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Who can apply for examinations?

Only registered ISTD teachers with current membership can enter candidates for examinations. You will find all the information you need to apply for examinations on QUEST by clicking here.

What are the requirements for holding a private examination session?

An examination can be arranged at a teacher’s studio provided there are guaranteed entry fees totalling a minimum of £732 per day. Half days must be consecutive to a full day of the same genre, and the minimum fee for the half-day is £632. For example, 1.5 days is £1364 and 2 days is £1,464.

Please be aware that fees tend to increase on a yearly basis. Advance notice will be given, and the updated fees published on the ISTD website.



A rebate of 10% will be applied outside of peak periods on entries totalling over £906 providing the timetable and fees are submitted through Quest a minimum of four weeks prior to your exam date. Peak and non-peak period exam dates are on the website.

For exams of two or more days, the rebate can only be taken on each day that totals over £906.



A rebate of 10% will be applied on entries totalling over £848 providing the timetable and fees are submitted through Quest a minimum of two weeks prior to your exam date.

For exams of two or more days, the rebate can only be taken on each day that totals over £848.



Please note that we are unable to accept requests for triple exam sessions during our peak periods. Triple sessions are those that would require a multi-genre examiner. For example, Ballet and Modern, Ballet and Tap or National and Tap. Please note that Modern Theatre and Tap are not triple sessions.

Triple sessions are mainly offered to assist new teachers, who have less candidates of a single genre. New teachers may apply for three triple sessions, before they are required to apply for separate genre sessions.

What if I do not have enough candidates to meet the minimum fee?

Teachers wishing to enter a small number of candidates may apply for a remote examination session, as these have no minimum fees. Please apply on Quest and state on the Application Page in the Teachers Notes box that you are requesting a remote session. Please submit timetables and payment at least 4 weeks prior to the examination date.

Alternatively, teachers may collaborate and jointly enter candidates, basing exams at one or two venues. However, if two venues are used, these should be close enough together for an examiner to travel to without exceeding the daily hours. This should be organised between both parties and should not involve the administration team at HQ. All payments must be made to the Primary Organiser of the examination session to then be paid to   the ISTD. Please note that if teachers decide to jointly enter candidates under one examination session all teachers listed on the session will be able to see all candidate details and results on Quest. For graded and vocational exams, unless otherwise stated in the Teacher Notes box on the Quest Application tab, all results will be sent to the Primary Organiser. Professional level candidates may elect to receive their certificates when completing the Professional Application Form. 

Each term London & Regional Exam Centres across the UK are also available for teachers to enter candidates. Please see further information on our London & Regional Centres here

When can I hold my exams?

Exams can be held throughout the year, except for the period between Christmas and New Year, and Good Friday through to Easter Sunday.

When do I need to apply for a private examination session?

Applications for traditional and remote exams must be submitted with preferred and alternative dates at least 12 weeks before the date of the first exam. This will help us to allocate an examiner. Please note that we only accept applications for examinations up to 5 months in advance.

How do I book an examination session?

Applications for both traditional and remote examination sessions are made through QUEST.

Can Advanced 1 and Advanced 2 candidates be examined in a private session?

For traditional examination sessions, 60% of the exam day should be made up of vocational candidates (this includes Intermediate Foundation and Intermediate levels). There are no restrictions for remote examinations, however, please provide alternative examination dates for us to work with.

When are the busy periods?

You will find the peak period dates here on the UK Examinations page of the website. During these periods, there is a high demand for exams, and we may not always be able to allocate an examiner on your preferred date. Teachers should carefully consider the dates of exams and, where possible, avoid peak periods.

What happens after I submit my application form?

You will receive an acknowledgement from QUEST that the application has been approved. Once we have allocated an examiner to your session you will receive an email from Quest to confirm your examiner has been booked.  If you have not heard from us regarding your examination after 28 days, please contact the UK Examinations department.

Should circumstances change regarding your examination please inform the office as soon as possible.

Should I contact my examiner?

When you receive confirmation that an examiner has been booked, if you are holding a traditional examination session, please contact your examiner to agree the timetable start time, assist with any travel, parking, accommodation information and to ask if a meal/snack is required (for traditional examinations only). You will find your examiner’s contact details on the emailed confirmation.

Are there any cancellation fees?

Charges apply for cancellations 6 weeks prior to the examination date of £100 per day.

How do I register candidates for exams?

New students will require a PIN to be generated for them. These can be generated through the request pin button on the candidate tab of your session.

The names of candidates must be their full legal name. This is a legal requirement with which the ISTD must comply. If a student has previously been registered for ISTD exams with another teacher, it is important that we have this information to avoid unnecessary duplication (students will find their PIN on any certificate they have received following an examination).

When should I register candidates for PIN numbers?

Pins should be applied for once you have applied for your session. You can then begin to add your candidates on the candidates tab in preparation for your timetable.

When do I submit my timetable and pay my fees?

Timetables and fees must be submitted no later than 4 weeks prior to your exam date for Theatre exams and 2 weeks prior for Dancesport. For sessions of 2 or more days, all timetables must be submitted at the same time.

How do I put a timetable together?

