Applying For The GL Test

When Can I Register For The Test?

Registration will open on Monday 13th May 2019 and will close Friday 20th September 2019, 2pm.

How Much Does It Cost?

It’s FREE to sit the GL Test as all costs are covered by the Catholic Grammar schools.

When Will The Test Be Held?

This year (2019), the test date will be between the AQE ones and so it will be:

  • Saturday 16th November, at 10am

Registration Form (Download)

You’ll be glad to hear the registration form is quite straightforward and it only captures the basic information necessary to apply for the test – so it’s nothing to worry about.

Click below to download the form, but remember, you can’t submit it until Monday 13th May.

Click below if you need to refer to the official guidance notes.

Where Can My Child Sit The Test?

There are thirty-four locations where the child can sit the GL test and these are the grammar schools which will ultimately accept the GL result as their admission criteria. You can have a look at the list of schools in the download below:

When you are completing the GL registration form, you choose three possible centres where your child can sit the test, but you only send the form to the one which is first on your list.

Where Can I Get A Registration Form?

Registration forms are available from a number of places including:

  • Download from this blog (above).
  • Download from the PPTCNI (GL) Website.
  • If you don’t have a printer and need a hard copy all participating Grammar schools (the ones where you can sit the GL test – download above) will have these available for you to pick up.
  • Some primary schools will hand these out.

Please note that whilst some primary schools may give these out, there is no obligation from them to do so and therefore you should not rely on your school spoon-feeding you through this process or even checking if you have applied.

Applying for the GL Test is your full responsibility and is outside the normal, governed educational process in Northern Ireland.

What Do I Need To Include With My Application?

You’ll need:

  • An original birth certificate is required by GL – not a photocopy. This can be a long or short one. Because the actual birth certificate is being handled, in reality a lot of parents go to the grammar school where they want their child to sit the GL test and hand over the registration form and the birth certificate, which is usually copied there and then and handed back. This saves a lot of fretting and posting original documents which will then need to be posted back.
  • A passport-sized photo of your child (only one is required for GL). You need to write the child’s name and date of birth on the back.
  • Completed registration form using a black pen and in block capitals.
  • Optional – if you are applying for Access Arrangements at this time, you can complete Form AA1 and provide evidence (although you can also do this later, so if there will be a delay with the evidence, best to get the form off first to secure your place). In addition, I will cover Access Arrangements in a more detailed blog later, to help you with this part.

Contact Details

It’s interesting to note that the registration explains that it is the preference of the PPTC schools to use email and text to contact parents and so they ask parents to provide these contact details.

Therefore, please ensure you provide an email address that will be regularly checked and if you don’t have one, ask your partner, sister, brother or friend if you can use theirs, as you may need to be aware if the school contacts you this way.

In reality, when P7s were surveyed about this and some said they were never contacted this way whilst others said they were emailed and texted a few times. Therefore, this seems to be down to the individual preference of the GL Assessment Centre, but best to be safe.

Where Do I Send My Form When Complete?

The form is sent to the grammar school where you would like your child to sit the GL test. This can be done by post, but as mentioned above, because you have to send an original birth certificate, calling into the school might be the best option as they tend to photocopy the birth certificate and give it straight back to you.

Also, as the schools will be off over the summer months and this is not a central office, I wouldn’t suggest you post anything to the grammar school over July and August as it could be misplaced. Best to get in before the end of June or wait until September.

Should I Give Approval For GDPR?

As part of the process, GL must ask for your explicit permission to share any information about your child and their score with certain third parties. Last year this was a little verbose with four explicit approvals (and it was a little confusing) but fortunately this year, PPTCNI have tidied up this section and the only decision you have to make is whether you want your child’s primary school to be informed of the child’s result.

My advice is to definitely make sure your child’s primary school gets your child’s result because otherwise the teacher is not going to know how your child did when they return to school after results. This could mean an awkward situation on the Monday and may prevent the school from being able to offer support if needed. Also, if anything happens with your snail mail on Results Day, the primary school can be a great backup for you (it does happen).

If you agree, make sure you don’t miss ticking the box.

Why Do People Rush To Apply?

Some parents are just naturally, super-organised (never a state I ever managed to achieve myself) and when parents hear that others have already registered, it can trigger an element of panic as they can suddenly feel they’re behind the curve in this process. But there is no need to panic.

However (and it’s quite a big, however) some places in the assessment centres are allocated on a first-come first-served basis and so, if you have a favourite grammar school in mind, where you would really (really) like your child to sit the test, then you might indeed need to get in quickly before all the spaces are filled up. This is especially true if your child is sitting both the AQE and GL test and you want them to sit the tests in the same school, as these spaces can go very quickly (especially now that I’ve made people more aware).

Also, as mentioned above, because the GL registration is going to a grammar school which may be closed during the summer months, it’s best to get it in before the end of June and then you can put it behind you, so this can also trigger a sense of urgency.

In reality, many grammar schools for GL are reported to never turning a child away and will simply ‘open up another classroom‘ if more people apply than expected, but this is not the case for all centres and from experience, for example, Wellington College does get filled up pretty quickly.

How Do I Decide Where My Child Should Sit The Test?

There are a number of factors to consider when deciding where the child should sit the test, and these are covered in the blogWhere Should My Child Sit The Test?

In summary, you should consider:

  • Handiness to home location.
  • Is the test centre an all-boys or all-girls school?
  • Small classrooms or large halls?
  • Are you sitting it in the school the child intends to go to?
  • Does the test centre do both the AQE and GL exams?
  • Don’t choose the grammar school to sit the test just because you think it might influence their ultimate decision to offer your child a future place.

My Child Is Also Doing AQE. Do Any Centres Accommodate Both Tests?

