Changes for 2021

This page may be out of date

The Government announced on 6 January that exams won’t go ahead as normal in summer 2021, so some of this information may change. We’ll update this page as soon as further detail becomes available.

Read about 2021 exam changes

Following Ofqual’s announcement about changes to assessment in summer 2021, here are the changes you need to know about.

Please bear in mind that these changes apply to summer 2021 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 two 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 and a half 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.

Meeting the minimum duration

For the Composition 7271/C Brief 1 Chorale, students should ensure that they meet the two and a half minutes minimum duration requirement for their composition by setting the metronome marks for their chorales so that the recordings last for the minimum time required.  Examiners will understand why this is the case.

No other changes

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

The 2021 composition briefs are on e-AQA.

The minimum time penalty will apply as normal to the new minimum time requirement. The size of the reduction will be 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.

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.