Transfer Testing and Grammar schools

5. Familiarisation and Preparation

Children attending Buckinghamshire LA and Partner schools were 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.

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 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 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 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 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 Transfer Test until they have taken the Preparation Test.

Children attending all other schools have been invited to take the Preparation Test usually at one of the grammar schools on 13 September 2016. It is strongly recommended that the Preparation Test is taken before sitting the 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 they do any homework that is set. They can help their children 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.

Centre for Evaluation & Monitoring (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.

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Last updated: 16 March 2017