How to deal with scores in NI Transfer Tests

Hopefully you’ve established already HOW you’re planning to get your hands on the letter (if not, click here to read “Sentry, hunter-gatherer or postie-stalker?“). Now let’s talk about dealing with scores from NI Transfer Tests.

Now it’s worth thinking about how to deal with AQE Transfer Test scores and WHAT to do when the letter is firmly in your grasp. You can’t do anything to influence the scores now, but you do have total control of your response to them. This is all about your practical response to the scores. Of course, you’ll also be thinking about how to handle your child’s emotions and expectations – you know best how to stay positive. This is the perfect time to think about how you handle results day, and beyond, so that everyone keeps their positivity intact.

Before the letter arrives, think …

What are you going to say?

Decide what you’re going to say when the letter is opened. Something along the lines of “so proud … you gave it everything … great to get it over with …” and stick with your planned speech, whatever the score. It’s a real effort to seem positive if you face disappointment, but you’ll be glad you did if necessary. A little speech of pride planned in advance means you’re less likely to say something ill-judged in the heat of the moment if you or your child feel confused or disappointed. Along the same lines, you might want to plan a little treat that will go ahead, regardless of the result.

Who are you sharing your Transfer Tests score with?

Best handled sensitively! Shout your child’s success from the rooftops to your nearest and dearest, of course. But spare a thought for families who might be feeling deflated or upset before you begin broadcasting to other parents and children who are dealing with their own results day!

A useful tip – arrange with your closest parent friends in advance whether you’ll be sharing and comparing on the day.


You know the NI Transfer Tests score, now what?

On the day itself, you’ll be faced with one of three outcomes.

1. Your child has clearly scored enough to get into one of their preferred schools (based on previous years)

Rejoice, start phoning the proud grandparents and proceed with the day!

2. Their score is borderline for acceptance to their preferred schools (based on previous years)

This happens to a large number of parents and children. Most likely, you’ve a bit of a waiting game here. The lowest scores admitted to each school do vary a little from year to year. You could think about making a quick phone call to your preferred schools in the next few days to talk over the chances. If you accept that the score is roughly as expected, then you’ll have to wait until May to see what happens this year. It will surely help to start talking up some of the other options of acceptable schools too, and get along to some additional open days.

3. The NI Transfer Tests score is not what you’d hoped for

You’re not alone. You’ll have to mull over your choice here – accept it or query it?

Either way you might want to think about revisiting some schools and taking stock of the options. Lots of schools hold more open days after the scores are issued, and you’ll be in good company if you want to visit, take your time to consider other acceptable schools or even check out some you hadn’t thought about.

The score may be a shock, and doesn’t reflect your child’s performance in practice tests or other standardised tests used by their school, such as NFERs (by all means, ask their primary school if they have other information they can give you about your child’s results in standardised tests in recent years). Armed with this information, your child’s primary school should be able to advise you about how to proceed.

It’s possible to have the AQE test re-marked, and you can find out more about that by contacting the AQE office directly. Just bear in mind that, as the tests are marked and checked rigorously, it’s unlikely for the score to change, but nothing is impossible. It’s certainly an option to consider if it will give you peace of mind. The AQE office are reportedly very helpful about talking you through a surprise score, so it’s certainly a telephone call you’ll want to think about.

Applying for special circumstances

If your child’s performance was affected by medical or other issues, you should now start the process of applying for special circumstances. The official AQE website has a form you can download that will guide you through the process (to find out more about special circumstances, click here).

Moving on from NI Transfer Tests

It’s a day of high drama, and often a test or character and resilience, but you will all move on. Hopefully it helps to know that, once your child is settled in their chosen post-primary school, transfer test scores disappear into the mists of time! By then no-one asks or cares about the result, so try to help your child feel positive about the challenge they’ve tackled and the skills they’ve learnt in the process.

You’ve no influence over the actual score at this stage, but you’re in total control of how your family deals with the results.

One last little tip – don’t lose the results letter in the excitement of the day. You need it for the transfer application form, so put it somewhere safe!

Good luck to you all for results day. Thinking about you and wishing you well!


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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2 Replies to “How to deal with scores in NI Transfer Tests”

  1. Pauline lindsay

    Will there only be one result on the letter as I’m afraid of getting mixed up if the raw score etc is on it also?

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