DANCE EXAMS: A students guide

Preparation is the key to success”

The weeks leading up to a dance exam can sometimes feel stressful or worrying, but fear not, at Yorkshire Rose Dance Academy, we want to show you what a magical and exciting time it can be, so you can concentrate on what you do!

There is no such thing as over-preparing. The easier you can make the day go for yourself the better. The key to a stress-free exam day is preparation. So here is a guide for dancers and parents alike to help you through it all.

Uniform ready

Making sure your uniform is clean and free of holes/ladders is imperative.Whilst candidates are not being marked on their appearance, it makes a dancer feel more confident and is a part of the discipline. Make sure your leotard and tights are fresh and clean and as new as can be! If you need to purchase anything new, you can head to our online shop - Home page | Yorkshire Rose Academy Of Dance (

Don’t think you won’t need more than one pair of tights! Take 3 or 4 if needs be! Ladders can occur at any point so a quick change, if this happens, will put you right back in the game!

Bring all your dance shoes with you! If they are fairly new, get them worn in at home to avoid any discomfort.

Hair and Makeup

Hair should be up in a neat bun and off your face. Hairspray is your friend! Keep short hair neat, and clean, using grips if needed to keep longer bits away from your eyes. The examiners want to see your face and how much you love to dance! They also like everyone to be uniformed so everyone has a fair chance. Take a hairbrush, hairspray, extra pins, grips and hair-nets with you (if it was a windy walk in you will need to straighten it up again).

Your face should be clean and free of makeup (or very natural at most). Remember it is all about the dancing not what colour your lipstick is!

Leave the jewellery at home. It can hinder your performance and the examiners will want you to be as distraction-free as you can be.


The night before your exam, don’t dance. You have done all your practice, you have packed your bag and you are ready to go! Now is the time to watch a movie, eat some good healthy food, relax with your family and friends and get a good nights sleep!

TOP TIP - replay your exercises over and over in your head to help you drift off to sleep, kinda like counting sheep!

Keep warm and limber

Make sure you have a warm zip-up (so not to ruin your hair) hoody with you whilst you await your turn. Keeping those muscles warm and limbering before hand will help you give your greatest performance while also minimising injury.

Take some time to stretch before your exam. Not only will it warm you up but it will also help keep you relaxed and calm. Do some practice moves and some deep breathing to distract you and keep nerves to a minimum.

Remember your etiquette

Be on time! Be EARLY! Give yourself the time to prepare and relax before hand. Examiners do not take lateness lightly and it is unlikely you would be allowed to enter the exam room late. You would not be allowed into a school exam if you were late, dance examiners have the same rule.

Always be polite. Please and thank you goes a long way. Waiting your turn and speaking when you are spoken to is just good manners. Stand professionally, no folded arms or hands on your hips, and do not lean! Look attentive between exercises and ready for your next one while they write their notes.


Show your examiner the reason you love to dance and how much you want to achieve your goals. Feel confident and hold your head high, shoulders back, and a gentle smile. Show them how much you want to be there! The examiners are not looking to fail you. They want you to pass! They will take notes when you are performing (that’s normal), so please don’t see that as a negative. Try not to focus on the examiner. Concentrate on yourself, the music and the exercise they have asked you to do. Sometimes the exam will be taken in a group or in pairs, but sometimes exams are taken solo depending on the amount of people who are ready to take their exam. Either way your teacher will have prepared you. The practise you have put in will shine through. The examiners know when someone has practised as much as possible and when they haven’t. If you enjoy what you’re doing and have the will to succeed, this will show on the day. Your exam will be marked on a report card as either: Pass - Satisfactory Merit - Good High Merit - Very Good Distinction - Excellent High Distinction - Outstanding Or: Pass Pass Plus Commended Highly Commended Honours When you receive your report card, it will give you an individual breakdown of different aspects of exam and your dancing, for example - Technique _/10 Performance _/10 Line and Style _/10 They will outline the parts of your exam that went well and they will also advise on what you can improve on. Remember we need both of these parts of the coin to succeed in life! Don’t be disheartened As dancers, we always set high expectations of ourselves. Read all parts of the report and take notes. Make sure you praise yourself for the parts of the exam you did well! The improvements are your next step to concentrate on for your next grade. The more you have to improve on, the better dancer you will become. Constructive criticism helps us learn. If you’re unsure of what your results certificate means, you can ask your teacher. Make sure overall that you have enjoyed yourself! It is all part of the process of reaching your dreams in life and it will be these days you look back on with great fondness. We are always here to guide you through your exams and any support you need, just ask.