AQE - Common Entrance Assessment (CEA) | The Transfer Test
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Information & Help with the Northern Ireland Transfer Test

AQE - Common Entrance Assessment (CEA)

Update: Wednesday 13th January 2021

AQE test confirmed as being cancelled along with the GL due to Covid-19.

The rescheduled AQE test in February was cancelled today, so there will be no AQE test for the P7s. Each grammar school will use their contingency admissions criteria for admitting pupils to year 8 in September 2021.
Please check the grammar school's website or contact them for their admissions criteria.

Contact AQE

Phone: (028) 90224002

AQE Key dates (2020/21)

Thu 14th May 2020: Registration Opens
Fri 9th Oct 2020: Registration Closes
Sat 27th Feb 2021: The Test
Sat 6th March 2021: Results
More Key Dates

AQE Practice Papers & Revision Booklets are available to buy from our shop.


Association for Quality Education (AQE Ltd) is the company formed to manage and administer the Common Entrance Assessment (CEA) for transfer of pupils from primary to a number of post primary schools in Northern Ireland.
Click to read more about the AQE

Common Entrance Assessment (CEA)

  • Format of the CEA (pdf)
  • Specification of the CEA (pdf)
  • Tests are held in participating grammar schools
  • Where a child sits the assessment has no bearing whatsoever on admission to a post-Primary school in the future.
  • After the registration process has been completed, all candidates will be contacted by their Assessment Centre, and invited to attend a familiarisation day in this school.
  • All 3 assessments begin at 10 a.m. and last for 1 hour (with the exception of extra time candidates). AQE recommends that candidates attend ALL 3 assessments, however as the final age-standardised score is achieved through ‘best 2 out of 3’, it is only compulsory to attend 2 assessments. This allows for an ‘off day’ or illness etc.
  • Update Sept 2nd 2020 - The AQE Board have decided to allow children an additional 10 minutes for each of the three papers. This will be an extra 30 minutes in total. The extra 10 minutes available for each paper will reassure the children that they will have sufficient time to finish the paper. For those children who are finished early, this time can be used to look over their paper and check their answers.
  • There is no subsidiary paper available. If a candidate is only available to attend 1 assessment, you should contact the AQE Office via telephone - (028) 9022 4002.
  • More information is available on the AQE's Website .

AQE Schools not using academic selection for 2020/21

The following schools have announced that they will not be using AQE results to select pupils for 2021.

  • Belfast Royal Academy
  • Campbell College, Belfast
  • Lagan College, Belfast
  • Royal School Dungannon
  • Strabane Academy
  • Victoria College, Belfast

Each school will have their own admissions criteria for 2021. Please check the school's website for their admissions criteria.

AQE Registration 2020

Due to current government restrictions, AQE have developed an online system for registering candidates who are due to enter Primary 7 in September 2020.
The AQE's online registration form is available on the AQE website's Registration 2020 page from Thursday 14th May 2020.
The closing date for registration will be Friday 9th October 2020.

AQE Access Arrangements 2020

All access documents for the 2020/2021 cycle should be submitted by post to the AQE Office, there is no facility for online applications for Access Arrangements.
For all Access Arrangements documentation including guidance notes, policy statement, the process & the application form please visit the AQE website's Access Arrangements 2020 page.

Special Circumstances and Provisions

Special Circumstances are different from Access Arrangements. Special Circumstances are for when something has impacted your child throughout the assessments, for example: a broken limb, a bereavement.
Special Circumstances forms will only be available after the assessments have been sat by the children.
Please visit the AQE's Special Circumstances and Provisions page for more information.

AQE (CEA) Past Papers

2014-2019 Past Papers are only available to purchase from the AQE website shop. However, due to current government regulations, the AQE Office is closed and no Past Papers orders can be fulfilled at the current time.
2009-2013 Past Papers are available free to download from the AQE website whilst government restrictions are in place which prevent children from attending school. AQE intend to release pdf versions of the earliest Common Entrance Assessments for parents to use as practice material while their children learn from home. Practice Papers & Free Samples

To purchase our AQE (CEA) style practice papers or download our free product samples please visit our shop page.

You may require Adobe Acrobat Reader to view pdf files.