The Buckinghamshire Transfer Test (11+) explained
Which schools require a Transfer Test pass?
There are two types of school in Buckinghamshire – upper schools (also known as all-ability schools) and grammar schools. All children living in this area take a Transfer Test (formerly known as the 11+) in order to determine whether they are of grammar school ability.
There are 13 grammar schools in the area, and they are all academies. This means that each school sets its own admission policies, but all children throughout the county take the same test. You can check the individual admission arrangements for each school here. The 13 grammar schools are:
- Aylesbury Grammar School (Boys)
- Aylesbury High School (Girls)
- Beaconsfield High School (Girls)
- Burnham Grammar School (Mixed)
- Chesham Grammar School (Mixed)
- Dr Challoner’s Grammar School (Boys)
- Dr Challoner’s High School (Girls)
- John Hampden Grammar School (Boys)
- Royal Grammar School (Boys)
- Royal Latin School (Mixed)
- Sir Henry Floyd Grammar School (Mixed)
- Sir William Borlase’s Grammar School (Mixed)
- Wycombe High School (Girls)
What does the test involve?
Each child completes two multiple-choice ability tests, of about the same level of difficulty. Both tests assess the child’s ability in:
- Verbal reasoning: about 50 per cent of the marks, including reading comprehension, vocabulary and grammar
- Numerical reasoning: about 30 per cent of the marks, covering Key Stage 2 mental maths and multi-step problem-solving
- Non-verbal reasoning: about 20 per cent of the marks, focusing on logic, deduction and concepts like symmetry and rotation
Each test lasts 45 to 50 minutes and is divided into separately timed sections covering the three elements.
What version of the test is used?
The Transfer Test is set by GL Assessment.
How do you arrange for your child to take the test?
Registration for the test is automatic for children who attend Buckinghamshire primary schools, unless you express your wish to withdraw your child from testing by simply emailing email@example.com or by letting their head teacher know. If your child doesn't go to a Buckinghamshire Local Authority primary school and you'd like them to take the Transfer Test, you'll need to register them online. For any further information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01296 383250.
Where are the tests held?
If your child is at a Buckinghamshire LA primary school, they will take the Transfer Test at their own school. If they don't go to an LA school, or are at school outside the area, they will be tested, usually on the same day, at one of the county's grammar schools (known as Central Testing).
What is the pass mark?
The marks from each test are standardised (which ensures all children have an equal advantage despite when their birthday falls) and added together to make a single Secondary Transfer Test Score (STTS), which will determine whether they’ve achieved the necessary standard to attend one of the area's grammar schools.
The qualifying score is 121; on average, 30 per cent of children who take the Transfer Test will achieve this score or higher. This makes them eligible for any of the grammar schools in the area, subject to their own admission criteria (e.g. sex). However, it doesn't guarantee them a place at their preferred school if it is oversubscribed and there are other qualifying children who better meet the admission criteria – for example, those who live nearer the school.
How can I help prepare my child?
Children attending Local Authority and Partner schools will be given a familiarisation booklet (also available to download) by their school to fill out at home to give them chance to try out the types of question and style of test. They will also take two Preparation Tests at school. Children attending other schools will be invited to attend Preparation Tests at a central venue. The tests are not marked or sent home, but are purely to help the children prepare themselves for the tests to come.