In this post, let’s look at the format of the ABRSM Grade 4 Online Music Theory Exam in detail.

## Seven sections of the ABRSM Grade 4 Online Music Theory exam

There are seven sections in the ABRSM grade 4 online music theory exam. They are:

Each section has a specific music theory concepts tested.

## Marks and Passing Criteria for ABRSM Grade 4 Online Music Theory Exam

The seven sections of the ABRSM Grade 4 online music theory exam are worth 75 marks in total. To pass, students will need to score 50 out of 75.

Here are the criteria:

50 – 59: Pass

60- 64: Merit

65 and above: Distinction

## Duration of the ABRSM Grade 4 Online Music Theory exam

The total duration of the exam is 120 minutes (2 hours).

## Section 1: Rhythm

Section 1 is a 10 marks section on rhythm. It is then divided into section 1.1 to 1.5.

### Section 1.1: Time Signature

Section 1.1 consists of 3 questions. Hence, this section is worth 3 marks. In each question, you’ll need to determine the time signature for a bar of music written.

### Section 1.2: Compound time vs simple time

Section 1.2 consists of 1 question. You are given 1 bar of melody in either simple or compound time, and you are required to rewrite it into the other time. This means if the piece of music is in simple time, then you’ll need to write it in compound time, and vice versa.

### Section 1.3: Note values and time signature

Section 1.3 consists of 2 questions. This section is worth 2 marks. The questions here test students on their knowledge of note values and time signature.

### Section 1.4: Grouping of notes

Section 1.4 consists of 1 question, and is worth 1 mark. Here, students are given 3 choices, and they are to select one where the notes are grouped correctly.

### Section 1.5: Rests

Section 1.5 consists of 3 questions, and is worth 3 marks. Here, students are asked to determine whether the rests are correct. There are two things to check for in this section: whether the time value of the rest is correct, and whether the rest is grouped correctly.

## Section 2: Pitch

Section 2 is a 10 marks section.

In the pitch section, students are expected to be able to read notes on the music stave in treble and bass clef, and compare pitches (which pitch is higher or lower).

There are 4 parts in section 2, 2.1 to 2.4.

### Section 2.1: Determine the name of each note

Section 2.1. consists of 4 questions and is worth 4 marks. In this section, students are asked to determine the correct name of each note (together with the accidentals).

### Section 2.2: Rewrite the same note at the same pitch with a different clef

Section 2.2 consists of 1 question and is worth 1 mark. In this question, students are required to rewrite these notes in the given clefs, keeping the pitch the same.

### Section 2.3: Pitch of 3 extracts

Section 2.3 consists of 2 true/false questions and is worth 2 marks. In this section, students are given 3 extracts, and they are asked whether they have the same pitch, or how many octave(s) higher or lower.

### Section 2.4 Enharmonic Equivalents

Section 2.4 consists of 4 questions and is worth 4 marks. In this section, students are given a pair of notes in each question, and asked whether this pair are enharmonic equivalent notes.

## Section 3: Keys and Scales

Section 3 is on keys and scales and is worth 15 marks. Section 3 is divided into 7 sections.

### Section 3.1 and 3.2: Key signature

In section 3.1 and 3.2, students are asked to select the correct key signature for a given key. Section 3.1 and section 3.2 are worth 1 mark each.

### Section 3.3: What key is the melody

This section is worth 3 marks, and consists of 3 questions.

In this section, students are given a short melody, and asked to determine the key of the melody.

### Section 3.4 Chromatic Scales

This sections consists of 2 questions, and is worth 2 marks.

In each question, students are given an ascending or descending chromatic scale, and asked whether it is correctly or incorrectly written.

### Section 3.5 Fill in the missing note

In section 3.5, students are given a scale with 2 missing notes. They need to indicate what are the missing notes. This section is worth 2 marks.

### Section 3.6: Ascending or Descending Scale

Section 3.6 has 2 questions and is worth 2 marks.

In each question, students are given 3 choices, and they have to select the one is the correctly written scale for a given key.

### Section 3.7: Questions on scales

Section 3.7 consists of 4 true/ false questions and is worth 4 marks in total. In each question, students are given a statement on scales, and they need to answer whether the statement is true or false.

## Section 4: Intervals

In grade 4, students are tested on the intervals between notes (in terms of numbers), and the type of intervals (e.g. major, minor, perfect).

### Section 4.1: Determine the interval

Section 4.1 consists of 6 questions and is worth 6 marks.

For each question, you’ll be given a pair of notes, and you’ll be asked the interval (type and number) between the notes.

### Section 4.2: Determine the interval type

Section 4.2 consists of 4 questions and is worth 4 marks.

For each question, you’ll be given a pair of notes, and you’ll be asked the type of interval between the notes (i.e. major, minor, perfect, diminished, augmented).

## Section 5: Tonic Triads

This section is worth 10 marks, and is subdivided into 3 sections, section 5.1 to 5.3.

### Section 5.1: Determine whether a given chord is the correct tonic triad

Section 5.1 consists of 4 questions. In each questions, a chord and a statement are given. Students are asked whether the statement is true for the given chord.

### Section 5.2: Chord I, IV or V

Section 5.2 consists of 3 questions, and is worth 3 marks. In each question, students are given a chord and its key. They are to determine whether the given chord is chord I, IV or V of that key.

### Section 5.3: Chord I, IV or V

Section 5.3 consists of 3 questions, and is worth 3 marks. Students whether the chords are chord I, IV or V of a given key.

## Section 6: Terms, Signs and Instruments

This section is worth 10 marks, and is subdivided into 4 sections, section 6.1 to 6.4.

### Section 6.1: Music Terms

A music term is given, and students are to select the correct meaning for the term. Section 6.1 consists of 3 questions and is worth 3 marks.

### Section 6.2: Music Terms

This section is worth 1 mark. A question on a music term is given, and students are to select the correct answer.

### Section 6.3 Ornaments

This section is worth 1 mark. A question on ornaments is given, and students are to select the correct answer.

### Section 6.4 Instruments

This section consists of 5 true/ false question, and is worth 5 marks. In each question, a statement is given. Students are to determine whether the statement is true or false.

## Section 7: Music in Context

This section is worth 10 marks.

Section 7.1 consists of 5 fill in the blanks question, and is worth 5 marks.

Section 7.2 consists of true/ false questions, and is worth 3 marks.

Section 7.3 consists of a question on pitch. Students are to compare a bar in the given melody with 3 extracts, and to determine whether they are at the same pitch, or how many octave(s) apart. This section is worth 1 mark. This is very similar to the question in section 2.3, pitch section.

Section 7.4 consists of a question on rhythm. Students are asked to compare a bar in the given melody with 3 extracts, and determine which extract has notes twice or half the value.

## Digital Exam

The music theory exam is an online exam. Apart from knowing the concept, being familiar with how to answer the exam questions is also essential.

ABRSM provides a sample digital exam paper for each of their online theory exam. And I highly recommend my students to try them at least once before the actual exam.

The link to the grade 4 online practice exam can be found here.