The RAD has various levels of progression. There are minimum age requirements for each levels, also known as grades.
Starting with Dance To Your Own Tune, which is a Demonstration Class for Children ages 5 and below, to Pre-Primary in Dance Class Award, where dancers need to be at least 5 years of age in the year of exam. Dancers progress up to the Vocational Syllabi.
Typically, an RAD ballet exam comprises multiple components, including:
- Barre Work: The basic exercises where students perform using a barre for support. Starts from Grade 2.
- Centre Work: A series of exercises performed away from the barre, showcasing balance, poise, and strength. Generally includes Port de bras, Centre Practice & Pirouettes, Adage, Allegro.
- Dance Sequences: Choreographed dances that evaluate a student's ability to remember and express sequences, usually taken as a solo.
- Character Dance: A dance segment rooted in traditional European folk dances, such as Hungarian, Polish, Russian folk dances, introduced from Grade 1 to Grade 8.
- Pointe Work: Introduced at the Vocational (Majors) levels from Intermediate Foundation, pointe work assesses dancers' advanced technique, strength and grace, while standing on toe tips.