Children sitting the Bucks Secondary Transfer (11+) test in September 2018 will encounter a different test to that sat by their peers for the past five years. Since the announcement of a change in exam provider earlier this year, many parents have been wondering how exactly the transition will impact their children.

The last changeover in exam provider came in 2013, when Durham CEM took over from GL Assessment. Since GL Assessment will now be providing the test again, there has been concern that the test will revert back to its pre-2013 format, comprising twenty-one specific question types. However, an update to the Buckinghamshire Grammar Schools website last week has made clear that the test will continue to include maths, verbal and non-verbal reasoning question types.

What does this mean for children facing the test next year? Here is a summary outline of the tests to be provided by GL Assessment, along with details about the possible questions candidates may be required to tackle:

Test details:

The test date for all candidates will be Thursday 13th September 2018.

Two short familiarisation papers will be taken on Tuesday 11th September.

Test registration:

Children attending Bucks primary schools do not need to register as they will automatically be entered for the tests unless a parent withdraws them.

Parents of children attending out-of-county and partner schools must register their child between 1st May and 28th June 2018.

Details of how to register your child will be available here: (NB: this is not yet updated for 2019 entry).

All children in Buckinghamshire primary schools and partner schools will usually sit the test in their own school. Other children will take the test at one of the grammar schools or another central location.

Test format:

Children will take two 45-minute papers with a short break in between, comprising:

Paper 1:


Technical English

Verbal reasoning

Paper 2:

Non-verbal reasoning

Spatial reasoning



Possible question types:

Literacy / vocabulary-based exercises including:

  • Comprehension
  • Cloze procedure (missing words or letters)
  • Punctuation exercises
  • Spelling exercises
  • Grammar exercises
  • Jumbled sentences

Verbal reasoning questions including, potentially any of the GL Assessment verbal reasoning question types such as:

  • Synonyms
  • Antonyms
  • Word categories
  • Other vocabulary exercises, e.g. Compound words
  • Word problems requiring a large amount of information to be processed logically
  • Code questions

Mathematical reasoning, mostly encompassing the Year 5 curriculum although some Year 6 topics may appear. Topics could include any topics off the primary maths curriculum, for example:

  • All four operations
  • Fractions/decimals/percentages
  • Algebra
  • Money/time/measures
  • Problem solving

Non-verbal and spatial reasoning could include questions on:

  • Shapes
  • Patterns
  • Sequences
  • Matrices
  • Cube nets
  • Reflections/rotations
  • 3D visualisation
  • Codes


Test features:

  • Separate test paper and multiple choice answer booklet
  • Timed sections within each test paper
  • Instructions delivered via audio file
  • Tests marked by an optical mark reader (scanner)


Results will be published on 12th October 2018

A standardised Secondary Transfer Test Score (STTS) score of 121 must be achieved in order to qualify for entry to a Buckinghamshire grammar school.

  • The STTS is calculated by age-standardising the three subject scores and then adding them using the following weightings:
  • Verbal reasoning: 50%
  • Mathematical reasoning: 25%
  • Non-verbal and spatial reasoning: 25%

Grammar school places will then be offered according to the admissions policy of each school.

The 11+ test may seem daunting, but Flying Start is here to help. Look out for next month’s 11+ feature which gives guidance for parents on how to support your child through the 11+.

For information on Flying Start Tuition’s 11+ courses, visit our website:, contact: or call 01494 772898.

For sample GL Assessment questions, see:

Please note that these are not specifically written for the Bucks 11+ tests and question types, difficulty level and format may vary.

The full details from BGS can be found here:

Information on Secondary Transfer Testing process can be found here: