Watch RCM Level 6 Repertoire performed in full (YouTube video)

Level 7 Piano (new 2022 syllabus)

RCM Level 7 Piano Exam Requirements 2022 Syllabus

Repertoire: students are required to perform a total of 3 pieces and can earn 2 extra marks per piece if they have it memorized. A maximum of 56 marks can be earned for this section.

Technical Requirements:  includes technical tests and 2 etudes. Note that no memory marks are given for the etudes, which means students can have their sheet music in front of them while playing if they wish. A maximum of 24 marks are given for this section.

Ear Tests and Sight Reading: fall under the “Musicianship” component of the test and are worth 10 marks each, for a combined total of 20.

The exam is out of 100, with 60 being the passing grade.

Students must also write a co-requisite theory exam (Level 7 Theory) if they wish to earn a Comprehensive Certificate for this level.

Level 7 Piano (old 2015 syllabus)

Repertoire: students are required to perform a total of 3 pieces and can earn 2 extra marks per piece if they have it memorized. A maximum of 56 marks can be earned for this section.

Technical Requirements:  includes technical tests and 2 etudes. Note that no memory marks are given for the etudes, which means students can have their sheet music in front of them while playing if they wish. A maximum of 24 marks are given for this section.

Ear Tests and Sight Reading: fall under the “Musicianship” component of the test and are worth 10 marks each, for a combined total of 20.

The exam is out of 100, with 60 being the passing grade.

Students must also write a co-requisite theory exam (Level 7 Theory) if they wish to earn a Comprehensive Certificate for this level.

Level 8 Piano (new 2022 syllabus)

RCM Level 8 Piano Exam Requirements 2022 Syllabus

Repertoire: students are required to perform a total of 4 pieces and can earn 1.5 extra marks per piece if they have it memorized.  A maximum of 56 marks can be earned for this section.

Technical Requirements:  includes technical tests and 2 etudes. Note that no memory marks are given for the etudes, which means students can have their sheet music in front of them while playing if they wish. A maximum of 24 marks are given for this section.

Ear Tests and Sight Reading: fall under the “Musicianship” component of the test and are worth 10 marks each, for a combined total of 20.

The exam is out of 100, with 60 being the passing grade.

Students must also write a co-requisite theory exam (Level 8 Theory) if they wish to earn a Comprehensive Certificate for this level.

Level 8 Piano (old 2015 syllabus)

Repertoire: students are required to perform a total of 4 pieces for Level 8 Repertoire. 1 mark per piece (see parentheses) will be deducted for not having it memorized.  A maximum of 56 marks can be earned for this section.

Technical Requirements:  includes technical tests and 2 etudes. Note that no memory marks are given for the etudes, which means students can have their sheet music in front of them while playing if they wish. A maximum of 24 marks are given for this section.

Ear Tests and Sight Reading: fall under the “Musicianship” component of the test and are worth 10 marks each, for a combined total of 20.

The exam is out of 100, with 60 being the passing grade.

Students must also write a co-requisite theory exam (Level 8 Theory) if they wish to earn a Comprehensive Certificate for this level.

RCM PIANO EXAM REQUIREMENTS FOR: ADVANCED LEVELS (Level 9 - Level 10)

Level 9 Piano (new 2022 syllabus)

RCM Level 9 Piano Exam Requirements 2022 Syllabus

Repertoire: students are required to perform a total of 4 pieces for Level 9 Repertoire. 1 mark per piece (see parentheses) will be deducted for not having it memorized.  A maximum of 56 marks can be earned for this section.

Technical Requirements:  includes technical tests and 2 etudes. Note that no memory marks are given for the etudes, which means students can have their sheet music in front of them while playing if they wish. A maximum of 24 marks are given for this section.

Ear Tests and Sight Reading: fall under the “Musicianship” component of the test and are worth 10 marks each, for a combined total of 20.

The exam is out of 100, with 60 being the passing grade.

