Medal Tests

Medal tests provide young dancers with a popular way to measure and demonstrate their dancing prowess as they progress in proficiency. They will receive a certificate for each level that they pass, along with a badge for the Introductory Award and medals for the five grades. On being awarded their first medal they will receive a plaque in which to house and display their medal collection as they build it up, attesting to their achievements.

Aside from boosting the dancers’ own morale and self-esteem, the purpose and aim of Medal Test Assessments are:

  • To help teachers provide structured and progressive learning for pupils
  • To encourage young people to maintain and develop their interest in Scottish dance
  • To improve their standard of dance
The Introductory Award is suitable for young children in their first year of dancing. Although there are no formal lower and upper age limits for candidates taking these tests, Grades 1 - 5 are aimed at dancers aged 7 to 16.

To obtain background information and forms you can write to the RSCDS Office. Please get in touch well before you plan to hold a Medals Test to allow sufficient time to meet the 12-week deadline for submission of the initial (provisional) application, MT-03.  

Find out more about the Medals Tests Syllabus and access information about the associated documents below.

Hints and tips for organisers and teachers

Expand the section below for some helpful hints and tips!

    • Give each set of dancers time to familiarise themselves with their surroundings and the arrangements in the room
    • Allow time for warm-up and the calming of nerves; e.g. dance a well known dance prior to the assessor arriving
    • Ensure that the dancers have the required knowledge of the dances and are aware of the assessment procedures
    • Encourage the dancers to relax and do their best
    • Ensure that the assessor can easily identify each of the dancers e.g. by numbers or by names
    • Allow the assessor time between each dance to mark the sheets
    • Lay out the mark sheets in order of marking
    • Check that the arrangements for music are satisfactory prior to the start of assessment
    • Ensure that the assessor is informed of any condition that may adversely affect a candidate’s performance prior to the start of the assessment
    Associated fees
    Category Price
    Introductory £10.00
    Grade One £14.00
    Grade Two £16.00
    Grade Three £18.00
    Grade Four £20.00
    Grade Five £22.00

    Please note: Medal Tests must be booked no later than 12 weeks before the proposed date, and all fees must be paid at the time of submission of the Final Application form (MT-06), no later than four weeks before the date of the tests. Payment of all local expenses associated with the tests is the responsibility of the organising centre; the Society pays the assessor’s fee and travel expenses, provided there is a minimum of eight candidates. A test session cannot take place unless there is a minimum of eight candidates.

    Medal Test grades

    Dancers should not attempt Medals Tests until they have had sufficient experience and practice to maintain the sequence of dance throughout the assessment, which will last at least 40 minutes and may run for more than an hour, depending on the number of candidates to be tested.

    The syllabus is progressive, each grade not only assuming knowledge of the skills assessed in lower grades but also testing additional skills. A short list of different set dances is offered at each level, from which the candidates are required to perform a set number that meet prescribed criteria. In grades Introductory through Grade Three, all the dances are in quick time. If the dances selected do not display all the required formations, the candidates may be asked to demonstrate these separately.

    In addition to their performance of steps and formations, candidates are assessed on their rhythm, phrasing, use of hands, deportment, teamwork and sociability within the dance.

    Candidates perform two set dances, demonstrating their knowledge of skip change, slip step and basic formations, good rhythm and phrasing, as well as enjoyment of dancing.

    Additional skills required include stepping up and down, accurate dancing, knowledge of foot positions and of additional basic formations; and candidates perform three set dances.

    The pas de basque is introduced along with several more challenging basic formations, including allemande, ladies’ chain and reels of three, and these are assessed through the performance of three set dances, to include at least one jig and one reel.

    In this grade the travelling pas de basque is also used, in formations including the poussette and combinations of setting and turning, again assessed in the performance of three set dances, including at least one jig and one reel. 

    Additional formations at Grade 4 include the three-couple allemande, more complex reels of three, reels of four, petronella and double triangles.  This grade also introduces strathspey travelling and setting steps. Candidates are required to perform a jig, a reel and a strathspey.

    New formations at Grade 5 include corner pass and turn, set and link for three couples, the two couple knot, set and rotate, and set to corners and partner. Candidates are required to perform a jig, a reel and a strathspey.

    Forms and documents

    Please expand each section for the relevant forms and supporting information.

    • New Syllabus 2022 has been updated. It now includes the dances and diagrams. Buy the full book by clicking here.

    This document covers:

    • The aim of Medal Tests
    • Who can take them and when
    • How to organise them, including paperwork; venues, timetable and people to involve; provision of music
    • The assessors and assessment criteria
    • Payment of fees and provisions for cancellation
    • Test preparation and conditions
    • The rewards for success 
    • Full details of the syllabus at all six levels

    This provides guidance on:

    • Necessary advance preparation, particularly equipment and personnel checks
    • What organisers must provide on the test day, including completed paperwork, venue, facilities for assessors and candidates, music (recorded or live)
    • Provisions for dancers with disabilities or impairments (please see applications forms)
    • Format of assessment, including timings, arrangement of participants and test requirements
    • Criteria for selecting non-candidate dancers to complete set numbers
    • Attendant personnel and measures to ensure confidentiality and security

    Read this document first! It’s a detailed guide to what to do and when, and what the RSCDS office will do in response. 


    Submit this at least 12 weeks before the test, to provide provisional information.

    Submit these forms, together with the appropriate fees, at least four weeks before the test, giving final, irrevocable details of the test (place, date and time; organisers; grades, numbers and chosen dances for each) on MT - 06 and of the candidates (name, age and number [if used]; grade for which entered, with dances; whether he or she has already received a plaque to store medals (final column); and details of any disability or impairment [reverse of form]) on MT-08. 

    Following the clear instructions in the Guidance document MT-07 (paragraph 1), medal test organisers are required to complete a copy of this Assessment sheet for each candidate taking part in the assessment. These sheets will have been sent to you by the RSCDS office after receipt of final paperwork and fees (along with spares, which should be available on the test day). The completed sheets should be handed to the assessors just before the tests. 

    Teachers and candidates may find it useful to have a careful look at the Assessment form in advance. It gives you a helpful insight into what the assessors are looking for (and looking at) during the assessment and how they will award marks.

    Examples of disability / impairment / disadvantage include deafness, limb impairment, dyslexia, temporary injury; also English as your second language.

    The organiser of a Medal Test must:

    • Ensure that this information is entered on the list of candidates MT-08 
    • Notify the assessors on arrival, in strict confidence, if any of the candidates is suffering from any disability or impairment at the time of the Medal Test assessment

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