Revealed – Lowest Accepted Transfer Test Grades For Schools In Northern Ireland 2018

Posted: by January 8th, 2019 can exclusively reveal the AQE and GL scores and grades it took to get into Northern Ireland’s selective grammar schools in September 2018.

PropertyPal, with advice and support from The Transfer Tutor (Multi-Award Winning App), has recently added school information to its website, showing key details for all local primary, secondary, integrated and grammar schools, such as admission, enrolment and application numbers, admissions criteria and minimum accepted transfer grades and scores.

The location of schools is an important factor for many people when deciding where to rent or buy a home. By having all of this data in one place, the new school details provided by PropertyPal will also be invaluable to a number of parents, regardless of whether or not they are currently thinking of moving home.

Find out more about PropertyPal’s new School Finder.

The Results

Of the 199 post primary schools in Northern Ireland, 63 are grammar schools which use total or partial academic selection for their year 8 intake.

As well as the lowest accepted transfer test grades and scores for 2018, 2017 and 2016, the data compiled by PropertyPal also includes the number of applications and admissions received by each school.

See the scores: NI Grammar Schools’ minimum transfer test scores and grades 2018

Our Lady’s Grammar School, St Joseph’s Grammar School and Thornhill College failed to provide their lowest grades/scores under Freedom of Information Act requests.

Of the 60 selective grammar schools which did provide their results, here are some of our key findings:

  • Seven schools using the AQE examination did not accept a score below 100.
  • Friends’ School, Lisburn had the highest minimum AQE acceptance score of 106.
  • Four of the responding schools which use the GL examination did not accept a grade of below A. These are Aquinas Diocesan Grammar School, Our Lady and St Patrick’s College, Belfast, St Malachy’s College, Belfast, and Lumen Christi College.
  • 29 schools accepted the AQE exam, 26 accepted the GL exam, whilst 8 accepted either.
  • Lagan College (which uses partial selective intake), was the most popular school with 472 applications and admitted 202 pupils.
  • Of the selective grammar schools in Belfast; Grosvenor Grammar School (AQE 102), Aquinas, Our Lady and St Patrick’s College, Rathmore Grammar and St Malachy’s College (all GL grade A) were among the toughest to get into.

Information About The Transfer Tests

A total number of 8,707 pupils sat this year’s AQE exam, up from 8,169 in 2017/18. 7,800 applied to sit the GL assessment this year, compared to 7,150 last year.

Selective grammar schools have been using the AQE and GL examinations to select pupils since 2008 when the 11-plus was abolished.

Pupils are set to receive their transfer test grades and scores on Saturday 26th January 2019.

Minimum transfer test acceptance scores were compiled by PropertyPal via Freedom of Information requests. All information regarding applications, admissions and enrolment numbers is from the Education Authority website.

There is no official centralised data from the Department of Education regarding transfer test grades, as both AQE and GL assessments are unofficial entrance exams.

As well as 2018/19’s minimum accepted scores, PropertyPal’s School Finder also shows data dating back to 2016. The AQE and GL scores and grades needed for a place at the selective grammar schools can vary from year to year, based on a number of factors, such as fluctuating admissions numbers.

When comparing schools, it is also important to take size into account. For example; School A might have a lowest minimum score of 102, whilst School B’s minimum score is 89. However School A may have admitted 100 pupils, compared to School B’s 200.

It should also be noted that a number of the 63 grammar schools only use academic selection for a percentage of their intake. For more information, we recommend contacting the specific school in question.

Visit PropertyPal’s School Finder

For more information on NI transfer exams, visit The Transfer Tutor (Multi-Award Winning App) 

The Transfer Tutor is a key resource for parents whose children are preparing for the AQE and GL exams in Northern Ireland. PropertyPal sought advice from The Transfer Tutor in the creation of our new schools section to ensure we were meeting the need of parents in this age range.


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