Candidates should be added to Quest through the candidates tab on your session. They will then appear on the timetable page for you to add to the timetable.

Timings of the day

Information about the timings of each exam for all dance genres is included in the examination syllabus outlines found below:

Theatre Dance Syllabus Outlines      Dancesport Syllabus Outlines

The day should not exceed 6.5 hours excluding breaks. QUEST will calculate the breaks that should be entered based on your examining time. As a general rule, a break should be included approximately every two hours.

Can I make any amendments to my timetable?

Candidates can be deleted at any point prior to submitting your timetable and you will not be charged for their fee. Once the timetable has been submitted, amendments can be made up to five working days prior to the exam by emailing the exam department.

Once your amendment has been made you will need to log onto your session to make any additional payments due on the Fees tab. Failure to do so will delay your results and certificates being issued. Once a timetable has been submitted, candidates may not be withdrawn from a timetable.

Can I get a refund if my candidate is injured/ill?

Teachers may apply for a 50% refund if your candidate is injured/ill provided we receive a completed refund within 4 weeks of an exam date, accompanied by medical evidence of the illness or injury.

Please notify us immediately of any timetable changes by emailing

Can my candidate(s) fees be transferred across to another session if they are injured/ill?

100% of a candidate’s fees can be transferred across to another session (traditional or remote) if they are unable to take their examination due to illness / injury. Please note that a medical note or evidence must be provided. We must also be notified before the exams take place - please email

Please note should your exam fees fall below the minimum daily fee for UK exams after the ill/injured candidates are withdrawn the session must be held remotely.

Your examiner

Unfortunately, there may be times when an examiner needs to be replaced at the last minute. In these circumstances we will make every effort to appoint a replacement examiner. However, if we are unable to do so, we will reschedule your exam session or we will assist you to hold the session remotely.

Please check with your examiner on the day of the exam that you both have the same copies of the timetable.

If we are unable to find a replacement examiner to examine your candidates on the original date booked, the ISTD is not liable to pay for venue hire or any other exam related costs if the session is cancelled or for additional costs from filming the session.

How do I enter DDE candidates?

When applying for DDE exams please ensure you have listed as many of your DDE candidates as possible on the Candidates tab. Listing these at the point of the application will give you time to resolve any registration issues that might occur. If you are having difficulties adding a candidate, please contact the Customer Services department for registration queries.

Can I cancel my examination session?

Yes, however, if you cancel an exam day within six weeks of your exam date then you will be liable for a £100 cancellation fee for each day cancelled. Please be aware that examiners make travel and accommodation arrangements several months in advance of your exam day. Cancelling your exam session at any point after they have been appointed to you therefore causes considerable inconvenience. We would kindly ask that you avoid cancellations wherever possible.

What facilities/exams conditions should I provide for the exam day?

  • A firm writing table (suggested 5ft x 2ft)
  • A comfortable chair of suitable height with a cushion and one extra chair
  • Adequate lighting, heating and ventilation: teachers are responsible for the health and safety of their exam candidates, examiner and pianist/music operator during examinations. The exam room must be kept at a suitable temperature, with adequate ventilation as required and access to drinking water at all times.  The optimal temperature for a dance studio is recommended to be 65-75° Fahrenheit (18-24° Celsius). Please note that if an examiner feels that the safety of those involved in the session are at risk due to the venue conditions, they may stop the exam session.
  • Candidates should be able to dance the syllabus full out, comfortably in the examination space.
  • Adequate lighting and heating
  • Drinking or mineral water
  • Soap and towel in the washroom
  • iPod connection, CD player and CDs (if required). CDs should be of good quality with adequate volume
  • Mirrors should be covered
  • Please ensure that any windows/doors which allow outside observation of the candidates’ exam room are covered
  • Formal exam conditions must be observed at all times – please ensure no one enters the room whilst the exams are taking place (only the examiner, candidates & pianist / music operator should be present).

Please note:

  • The changing room for candidates must be separate from the examination room and not a screened-off partition.
  • In all breaks, including lunch, the examiner should be left alone and uninterrupted.
  • For class assessments every child must have their number pinned to their uniform.

Do I need a pianist for Ballet exams?

Imperial Ballet

CD's may be used for class and graded examinations only. A pianist must be used for all vocational examinations. Music for the graded 3 - 6 is available from the ISTD shop, by clicking here (  The existing music for all other levels remains unchanged.

Cecchetti Ballet

CD’s may be used for Cecchetti Ballet class examinations and graded exams. Teachers may select their own music for class examinations, apart from the music for the improvisation section. The improvisation music will be provided by the examiner on a CD or iPod. For graded exams the music can be obtained from the ISTD shop. A pianist will still be required for vocational examinations and performance awards. Music for the dance may be played on audio equipment and this should be operated by the pianist.

Who can operate the CD in an exam session?

Teachers are reminded that under no circumstances can the music operator be the teacher, a candidate, or a parent of a candidate. The music operator should conduct themselves professionally. They should not face the candidates or communicate with them in any way.

What is a ULN?

Please find information explaining ULNs on the UK Examinations page of the website here. ULN’s can be entered on the pin application page when applying for a pin number or you can contact the office to update a student’s record with this information.

