Choosing the right school to sit the AQE/GL test


Once the AQE and GL registration is open, you don’t need to panic, as you do have until September to apply, but you will want to get your application in early so you are guaranteed a seat in the preferred grammar school to sit the exam.

The way it works is that you have a first – fourth choice to make, indicating where you would like your son or daughter to sit the exam and a lot of these schools treat applications on a ‘first-come, first-served’ basis, so the earlier that application is in, the better.

In choosing a suitable school, here are 6 things I would recommend that you consider.

1. Handiness to home location?

How handy will it be to get to? The closer the better, as you want to keep journey time (and nerves on the day) to a minimum. Also, previous years have been blighted with snow, so whilst the sun might be shining outside, please bear this in mind as the test will be in November / December.

2. Is the test centre an all-boys or all-girls school?

From experience, my daughter sat her tests in an all-girls school and there was about 200 girls and 4 boys. I remember thinking “Oh, I wouldn’t like to be one of those boys as I would feel so out of place.” So picture this if you are going to send your daughter to an all-boys school to sit the test, or vice versa.  At the same time, your child may be fine being in the minority – as usual, it all depends on the child.

3. Small classrooms or large halls?

Does the school let the children do the tests in small classrooms or large assembly halls / gymnasiums? Some schools prefer the large environments as it is easier to manage due to the fact that not as many invigilators or staff will be needed.  However, some schools pride themselves in small, intimate classrooms with limited numbers. Think what would be best for the child. Would they be intimated with a large environment? If this is important to you, ask friends who have used that school in previous years or you can phone the school to check.

4. Are you sitting it in the school the child intends to go to?

Is your child going to be nervous sitting the test at their dream school? If your child has their heart set on a particular school, it may be prudent to avoid that school and go for somewhere more run of the mill. The last thing you want them doing is looking all around them, taking in all the sights and smells and imagining their future there. On the day of the test, they will need a clear focus with no distractions. Alternatively, you may feel it will help them work harder on the day? You know your child best but this is something you may want to consider.

5. Does the test centre do both the AQE and GL exams?

If your child is sitting both the GL and the AQE test, you may want to choose a centre that caters for both.  That way, the child (and you) will only have to get used to the set up of one location and not two different big schools.

6. 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. 

The place your child sits the test has absolutely, 100% nothing to do with the admission criteria for the grammar school. So, base your choice in points 1-5 above and not out of some loyalty to the grammar school, or any skewed thinking that you might offend them in some way if you don’t sit the test there.


I hope this helps as you make the first step in the official journey. ?

More about The Transfer Tutor Online Quizzes


The Transfer Tutor is an online site dedicated to providing fun and interactive quizzes aligned to the AQE / GL specifications.  All quizzes are broken down into manageable topics and can be done on any mobile or tablet device, so is an great way for kids to prepare for the test.  The quizzes have been a great success with parents and kids and has already received a lot of 5* Facebook Reviews, so definitely worth a look.   To give you a feel for the quizzes, start the free quiz by clicking on the button below.  I hope you enjoy and to get access to over 30 quizzes in Maths and English click here for membership options.