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  • Chris Anderson

Revising For Music Exams

Many schools do mock exams in January…I mean whoo needs to rest at Christmas right?! Preparing for your music exams involves a combination of theoretical knowledge, listening skills, and practical understanding of musical concepts. Here in preparation for this (and indeed the real exams) is a list of things to do to help you prepare.


1. Understand the Exam Structure:

  • Familiarise yourself with the exam format, including the number of papers, types of questions, and time allocation.

2. Know the Key Concepts:

  • Understand fundamental musical concepts such as rhythm, melody, harmony, dynamics, tempo, and structure.

3. Study Musical Elements:

  • Be familiar with the elements of music, including pitch, duration, dynamics, tempo, texture, structure, and timbre.

4. Learn Notation:

  • Practice reading and interpreting musical notation. This includes understanding key signatures, time signatures, and note values.

5. Listen Actively:

  • Listen to a variety of musical styles and genres. Pay attention to the features of each style, and try to identify elements like instruments, dynamics, and form.

6. Revise Set Works:

  • Focus on the set works specified in your syllabus. Analyse the pieces, understand their historical context, and be able to discuss their musical features.

7. Practice Past Papers:

  • Work through past exam papers to familiarise yourself with the types of questions asked. This will also help you manage your time during the exam.

8. Create Revision Notes:

  • Summarise key information in concise notes. Use visual aids like diagrams or mind maps to help reinforce your understanding.

9. Test Yourself:

  • Quiz yourself on key terms, musical concepts, and set works. This can help reinforce your memory and identify areas that need further review.

10. Seek Help if Needed:

  • If there are concepts you find challenging, don't hesitate to ask your teacher or classmates for clarification.

11. Use Online Resources:

  • Explore online resources, educational websites, and videos that provide additional explanations and examples.

12. Organise Your Revision:

  • Create a revision schedule that covers all topics and gives more time to areas where you need extra help.

13. Stay Healthy and Rested:

  • Ensure you're taking care of your physical and mental well-being. A well-rested mind retains information more effectively.

14. Practice Performing:

  • If applicable, practice any performance elements of the exam. This might include rehearsing pieces on your chosen instrument or preparing for any practical assessments.


Remember, consistency is key when it comes to revision. Break down your study sessions into manageable chunks, and try to cover a variety of topics each day. Good luck with your GCSE music exams!

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