We offer an internationally recognised portfolio of exams designed to motivate and encourage students of all ages and abilities.


Exams are aimed at all levels, from beginners to those on the threshold of a career in dance, and from ages 2½ to adult. 

Our exams provide:

  • achievable goals

  • recognition from the world’s largest ballet examination board, and

  • qualifications accredited by UK regulatory authorities.


Candidates cannot enter themselves for an examination. Teachers must hold Registered Teacher Status of the Royal Academy of Dance and be a current Member.


Types of exams – quick guide

A guide to exams, awards, content, assessment and venues.

Type of award What? Assessed? Where?
Demonstration Classes
(Dance to Your Own Tune)
Free content, led by teacher No, the Examiner only observes AEC or RAV
Solo Performance Award (Grade 1-5) 3 solo dances, at least 2 from
exam syllabus
Yes, as per Specification criteria AEC or RAV
Class Awards (Grade 1-5) Class Award syllabus (a selection exercises and one dance), led by the teacher Yes, a broad indication of standard
rather than a detailed breakdown
Presentation Class (Grade 6 - 7) Selection of exercises from the syllabus,
led by the teacher
No, the Examiner only observes AEC or RAV
Presentation Class (Grade 8) Selection of exercises from the syllabus,
led by the Examiner
No, the Examiner only conducts
the class
Exams (Graded and Vocational) Candidates perform the exam syllabus Yes, as per Specification criteria AEC or RAV
Solo Seal Award Candidates perform three Variations for a
panel of judges and an audience
Yes, by a panel of judges, an RAD
Examiner and a dance professional
approved by the artistic director
RAV or theatre venue
AEC - Approved Examination Centre, normally the teacher’s own studio.
RAV - RAD Approved Venue, premises provided by the RAD.


For Syllabus updates and amendments please click on this link:




  • Dance to Your Own Tune (Demonstration Class) is the curriculum for children from 2½ to 5 years.

  • The Graded syllabus (Pre-Primary in Dance, Primary in Dance and Grade 1 – 8) provides a broad practical dance education and develops technical, musical and performance skills (age 5+).

  • Vocational Graded Examinations (Intermediate Foundation, Intermediate, Advanced Foundation, Advanced 1, Advanced 2) provide an in-depth study of ballet and prepare students for a career in dance (age 11+).

Note: Graded and Vocational Graded Examinations can be taken at the same time.


Examinations and Awards

Green – Graded Examinations, Blue – Vocational Graded Examinations. Click on the table for a larger pdf version.

*Intermediate Foundation and Intermediate exams can take place in an AEC (Teachers own studio), even though these are Vocational Graded levels.


Age Requirements

Advice on candidate levels and age requirements for RAD Exams, Class Awards, Solo Performance Awards and Presentation Classes.

It is up to a teacher to identify when a candidate is ready to take an exam. For demonstration classes, the following target ages apply:

Level Target age
Pre-school Dance Curriculum: Level 1 2½ - 3½
Pre-school Dance Curriculum: Level 2 3½ - 4½ or 5

To ensure safe dance practice, candidates must have reached the following minimum age by:

  • 1 January (for exam sessions taking place between January and August); or

  • 1 September (for exam sessions taking place between September and December), in the year the exam takes place:


Level Minimum age
Pre-Primary in Dance 5
Primary in Dance 6
Grades 1-5 7
Grades 6-8 11
Intermediate Foundation 11
Intermediate 12
Advanced Foundation 13
Advanced 1 14
Advanced 2 15
Solo Seal Award 15

Exam sessions which take place across the 1 September date will normally be determined as falling within the latter part of the year.

Particular arrangements apply in certain countries - contact your local office for clarification.

Minimum ages - how and why?


Minimum time for an examination visit

Requirements to host AEC tours in main city areas, outlying towns and neighbouring countries differ and the following should be noted:

Main City Areas: The minimum time for an examination visit to an individual studio/school is three hours (excluding breaks). Teachers who are either unable to provide the minimum number of hours or do not wish to pay the minimum fee level (as shown in the fees table) are required to join with other studios/schools or attend another centre.

Outlying Towns: A minimum of five hours examining time is required for the visit to take place. This applies to centres where travel time exceeds 1½ hours and where the examiner is required to stay overnight.

Other African Countries and Mauritius: A minimum of three days examining. Further conditions apply.



If you can’t find what you are looking for, please email us at info@rad.org.za