Classical Guitar Exams

These officially accredited and internationally recognised exams offer a formal recognition of the specific talents of classical guitar players. Classical guitar exams are written and developed by RGT@LCM but are organised and administered by LCM Exams.

Exam Levels

Exams range from Step 1 (for beginners) up to Grade 8 (for advanced players). There is also a range of diploma examinations for performers and teachers.
Download an Exam Repertoire List to see the requirements of each exam.

Exam Accreditation

All LCM graded exams are regulated by Ofqual and have been placed on the Qualifications and Credit Framework. UCAS points towards university entrance are awarded from Grade 6 onwards.

What Happens During A Grade Exam?

The examiner will begin by asking you to play a selection of scales, arpeggios and chords. The examiner will then ask you to play through your chosen pieces, before asking you a few spoken questions to test your knowledge of the instrument and the music performed.

Next is a sight reading test. The exam concludes with the examiner testing your 'ear for music' by giving you a selection of aural assessments.

Exam Handbooks

RGT@LCM publishes a course handbook for each grade that covers all the sections of the exam including: all the set pieces; all scales, arpeggios and chords; sight reading; ear tests; and spoken tests. In addition, there are useful performance tips for all the pieces as well as essential advice on preparing for the exam.

This series of handbooks establishes a structured and comprehensive method of studying the classical guitar. They are available from many good music/book stores or online at the LCM online shop.

Syllabus Philosophy

This is a fully integrated syllabus - whereby each section of each examination directly relates to, and reinforces, all other sections of the examination.

This approach can particularly be seen in the Technical Work section where all scales, arpeggios and chords that are required, at early grades, are taken from the keys of the pieces required in the Performance section. At higher grades this range is extended to encourage a broader range of study, but, even here, most fingerboard knowledge requirements are designed to reinforce and reflect the content of the set pieces.

In addition, Melodic Key Studies are included to ensure that candidates relate their learning of scales to practical music - so aiming to avoid the scenario of scales being learnt 'just for the sake of an examination', without any notion of their practical application, and consequently being forgotten almost instantly after the examination.

The integrated structure of this syllabus makes the learning of scales and other technical requirements an explicitly worthwhile musical exercise, with a readily identifiable practical result. The important technical and educational benefits of scale practice are then gained in a positive and rewarding way.

This syllabus reflects the fact that 'solo' guitar playing is not the only musical aspiration of many classical guitar players. The ability to play melodic lines in a wide range of ‘ensemble’ settings is increasingly relevant in the current musical world. Consequently, throughout all grades of this syllabus, there are opportunities to develop abilities in this area. In this respect, this syllabus also encourages exposure to musical material from the wider (non-guitar) classical-music repertoire in a bid to widen guitar candidates’ musical horizons and interests.

In the selection of pieces, the aim has been to choose a range of pieces for each grade that should enable the candidate at that level, with sufficient prior study, to achieve a really musical result. Care has been taken to avoid selecting inappropriate pieces that, whilst 'technically' playable at a certain grade of playing, present a level of difficulty such that the candidate is unlikely to be able to develop other (non-technical) aspects of the music. This in no sense implies that the standard of musical performance expected is lower than previous, or other, syllabuses. Rather it stresses that it is the overall quality of musical (rather than just technical) performance and interpretation that is considered foremost. The syllabus is organised in such a way that technical demands are developed in a carefully structured, cumulative way.

The production of a full range of accompanying Examination Handbooks (which cover ALL sections of the examinations) guarantees that all the required music is readily available in a reliable edition, and also ensures that all the requirements of each examination are comprehensively and clearly explained.



General Enquiries: 020 8231 2751 -
Membership Enquiries: 020 8231 2055 -

RGT@LCM, University of West London, St Mary's Road, London W5 5RF


Honorary Patrons

Sir Paul McCartney, David Gilmour, Hank Marvin, Ronnie Wood, Suzi Quatro, Carlos Bonell, Neil Murray, Gordon Giltrap, John Etheridge, John Illsley, Glenn Tilbrook, Dave Kelly

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