What is a Good RCM Exam Score?

What is a Good RCM Exam Score?

Students are assigned a numerical score out of 100 after completing a Royal Conservatory of Music (RCM) exam. RCM assigns titles of achievement for specific ranges and marking criteria descriptions to provide more context for the numerical score.

RCM’s Marking Criteria

The following marking criteria can be found on RCM’s website(1):

Eligibility for RCM Gold Medals and Private Scholarships

Another indicator of a good exam score is to look at minimum requirements for earning RCM Gold Medals and private scholarships.

In order to qualify for a Regional Gold Medal, students must score at least an 80 on the practical exam in addition to having the highest mark for the level and discipline.

Performer’s ARCT and Teacher’s ARCT have more stringent criteria and the candidate would need a score of at least 85 in order to be eligible for the National Gold Medal.

Private scholarships vary by requirements. Most scholarships require the student to have the highest score in the region for their discipline without minimum score requirements. A few require a minimum score of 75, 80, or 85 in order to be eligible for the scholarship.

National Average for RCM Scores By Level and Discipline

A different way to determine whether an RCM exam score is good is by comparing it to the national average in Canada. Here are tables showing the national averages for RCM practical exams and theory exams in 2019(2):

The majority of 2019 RCM practical exam averages are between the mid-70s to the low 80s.

The majority of 2019 RCM theory exam averages fall within the 70s and the low 80s.

The RCM exam mark is a reflection of how the student performed on a certain day. The exam score shows that the student has put in the hard work of consistent practice and study. It can indicate whether the student has the potential to perform well at music competitions. As a motivational tool, RCM exam scores are great for goal-setting as students aim to move between RCM marking categories such as from Honors to First Class Honors. The third-party examiner can give feedback by suggesting areas for improvement and provide encouragement by noting the student’s strengths.

The most important thing is to encourage music students to develop their musical skills and their love of music regardless of whether they received a score of 65 or 95.


(1) The Royal Conservatory. (n.d.). TIPS FOR PARENTS How to Interpret Examination Results. https://files.rcmusic.com//sites/default/files/files/Teacher_Portal/Tips_for_Parents-How_to_Interpret_Examination_Results.pdf

(2) The Royal Conservatory. (n.d.). Examination National Averages - Canada. https://www.rcmusic.com/learning/examinations/examination-national-averages-canada

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