Music Entrance Test

When in the year is the Entrance Test held?

The Department of Music at UCC holds its Music Entrance Test on various days in the Spring, normally in April, but potentially across the period late March through to early May (the actual dates vary from year to year because of the date of the Easter period). Applicants are sent the list of alternative dates and asked to make a choice: both morning and afternoon times are available.

Please note, the 2020 entrance tests will be held on the following dates:

Saturday 4th, Friday 17th and Saturday 18th April 

What is the date and time of my Entrance Test?

You will first be sent the complete list of dates and asked to make a choice: some sessions of the test are on mornings, others on afternoons.  Your test will be on your first choice of date and time unless you hear from us to the contrary. It is important, therefore, to make a note of the date and time that you have chosen.

Can I change my chosen date and time?

Yes—but you need to contact us to arrange an alternate date/time. Phone 021 490 4530 or email

If I am ill and cannot attend my test, what do I do?

Inform us of your circumstances as soon as possible, and arrangements will be made to facilitate you if we possibly can. Phone 021 490 4530 or email

Where is the Test held?

In the Music Building, Sunday’s Well Road, Cork. Note: This is not on the main UCC campus. For directions and a map, see

Unless you are informed otherwise, the first part of the Test (the written test) takes place in the O Riada Hall (in the basement of the Music Building).

What is the Test like?

You will first sit a written test (lasting 30 minutes) and then have an audition and interview with a member of the academic staff (15 minutes). The interview includes your chance to perform pieces of your choice.

For a full explanation of what the Test is like and advice about preparing for the Test, see our A Guide to the Music Entrance Test and sample music entrance test

May I see a specimen of the written part of the test?

Yes. A specimen paper is provided at  sample music entrance test

Will I have both the written test and the interview on the same day?

Yes: your interview will be later the same day, as soon as possible after you have finished the written test.

How long does the Entrance Test take?

The written test is taken first, and lasts 30 minutes. The audition-interview takes 15 minutes. After the written test is over, there will be a lapse of approximately 30 minutes before interviews commence to allow us to mark your paper and to allow you to focus on preparing for the audition and interview. The number of candidates interviewed by one member of staff is limited to eight. This ensures that your interview will be held within three hours of the written test (and typically sooner).

At what time will my interview be?

This will not be known precisely until the day of your Test. You will be informed of your interview time immediately after the written test is over.

What will happen at the interview?

Your interviewer will ask you questions about various things (e.g., your interests in music, your ideas about what you want to study, your ambitions, your experiences, your technical skills, etc.). You will be invited to perform on your instrument(s) (the voice counts as an instrument if you are a singer). And you will have the opportunity to ask your interviewer questions you may have.

Do I need to perform on more than one instrument?

No—you should use the audition to show us your key strengths rather than a cross-section of everything you do. You are welcome to perform more than one instrument or to perform an instrument and sing, however, if you have equal strengths and potential in both.

How many pieces should I be prepared to play?

This depends on how many instruments you are offering to play, and how long your chosen pieces are—there is time for 5-7 minutes of performance in the audition, which typically means two pieces. It may be necessary to call a halt to your pieces before you reach the end of them, but that does not necessarily mean we are unimpressed; it may be simply that time pressure demands we move onto the interview.

What about an accompanist?

You are asked to bring your own accompanist if you require one. You may also record a backing track onto your phone or CD for playback at the audition if that is more convenient for you.

Do I need to bring pens and paper?

We provide all the paper for the Test. But please bring your own pens, pencils, eraser, etc.

When will I receive the results of my test?

Tests are marked and then reviewed and we then write to you individually with the result. This is normally complete within a fortnight of the final day of Entrance Tests. We try to send out all the results on the same day. If you have not heard from us beyond this period, be in touch: phone +353 21 490 4530 or email

How many candidates pass the Test?

We pass all applicants who have shown by their performance in the test that they could cope well with the demands of the degree itself. There is no upper limit on the number who can pass.

It is important also to understand that there is no direct relationship between passing the Entrance Test and obtaining a place at UCC. Passing the Test simply makes a candidate eligible for a place. Whether that candidate eventually obtains a place depends on other factors: the points requirements for entry, the quota of places available, and the degree of competition in the year in question. These matters lie outside the control of the Department of Music.

Do you have further advice on the Entrance Test?

Yes. For a full explanation of what the Test is like and advice about preparing for the Test, see our Guide to the Music Entrance Test for Candidates and Teachers at A Guide to the Music Entrance Test

See also the specimen paper provided at 

At what time will my interview be?

This will not be known precisely until the day of your Test. You will be informed of your interview time immediately after the written test is over.

I’m applying for CK112 (Theatre and Performative Practices) with Music. Do I need to take the Music Entrance Test?

At UCC it’s possible to take the BA in Theatre and Performative Practices and Music as two equal subjects (known as Joint Hons), and thus specialize in both. In each of the three years of the degree, the student takes 30 credits of Music modules and 30 credits of Theatre modules. Applicants for this Joint-Hons pathway apply for CK112 but must take the Music Entrance Test as well as the entrance test for Theatre.

If you hope to take Theatre and Music jointly you are strongly advised to take the Music Entrance Test in the spring (there is a choice of dates in March-April) so that you will know the result of that test as soon as possible, by late May, rather than remain uncertain over the summer about your eligibility to take Music. To make the arrangements to take the Music Entrance Test, get in touch with us in good time (before 1 March).

I am resident overseas, can I still take the Entrance Test?

Yes—but you need to contact us to set up alternate measures. Phone +353 21 490 4530 or email


Where is the best place to park? Do I need a parking disc – where do I get these?

The staff carpark* will be available on the day for those attending the entrance test to park. As spaces are limited we would kindly ask those attending to please vacate the space after the audition/interview has been completed to free up the space for those arriving in the afternoon etc.

If all of the spaces are full up when you arrive, you can use the on street parking facility and the following link gives information on how you can arrange payment using your phone which is more convenient that having to get parking discs etc: Cork City on street parking - park by phone information


*Please note the car park is located to the right of the building as you are facing it and the barrier that is usually in place will be up to facilitate visitors on the days of the entrance test.


Do you recommend anywhere to go whilst I am waiting for my interview?

You may use any of the practice rooms or find a quiet space within the building to practice while you wait for your interview.

 If you wish to go for lunch or tea/coffee in between having taken the written section and waiting for your interview, there is a café called Vicky’s located on Sundays Well road which we can highly recommend and is located no more than a five minute walk away.


Will there be someone there to discuss the course with?

If you have any questions about the course you are most welcome to ask the member of staff who will be going through the audition/interview section of the test with you. You can also email for request further information.


Do I need an accompanist, or can I bring my phone for the backing track?

You are asked to bring your own accompanist if you require one. You may also record a backing track onto CD/your phone etc for playback at the audition if that is more convenient for you to use. However, performing with accompaniment is not mandatory.




Department of Music

Roinn an Cheoil

T23 HF50