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RAD Examinations

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The RAD is one of the world’s most influential dance education organisations. RAD exams set standards in classical ballet worldwide and they are a global leader in dance education and Continuing Professional Development for dance.

A rich history

Founded in 1920 to set standards for dance teaching within the UK, today RAD have a presence in 83 countries, with 36 offices and over 14,000 members worldwide. RAD count more than 1,000 students in their teacher training programmes and more than a quarter of a million students are being examined on their syllabi. They support their membership through the knowledge, and expertise of the highly qualified staff and through conferences, workshops, training courses and summer schools.

Excellence in Education

RAD Faculty of Education is dedicated to meet the needs of their current and future dance teachers by providing dance teacher education programmes and qualifications.

The RAD's patron is Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

Each year around 230,000 candidates from all over the world take RAD dance exams.

RAD offer a wide range of exams and assessments to motivate and reward students of all ages and abilities. RAD focus is on creativity and musicality, with their graded system providing opportunities to progress and achieve.
All candidates who successfully pass an examination or award receive a certificate of achievement and a breakdown of their result. Some grades and awards also offer medals.

How does it work?

Starting with Dance to Your Own Tune, students as young as two, move through Pre-Primary and Primary levels before moving on to Graded and Vocational Graded levels.

  • Graded syllabus: Grade 1 to Grade 8 incorporates ballet, free movement, and character, and is suitable for candidates from seven years (Grades 1–5) and eleven years (Grades 6–8).
  • Vocational Graded Syllabus: This develops the technique, music and performance skills of the older ballet student to an advanced level, preparing them for a dance or dance-related career.

Graded and Vocational Graded exams lead to recognised achievement at a high level in dance.

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 programmes 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 3. These are conducted by the teacher and assessment is less detailed than for exams, allowing candidates to demonstrate their progress and to receive feedback.
  • Solo Performance Awards are available at Grades 1–3. 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 benchmarking 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.

Non-assessed classes

Demonstration Classes are an optional part of the Dance to Your Own Tune curriculum, and Presentation Classes are available from Grade 4 to Grade 8. Neither are assessed but all candidates receive a certificate of participation.