I have the ABRSM Grade 8 Piano and Theory certificates from more than 10 years ago. Can I use this to fulfill the prerequisite to take the RCM ARCT Piano Performer exam, or do I have to first obtain the similar RCM Level 10 Piano comprehensive certificate, according to page 100 of the 2022 Piano syllabus before attempting the ARCT Performer exam?

The pre-requisite is also mentioned in the list of Examinations Required for the ARCT Performer Diploma.

  • 1
    Out of curiosity, why switch to RCM rather than go for an ABRSM diploma?
    – Aaron
    Commented Dec 28, 2023 at 23:15
  • @Aaron Because I'm now in Canada, and RCM is a lot more recognized here, and I want to eventually get their RCM Teacher certificate. I'm planning to contact them (after they come back from holidays), and when I got the answer, I'll post it here for future visitors. Commented Dec 28, 2023 at 23:16
  • I thought that boards diversified at that level - and teacher was a different syllabus from performer. You say you want to go on to the teacher but ask about performer. Why would you need both?
    – Tim
    Commented Dec 29, 2023 at 9:36
  • @Tim You're right that they have ARCT in Piano Pedagogy diploma that has their own 3-tier track (see syllabus here). It seems to be RCM Teacher certified RCM provides multiple options, see Rubric here. Both have their advantages. I think for the first step, since I have never been to an RCM exam, the ARCT Performer would be the low hanging fruit for me. Commented Dec 29, 2023 at 15:09
  • @Tim I can also take their Online Piano Teacher Courses to be RCM Certified Teacher, with fewer requirement of submitting successful student exams (only 2 instead of 10). But then I also want to brush up my own piano skills and the ARCT Performer seems to be a good goal for me in 2024 or 2025. Commented Dec 29, 2023 at 15:17

1 Answer 1


RCM allows for the transfer of theory credits from ABRSM, but not performance. Here's the core of my communication with RCM.

Thank you for your message. According to the Theory Equivalents Table on our Forms and Services page, ABRSM Grade 8 Theory is equivalent to Level 9 Harmony; if you wish to transfer that credit, please fill out the form found on our Forms and Services page.

Unfortunately we do not have Practical Exam exemptions; you will be required to take all practical examinations required for the ARCT Piano Performer Diploma. For more information on the requirements for this diploma, please visit our website here.

  • Thank you for contacting them. You beat me to it :-). Maybe I'll take ABRSM performance diploma instead, and the RCM Piano Pedagogy separately. But since I have to take ARCT Harmony & Counterpoint, ARCT History, and ARCT Analysis (good for review anyway), I may end up still taking ARCT Performer's. Commented Dec 29, 2023 at 17:47
  • But you haven't quite answered my question though, it's about the prerequisite prior to taking the ARCT Performer exam, which I want to take regardless. So the question is: can I take the ARCT practical exam right away, or do I still have to take the Level 10 practical exam first, which doesn't quite make sense to me. Commented Dec 29, 2023 at 17:48
  • There are no substitutes for the practical exam, so, yes, you would have to take it. "You will be required to take all practical examinations required for the ARCT Piano Performer Diploma."
    – Aaron
    Commented Dec 29, 2023 at 18:18
  • I will take the practical ARCT piano exam, however the question is whether I need to take the level 10 piano exam first, thus 2 practical exams instead of just the more advanced one. I have emailed them with a pointed question. Commented Dec 29, 2023 at 18:21
  • @GratefulDisciple Yes, you have to take the level 10 exam first. It's listed in the prerequisites for the ARCT exam: "Level 10 Comprehensive Certificate (in the same discipline as the ARCT Performer) with a minimum overall practical mark of 75% or a minimum of 70% in each section of the Level 10 practical examination"
    – Aaron
    Commented Dec 29, 2023 at 19:10

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