ABRSM & RAD exams- Do they matter?



I was just wondering whether universities actually care about ABRSM and RAD grades you get? I am currently doing piano and I strongly dislike it but my mum says I should stick it out till I finish grade 8, is it worth it?

Thanks in advance


Hi @0cd1942da80338d6eeac

It’s a good question and a common dilemma. Though piano is difficult and requires commitment over an extended period (the things that US universities like to see), the truth is that it will not help you stand out as much as other activities will.

This is because thousands of students play the piano, and it is very typical amongst high achievers. Playing piano, having strong grades, taking school and sporting leadership positions and being in cultural groups are all great and it is healthy, especially at a young age, to be well-rounded. Moreover, universities like to see well-rounded applicants. However, there are thousands of students that will have the same credentials. You need to stand out!

If piano requires a large time commitment, you will be far better off spending that time doing things you enjoy; exploring and subsequently demonstrating an ongoing commitment to a cause you are passionate about. For example, if you are passionate about robotics, you could organize a holiday program for students from your city to learn about robotics and their potential uses. Perhaps you could incorporate a fundraising or charity aspect, or get sponsorship from government organizations, charities or your school. Finally, you could make an exec team for the event and include younger students that can continue to run the event once you graduate from school.

You can see how that is more interesting for an admissions officer than achieving Grade 8 Piano.

Best of luck with your extracurriculars!