Royal Conservatory Exams in Canada and Carnegie Hall Royal Conservatory's Achievement Program in the US, technical requirements are part of nearly every exam. And when there are a lot of students to hear in a regular examining day, I ask for the next technical requirement pretty quickly after they've finished the previous scale or chord. Therefore, you need to be going through the right thought process when getting ready to play your technique, lest your months-long preparation go for naught on examination day.
Below you'll find a quick rundown of the three main steps you need to think through when recalling each scale, chord, or arpeggio before you play them.
If you haven't done your practicing or haven't learned your technique properly, this list won't help you. Being able to recall your technique properly only works if you've actually done the work and spent the time going over each pattern and key day after day, week after week, month after month. Quite simply put, if you haven't taken the time to learn everything propery, this list will do you absolutely no good.
So if you've done the work and know all your technique, here are three steps to help you better recall it on exam day:
1. Listen to what the examiner asks for. If they ask for A flat major, don't play A major. If they ask for C minor, don't play C major. Listen carefully.
2. Think before you play. Some specifics include: What is the starting note? Which finger goes on each starting note? Where are the thumb crossings? Are there any raised or lowed accidentals to remember? What articulation should I use? What kind of tone should I play with?
3. Play. This is the easy part if you've gone through the first two steps.
Teachers: if you have any more suggestions on how students can better recall technique on exam day, leave them in the comments.