The much-anticipated announcement regarding the changes to the Bucks Secondary Transfer (11+) tests was made yesterday afternoon via an update to the Buckinghamshire Grammar Schools (BGS) website.  With the change in exam provider having been announced earlier this year, many parents have been wondering what exactly this change may mean – particularly for those children due to sit the ‘new’ test for the first time in September 2018.  

The test, which for the past three years has been written by Durham CEM, is now t be written by GL Assessment.  Since GL Assessment were formerly the providers of the Bucks 11+ tests, prior to the last change in 2014, rumours have been abounding that the test would revert back to the same format as the ‘old’ verbal reasoning test that comprised twenty-one specific question types – in spite of the fact that BGS had stated that the tests would continue to include maths, verbal and non-verbal reasoning question types.

Yesterday’s official announcement confirms that the papers will indeed include maths, verbal and non-verbal reasoning and also provides a bit more detail as to what this will entail. Here is a summary outline of the new tests:

Test details:

  • The test date for all candidates will be Thursday 13th September 2018.
  • Two short familiarisation papers will be taken on Tuesday 11th

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: https://www.buckscc.gov.uk/services/education/school-admissions/moving-up-to-secondary-school/ (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:

  • Comprehension
  • Technical English
  • Verbal reasoning

Paper 2:

  • Non-verbal reasoning
  • Spatial reasoning
  • Maths

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 – 50%; mathematical – 25%; non-verbal – 25%. 
  • Grammar school places will then be offered according to the admissions policy of each school.

For how to ensure your child is prepared and ready to tackle the tests to the best of their ability, look out for our next blog: Preparing your child for the Bucks 11+ tests.

For further information about the content of the tests, including the types of questions to expect  and how to support your child at home, come along to one of our free parent information sessions taking place over the next few weeks.

For information on Flying Start Tuition’s 11+ courses, contact: hello@flyingstarttuition.co.ukor call 01494 772898.

The full details from BGS can be found here: https://www.thebucksgrammarschools.org/the-secondary-transfer-test

Information on Secondary Transfer Testing process can be found here: https://www.buckscc.gov.uk/services/education/school-admissions/secondary-transfer-testing-2019/