So are you also suggesting that my grade 8 piano is of more worth than that of my son, because I took mine in the term I did my o levels whereas he did it in a term when he wasn't taking any school exams? That's nonsense. He's a far better pianist than I am. I'd like to get away from the obsession with ages and times and terms, and teach children according to their ability. Some would be ahead in everything, some would be more advanced in one subject than another. Very few music teachers would suggest that a child was a certain school year and should therefore be taking a certain grade on their instrument. So why should school exams be different? Lumping children together by their birthdays and then expecting them all to take the same time to learn is clearly a bad system. Just because we've always done is like that doesn't mean we couldn't change to something more sensible Interestingly, instrumental exams have on the whole avoided dumbing down. Teachers don't want to use a board that might be perceived as easier or less prestigious.