JAM: Medal – Overview

Medal tests

These tests are run by NZ Branch and are a great way of showing how your skills as a Scottish country dancer have progressed over the years.

You will usually have prepared for a test while dancing at your Club and then, when your teacher thinks you are ready, you can apply to take part in a test which is run by your Region or Branch. There may also be an opportunity to take the test at JAM Camp or Summer School.

For further information, email JAM Membership Committee or Branch Youth Co-ordinator.


Candidates must be aged between 8 and 19 and must also be registered New Zealand Branch Junior Associate Members. It is easy to become a JAM if you are not yet a member.

An application to sit a medal test must be completed by your teacher and either parent or guardian.


The tests are at six levels which must be taken in the order:

  • Bronze
  • Bronze Bar
  • Silver
  • Silver Bar
  • Gold
  • Gold Bar

It is recommended that six months elapse between each medal test.


The syllabus for each test covers steps, formations, music, exercises and dances.

Each level also has its own syllabus.

A CD containing some of the music used in the Medal Tests is available from the Medal Test Co-ordinator to teachers who are preparing candidates for Medal Tests. This is funded by the Branch and is provided at no cost.


Candidates are expected to dress appropriately for the Medal test.

  • Candidates must wear dancing pumps/ghillies
  • Girls: Skirts or dresses no longer than calf length and full enough to allow free movement. Trousers will not be permitted.
  • Boys: Shorts or kilt worn in a tidy fashion. Long trousers will not be permitted

What the examiner is looking for

Below are some comments examiners made when asked what they like to see in your test.

Many thanks to the examiners who contributed their thoughts and ideas on this.

  • I look for candidates who are well prepared and are obviously trying hard to incorporate everything they have been taught as far as their steps and formations are concerned.
  • When assessing medal tests, I most enjoy seeing dancers who look as if they are enjoying their dancing – smiles, a natural carriage (not stiff or tense), showing energy and joy.
  • I like to see dancers working as part of the team, being aware of and helping the other dancers.
  • I don’t mark down for a single mistake in a dance – but I’m looking for whether you can recover from the mistake (which shows that you do understand the dance) and how the rest of the candidates help you out (which shows their team work and understanding of the dance).
  • Although everyone is nervous , I am looking for smiles that they are enjoying their dancing.
  • In the exercises, I like to test how you cope with formations in a different order from those in the set dances – so in preparation, you need to practice the required formations (and all the easier ones) by dancing lots of different dances.
  • At the higher levels, I’m particularly looking to see if you are dancing in time with the music – for example, skip change and pas de basque should be different in reel time compared to jig time because the musical rhythm is different.

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