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Music special needs

Trinity College London is committed to creating an inclusive environment where candidates with special needs are able to demonstrate their skills and feel welcomed. We aim to make our exams accessible to all. We treat each learner individually when considering how we can achieve this aim, recognising that requirements vary. Candidates can be assured that we do not compromise on the standard of marking or allow the quality of exams to be affected in any way. 

Candidates who wish to make the examiner aware of their condition or who require modified tests in a preferred format must complete a Special needs provision form and include it with their entry along with appropriate medical evidence. Notes handed to the examiner on the day of the exam are not acceptable.

Please see short descriptions below of some of the options available for candidates with special needs. For requirements not listed please contact music-csn@trinitycollege.com to discuss your needs. We require a minimum of 28 days notice prior to the start of the exam date. Requests for amended exam materials such as Braille require at least six weeks notice.


Typed up report form
After the exam, candidates with dyslexia may request a typed up copy of their report form if they wish. To request this, please email music-csn@trinitycollege.com with a scan of the report form.

Enlarged Print sight reading/Playback test
The standard sight reading test will be enlarged to approximately double the standard size of notation. Candidates may send in a sample of their preferred size if they have specific requirements.

Modified and Enlarged Print written paper
The standard theory paper will be enlarged and provided in Modified Stave Notation.

Modified/enlarged test on coloured paper
Any of the modified and/or enlarged tests offered above can be offered on a coloured paper of the candidate’s choice. 

Aural Awareness test (for hearing impaired candidates)
This test will be provided in place of the standard Aural test for hearing impaired candidates. The examiner will tap the rhythm of a short melody twice on a table top, allowing the candidate to both watch and feel the vibrations by placing his/her hand on the table. The candidate will then clap or tap back the rhythm.

Then the examiner will show the candidate a printed copy of the same melody, which the candidate will study for 30 seconds and then play back from memory on his⁄ her instrument. The final test is to identify whether the melody was in a major or minor key.

Braille sight reading/Playback test
Braille tests are to be prepared before the examination. Candidates are given an allocated time within which to prepare the test as listed in the ‘extra allowances’ table below, and must not be given any assistance during this time. They will then be invited to play/sing it to the examiner as the first item of the exam.

Memory test to replace sight reading (for blind or visually impaired candidates)
This is an alternative test for blind or visually impaired candidates who are not Braille readers. The examiner will play a short extract on the piano (or Drum Kit if for a Drum Kit exam – N.B. this can only be delivered by a specialist examiner) and must repeat it back on their instrument after the third playing.

Extra time allowances
Requests may be made for extra time both for the overall exam duration and for supporting tests. The extra time given will be approximately 25% of the exam or test duration added on. These are different depending on the instrument and grade so please refer to the relevant syllabus for details. The table below lists details of extra time allowances for specific modified tests:



Time allowance

Modified and/or enlarged sight reading/playback test

  • 1 1/2 minutes at Initial to Grade 3
  • 2 minutes at Grades 4–6
  • 2 1/2 minutes at Grades 7–8

Braille test

(to be given before the start of the exam)

  • Initial- Grade 2: 5 minutes
  • Grades 3-4: 10 minutes
  • Grades 5-6: 15 minutes
  • Grades 7-8: 20 minutes

Examiner briefed on condition
In many cases it is important for the examiner to be briefed on the condition so that they can be sensitive in the way they deliver the exam. However, please be aware that assessment standards remain the same for all candidates.



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