Applying For The GL Test

Closing Date For Registration

Registration will close Friday 24th September 2021 at 2pm (and they are usually strict about this time and date, unless you have exceptional reasons you couldn’t apply).

How Much Does It Cost?

It’s FREE to sit the GL Test as all costs are covered by the Catholic Grammar schools.

When Will The Test Be Held?

The GL assessment test will take place on:

  • Saturday 13th November 2021 at 10am

The Supplementary GL Test date is available in case your child could not sit the original test due to sickness or unforeseen circumstances. It will be held on:

  • Saturday 11th December 2021 at 10am

N.B This supplementary date will also be used if no-one can sit the original test on the 13th November e.g. due to Covid.

Registration Form (Download)

You’ll be glad to hear the registration form is quite straightforward and it only captures the basic information necessary to apply for the test – so it’s nothing to worry about.

GL Registration Form:

Click below to download the form:

Guidance Notes For The GL Form:

Click below if you need to refer to the official guidance notes.

Where Can My Child Sit The Test?

There are twenty-one locations where the child can sit the GL test and these are the grammar schools which will ultimately accept the GL result as their admission criteria. You can have a look at the list of schools below:

  • Antrim Grammar School, 10 Steeple Road, Antrim BT41 1AF
  • Aquinas Diocesan Grammar School, Ravenhill Road, Belfast BT6 0BY
  • Assumption Grammar School, 24 Belfast Road, Ballynahinch BT24 8EA
  • Campbell College, Belfast Belmont Road, Belfast BT4 2ND
  • Dominican College, Belfast 38 Fortwilliam Park, Belfast BT15 4AQ
  • Hunterhouse College, Upper Lisburn Road, Finaghy BT10 0LE
  • Loreto Grammar School, Omagh James’ Street, Omagh BT78 1DL
  • Lumen Christi College, Bishop Street, Derry BT48 6UJ
  • Our Lady and St Patrick’s College, Knock 120 Gilnahirk Road, Belfast BT5 7DL
  • Rainey Endowed, 79 Rainey Street, Magherafelt BT45 5DB
  • Rathmore Grammar School, Kingsway, Finaghy, Belfast BT10 0LF
  • Slemish College, 147a Larne Road, Ballymena BT42 3HA
  • St. Dominic’s High School, 135-137 Falls Road, Belfast BT12 6AE
  • St Joseph’s Grammar School, 58 Castlecaulfield Rd, Donaghmore BT70 3HE
  • St Louis Grammar School, Ballymena Cullybackey Road, Ballymena BT43 5DW
  • St Malachy’s College, 36 Antrim Road, Belfast BT15 2AE
  • St Mary’s Grammar School, Magherafelt 3 Castledawson Road, Magherafelt BT45 6BE
  • St Patrick’s Academy, Dungannon 37 Killymeal Road, Dungannon BT71 6DF
  • St Patrick’s Grammar School, Downpatrick 109 Saul Street, Downpatrick BT30 6NJ
  • Victoria College, 2a Cranmore Park, Belfast BT9 6JA
  • Wellington College, Belfast 18 Carolan Road, Belfast BT7 3HE

When you are completing the GL registration form, you choose three possible centres where your child can sit the test, but you only send the form to the one which is first on your list.

Where Can I Get A Registration Form?

Registration forms are available from a number of places including:

  • Download and print from this blog (above).
  • If you don’t have a printer and need a hard copy all participating Grammar schools should have these available for you to pick up.
  • Some primary schools help with these forms and if you check with your child’s teacher, they may have some available.

Please note, there is no requirement for the primary school to spoon-feed you through this process or even check you’ve applied.

So this is up to you, as a parent, to organise if you want your child to sit the GL Test. 

What Do I Need To Include With My Application?

You’ll need:

  1. An original birth certificate is required by GL – not a photocopy. This can be a long or short one. Because the actual birth certificate is being handled, in reality a lot of parents go to the grammar school where they want their child to sit the GL test and hand over the registration form and the birth certificate, which is usually copied there and then handed back. This saves a lot of fretting and posting original documents which will then need to be posted back.
  2. A passport-sized photo of your child (only one is required for GL). You need to write the child’s name and date of birth on the back.
  3. Completed registration form using a black pen and in block capitals.
  4. If you’re applying for Access Arrangements, you can complete Form AA1 and provide evidence (although you can provide evidence later if there is a delay with that – but make sure you request Access Arrangements when your registration form is sent off).

Your Contact Details

It’s interesting to note that the registration form explains that it is the preference of the PPTC schools to use email and text to contact parents and so they ask parents to provide these contact details.

Therefore, please ensure you provide an email address that will be regularly checked and if you don’t have one, ask your partner, sister, brother or friend if you can use theirs, as you may need to be aware if the school contacts you this way and if there are any last minute changes.

Where Do I Send My Form When Complete?

The form is sent to the ‘first preference’ grammar school where you would like your child to sit the GL test. This can be done by post but as mentioned above, because you have to send an original birth certificate, calling into the school might be the best option as they tend to photocopy the birth certificate and give it straight back to you.

Also, as the schools will be off over the summer months and there is not a central office, I wouldn’t suggest you post anything to the grammar school over July and August as it could be misplaced. Best to get in before the end of June or wait until September.

Should I Give Approval For GDPR?

As part of the process, GL must ask for your explicit permission to share any information about your child and their score with certain third parties. You’re asked to give permission on two accounts:

  1. Share the result with the child’s primary school – My advice is to definitely make sure your child’s primary school gets your child’s result because otherwise the teacher is not going to know how your child did when they return to school after results. This could mean an awkward situation on the Monday and may prevent the school from being able to offer support if needed. Also, if anything happens with the normal mail (especially with the Covid19 risk) on Results Day, the primary school can be a great backup for you.
  2. Share the result with the Education Authority for administration.

Again, I would advice agreeing to share the result with the Education Authority, in case the Covid19 pandemic brings challenges of results being sent out, or something else unforeseen.

Why Do People Rush To Apply?

Some parents are just naturally, super-organised (never a state I ever managed to achieve myself) and when parents hear that others have already registered, it can trigger an element of panic as they can suddenly feel they’re behind the curve in this process. But there is no need to panic.

However (and it’s quite a big, however) some places in the assessment centres are allocated on a first-come first-served basis and so, if you have a favourite grammar school in mind, where you would really (really) like your child to sit the test, then you might indeed need to get in quickly before all the spaces are filled up. This is especially true if your child is sitting both the AQE and GL test and you want them to sit the tests in the same school, as these spaces can go very quickly (especially now that I’ve made people more aware).

Also, as mentioned above, because the GL registration is going to a grammar school which may be closed during the summer months, it’s best to get it in before the end of June and then you can put it behind you, so this can also trigger a sense of urgency.

In reality, many grammar schools for GL are reported to never turning a child away and will simply ‘open up another classroom if more people apply than expected, but this is not the case for all centres and for example, Wellington College does get filled up very quickly (as it is a GL and AQE Centre).

How Do I Decide Where My Child Should Sit The Test?

There are a number of factors to consider when deciding where the child should sit the test, and these are covered in the blogWhere Should My Child Sit The Test?

In summary, you should consider:

  • Handiness to home location.
  • Is the test centre an all-boys or all-girls school?
  • Small classrooms or large halls?
  • Are you sitting it in the school the child intends to go to?
  • Does the test centre do both the AQE and GL exams?
  • Don’t choose the grammar school to sit the test just because you think it might influence their ultimate decision to offer your child a future place.

My Child Is Also Doing AQE. Do Any Centres Accommodate Both Tests?

Yes, there are five test centres which will accommodate both the AQE and GL test and as you can imagine, these get booked up quite quickly.

The only assessment centres where you can sit both are:

  • Antrim Grammar School
  • Campbell College
  • Hunterhouse College
  • Victoria College
  • Wellington College

If your child is sitting both tests in the one location, this will offer you the benefit that you’ll know the parking arrangements, travel time, routine etc. and the child will have a consistent environment over the four weeks of testing.

