The Royal Conservatory of Music and RCM Examinations

Founded in 1886, The Royal Conservatory of Music is the largest and oldest independent arts educator in Canada, serving more than 500,000 active participants each year. Based in Toronto, Canada, it offers extraordinary opportunities for learning and personal development through music and the arts in all Canadian provinces and increasingly in a number of international settings. The Royal Conservatory of Music is committed to developing human potential through leadership in music and arts education. Visit the RCM online:

The Certificate Program

The Certificate Program encompasses all levels from beginner to certification as an Associate of The Royal Conservatory of Music (ARCT). The curriculum spans eleven grades and the culminating ARCT diploma level.

Each year, more than 100,000 students across North America participate in the internationally recognized Certificate Program of RCM Examinations.

RCM Examinations


An examination is intended to be a positive and developmental experience.   Practical Examinations are conducted in a friendly and professional atmosphere on a one-on-one basis. 

Practical Examinations

Practical Examination candidates are tested on the performance of repertoire, studies and technique.  Ear training and sight reading requirements help develop and reinforce solid musicianship skills. 

Theory Examinations

Theory Examinations, designed to complement practical studies, begin at the Grade 5 practical level and are written in a formal classroom setting.

The Examiner's Evaluation

Each candidate taking a Practical Examination receives a mark and a written evaluation.  The Examiner's professional and objective assessment of both strengths and weaknesses is intended to encourage candidates and enhance their continued studies with their teacher.

Marked Theory Examination papers are returned to all candidates with their results. Teachers are expected to review marked papers with their students in order to ensure a complete learning process before proceeding to the next level.

Recognition of Accomplishments


To recognize achievement, certificates are awarded at every grade to all candidates who have successfully completed the requirements for practical and theory examinations.


The Associate of the Royal Conservatory of Music (ARCT) diplomas for Performers and Teachers are the highest academic standings awarded by The Royal Conservatory of Music. The ARCT Teacher's diploma is respected internationally as a teaching qualification.

Medals and Scholarships

All examination candidates are eligible to win Silver Medal awards from RCM Examinations, and scholarships sponsored by The Frederick Harris Music Co., Limited and other endowments. All awards are based on examination results.


In many school systems, achievement in RCM Examinations is accepted as credit toward secondary school graduation.  Achievement in the Certificate Program of RCM Examinations is also considered an important element in entrance requirements for professional music programs at many universities and colleges