Students must also write co-requisite theory exams if they wish to earn a Comprehensive Certificate for this level. For Level 9, the co-requisite theory exams consist of: “Level 8 Theory”, “Level 9 Harmony” (or “Keyboard Harmony”), and “Level 9 History”

Level 9 Piano (old 2015 syllabus)

Repertoire: students are required to perform a total of 4 pieces for Level 9 Repertoire. 1 mark per piece (see parentheses) will be deducted for not having it memorized.  A maximum of 56 marks can be earned for this section.

Technical Requirements:  includes technical tests and 2 etudes. Note that no memory marks are given for the etudes, which means students can have their sheet music in front of them while playing if they wish. A maximum of 24 marks are given for this section.

Ear Tests and Sight Reading: fall under the “Musicianship” component of the test and are worth 10 marks each, for a combined total of 20.

The exam is out of 100, with 60 being the passing grade.

Students must also write co-requisite theory exams if they wish to earn a Comprehensive Certificate for this level. For Level 9, the co-requisite theory exams consist of: “Level 8 Theory”, “Level 9 History”, and “Level 9 Harmony” (or “Keyboard Harmony”)

Level 10 Piano (new 2022 syllabus)

RCM Level 10 Piano Exam Requirements 2022 Syllabus

Repertoire: students are required to perform a total of 5 pieces for Level 10 Repertoire. 1 mark per piece (see parentheses) will be deducted for not having it memorized.  A maximum of 56 marks can be earned for this section.

Technical Requirements:  includes technical tests and 2 etudes. Note that no memory marks are given for the etudes, which means students can have their sheet music in front of them while playing if they wish. A maximum of 24 marks are given for this section.

Ear Tests and Sight Reading: fall under the “Musicianship” component of the test and are worth 10 marks each, for a combined total of 20.

The exam is out of 100, with 60 being the passing grade.

Students must also write co-requisite theory exams if they wish to earn a Comprehensive Certificate for this level. For Level 10, the co-requisite theory exams consist of: “Level 8 Theory”, “Level 9 Harmony” (or “Keyboard Harmony”), “Level 9 History”,  “Level 10 Harmony & Counterpoint” (or “Keyboard Harmony”), and “Level 10 History”.


Students who plan to pursue an ARCT (Associate of the Royal Conservatory) Diploma after Level 10 must receive either an overall mark of 75 or a minimum of 70% in each section of this exam. The numbers in bold parentheses indicate the minimum number of marks required to receive 70% for each section.

Level 10 Piano (old 2015 syllabus)

Repertoire: students are required to perform a total of 5 pieces for Level 10 Repertoire. 1 mark per piece (see parentheses) will be deducted for not having it memorized.  A maximum of 56 marks can be earned for this section.

Technical Requirements:  includes technical tests and 2 etudes. Note that no memory marks are given for the etudes, which means students can have their sheet music in front of them while playing if they wish. A maximum of 24 marks are given for this section.

Ear Tests and Sight Reading: fall under the “Musicianship” component of the test and are worth 10 marks each, for a combined total of 20.

The exam is out of 100, with 60 being the passing grade.

Students must also write co-requisite theory exams if they wish to earn a Comprehensive Certificate for this level. For Level 10, the co-requisite theory exams consist of: “Level 8 Theory”, “Level 9 History”, “Level 9 Harmony” (or “Keyboard Harmony”), “Level 10 History”, and “Level 10 Harmony & Counterpoint” (or “Keyboard Harmony”).

Students who plan to pursue an ARCT (Associate of the Royal Conservatory) Diploma after Level 10 must receive either an overall mark of 75 or a minimum of 70% in each section of this exam. The numbers in bold parentheses indicate the minimum number of marks required to receive 70% for each section.

* Learn everything you need to know about RCM exams with “RCM Exams: Your Complete Guide”

* See exactly how RCM Violin Exams are graded with “The Ultimate RCM Violin Exam Mark Guide”

* Get the most out of your practice sessions with our “5 Best Practice Tips for Music Students”

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