Yes, there are six test centres which will accommodate both the AQE and GL test and as you can imagine, these get booked up quite quickly.

The only assessment centres where you can sit both are:

  • Antrim Grammar School
  • Campbell College
  • Hunterhouse College
  • Victoria College
  • Wellington College
  • Lagan College

If your child is sitting both tests in the one location, this will offer you the benefit that you’ll know the parking arrangements, travel time, routine etc. and the child will have a consistent environment over the four weeks of testing.

Do I Apply For Extra Time / Access Arrangements At The Time Of Registering?

Access Arrangements are used when a child has a physical, learning or mental impairment which may have a negative impact upon their ability to perform at their best in the tests. Therefore extra support can be put in place to give them an equal chance of performing at their best, for example, a child with dyslexia can be awarded 25% extra time.

To apply for access arrangements, you indicate that you wish to do so in Section 3 and then you complete the relevant accesss forms.

However, you don’t need to send all of this at the time of registration, just as long as it is with the GL Centre before the closing date. However, in saying that, don’t be delaying too long in applying for any access arrangements, this as you’ll not know if your access arrangement has been approved until your situation has been considered fully.

Passport Photos Are Expensive. Are There Any Cheaper Ways To Get These?

We all know that passport photos aren’t cheap but the good news is that the photos for GL registration do not have to meet the extreme guidelines needed for passports (lighting, smiling etc) and so thankfully there are some cheaper alternatives.

Basically, you can take a photo headshot of your child (normally up against a blank wall) and then use a website to create multiple passport sized photos onto a single photo size, which you then take to Boots (or other, similar place) to get printed.

This could mean the difference between £6 and 20p.

Check out one of these free website below to do this:

Wouldn’t it be a good idea, if a supportive P6 Teacher, or the PTA, organised this for all the P6s? It’s an easy process, but I bet people will struggle.

Can My Child Sit The Test In Irish?

Yes, your child can take the Irish Medium Entrance Assessment and you indicate this preference on Section 5 of the registration form.

Snack – Special Dietary or Medical Requirements

Between the English and the Maths test paper, the child will be offered a little rest-break where they can have a walkabout and they’re also offered a small snack. This is great to break up any monotony and it is also why Section 6 of the registration form asks if your child has any special dietary or medical requirements.

If the answer to this question is yes, then further information is asked for and you are required to explain more in the Access Arrangement form(s).

When Will I Know What School My Child Will Sit The Test?

From a survey of the P7s from last year, many reported that some centres confirmed immediately that their child would be sitting the test at their first choice school (often when they handed in the form), but they never received official confirmation (letter) until after the closing date in September.

So, I would advise you to keep calm, know you’ve done what you need to do and just try to put it out of your mind. If you’re a member of the FREE Facebook Support Group (if not, feel free to join) you’ll start to hear the rumblings when people are starting to receive their official confirmation letters and so this will give you an idea of the current timeline, or alert you to a potential issue if you haven’t heard anything.

Can I Apply Late After Closing Date?

Unlike the AQE test, there is no notion of a late entry being accepted, and PPTCNI (who manage the GL test) state that forms received after the closing date will only be accepted if the parent / guardian can provide appropriate documentary evidence in support of an acceptable reason for the late registration. So, it’s best not to take any chances and make sure you meet this deadline.

My advice, if your child might do the GL test, just apply before the deadline as it’ll be easier to pull out than get a late application through. Plus, it’s free, so you’ll not even be out of pocket.

How Do I Contact PPTCNI / GL If I Have Any Queries?

There is no PPTCNI or GL central office to manage all queries, so any questions should be channelled through your chosen GL assessment centre (grammar school) and in my experience they are all very good and efficient in dealing with all queries.

More about The Transfer Tutor (Multi-Award Winning Online Quizzes)

If your child is in P6, I would strongly recommend The Transfer Tutor’s online quizzes to provide fun and interactive quizzes aligned directly to the AQE (and GL) specifications.  All quizzes are broken down into manageable topics and can be done on any mobile or tablet device, so it’s an great way for kids to learn and prepare for the test.  

If your child is in P6 and you want the licence that will last you until December 2019, simply click on the picture below to buy the Penguin Licence at only £45 which will give you access until the test is over.

All of these are a one-off payment until they expire.

PENGUIN LICENCE – Countdown To Test Offer Only £45 £20

(Expires December 2019) 

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CAT LICENCE –  Only £60 £50

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There is such a buzz at the moment and this is because The Transfer Tutor :

  • Has a complete focus on the AQE & GL  specification.
  • Is mobile friendly working on smartphones and tablets which most children have access to.
  • In many questions, there will be a ‘hint’ option that offers the child details on the ‘rule’ or aids them to complete it correctly which helps their future application of the same type of question.
  • Has a function built in that the parents will be emailed with the child’s score when they have completed a test, so parents can track progress and also know the child is not off playing Minecraft or Candy Crush when they should be revising.
  • Question areas broken down into specific categories which allows the parent and child to identify areas of weakness and to focus on these for improvement.
  • Although tests will have more than 20 questions ‘behind the scenes’, the child is only faced with a random 20 questions each time so they can try the same test many times and will be getting different related challenges.
  • Not just practice questions, but if the child gets it wrong, the system will provide information on the rule or reason as to why this is happened, so they can build on their fundamental learning for the next time.
  • Leader board with the most recent 10 attempts listed (from all people) and this offers a level of competition that makes the child strive to be better.
  • Child friendly with the use of colours and pictures which encourages the child to want to log on and try a new quiz every day.

To give you a feel for the quizzes, you can start a free one by clicking on the button below.  


The quizzes have been a great success with parents and kids and received many, over six hundred 5* Google & Facebook Reviews in the last year, so definitely worth a look and read how so many people have loved using the online quizzes to learn.