Transfer Test Guide | The Transfer Test
Information for Parents

Transfer Test Guide

When the 11+ was abolished it was replaced by two different transfer tests. They are commonly known as the AQE and the GL.

Which test(s) your child sits depends on which grammar schools your child wants to apply to. Some grammar schools accept either test but most use one or the other. Our Schools page lists all grammar schools and which test(s) they accept.
It is the responsibility of the parents to register their child for the tests.

See our Key Dates page for a list of important transfer test related dates.

  • The AQE's test is called the Common Entrance Assessment (CEA) is set and marked by AQE Ltd in Belfast.
  • This test is commonly referred to as the AQE.
  • The AQE is mostly used by the state (non-denominational) grammar schools.
  • There are 3 assessment papers.
  • Children may sit two or all three papers: in the latter case the best two scores will count.
  • Almost all children sit all 3 papers to give them the best chance of a higher score.
  • There is a fee to register for the assessment.
  • AQE scores use a standardised age score with 100 as the mean (average) score.
  • More AQE information
  • The PPTC's test is called the GL Assessment is set and marked by GL Assessment Ltd. in England.
  • The GL Assessment is mostly used by the Catholic maintained grammar schools.
  • This test commonly referred to as the GL.
  • There are two assessment papers.
  • One is an English paper and the other is a Maths paper.
  • Both papers are multiple choice format.
  • Both papers are taken on the same day.
  • There is no fee to register the assessment.
  • GL scores use a standardised age score ranging from 69 to 141 with 100 as the mean (average) score.
  • More GL information
New single test proposal for 2023

Grammar schools are planning on having a single transfer test from November 2023. If agreed, it would bring to an end the current system of two separate tests run by the AQE and the PPTC and a new company called the Schools' Entrance Assessment Group (SEAG) would be formed in October 2021 to run the transfer test.

Details about the proposed new common transfer test include;

  • The first new common transfer test will take place in November 2023.
  • The assessment will consist of two tests.
  • Each test will comprise English and mathematics items.
  • The tests will be on separate dates - probably two weeks apart.
  • There will be a mixture of multiple choice and free response (supply) items.
  • Irish-language versions of the transfer test will also be provided.
  • It will cost £20 per pupil, or free for children entitled to Free School Meals.