What is a Reasonable Adjustment?

For full information and how to apply please download the ‘Application for Reasonable Adjustments' document in the Quality Assurance section of the ISTD website.

When do I apply for a Reasonable Adjustment?

Applications must be completed each time the candidate is submitted for an examination and be returned with any supporting evidence directly to the Customer Services and Quality Assurance Department at least 3 weeks before timetables are submitted. You can download the application form from the Applications for Reasonable Adjustments page of our website, or for further advice please contact 020 7377 1577 or email

Should I contact the ISTD ARA Admin to request an application form for reasonable adjustment?

The new Application for Reasonable Adjustments Form for Exams can be downloaded on our website.

The form is under the Examinations ➞ Quality Assurance tab.

Who do I contact if I want to get some guidance about my candidate’s specific needs before making an ARA application?

All queries in relation to access arrangements and reasonable adjustments should be sent to the ISTD ARA Administrator by email on

How will I know if my ARA has been received and approved?

You will receive an email acknowledgement from the ARA Administrator within three working days of emailing the completed form. You will be informed of the outcome/approval of the decision by email as per the time frames included above.

How does ISTD classify adjustments as Minor, Moderate or Substantial adjustments as part of the ARA process?

As each case is different, and the application may request more than one adjustment, the below examples are provided as a guidance only:


  • Application does not request any changes to the assessment process or the syllabus content but requires the examiner to be aware of the candidate’s specific need or disability, so that the examination process can be conducted with due care and sensitivity
  • Application to request for a candidate to be examined alone in a session (with no other adjustments)
  • Candidate is in their early pregnancy
  • Requesting to sit for Advance 1 or 2 Analysis examination due to physical limitation
  • Perform pointe-work on demi-pointe or on-pointe whilst supported at the barre

Moderate – Requesting small adjustments to be made to the examination structure
and/or process such as:

  • Additional time and breaks
  • Teacher or another person being present in the room during the session to help the candidate’s ability to remain calm and focused 
  • Requesting more than one small adjustment to be made to the examination process.


Substantial – These require multiple adaptations to the exam structure as well as/or the syllabus content.

Can my candidate be exempt from any part of the examination due to a disability (ARA)?

No. There is no duty on awarding bodies to change the assessment criteria or assessment requirements. However, we can make adaptation to the assessment process and syllabus content to alleviate a barrier caused by disability to let the candidate demonstrate what they know and can do. The candidate will then be marked against the assessment criteria same as everybody else. If the candidate’s disability is so severe it makes it unlikely for them to meet the compulsory components of an examination, the teacher  may recommend Certificate of Participation in the application for reasonable adjustment.

Can I request Certificate of Participation (COP) for my candidate (ARA)?

No, a Certificate of Participation is a possible outcome of an Application for Reasonable Adjustments however, in the application there is an opportunity for you to recommend this as a possible outcome of the application process.

Can I recommend a Certificate of Participation (COP) for my candidate after the examination has taken place (ARA)?

No, a Certificate of Participation (COP) is a possible outcome of the Application for Reasonable Adjustments process and therefore cannot be recommended after the examination has taken place.

I applied on behalf of my candidate for reasonable adjustment and recommended Certificate of Participation. The application is approved by the ISTD. Will my candidate be marked as per their peers?

No, the candidate will participate in the assessment as per their peers but will not be marked or graded. The candidate will be issued a Certificate of Participation document which confirms that they participated in the assessment.

My application for reasonable adjustment is rejected because I sent it too late. My candidate does not want to take the exam at later date. Is my candidate allowed to take the exam without the reasonable adjustment?

Yes, if the candidate/parent/guardian is happy to take the exam without the reasonable adjustment, they can sit the exam same as everybody else.

My candidate has suffered an injury after booking the exam timetable. Should I apply for reasonable adjustment even though I have missed the application timeframes?

No, there is no time to process the request for reasonable adjustment once the timetable is booked. You should contact the ARA Administrator to discuss your candidate’s specific circumstances; you may be eligible to request Special Consideration which does not make any changes to the examination process/ syllabus content but allows small adjustment to be made to the marking depending on the level of adverse effect, i.e. a temporary injury/trauma/ temporary illness/bereavement is likely to have on the candidate’s ability to perform. You should refer to the Special Considerations Policy for further guidance.

ISTD asked me to provide a doctor’s note to confirm that my candidate is fit to sit for the exam. This wasn’t needed for my other candidates who also requested reasonable adjustment. What is the reason for this?

Each application for reasonable adjustment is reviewed on case-by-case basis. Dance examinations can be physically demanding and we have a duty to protect the wellbeing of everyone who participates in our examinations. In some cases, we may require assurance that there are no health risks for the candidate to sit for the exam if they have a medical condition or recovering from an old injury/surgery.

Where can I find out more about Teaching Qualifications and Professional Qualifications?

For more information about the ISTD's teaching qualifications and professional qualifications, please see the Courses and Training section of our website.

I have questions about report sheets

Visit our Report Sheet FAQs page for more detailed information about ISTD Report Sheets. 

Any further queries?

If you have any further queries please contact  the UK Examinations Department at

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