Changes for 2022

Because of the ongoing impacts of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, there are some changes to how A-level Music will be assessed in 2022.

These changes are for 2022 only.

Performance duration reduced

The following changes relate to 3.2 Performance.

  • Students now need to perform one or more pieces of music with a combined, minimum duration of at least three and a half minutes.
  • A complete, unedited recording of the live performance must be submitted with the score or lead sheet for that performance (if available).

Composition duration reduced

The following changes relate to 3.3 Composition.

  • Students 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.
  • Examiners will mark the piece out of 25.

We’ll be releasing the composition briefs on Centre Services on 15 September and these will include both the new timing requirement, and that students now need to complete either one brief or one free composition.

The minimum time penalty will apply as normal to the new minimum time requirement. The size of the reduction is proportionate to the severity of the timing infringement, starting with 5% of the total available raw mark for work.

The assessment criteria in the specification remain the same, as do the component weightings.

There are no changes to the exam process of components 2 and 3.

Covid safe recording

Components 2 and 3

In situations where students have to work from home or the playing of any instruments or singing is restricted in the school or college for an extended period of time, we recommend that you allow students to record performances in another location where they have access to equipment of suitable sound quality.

Teachers will need to be able to confidently authenticate the recordings as the student’s own work, either through regular progress reviews or being virtually present at the time of recording.

All accompanying paperwork as detailed in the specification should be provided along with the audio recordings. Teachers will need to provide details of how the recording was authenticated on the candidate record form.

Advance information on exams will be available New

To help students focus their exam preparation, there will be advance information on what exams will cover.

This advance information will be available by 7 February 2022, or sooner if the pandemic worsens.

In the meantime, we've published individual summaries and guidance to help you know what to expect.

Help and support

Please contact your NEA adviser for further support on conducting the NEA.

If you don’t know who your NEA adviser is, your exams officer will have these details, or you can contact us.