Preparation for the
Advice on how to prepare your child for the AQE and GL Transfer Tests
Preparing for the Transfer Test is stressful on both parents and child - you want them to do well but at the same time you don't want to put too much pressure on them. It is important to understand what is required and you should read tips regarding good practice and correct preparation. Correct preparation in a supportive environment can help reduce this stress.
Below we offer some thoughts on preparation.
How to prepare for the Transfer Tests?
Practice makes perfect we have all heard this however more accurately it should read, "Practice, the results of which are known, makes perfect."
Understanding content of the AQE test and the GL Assessment tests
The old 11+ exam that you might remember involved questions on verbal reasoning - a subject that was rarely taught in school. Thankfully now both versions of the transfer test (AQE & GL) are based on questions that are set in English and mathematics. These are obviously subjects that form the core of the Northern Ireland Curriculum at Key Stage 2 and so your child will have covered a lot, if not all, of the test content during their day to day schooling.
Do note that the GL Transfer Test requires your child to answer questions that are set in multiple-choice format (Your child marks the answer on a separate answer sheet.)
While the AQE Transfer Test is in traditional format. (Your child writes the answer on the page.)
Find out all that you can about the Transfer tests from these two reliable sites:-
and then prepare accordingly.
Preparation for the Transfer Tests
Structured preparation for the Transfer Tests will improve your child's understanding of what is required but parental support and encouragement is crucial to your child's self-confidence and their attitude to their school work including preparing for these important exams.
Both organising companies provide familiarisation tests for the school pupils to complete either in school or at home. After these two or three practice papers schools have, in the past, been discouraged from providing any additional preparation or support for the Transfer Tests. This approach now seems to have changed and many schools provide preparation either during the school day or after school as an "after-school club."
Your child's school may send additional work home to be completed during the weekend or over the long summer break.
There are many ways in which the interested parent can help their child to prepare for the Transfer Test but it is unlikely that this additional work can be done in two or three weeks before the exam. It will require a lot of time and effort from both parent and child.
Transfer Test Tips for Parent and Child
Find and practice using good quality practice material which provide scores and relevant professional feedback.
Get all the right tools. Ensure you have lots of rough paper, a few pencils and a watch. Get used to practicing with all these essentials so you’re used to using them when it comes to your real Transfer Test.
Practice as many different types of questions and tests as you can before sitting your real Transfer Test. The more questions you practice the more confident your child will be and the more types of questions they will have seen.
Make sure your child is in a comfortable environment when they practice. Don’t sit them down to a practice just before going out or when they’re going to be disturbed. It’s important to give your child your full attention both when practicing and when taking the real test.
Take the practice tests offered by the organising bodies and let your child have a go at those to get a flavour for the type of questions they’ll be given. They need to practice various questions to be comfortable that their skills are up to the required standard.
Read any guidance provided before they sit practice tests. Make sure they make a note of how much time they have and roughly how long they should be spending on each question.
Don’t let them get bogged down on a question. If they get stuck, don’t let the clock run down, move on, they might find the next question easier and they’ll pick up more marks by moving on.
Once they leave a question forget about it until they return to it later in the exam.
Encourage them to work carefully and as quickly as they can. The more types of questions they practice the quicker your child will get at each type.
In maths questions they should spend a few seconds familiarising themselves with any graph/table/pie-chart/diagram that they are presented with before launching into the question. Remind them to make a mental note of what the labels are telling them so that your child has an idea of what information he or she has been provided with.
Ensure that they get used to doing rough working on paper. The quickest way to do calculations is often on a piece of paper. Use a big A4 sheet as they will have enough room to do their workings. Allow them to leave plenty of space so work is not crammed into the corner.
Private Tutor or Not?
Many parents send their child to private tutors either one to one or in a small group. In preparing your child for his Transfer Test you must be certain that the person that you entrust your child to is honest, trustworthy and does not present any threat to your child's safety. You also need to ensure that you will get value for money. Sitting in a group of 15 or 20 pupils is not much different from being in a school classroom and personal attention to your child may be limited.
However, attending a good tutor will usually be very beneficial for your child. Recommendations from friends and family can be a useful way to link to a good tutor.
Quality practice products
With good quality products you may well be able to help prepare your child without the expense of a private tutor. There are many versions of Commercial Practice Papers on the market, available from good bookshops and from this site. Look for a publisher that employs experienced teachers at Key Stage Two level to prepare their products, as these books will reflect the knowledge that the author has gained in the classroom. You may want immediate access to extra practice material at short notice and this site offers these products for purchase as PDF downloads for immediate use.
Practicing a variety of question types, in either traditional format or multiple choice (as relevant), will help your child to become more confident in their own ability and will introduce them to a wide range of questions of varying difficulty.
Constant and repetitive practice using pencil and paper can become boring and tedious for your child. Online practice such as provided by www.onlineelevenplusexams.co.uk offer practice in English and maths that is suitable for both the AQE Transfer Test and the GL Transfer Test. Often this type of preparation can be a relief from normal written preparation and can be carried out anywhere that you can connect to the internet.
** This information is provided for guidance only and while the content is, to the best of our knowledge, accurate we cannot be held in any way responsible for any errors or omissions that it may contain. Please contact your examining board or chosen grammar school for all admission and registration details for the Transfer Test. **