Academic and Practical Examinations

Assessments provide goals, discipline, focus, self-awareness, and self-confidence.  

Royal Conservatory

Royal Conservatory provides a recognized national standard of musical success through an effectively sequenced course of study from beginner to advanced levels.  The Royal Conservatory inspires excellence through individual student assessments and allows students to celebrate accomplishment and track their progress with others across the country.  It also supports teachers with high-quality and innovative resources.  All students deserve the opportunity to celebrate their musical achievement nationally.

The Assessment Experience

The Royal Conservatory includes two different types of assessment: practical (performance) and theoretical. Both create an opportunity to recognize achievement and receive meaningful feedback. 

Practical (Performance) Assessments

  • A practical (performance) assessment is a comprehensive evaluation of a student's current abilities on their chosen instrument, including voice, or in speech arts and drama
  • The assessment is designed to be a warm and welcoming experience, one-on-one with a professional, program-certified adjudicator
  • The adjudicator's comments and marking breakdown are available online within four to six weeks of the assessment
  • Practical (performance) assessments are held twice a year, with all scheduling and location arrangements made by The Achievement Program

What Can a Student Expect in a Practical (Performance) Assessment?

Practical (performance) assessments evaluate the following areas of a student’s musical development:

  • Performance of three to five pieces of repertoire depending on level
  • Performance of one or two études that focus on an aspect of performance skill appropriate for the level
  • Performance of technical skills such as scales, chords, and arpeggios, which progress in difficulty from level to level in a manner consistent with the technical demands of the repertoire. An assessment includes a representative sampling from the published list of requirements.
  • An evaluation of musicianship skills, appropriate for the level, through aural identification of intervals, chord qualities, cadences, and ear-to-hand playbacks of rhythms and melodies. A demonstration of rhythmic reading and sight playing ability further supports music literacy.

Academic Assessments

  • Students complete a written assessment of their theoretical and/or historical knowledge in a classroom setting.
  • Theory assessments are held three times a year, with all scheduling and location arrangements made by the Royal Conservatory.

Certificates of Achievement

The Comprehensive Achievement Certificate is awarded to students who have completed both the practical (performance) and academic  assessments for a specific level, beginning in Level 5. No application is necessary for the Comprehensive Achievement Certificate.

Certificates of Excellence

These certificates are awarded to students in each assessment center and in each state who earn the highest marks for their practical (performance) assessment level. No application is necessary.


The Royal Conservatory offers opportunities to earn a Level 10 Certificate (equivalent to a High School Diploma), Associate Degree in Piano Performance (equivalent to a Junior College Degree), Associate Degree in Piano Pedagogy (equivalent to a Junior College Degree), and also a Licentiate Diploma in Piano Performance (equivalent to a Bachelor Degree).  Students must pass level 10 with 75% All Around (no area less than 70%) and complete all academic co-requisites to apply for the Associate Degree in Piano Performance.


Certificate of Merit

The Music Teachers’ Association of California (MTAC) sponsors a music study program entitled Certificate of Merit (CM). 

  • To provide a systematic and comprehensive plan to develop performance skill, technique, ear training, sight reading/singing and understanding of music theory.
  • From the evaluation, students receive a written assessment.
  • Upon successful completion of all segments of the evaluation, students receive an official MTAC CM Certificate.
  • Senior medallions will be awarded to eligible high school seniors level 7 and higher.
  • Students who demonstrate exceptional skill at his/her evaluation may be selected to perform at annual MTAC State Convention Recitals.