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)

Contact AQE

Phone: (028) 90224002

Key dates (2018/19)

Wed 2nd May 2018: Registration Opens
Fri 7th Sep 2018: Registration Closes
Sat 10th Nov 2018: 1st Paper
Sat 24th Nov 2018: 2nd Paper
Sat 1st Dec 2018: 3rd Paper
Sat 26th Jan 2019: Results

More Key Dates


AQE's FAQ (pdf)

AQE Practice Papers are available to buy from our shop.


Association for Quality Education
The Association of Quality Education started off as an alliance of parents, principals, governors and teachers who believed that the future of post primary education in Northern Ireland should be based on our excellent secondary and grammar schools.

In order to preserve the academic standards in Northern Ireland, the Company AQE Ltd was established to run and manage the Common Entrance Assessment (CEA), providing grammar schools in Northern Ireland with a method of maintaining academic selection.

AQE opposes a system in which schools would be forced to select pupils on the basis of post code. We advocate instead that schools be given the freedom to develop academic, technical and vocational pathways to ensure that all children have the opportunity to attend a school which will cater for their interests and accommodate their needs and abilities.
AQE Ltd has developed and administers the CEA on behalf of schools to enable them to do this.

Common Entrance Assessment (CEA)

  • Format of the CEA (pdf)
  • Specification of the CEA (pdf)
  • Tests are held in participating grammar schools
  • The test does not necessarily need to be taken at the school you wish your child to attend. During the application you list schools in order of preference and based on availability you will be notified which school your child will sit the test at.
  • 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.
  • 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 The Assessments page.

2018/19 AQE Registration & Information

AQE Registration forms and documentation will be available from 30th April 2018.

2017/18 AQE Registration & Information

Below are links to download the AQE documents for the 2017/18 cycle.

AQE Timetable

AQE Registration

  • Registration Form & Guidance Notes (pdf)
  • How to Register (AQE Website)
  • Registration closes on Friday 8th September 2017. Late registration will only be accepted where there are clear extenuating circumstances and WILL incur a higher registration fee.
  • Black and white copies are acceptable.
  • All assessment centre places are filled on a first come, first served basis.
  • Parents should normally receive written confirmation of their registration within three weeks of receipt. If they have not received confirmation, then they may not be registered and should telephone the AQE Office immediately. The AQE recommend all envelopes are sent recorded delivery as they cannot honour lost post unless evidence is provided.


Access Arrangements

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.
  • More information & the forms are available from the AQE's Special Circumstances and Provisions page.

AQE Past Papers & Free Samples

AQE (CEA) Past Papers
AQE Past Assessment Papers are only available to purchase from the AQE website.

AQE (CEA) Sample Paper, Questions & Answers
An AQE Sample Assessment Paper, as well as questions and answers, are available to download from the AQE's Sample Items page. Practice Papers & Free Samples
To purchase our AQE style practice papers or download our free product samples please visit our shop page.


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