I don’t like teaching children for tests. I really think teaching for mastery is the way to go.
Nevertheless, I accept that the transfer tests are important both for parents and their children.
Since a few parents have recently asked me about transfer tests in Northern Ireland, here you are a few basic facts:
- There are two types of transfer tests in NI: the AQE and the GL.
- Whether you child takes AQE ot GL depends on grammar school you want your child to attend.
- It is possible and actually advisable to take both tests.
- The AQE consists of three assessment papers. The GL consists of two assessment papers.
- Both tests assess your child’s English and Maths knowledge.
- Many schools don’t prepare for those tests, however some do.
- A few schools go ahead with thorough preparation which is actually not that great as it sounds since it means reduced content knowledge and limiting children’s learning.
- If you want your child to pass the test, preparation is vital.
- Preparation for tests might take several months (12 months to reinforce both literacy and maths, probably longer if these skills are underdeveloped, it happens often with bilingual children).
- You should talk to your teacher to understand on which areas you should focus.
- Use revision booklets to prepare for the tests.
- Find free transfer test online e.g. Belfast Telegraph published sample tests.
- Children need to develop both their knowledge and good exam techniques.
- Parents should work with tutors to maximise the effects.
My son is 6 and I don’t need to think about the transfer tests yet. I would not be surprised if they were actually abolished before he goes to a grammar school. If he were to take the test this year, I would definitely do with him revision papers both for AQE and GL. I would also prepare him for dealing with time pressure and stress. If he didn’t pass I wouldn’t despair. I would have a good contingency plan.
More information on AQE:
More information on GL: