September 2019 will see a second cohort of pupils sit the ‘new’ Bucks Secondary Transfer (11+) tests. Although many parents are aware that the exam has recently undergone changes, they may not be clear on what will now be tested.

Prior to 2014, the Bucks 11+ tests were provided by GL Assessment. Using 21 specific question types, the exam tested verbal reasoning skills. When Durham CEM took over as exam provider in 2014, it introduced maths and non-verbal reasoning to the paper. Following the announcement in December 2017 that GL Assessment would once again provide the exam, there were rumours that the paper would revert back to the previous 21-question-type format.

However, the ‘new’ paper continues to examine maths and non-verbal reasoning alongside verbal reasoning. GL Assessment’s 21 verbal reasoning question types have made a return, though they are now joined by a 22nd possible type and it is possible that additional types may be added in future. Here is a summary outline of the ‘new’ tests:

Test details:

  • The test date for all candidates will be Thursday 12th September 2019.
  • Two short familiarisation papers will be taken on Tuesday 10th September 2019.

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 during the application window. Dates for 2019 are not yet available, though applications usually open at the beginning of May and close around the end of June.
  • Details of how to register your child will be available here.
  • 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 are published in mid-October, though the precise date has not yet been publicised.
  • 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 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.

The full details from BGS can be found here.

Information on Secondary Transfer Testing process can be found here

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

To get a clear idea of the type of questions your child may encounter, DOWNLOAD sample 11+ questions written by our in-house experts.