Northern Music Academy often encourages Music Grades for students as they advance. In it's simplest sense, a music grade offers both a useful set of tools to help students set goals, and also a yardstick to measure their progress by. Though not right for everyone, they can be very useful indeed to help with learning and motivation.
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Exam Boards

No one ever took up music in order to take a music exam, but once you are learning, exams can be a really useful tool to use along the way. Plus, the leading music exam boards, including ABRSM, Trinity, Rockschool, and RGT, all enjoy accreditation, meaning among other things that you can amass useful UCAS points when you take either practical or music theory exams. This can be most useful, as your UCAS points can help you to get into the University of your choice.

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Use one board exclusively, or enter with different boards at different times, to enjoy the broadest range of experience. You can even take jazz exams for some instruments, and ABRSM have recently introduced vocal exams in musical theatre!