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Grade 6 Theory - Exam Report with Discussion of Materials Used

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#16 thara96


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Posted 11 January 2020 - 09:53

Congratulations! That is a great result. Seriously. 

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#17 Crock


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Posted 11 January 2020 - 11:49

The certificates and mark forms from last November's theory exams arrived a couple of days ago.  I figured I would give some closure to this thread by posting the results, a mixture of joy and frustration.  "Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep," etc.


I had submitted myself for Grade 6 Theory, and my overachieving adult student, a truly remarkable Chinese lady, for Grade 5 Theory.


First the joy: we both received Distinctions.


To put things into perspective, my adult student is currently working on her Grade 3 Piano.  I had initially suggested that she take Grade 3 Theory at the same time as I took my Grade 6, as she had groused about potentially being the only adult in the room (as I was when I took my Grade 5).  She thought it was a great idea to take a theory exam last November, but she didn't want to do Grade 3.


She wanted to do Grade 5.


Well, I thought that was very ambitious, but given my past experience with her I thought she could pull it off.  She worked very, very hard, studying materials I gave her and working practice problems.  She really impressed me with her hard work and dedication.  And she impressed me on the day of the exam - she was the only Grade 5 student to take the whole two hours allotted to her, checking and re-checking her work as much as possible.  English is not her first language, and she was worried about having trouble reading and understanding the test paper, but she took my advice and worked slowly and methodically, and went back to find and fix errors.


After the exam, she and I had a conversation about how we thought we did.  She told me that she thought she would get 97%, which I thought was very reasonable given her performance on practice tests (high 90s and a few 100s).  I told her that I thought I would get a 93%, since I knew I had made some illegal doublings on the figured bass question and had developed some doubts on my harmonization.


She scored 100% on her Grade 5.  I am so incredibly proud of her.


Now for the frustration: I received a 92%.  I'm not going to gripe too much about a Distinction, but one aspect of it rankles a little bit.


  • Harmonization - 13/15 -   No surprise here.  I was initially happy with my harmonization, but the more I thought about it the less happy I became.  I think I was a little too eager to shoe in a full circle of fifths when I probably should have stopped after I-V-ii-vi.
  • Figured Bass - 12/15 - Again no surprise.  I thought this was my weakest question.  I knew I doubled some major thirds, and the soprano part I came up with wasn't all that great, so I was expecting to lose points.
  • Composition - 17/20 - What?  WHAT???  How did I lose three points on this?  This was the question I was most confident about!  It was a theme by Mozart.  My composition had good shape and direction, a decent harmonic framework, performed the required modulation, AND was completely idiomatic (high Classical).  How did I lose three points on this?  Grrr!
  • String quartet score analysis - 25/25 - No surprise there.  Score analysis is my strong suit.
  • Orchestral score analysis - 25/25 - Ditto.  I actually enjoy doing score analysis.

So while I am generally happy with my score (who wouldn't be happy with a Distinction?), I'm rather frustrated that I lost three points on the composition question.  Maybe I made some notational mistake that I didn't catch.  Or maybe the grader just didn't like what I composed.  I suppose 17/20 is still a good score but still...


Okay, rant over.  Onward and upward!

An excellent result!  Have just PM'ed you...

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#18 mel2



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Posted 11 January 2020 - 15:18

I wouldn't rant over 17/20 on one section considering the overall good score.


Well done to you and your student.  :clap:

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