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Online Theory Exams on 10th Nov - network bandwidth for the exam


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#1 wendym

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Posted 03 November 2020 - 14:57

I have a number of grade 5 theory students about to do their online exam in a week, hubby included. When we ran the test software last night, it wouldn't run saying we did not have enough network bandwidth.  Hubby did a test of our broadband speed, which was well above the minimum requirement for the theory exam, and yet no joy, and of course, we couldn't proceed any further with the testing of the software.

 

Slightly concerned that he may not be able to do the actual exam on the 10th - we've done everything we can to try free up network space such as going around switching off everything that uses the wifi, and sitting in the same room as the router, and still no joy.  We've tested it on his new laptop, as well as on my iMac, still no luck, it's just not happy with our wifi.

 

As a complete technophobe, what do I do?  Obviously I have a number of teenage students sitting the same exam, but mostly from their own homes, which hopefully have a better connection than ours, but if they have the same connection problem (and I've picked up from zoom that none of them have fantastic connections) what do I do to help them?  Have emailed ABRSM to ask for assistance but of course have had no reply yet and I suspect they're a little on the busy side.  

 

Any help greatly appreciated...


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#2 JWpiano

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Posted 03 November 2020 - 17:06

On a side note to your query, I have another that I hope someone can help me with?

 

I have done the online theory test sample paper, and before you do the paper you have to do a scan of your room plus photo ID and then after that you login using your username and password. My question is, how are you meant to login when you cant write anything down on your paper - it has to be blank. My username and password have been set by ABRSM so unable to change them and they are quite long to remember. Does anyone else know what I can do on the day. Do I just try to memorise it or actually write it on my blank bit of paper and show that to the screen when I do my room scan?.


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#3 BadStrad

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Posted 03 November 2020 - 18:09

@Wendy - you could try a hard-wire connection (instead of wifi) assuming the computer you want to use has an Ethernet port in it.

 

Something like this:-  https://www.amazon.c...ts_id=430464031  should do the job.

 

About half way down this webpage is a picture of an Ethernet cable and the shape of the port it fits into.  https://www.highspee...-to-my-computer

 

You then either have to plug the computer into the router/modem, or if the computer is in another room to the router you'd need to use two powerline adapters and plug into those (one for the router, one for the computer).  That is a slightly more technical option, but if your computer is in the same room as the router then you could just use a cable.

 

Ultimately though any internet connection is only as good as it's weakest link.  You could have all the bandwidth you can get but if there is a link between you and the site you want to connect to which has a "slow" connection then the overall connection will be "slow." 

 

I would try the cable first - check the length you need.


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#4 wendym

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Posted 03 November 2020 - 20:31

Thank you BadStrad - very helpful - and I will get my hands on the cable presto and test it out.  Another bonus is that I've just found out one of my students doing the theory exam is the daughter of a BT technician who has very helpfully offered to come around and check our system for us - which is just brilliant.  I think the odds of trying to ring up our broadband provider to come and have a look (and fix anything!) BEFORE the theory exam are about as good Boris waving his little magic wand and instantly swishing away any trace of Covid19.  

 

JWPiano I'm sure that having a printout of the ABRSM page with login details, and showing both sides of that page to the screen when you show your blank page, and explaining that you need the login details printed out, should be fine.  


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#5 wendym

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Posted 08 November 2020 - 18:54

Just a little update on the ABRSM theory nightmare - went down the route of ordering cables, wifi boosters and more (thank you everyone for your helpful suggestions) with no success at all - still couldn't get the software to run as it still kept telling us we had insufficient bandwidth.  Had a broadband technician around this weekend and it turns out our nine-year old router (yes, this is the awful truth!) is to blame - it's old and useless - plus the package we were on was very basic and so we've managed to upgrade to an Amazing Fibre Optic package and our digital world has been transformed!  And the best part of it all is that this amazing new package costs us £7 per month LESS than what we were originally paying.  Happy us, and other half who is doing the theory exam on Tuesday, has managed to run through a test paper and all is set for Tuesday.  What a relief!  


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#6 BadStrad

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Posted 08 November 2020 - 19:00

Thank you for letting us know how you got on.  Glad it has all worked out well.


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#7 Norway

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Posted 12 November 2020 - 09:42

One of my pupils did grade 5 and apparently they asked about piccolos??????? Have they changed the syllabus? :blink:


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#8 Hildegard

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Posted 12 November 2020 - 10:14

One of my pupils did grade 5 and apparently they asked about piccolos??????? Have they changed the syllabus? :blink:

This has come up before: the ABRSM say that knowledge of the piccolo (and double bassoon) is expected by Grade 5:

https://forums.abrsm...showtopic=39723

(See post #12, from Debbie Jones of the board)


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#9 Norway

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Posted 12 November 2020 - 10:52

Thanks Hildegard. Apparently they asked whether it was a transposing instrument, although my pupil was a little confused in her account of what was in the paper. The piccolo is a bit niche. Oh well, I'm up for Mongolian Horse Fiddles if they are! :lol:


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#10 Hildegard

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Posted 12 November 2020 - 11:00

Apparently they asked whether it was a transposing instrument

 

Very stupid question as some authorities (such as the Encyclopedia Brittanica *) say it is not, while others claim that it is. Do they not have anyone checking the questions any more?

 

* The piccolo, contrabassoon, and other instruments whose parts are written an octave above or below the actual pitch (as c? above c) are not considered transposing instruments. (Encyclopedia Brittanica).


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#11 Norway

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Posted 12 November 2020 - 11:22

I'm only going on what my student (who was a bit confused) said was in it. Oh dear - I've always told my pupils that those instruments are transposing because what you see is not what you get. Oh well - ho hum! :rolleyes:


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#12 Hildegard

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Posted 12 November 2020 - 12:13

 Oh dear - I've always told my pupils that those instruments are transposing because what you see is not what you get. Oh well - ho hum! :rolleyes:

 

Some people would say that the piccolo is a transposing instrument, others would say not. The point is that the board ought to have someone (a chief examiner for theory exams perhaps) who should check that ambiguous questions are avoided.
 


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#13 thara96

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Posted 15 November 2020 - 11:10

Good luck all


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#14 Andante57

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Posted 01 February 2021 - 14:10

Sorry, I’m a bit late to the party but I did the theory exam in November and if I had’t had a very techie husband there’s no way I could have coped. After I got the result my teacher who put me in for the exam got an email from ABRSM saying I hadn’t pressed the button before I did a camera sweep of the room but they wouldn’t disqualify me this time. 
I’m not surprised I did this wrong - I was so nervous I had no idea what I was doing. 
I agree about the piccolo/transposing question. I put it was but I don’t know what the exam board view is on this matter.


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#15 Aquarelle

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Posted 10 February 2021 - 14:19

Sounds like another mess. Also sounds as if it's grossly unfair. No point in my pupils even trying.


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