Differences In 2021 Tests

To accommodate the impact of Covid-19, the transfer test groups, AQE and GL, have amended their content, structure and timing of the tests to accommodate the current P7 group. This blog covers those differences.

AQE Differences

2021 AQE Format Differences

AQE has made modifications for this assessment, including:

  • The provision of detailed English and mathematics support documents for the 2021/22 CEA papers which are available to download below (taken from the AQE website).
  • Some mathematics topic areas included in previous years will not be assessed in the 2021/22 assessment – details below.
  • Some of the English passages have been shortened where appropriate.
  • The mathematics and English questions have been revised to make them more accessible for this year’s assessment.
  • Access has been provided free of charge to a large selection of past papers on the AQE website (click here) and others are available for purchase so that children can prepare thoroughly for the assessment.
  • A sample paper, reflecting the 2021/22 assessment, will be provided free of charge on the AQE website.

For the 2021/22 assessments AQE are allowing an extra 10 minutes to
complete each paper, therefore candidates will have 1 hour 10 minutes to complete each paper.

2021 AQE Maths Topics NOT Being Tested


  • percentages;
  • triangular numbers;
  • the use of a letter to stand for an unknown number;
  • the interpretation of a calculator display in relation to money;
  • multiplication beyond a 3-digit number multiplied by a 2-digit number;
  • division beyond a 3-digit number divided by a single digit.


  • negative numbers;
  • calculating the area of a non-right-angled triangle;
  • the continuous nature of measurement & the need for appropriate accuracy;
  • the use of scale in simple maps and diagrams;
  • calculations related to timetables involving the 24-hour clock.


  • reflecting a shape in a diagonal line;
  • tessellations;
  • name and describe circles, pentagons, hexagons and octagons.


  • pie charts;
  • mean and range;
  • probability and likelihood.

To see what will be included, you can check out the AQE Specification for more information by clicking on the blog link.

GL Differences

GL English Assessment

2020 GL English Paper Format

  • The paper had 6 sections – 3 reading passages each followed by comprehension questions; 1 punctuation section; 1 spelling section; 1 general section.
  • The reading sections could be taken from: 19th, 20th or 21st century fiction; non-fiction; or poetry.
  • Some questions had 4 answer options and some questions had 5 answer options.
  • Some reading passages had more questions than others.
  • The number of spelling questions was different to the number of punctuation questions.
  • The paper had 60 questions.
  • The paper lasted 60 minutes.

2021 GL English Paper Format

  • The number of sections in the paper will be reduced from 6 to 4.
  • There will be 2 reading sections, instead of 3, both followed by comprehension questions.
  • One reading passage will be fiction or non-fiction and the other reading passage will be poetry but none of the passages will be from 19th century literature.
  • Although the reading passages can be fiction, non-fiction or poetry there will be no 19th century fiction.
  • The overall length of the reading material will be reduced by around 30%-40% compared to previous Entrance Assessment papers; i.e. reducing the number of reading passages does not mean increasing the length of the passages.
  • Instead of some questions having 4 answer options and some having 5, every question will have 5 answer options.
  • Both reading passages will be followed by 16 comprehension questions.
  • There will be 9 punctuation and 9 spelling questions.
  • There will be no general section – requiring knowledge and understanding of literary or linguistic terms, e.g. glossary or index.
  • The number of questions in the paper will be reduced from 60 to 50.
  • The paper will last 50 minutes instead of 60 minutes.

GL Maths Assessment

2020 GL Maths Paper Format

  • The paper had 45 questions.
  • The paper lasted 45 minutes.
  • Every question had, A-E, answer options.
  • The specification of topic areas essentially covered the whole of the Key Stage 2 N.Ireland Maths Curriculum.

2021 GL Maths Paper Format

  • The paper will have 45 questions.
  • The paper will last 45 minutes.
  • Every question will have 5, A-E, answer options.
  • Some topic areas which have been assessed in previous years will not be assessed in the 2021-22 Entrance Assessment.
  • Some topics areas have been simplified by removing more challenging parts of the topic.
  • For clarity, the list below indicates topic areas which will NOT be included in the Assessment and limitations in some topic areas.

2021 GL Maths – Topic Area exclusions and limitations

  • Proportion will not be examined.
  • Ratio, including scale will not be examined.
  • There will be no algebra questions.
  • There will be no questions involving use of brackets
  • Pie charts will not be used in questions.
  • Probability and likelihood will not be examined.
  • There will be no questions on cube numbers.
  • There will be no questions involving negative numbers.
  • Averages will be limited to mean i.e. there will be no questions on mode or median.
  • Calculation of perimeter and area are included but calculation of the volume of cubes and cuboids is not.
  • Questions may be asked on 2D shapes but not on 3D shapes.
  • Metric units for length, mass and volume will be limited to cm, m, km (length), g, kg (mass) and ml, l (volume).
  • Although questions may be asked on 12 and 24-hour clocks there will not be any questions which use timetables.

To see what will be included, you can check out the GL Specification for more information by clicking on the blog link.

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

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The Transfer Tutor’s Online Quizzes provide a fun and interactive way to learn and practise Maths and English questions which are directly aligned to both the AQE and GL specifications.

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  • The Leaderboard at the end makes the child feel like they’re playing a game and having friendly competition.
  • Good use of colour and graphics which makes it exciting.
  • Parents receives a progress email at the end to let them know how their child did.

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How To Buy

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.

All of these are a one-off payment until they expire – so no additional costs.

Try It Out:

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