Applying For The AQE Test

When Can I Register For The Test?

Registration opened on Thursday 14th May 2020 and will close on Friday 25th September 2020 (although they usually allow people to apply later and pay a late entry fee).

When Are The Test Dates?

This year (2020), the test dates have been confirmed as:

  • Saturday 9th January 2021, at 10am
  • Saturday 16th January 2021, at 10am
  • Saturday 23rd January 2021, at 10am

How Much Does It Cost?

It costs £55 and in the event that the assessments are cancelled, the fee will be partially refunded by £20, and the £35 is non-refundable. However it is free if your child is entitled to free school meals.

How Do I Pay?

Main Way – Online Payment Portal:

The online portal (click on link to go straight to it) is the easiest and best way to pay and you can pay by Visa, Mastro and all the usual ways. You can do this from the 13th May.

NOTE: As soon as you pay, you will receive a four digit order number (Order #) and you need to use this to put it onto the registration form, so make a note of it.

Cheque / Postal Order Also Accepted:

A cheque or postal order can be sent with registration form. Cheques should be made payable to AQE Ltd with your child’s name and candidate number (you get this when you fill in the online form) clearly printed on the back.

Is The Registration Form Complicated?

The good news is that there is an ONLINE FORM (click, to go straight to it), so you don’t need to print it. Just read the rest of this blog first, before diving in as it will help.

Also, it’s all very straightforward so nothing to worry about.

You can also print it to post it – click below to download.

Will My Primary School Help?

Whilst some primary schools gave these out in the past, 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 AQE Test is your full responsibility and is outside the normal, governed educational process in Northern Ireland.

How Do I ‘Scan’ Documents To Include?

Don’t panic, there’s a quick way to scan documents using your smart phone.

Just open up the Notes App, click on the camera icon (as shown in picture above) and then select Scan Documents. This produces a high quality photo of your documents and stored in your camera roll to attach to your online registration.

What Do I Need To Include With My Application?

You’ll need:

  • A scanned copy of your child’s birth certificate or passport.
  • Passport sized photo of your child (taken within the last year) taken with your smartphone, and should be a clear image showing only from the shoulders up, so you might need to crop it to size. These should not exceed 9MB in size and the AQE website says it should be 4.5cm x 3.5cm but I’m not sure how that works with a digital image. This can also be emailed or submitted by post at a later date so don’t panic.
  • Completed registration form (online or paper)
  • £55 payment order number / or cheque / or confirmation of free school meals (see below*).
  • Optional – if you are applying for Access Arrangements (extra time etc.) you can to complete Form ACC/20 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).


The following are acceptable forms of evidence for FSM:

  • Letter to you from Education Authority confirming your child got FSM 2019/2020.
  • Letter from primary school confirming child was receiving FSM 2019/2020
  • Bank statement letter (with other details removed) showing fortnightly payments to you from the Education Authority as a replacement for the FSM they would’ve been receiving. Make sure you remove any other sensitive information from this document, but leave your name and address and the necessary evidence.

Where Do I Send My Form When Complete?

If you’re doing the online form, simply click SUBMIT at the end of the process.

If you’re posting your form and payment, the AQE Office address is Unit 3 Weavers Court Business Park, Belfast BT12 5GH.

Should I Give Approval For GDPR?

As part of the process, AQE must ask for your explicit permission to share your child’s test result with the AQE Member Schools and/or EA and also your child’s primary school and this is done in Section E.

My advice is to definitely make sure your 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 and no-one knows where we’ll be when the results come out.

With regards to allowing the AQE Member Schools and /or EA to receive your child’s results, I would consider that it’s not wholly necessary, but it does no harm as they’ll not be using this information for any personal reasons. So I would also agree as this will help them review their overall performance as a centre and this may lead to potential improvements for future years.

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) 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 – oops..).

Where Can My Child Sit The Test?

There are thirty-four locations where the child can sit the AQE test and these locations are generally (but not all) the grammar schools which will ultimately accept the AQE result as their entrance criteria. You can find a list of centres hereList of AQE / GL Centres.

You select at least two choices but AQE advise you complete all four, especially if you’re in a rural area.

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

Assuming things remain the same as last year (we’ll know when GL registration information is released) there are five 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 probably going to be:

  • Antrim Grammar School
  • Campbell College
  • Hunterhouse College
  • Victoria College
  • Wellington 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 will be awarded 25% extra time (15 minutes) during the AQE test.

Access Arrangements may also apply to children whose first language is neither English nor Irish and who have spent less than three years in the UK/Ireland before September 2019.

To apply for access arrangements, you indicate that you wish to do so in Section D and then complete the form ACC/20 and provide evidence but you don’t need to send this at the time of registration, just as long as it is with AQE by a date in September. However, if it was me, I wouldn’t be delaying too long in applying for this as you’ll not know if your access arrangement has been approved until your situation has been considered fully. irish

Can My Child Sit The Test In Irish?

Yes, your child can sit the test in Irish and you indicate on the registration form.

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 might want to 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.

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

As I’m sure you can imagine, the AQE team are likely to be inundated with applications from the 14th May and they’ll have to manage these to allocate places on a first-come, first-serve basis so AQE advise they will try to give ongoing guidance as to capacity throughout the process.

It’s expected that AQE Admission Cards will be processed over the summer months, however, you should consider your confirmation of registration by way of the candidate number you received on screen when you completed the registration process.

How Do I Contact AQE If I Have Any Queries?

Different emails are available for different queries and this allows people to focus on their own issues, so find your query and use the emails below for help.

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.  

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.

Simply choose the licence you need depending on the length of time you need access, click on the blue box, pay and then you’ll be off within minutes.

For any further questions, please contact me or check out the Frequently Asked Questions page.

Google Reviews:

Check out the Google Reviews to read what other customers felt about The Transfer Tutor.

Spoiler alert – all the kids (the most important people) and parents love it!

Try It Out:

To give you a feel for the quizzes, why not try out the quick fire free quiz by clicking on the button below (no need to register or pay, so don’t worry). This will hopefully let you see how the questions work – or more importantly, let you see if this is something that would inspire and encourage your child to learn.


Social Media Links – Keeping Up To Date

Follow or like The Transfer Tutor on your social media channel of choice and ensure you never miss a beat with the whole transfer process, handy tips, advice, special offers and competitions.

Click below for your preferred channel or search for @TransferTutorHQ wherever you are.

Free Facebook Group

You may have read in the reviews about people referring to the Facebook Support Group and this is certainly a great place to keep informed, ask questions, get support and keep up-to-date with anything happening in the transfer space.

It’s free to join but please ensure you have a genuine Facebook profile picture (ghost pictures are not approved as not deemed authentic) and then simply click here and answer the simple questions -> Join Facebook Group.