Secondary Transfer Testing and Grammar schools 2018

8. Secondary Transfer Testing process

Familiarisation and Preparation

Children attending Buckinghamshire LA and Partner schools as above are given a Familiarisation booklet to take home during the summer term of Year 5. For children attending all other schools, a copy of the Familiarisation booklet is available online to download and print off.

The booklet contains information about the content of the test, some advice about tackling the test and a few sample questions. Before taking the Secondary Transfer Test in September, children will take the Preparation Test.

The Preparation Test looks the same as the Secondary Transfer Test and has the same instructions. Children sit the two multiple-choice Preparation Test papers in test conditions. These are both timed like the Secondary Transfer Test, with instructions given to children via an audio soundtrack.

The Preparation Test enables children to become very familiar with the different types of questions and the style of the test, to use a separate answer sheet and to experience this under test conditions. The Preparation Test papers are shorter than the Secondary Transfer Test and take about 35 minutes each. They will not be marked or sent home. The purpose of the Preparation Test is not to see how well the children have done but to give them a good opportunity to prepare themselves for the Secondary Transfer Test.

If your child goes to a Buckinghamshire LA primary or Partner school, they will take the Preparation Test at their own school. They will not sit the Secondary Transfer Test until they have taken the Preparation Test.

Children attending all other schools will be invited to take the Preparation Test, usually at one of the grammar schools, on 12 September 2017. It is strongly recommended that the Preparation Test is taken before sitting the Secondary Transfer Test but it is not essential.

How parents best help their children to prepare for the test

There are a number of things that parents can do to help their children. They can ensure that they have experience of working quietly on their own, uninterrupted by noise or distractions. They can ensure that their child does any homework that is set. They can help their child to read with understanding, for example by asking them what certain words mean and what is happening in the passage or book that they are reading. They can encourage them to solve problems by themselves or to look up things for themselves.

CEM also advise that good preparation for the test is to develop a child's ability to read with understanding and to solve problems using their numerical skills: this is what primary schools are doing with all their pupils.

Although there are products on the market claiming to provide practice for CEM tests, there are no commercially available practice papers, materials or services written by CEM (the test provider). CEM does not recommend that parents purchase or subscribe to any commercially available materials. The Secondary Transfer Test is designed to enable all children to demonstrate their academic potential without the need for excessive preparation. Tutoring is therefore not required or recommended.

The Secondary Transfer Test

The Secondary Transfer Test will be taken on 14 September 2017. There are two Secondary Transfer Test papers. They are multiple-choice and are both of about the same level of difficulty. Each paper is about 50 minutes long and is in a number of separately timed sections. Children are given instructions via an audio soundtrack.

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Last updated: 26 April 2017