A timeline to prepare for the Music Aptitude Test & Scholarships for 2020 State Secondary School Admissions


I have detailed the timeline that I am using with my current Year 5 students that are thinking about music scholarship entry in 2020.

A large number of music scholarship candidates forget to tell their teacher well in advance that they are applying for the scholarship. It’s well worth informing your teacher during Year 5 if you are hoping to enter a UK state secondary school on the scholarship programme so that you can get lots of practice on the Music Aptitude Test and ensure you have performed lots in public to combat the nerves on audition day.

Here is the rough timeline I use for my Year 5 students. If you are currently in Year 5, do enlist your music teacher’s help to ensure you are ready for the Autumn scholarship tests.

September – December 2018: Sign-up for performance opportunities (1 a term) at local festivals, masterclasses, group ensembles, choirs etc. Performances do not need to be competitive but the important thing is to feel at ease with making a short announcement in public and then performing to an audience. Performing under pressure does not always go to plan the first time and for many musicians requires a few warm-up performances to feel comfortable with public performance.

January 2019: Start working on the Music Aptitude Tests to gain familiarity and focus on the difficult sections. We focus on this at the start of the school year which tends to be a less busy time of the year with school exams and extra-curricular activities.

March – April 2019: Select two pieces to perform at the audition. Even though the audition will be half a year away, there is the long Summer break inbetween where many of our students will only have 1 or 2 top-up lessons. We want to be sure that you know your pieces fluently by audition day and have also had the chance to perform them at a festival such as the piano competition at Kingsdale Foundation School on June 9th 2019.

July – August 2019: I give my students questions to think about over the Summer break for the interview section including research on their chosen pieces and composers. Many choose to take part in group workshops that I hold regularly in East Dulwich.

September 2019: By the time my students enter Year 6, they are comfortable with the Music Aptitude Test and also know that their chosen pieces are ready to perform and have been aired in public. We usually manage one more performance opportunity in public to check they are good to go. Some students choose to spend the Autumn lessons memorising their pieces for performance.

Click on the links below to read our articles to help you succeed with the Music Aptitude Test & Scholarship:
Should I Prepare for the Music Aptitude Test?
How To Succeed at the Music Aptitude Test
Download Training Test Materials


Buy Music Aptitude Tests for SW Herts Consortium Dame Alice Owens Schools

If you have any questions about the MAT, have a look at our Facebook support group

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