Changes to 2021 exams for GCSE Music

Wednesday 9 Sep 2020

We’ve been working hard to make the relevant changes to our qualifications following Ofqual’s decisions on summer 2021 exams, so here are the changes you need to know about.

GCSE Music (8271)

There are no planned changes to the Component 1 written exam.

8271/P – Performance

  • Students will now need to submit either one solo performance with a duration of at least one and a half minutes or one ensemble performance with a duration of at least two minutes.
  • A complete, unedited recording of the live performance must be submitted and, where available, the score or lead sheet for that performance.
  • Penalties for not achieving the minimum time requirement will be adjusted to take into account the new minimum time requirement.
  • Teachers will mark the one piece out of 36.

8271/C – Composition

  • Students will now need to compose one piece of music with a duration of at least two minutes.
  • Compositions may be in response to a set brief or be freely composed.
  • Submissions must include a complete recording of the composition with a score, lead sheet or written account produced by the student.
  • Students don’t have to perform their own composition.
  • The recording may be computer generated.
  • Penalties for not achieving the minimum time requirement will be adjusted to take into account the new minimum time requirement.
  • Teachers will mark the one piece out of 36.

We’ll be releasing the composition briefs on e-AQA on 15 September. These will include both the new timing requirement and a reminder that students now need to complete either one brief or one free composition.

We’ll be publishing further guidance about the summer 2021 exams over the coming months.