AQE score calculator: a rough guide from practice test percentages

Why might you  want/need an AQE score calculator?

In my experience, parents want to know what AQE score their child can expect, based on their percentage scores in practice tests. They want to know – what is a good score at AQE?

There’s very little information out there about AQE test score/ percentage equivalents, because the answer is not fixed, or even the same every year.

However, it’s possible to use a rough guide to estimate what AQE score your child could expect, based on percentage scores in practice tests.

By the way, this site is full of information about helping your child achieve their potential in the AQE Transfer Test, as well as our 30 minute workbooks.


Is an AQE score calculator even possible?

I think it’s possible to get to an educated estimate.

In fact, teachers do this all the time. Most P7 teachers will try to make a correlation, year on year, between the average practice test score and then the final AQE score, of their pupils. This helps teachers help parents. It means teachers can advise parents, with some certainty, of what AQE score their child is heading towards.

Rough guide to equivalent scores

But please be aware that comparing percentage scores and final AQE scores is NOT an exact science.

Based on experience first and foremost, plus information on raw scores and final test scores kindly shared by friends and other parents, I’ve tried to give you a rough guide here in my AQE score calculator of what AQE test score has been equivalent to in percent in previous years.

Please remember that this is only a rough guide.

I don’t want to give you the impression that I worked this out on the back of an envelope! It’s based on more than five year’s experience, including several years as a test marker, but this is only a guide for your information.

You should also understand this –

  • Average scores in each test paper will vary with difficulty of the questions. I’ve noticed a tendency for the questions to get slightly more difficult every year – this is not a bad thing – it probably helps spread the marks out a bit. Also in one test year, each paper will vary in difficulty. This has also now been skewed by the pandemic years, when papers were adjusted again to account for missed learning.
  • Scores are age-adjusted – that’s partly why I’ve suggested a tight range of potential final scores. Don’t worry about this. Age adjustments are slight and make the test fair for all ages. It’s not something you should worry about, given that it’s out of your control!
  • The practice test percentages your child gets will rise over months – you don’t need, and shouldn’t expect, them to be hitting their top scores until November.

If you want to learn more about how AQE test scores are worked out, click here.

AQE scores/percent ready reckoner

So with all that in mind, here’s my best estimate of what to expect (note there is a bit of overlap in the range, especially around the average).

This scoring ready reckoner hasn’t let me down yet.

By the way, if you’d like to share any information about raw and final scores that might help other parents, please feel free to contact me. I would love to know if these estimates hold true for you.

Practice test score in percent & estimated AQE score

% score            Estimated AQE score

< 65%               < 88

66-69%           89-92

70-72%           91-95

73-77%           96-100

77-79%           98-103

80-81%          102-105

82-84%          106-110

85-86%          110-111

87-89%          111-114

90-92%          114-117

93-94%          117-120

95% +              120 +


Equivalent scores in detail using AQE score calculator

What percentage is 100 in AQE?

We reckon the average AQE score (100) roughly equates to between 76-80%, depending on the paper, and is most likely in the high-70s.

How many points do you need to get into a grammar school?

In terms of scores accepted by different schools, many parents get fixated on a particular ‘cut-off’ point their child needs to get into the school of their choice.

I don’t advise getting too caught up with this, as the lowest score accepted by any school can change from year to year. The Belfast Telegraph publishes a guide every year. Here’s a link to a recent example.

However, here are few estimated cut-off points for you, if this is something that you want to think about –

  • % in the low-to-mid 70s roughly equates to 95+ at AQE
  • % in the high-70s roughly equates to 100 at AQE
  • % in the low-80s roughly equates to 105+ at AQE
  • % in the mid-80s should take you to about 110+ at AQE

I really hope this AQE ready reckoner helps you.

Whatever you do, please don’t put your child under pressure to achieve the score you think they ‘need’, especially if you’re nowhere near the end of the journey. Step by step is best.

You’ll get the most accurate prediction of their AQE test score by looking at their practice test percentages in October and especially in November, and not before!

I’ve got lots of other advice about how to help you child reach their potential in the AQE Test – like this about how to read English comprehension texts better.

Or this on using fraction cubes to revise AQE test maths. 

Stick with me and I’ll share with you everything I know about achieving your potential in the AQE Transfer Test.

Our site is full of information about helping your child achieve their potential in the AQE Transfer Test, including our 30 minute workbooks.

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