Guide to grammar schools and the Secondary Transfer Test

Last updated: 15 April 2024

Secondary Transfer Testing process

Familiarisation booklet

The booklet contains information about what the test is like. There is also advice about taking on the test and sample questions and answers.

If your child goes to a state funded Buckinghamshire primary school, we will send you a Familiarisation booklet by post.

If your child goes to an out of county school, download the familiarisation booklet (PDF, 2 MB).

This document may not be fully accessible. For more information, or to request an accessible version of any document, contact our school admissions team.

Practice test

Your child should take the practice test before they take the Secondary Transfer Test.

The practice test looks the same as the Secondary Transfer Test and has the same instructions. Your child will sit the two multiple-choice Practice Test papers in test conditions. These are both timed like the Secondary Transfer Test. An audio soundtrack gives the instructions for the test.

The practice test will mean your child becomes very familiar with the different sorts of questions and the style of the test. Your child will get used to using a separate answer sheet. Your child will experience this under test conditions. The Practice Test papers are shorter than the Secondary Transfer Test:

  • they take about 40 minutes each
  • they are not marked or sent home

The purpose of the Practice Test is not to see how well your child has done. It is to give your child a good opportunity to prepare for the Secondary Transfer Test.

If your child goes to a state funded Buckinghamshire primary or Partner school, they will normally be expected to take the Practice Test before attempting the Secondary Transfer Test except where they have chosen to attend another area’s test session and this clashes with the practice test session. An alternative practice test date will not be offered where the child has chosen to sit a test in another area.

If your child goes to any other school, we will invite them to take the practice test, usually at one of the grammar schools, in September.

We recommended your child takes the practice test before the Secondary Transfer Test but it is not compulsory.

How parents can best help their children to prepare for the test

There are several things that parents can do to help their children:

  • make sure your child has experience of working quietly on their own. Make sure there are no distractions or interruptions
  • make sure your child does any homework that is set
  • help your child to read with understanding
  • you can ask them what certain words mean and what is happening in the passage or book that they are reading
  • you can encourage your child to solve problems or to look up things for themselves.
  • your child can work through the Familiarisation booklet

You can also find additional free familiarisation materials from the GL Assessment website.

The Secondary Transfer Test

There are two Secondary Transfer Test papers.

They are multiple-choice. One paper tests verbal skills including comprehension, technical English and verbal reasoning. The other tests mathematics and non-verbal skills including spatial reasoning.

Each paper is about 45 minutes long (60 minutes including the introduction and examples). An audio soundtrack gives the instructions for the test.