How to make all AQE practice tests useful

Tests, tests, more tests …

what’s the point?

Practice tests can help you learn key English and Maths facts - use them as an opportunity, not a trial to be endured!
Practice tests can help your child learn key English and Maths facts – use them as an opportunity, not a trial to be endured!

Testing in schools is a very divisive issue, along with the merits of competitive sport (anyone familiar with sports day races where no-one wins?). A good school shouldn’t be driven mainly by the results of standardised testing. Many parents, and some teachers, argue that testing puts unnecessary stress on children. Testing can be old-fashioned and often doesn’t reflect that children learn and develop at different rates. So what about AQE practice tests?

However, you’re signed up to academic testing if you choose to register for the AQE Transfer Test in Northern Ireland. So maybe it’s time to ditch your negative opinions on the value of tests, and embrace the positive.

Here’s one key fact to chew on – AQE practice tests help your child learn

Put simply, when you’re under pressure to recall something (in a test, for example) you are more likely to remember it again.

Or, as an article in Live Science suggests – “…research has found that the act of retrieving information from memory actually makes remembering it easier.” (Stephanie Pappas, link below)

How to learn the most from AQE practice tests

Use AQE practice tests as a chance to highlight the topics your child needs to work on.

Remind them that, if they are struggling to grasp something, that’s an opportunity for really effective learning. If recalling something is too easy, there’s some proof that long-term learning is lower. Part of the learning may happen because you remember the struggle to take it in!

Write your own mini AQE test questions

Once you’ve gone over tricky questions, make up little mini tests for your child. These should deal with only one particular topic – for example, five questions on fractions. You don’t need to be a teacher to write questions in the same style as the test. They need only take 5 minutes to answer.

Repeat tricky questions a week later

Repeating questions from AQE practice tests helps your child learn the technique for answering that style of question. There’s no harm going back to a wrongly-answered question a week or so later, to see if it’s now correct. Celebrate great progress when it is!

Get your child involved in marking

Let them check their score themselves. Work out the percentage, or maybe calculate their average score for the last month. Working out averages is a maths skill they will be tested on, so they are learning without realising it!


Whatever you think about academic testing, the Maths and English curriculum that the AQE test covers is ESSENTIAL learning for your child to progress in their next school. They need to know this information, whether they sit AQE transfer tests or not.


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


If you want to read the science

You can read about some recent scientific research on testing here –

and here –







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