Applying For The AQE Test

When Can I Register For The Test?

Registration opened Wednesday 1st May 2019 and will close on Friday 6th September 2019 (although they do allow people to apply later and pay a late entry fee of £75).

Forms will be available from the 29th April 2019 so that people can prepare their paperwork in advance of registration opening.

When Are The Test Dates?

This year (2019), the test dates have been confirmed as:

  • Saturday 9th November, at 10am
  • Saturday 23rd November, at 10am
  • Saturday 30th November, at 10am

How Much Does It Cost?

It costs £50 and this is non-refundable. However it is free if your child is entitled to free school meals.

If you apply after the 6th September, it will cost you £75 for the late entry fee.

How Do I Pay?

You can pay by:

  • Cheque or postal order which would be sent with registration form. Cheques should be made payable to AQE Ltd.
  • Cash if hand-delivering the registration form to the AQE Office.
  • Credit/debit card at the AQE Office if you’re hand-delivering the registration form.
  • Pay online, using this link Pay AQE Fee Online, but please be aware that you need to have access to a printer, as your need to print off the email receipt and attach that to your registration form as proof of purchase.

Is The Registration Form Complicated?

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

Here’s a copy of this year’s form which you can download and print.

Where Can I Get A Registration Form?

Registration forms are available from a number of places including:

  • Download from this blog (look up).
  • Download from the AQE Website.
  • All participating Grammar schools (the ones where you can sit the test) and you can find these in the AQE List in the List of AQE / GL Centres blog.
  • 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 AQE 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:

  • A photocopy of your child’s birth certificate (long or short is fine). Do not send the original. Or, if this is a problem, you can photocopy the ID Page of the child’s passport.
  • Two identical, passport sized photos of your child
  • Completed registration form
  • £50 fee if sending a cheque or postal order (or confirmation of free school meals)
  • Optional – if you are applying for Access Arrangements at this time, you can to complete Form ACC/18 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).

Where Do I Send My Form When Complete?

The form is returned to the AQE Office, either by post or hand-delivery.

The AQE Office address is Unit 3 Weavers Court Business Park, Belfast BT12 5GH (this is near the back of the Europa Hotel).

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 assessment centre (grammar school where child sat test) and also your child’s primary school and this is done in Section G.

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. 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.

With regards to allowing the assessment centre to receive your child’s results, I would consider that it’s not wholly necessary, but it does no harm you either way as they will 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).

Where Can My Child Sit The Test?

There are forty locations where the child can sit the AQE test and these locations are generally the grammar schools which will ultimately accept the AQE result as their entrance criteria. You can find a list of centres from previous years in this blog – List of AQE / GL Centres.

My Child Is Also Doing GL. 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 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 B and then you complete the form ACC/18 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 the 6th 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.

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 AQE 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 sit the test in Irish and you indicate this preference on Section F of 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 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.

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 1st May and they’ll have to manage these to allocate places and then also send you a letter to confirm.

So, I would advise to keep calm, know you’ve done what you need to do and just wait patiently for about three to four weeks. 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 receiving their confirmation letters and so this will give you an idea of the current timeline.

How Do I Contact AQE If I Have Any Queries?

  • Their telephone number is 028 9022 4002.
  • Their email address is
  • Their address is Unit 3 Weavers Court Business Park, Belfast BT12 5GH (this is near the back of the Europa Hotel).

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 Tests Offer £45 £20

(Expires December 2019) 

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CAT LICENCE –  Only £60 £50

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ELEPHANT LICENCE –  Only £75 £65

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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.