A question that I’m regularly asked is, “My child has their heart set on a school that accepts the GL result, but do you think I should apply for the AQE too, or do you think that’ll be too much pressure on them?”
Well, firstly, everyone knows their own child and what will be deemed as too much pressure (or not) so that one I can’t be generic about, however, there are some things worth considering and I hope this helps with your decision.
AQE Result May Be Plan B
I guess the most obvious reason for doing the AQE test is that you actually might need the result if things don’t go well in the GL. Some people will have it all planned out that if their child does well they go to X school and if they don’t achieve the required score (which of course we don’t exactly know right now), they will go to Y school. But things change, preferences change, friends’ decisions change, and so it may be the case that if the child does fantastic in the AQE test, but has an off-day with the GL, this may just open more doors and opportunities – perhaps to schools you hadn’t previously considered.
Kids Are Resilient
I know the nerves are kicking in and the kids are a bit fed up with the whole revision malarkey, but on the ‘big days’, I find the vast majority (with some exceptions) of the kids are excited and happy the day has finally arrived. When trying to think ahead, some parents think that the pressure will be too much for their little one and I’m not going to argue that they are definitely the ones that will know their own child best – but I think at other times, some parents may be very surprised at how resilient their child can be.
Good Dry Run
If the child is relying on achieving a good score in the GL test, doing the AQE, just one week beforehand, could be the perfect way to get them familiar with an unfamiliar environment. By doing the AQE test, it could act as a good dry run so that the child will get a feel of how it is going to be to, get up on a Saturday, get breakfast, go to a unknown test centre and sit down and do a test. Okay, that may not sound ideal or exciting, but when they then roll up to the GL test, they will be more familiar with this experience and it could be less daunting and feel like less of an unknown.
Regret Something You Did, Not Something You Didn’t
Admittedly, there are a couple of parents who I’ve met in the past that did regret doing putting their child in for all the tests, because their child did well in the GL anyway and so they deemed this superfluous, but there are more parents I know who regretted not putting their child forward for both because their child didn’t do as well as excepted or their circumstances changed. For me, I would like to be in the category of regretting something I did, rather than regretting something I didn’t do – but that may be just me and again, to some extent, this may be a personal preference.
Good Backup If Change In Circumstances
Life rarely stays the same and who knows what’s down the line – a new job, a house move etc., so doing the AQE gives the child a score in case they need it in the future. At a recent event I heard the story of a child from Enniskillen who sat the GL test and did really well but a year later their family moved to Derry/Londonderry and couldn’t get into the local grammar as that school actually wanted an AQE score. Maybe worth thinking about.
Gets Things Moving
I have this image in my head that the tests, the excitement, the adrenaline – it’s all like a competitive race – and in some ways it is a competition for school places. So, I feel that doing the AQE beforehand is like getting off that starting block and starting to move, physically and getting the child’s head in the game. I’m not sure I’m making a lot of sense on this point, but it’s possible that doing the GL test, relying on going from a standing-still position to start and then finish on the same day, isn’t going to be as effective as starting the week beforehand and already being in a ‘jogging’ stance when the child goes into the GL test.
Applying For The AQE Test
If after reading this you now want to apply for the AQE test, that was not my intention but I did want to highlight the potential benefits to new parents who may not fully understand the process or what’s down the line.
If you do want to apply, don’t delay as the closing date is this Friday, 7th September and here’s what you need to know:
- You’ll need to pick some options for test centres as these are allocated on a first come first serve basis and a list of test centres (click on words for link) is available to choose.
- It will cost you £50 and this is non-refundable. However it is free if your child is entitled to free school meals.
- You need to include 2 passport sized photos, a completed registration form (click on words for link) and the £50 cheque or pay online (if needed).
- You can post the application form off or hand deliver it to Weaver’s Court in Belfast (a business park behind the Europa Hotel).
- Any requests for Access Arrangements (that is, extra time etc), must also be sent by the 7th September (according to the website) but my guess is that there may be some flexibility in this – but speak to the AQE office if you need to clarify this. Their number is 02890 224002.
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 device, tablet or computer, 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 impressive 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.