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RAD major exams


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I took the old elementary (the new intermediate) exam a very long time ago and didn't make it.


Time has passed, as well as the luxury of time for multiple classes die to work committments.


However, I would like to take it again if I can as I think its a pity to have taken ballet for so long and to not attempt it again. The thing is, my previous teacher (who has since stopped teaching) told me that I may not be able to pass, and I'm wondering if i should just not waste my time or try and end up disappointed. She meant well, as she was one of my best teachers and always encouraged me even though I have poor facilities such as poor turnout etc etc.


Is it true that some people can just never make it? :)

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Top Posters In This Topic

  • blatherskite


  • Hamorah


  • lampwick


  • dancing_dentist


haha.. At the moment, I am between teachers since my current one is retiring. Finding a teacher (a good one too) is the first step now!


All the best for it, Eun Hee! Hope you do well! :)

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Blatherskite, the old elementary exam had a totally different way of marking it. If you failed in one section - say pointe - you failed the whole exam even if the rest of it was up to standard. Nowadays the marking sysytem is different. Forty marks is pass and you have a chance of accummulating that even if you fail in one section. I put in a candidate once who got 3 in one section - don't remember what it was in. In the rest of the marking categories the marks were 6,7 and even 8, so the final pass mark was actually 67 which is a decent mark and would have earnt a commended I think in the old marking system. I think they realised that it was unfair and changed it. A friend of mine had a student who failed her Elementary - the next year she took both Elementary again (which she passed with Highly Commended) and also her full Intermediate (which she passed with Commended). Nowadays it goes like this


Barre - 10 points maximum

Ports de Bras/Centre Practise/Pirouettes - 10 max

Adage - 10 max

Allegro - 10 max - This includes Batterie, Grand allegro and the free enchainement as well

Pointe - 10 max

Dance - 20 max (10 technique/10 musicality and presentation)

Musicality throughout - 20 max (Timing and rhythm/interpretation and response to music)

Presentation and dance quality etc throughout - 10 max


From Advanced 1 onwards (full intermediate) you have to pass things individually, but it's still with much more leeway than the old marking system.


Get yourself a good RAD school and try again - I'm sure you'll pass this time. :yes:

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Really! oh, I didn't know that! No wonder all those who failed in my year passed when they took it again subsequently.


Thanks for that encouraging piece of news Hamorah!


The only thing now is finding a good RAD school in my area, my current teacher is retiring, and the new places I'm looking at are really expensive comparitively! :grinning:

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I *barely* passed the old elementary exam as a teen, and one of the girls I took with failed. She was an incredibly strong dancer, and I have no clue how she did not pass.


The next year she re-took and got highly commended.


I think those exams used to be much pickier. We used to study for two years for each "major" exam.


I was told I may not pass either because of poor turnout, but still ended up passing. And heck, in my adulthood, I was able to make huge improvements in my turnout. I'll never be 180 degrees, but as a dancer (now in my 30s), I feel like I'm FINALLY understanding how to *actively rotate* to gain stability in my movements and to show some of the aesthetics of turnout. I think maturity and true understanding of technique may help some of us out to improve in adulthood , even as the physical abilities start to diminish a bit...

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A belated congratulations Lampwick!! Hope you've progressed even further since then..


Turnout is a real problem for me, I think if I took jazz it wouldnt be much of a problem :shrug:


But what you're saying does make sense, when I do go back to doing intermediate syllabus, I hope I'd be able to feel the difference! Am currently doing advanced 1 for practice and that is quite a challenge.

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Hello blatherskite,

go ahead for the exam! RAD is definitely reducing their "difficulties" in many ways. The varieties of set exercises are reduced, the marking systems are revised. I believe it's easier to pass RAD exam nowadays than in the old days. I guess RAD lets more people to dance ballet, and not only those with natural ballet figures. I have lots of flaws in my figure and technique, but I still made it through Advanced 2. I wouldn't have made it that far with Vaganova or Beijing syllabus. Their syllabi's goal is to select the best. Those with problems will eventually fail on the way. RAD is more "humane", I think.


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aaaw... it's nothing, blatherskite... :wub:

Ask Lampwick how to do a triple pirouette en pointe, though! :hyper:

I can't even do a perfectly clean double. :shrug:


Go for the Inter exam. But first find out your old mistakes and make sure you get rid of them.



