As an awarding body, the Royal Academy of Dance Examinations Board offers an internationally recognized portfolio of exams and assessments.

These are designed to motivate and encourage students of all ages and levels of ability, through a systematic measurement of progress and attainment. Last year, over 230,000 students entered RAD exams worldwide. We offer examination programs to suit all, whether students are new to ballet or already have dance experience.

Students can only be entered for exams by a qualified Royal Academy of Dance Registered Teacher. To qualify for RAD RT status, teachers must complete one of the RAD’s rigorous certification, BA or Master degree programs.

Our exams provide students with:
  • an achievable goal to work towards
  • recognition from the world’s largest ballet examination board
  • qualifications accredited by UK regulatory authorities
  • the impetus to achieve their personal best in a fun and nurturing environment

Graded Exams

  • incorporate Ballet, Free Movement and Character
  • include our innovative Pre-Primary in Dance and Primary in Dance syllabi
  • are suitable for candidates from the age of 5
  • include our Pre-School Dance Curriculum for candidates from the age of 2½

Vocational Graded Exams

  • build on the elements covered in the Graded syllabus
  • are intended for students who wish to pursue a career in dance
  • are suitable for candidates from the age of 11 years
  • include the prestigious Solo Seal Award – the highest Vocational Graded examination offered by the RAD, which focuses on solo performance
A real measure of achievement

These higher levels are accepted as a measure of achievement by the vocational schools attended by most young people aiming to enter the dance profession. They are also highly valued by universities and other HE institutions offering degree courses and programs in the performing arts.

Other awards

A well as the more formal exams we also offer Class and Solo Performance Awards:

  • Class Awards are available from Pre-Primary in Dance to Grade 8. Class Awards up to Grade 7 are conducted by the teacher and assessment is less detailed than for exams, allowing candidates to demonstrate their progress and to receive feedback. The Grade 8 Class Award is conducted and assessed by the examiner.
  • Solo Performance Awards are available at Grades 1–5. Candidates perform three solo dances; (one of which is freestyle and can be in any dance genre, not specifically ballet) giving them a chance to perform and express themselves whilst bench-marking their development.

All exams and awards are assessed externally by one of our panel of 200 examiners, appointed, trained and monitored by the RAD, and based in 25 countries around the world.


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Exams quick guide

The table below provides a brief overview of RAD exams, awards, content, assessment and venues.
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Prerequisites and age requirements

Information on exam prerequisites and age requirements for exams.
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What to wear

In our specifications, uniform is recommended for each grade, but where this is not possible, suitable alternatives may be worn. Candidates are not assessed based…
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UCAS points

Graded and vocational graded examinations in dance at RQF Level 3 are allocated points on the UCAS tariff. This means that candidates who have achieved…
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Recognition and accreditation

Graded and vocational graded examinations and solo performance awards are awarded as qualifications accredited on the frameworks outlined below. England, Wales and Northern Ireland The…
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Examination Guidelines

The RAD Examinations Board publishes policies and guidelines covering all aspects of its work.
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