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Grade 1 Piano ABRSM

This section will help you prepare for your first ABRSM graded examination. Grade 1 is a supportive yet challenging exam to help focus students and work towards a goal. Although exams are not suitable for everyone, we use them regularly as we find students get a sense of achievement after passing an exam and quite often inspires them to progress to work towards the next one. ABRSM exams are available from grades 1-8 with additional awards at initial and prep test level. 

ABRSM updated their exam requirements in 2021 but still consists of the same basic format. ABRSM Grade 1 Piano exam consists of four elements;

  • Performance of 3 chosen pieces from the syllabus, one in each list. (30 marks each)

  • Scales (21 marks)

  • Sight reading (21 marks )

  • Aural tests (18 marks ) 

Total Marks - 150  (Pass - 100, Merit - 120 and Distinction -130 marks) 

There is also now an option to sit a recorded performance exam which consists of performing four pieces in place of scales, sight reading and aural. 

Grade 1 Piano Performance Pieces 21/22

Below is a demonstration of all 9 pieces from the current 21/22 syllabus. Your teacher will help you select a programme that is varied and suits your strength and developmental needs. There is a list of additional pieces suggested by ABRSM that can be played in place of these pieces which include some duet options with the teacher.

Grade 1 Piano Scales 

The examiner will ask the candidate the play a selection of scales from the following lists. Scales should be part of your daily practice routine and using scales can be a great warm up before working on studies and pieces. The video below is a demonstration of the Grade 1 Piano scales valid from 2021 onwards. Use the playback speed function on YouTube to slow the video down if you would like to view fingering at a slower pace.  


In the section of the exam, the candidate will be asked to play a short excerpt of music previously never seen before. 

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