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dancing dentist---I can't turn in demi pointe shoes, if it makes you feel better. I think my teacher was honestly surprised when she saw I could do nice doubles in pointe shoes. My turns in slippers are actually not so good... I need to remember to hold everything just as strongly.


I turn rather slowly in pointe shoes, and I think the technique works because there's no friction. When I give a little more "ooomph"...forget it. I'm all over the place. I have to work on the pirouettes, actually. And I still lose turnout in en dedans turns. They're not so good. :grinning:

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  • 2 months later...



I am feeling disheartened. I managed to find a RAD teacher who is not too expensive and is near my place. i've been going to her for the past few months with the hope of taking the inter exam. She asked to see my old results slip, when i took the inter exam back in 2002. The total was a dismal 26, with a lot of '2/10's. Her reaction was "wow! so bad?" before asking why my teacher at that time allowed me to go for the exam. Anyway, I am hoping to retake the exam, and being an adult student (20s) compared to her other students in their teens, I am not sure if she will not allow me to take the exam, or rather allow me to take it because I am not that young.


I'd like to think that I've improved over the years, but this teacher seems to be more critical, and her pointers are useful but I wonder with the amount of corrections i am getting, whether i'll be technically able to pass it this time (if i get the chance to take it). She says i have postural problems (i slouch with tense big muscles at my shoulders) and she thinks my ribs are uneven sticking out which leads to one side of my body tending to stick out. :sweating: She says these will put me at a disadvantage, and i wonder if she says this to 1) dissuade me from taking the exam 2) prepare me mentally for failure.


she still has not made known her decision, and the signals are rather conflicting. one minute she talks about all these problems, and whether for example, by some miracle i'll be able to 'brush the floor with my feet' by the exam or alternatively asks if i can attend the extra coaching classes after she makes her decision. I don't know if showing her my results slip has made her think twice about sending me in also.


its depressing... :o

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In my experience, teachers correct you when they see there is something to correct and a mind and a body that can take on those corrections. So I wouldn't be too downhearted about lots of specific corrections! Otherwise, how will you improve enough to do the exam?

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Not being able to see your dancing, but as a school teacher who enters students for the IB exams, this is my read on the situation.


Quite possibly your teacher is unsure because at the moment you are going through a period of big changes in technique & improvement. You're working on your posture & alignment- these can be hard to fix, but once they are fixed, WOW, suddenly other aspects of your technique will improve dramatically.


This may make it hard for your teacher to judge your readiness, because maybe now you're not ready, but if everything that you've been working on comes together, you will be in a position to do the exam. For the RAD you have to put in the application some months in advance, hence the difficulty in assessing whether a student will be ready in time.


How often are the exams held in Singapore? Where I am in Australia (Canberra), they are only held once a year (July/Aug), but you can travel to Sydney or Melbourne to do them in May/June or September/October if you miss the local exam session and don't want to wait a year. Sitting the exam in a different session is often done here, even though it will require many hours of travelling.


So, hang in there! Keep working hard, and don't worry too much about your teacher's decision. Have a plan B (do the exam later if necessary), and remember to enjoy the dancing, because that is what is most important, not the exams!


love wembley

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thank you very much Wembley and Redbookish.


I am still 'hanging' so to speak and awaiting her decision. She gave out some forms last week to some girls and said that she is still thinking hard about more. Just that in the previous months she has asked which days i can make it for extra lessons etc which gave me some hope. Now there's no word at all. But she said this week is the final week of assessment for her to decide so to speak. The deadline is the end of the month if i'm not wrong, to hand in the application forms. The exams will be held in before the week long school holidays in Singapore which happens mid sept. So it could mean exams in late august or early sept.


i just wish i had an answer - Yes or No. being a mature student, it would help ease my mind which is going wild! i also realised (my classmate, who is also an adult and has already been confirmed for exams agrees with me on this) that she's been a bit less nicer to me after looking at my exam results. i suspect her confidence (if any) has decreased after looking at it. but well, its been done and shown. just have to hope for the best and take things in stride yes.


its been tough looking for a RAD teacher who teaches majors though!

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