Do I Apply For Extra Time / Access Arrangements At The Time Of Registering?

Access Arrangements are used when a child has a physical, learning or mental impairment which may have a negative impact upon their ability to perform at their best in the tests. Therefore extra support can be put in place to give them an equal chance of performing at their best, for example, a child with dyslexia can be awarded 25% extra time.

To apply for access arrangements, you indicate that you wish to do so in Section 3 and then you complete the relevant accesss forms.

However, you don’t need to send all of this at the time of registration, just as long as it is with the GL Centre before the closing date. However, in saying that, don’t be delaying too long in applying for any access arrangements, this as you’ll not know if your access arrangement has been approved until your situation has been considered fully.

Passport Photos Are Expensive. Are There Any Cheaper Ways To Get These?

We all know that passport photos aren’t cheap but the good news is that the photos for GL registration do not have to meet the tight guidelines needed for passports (lighting, smiling etc) and so thankfully there are some cheaper alternatives.

Basically, you can take a photo headshot of your child (normally up against a blank wall) and then use a website to create multiple passport sized photos onto a single photo size, which you then print of photo paper, take it to Boots, or send it off to get printed.

Check out these free websites below for some ideas:

Can My Child Sit The Test In Irish?

Yes, your child can take the Irish Medium Entrance Assessment and you indicate this preference on Section 5 of the registration form.

Snack – Special Dietary or Medical Requirements

Between the English and the Maths test paper, the child will be offered a little rest-break where they can have a walkabout and they’re also offered a small snack. This is great to break up any monotony and it is also why Section 6 of the registration form asks if your child has any special dietary or medical requirements.

If the answer to this question is yes, then further information is asked for and you are required to explain more in the Access Arrangement form(s).

When Will I Know What School My Child Will Sit The Test?

From a survey of the parents last year, many reported that some centres confirmed immediately that their child would be sitting the test at their first choice school (often when they handed in the form), but they never received official confirmation (letter) until after the closing date in October.

So, I would advise you to keep calm, know you’ve done what you need to do and just try to put it out of your mind. If you’re a member of the FREE Facebook Support Group (if not, feel free to join) you’ll start to hear the rumblings when people are starting to receive their official confirmation letters and so this will give you an idea of the current timeline, or alert you to a potential issue if you haven’t heard anything.

Can I Apply Late After Closing Date?

Unlike the AQE test, there is no notion of a late entry being accepted, and PPTCNI (who manage the GL test) state that forms received after the closing date will only be accepted if the parent / guardian can provide appropriate documentary evidence in support of an acceptable reason for the late registration. So, it’s best not to take any chances and make sure you meet this deadline.

My advice, if your child might do the GL test, just apply before the deadline as it’ll be easier to pull out than get a late application through. Plus, it’s free, so you’ll not even be out of pocket.

How Do I Contact PPTCNI / GL If I Have Any Queries?

There is no PPTCNI or GL central office to manage all queries, so any questions should be channelled through your chosen GL assessment centre (grammar school) and in my experience they are all very good and efficient in dealing with all queries.

More about The Transfer Tutor (Multi-Award Winning Online Quizzes)

If your child is doing the transfer test, I would strongly recommend The Transfer Tutor’s online quizzes to provide fun and interactive questions aligned directly to the AQE (and GL) specifications.  All quizzes are broken down into manageable topics and can be done on any mobile or tablet device, so it’s an great way for kids to learn and prepare for the test.  

There is such a buzz at the moment and this is because The Transfer Tutor :

  • Has a complete focus on the AQE & GL  specification.
  • Is mobile friendly working on smartphones and tablets which most children have access to.
  • In many questions, there will be a ‘hint’ option that offers the child details on the ‘rule’ or aids them to complete it correctly which helps their future application of the same type of question.
  • Has a function built in that the parents will be emailed with the child’s score when they have completed a test, so parents can track progress and also know the child is not off playing Minecraft or Candy Crush when they should be revising.
  • Question areas broken down into specific categories which allows the parent and child to identify areas of weakness and to focus on these for improvement.
  • Although tests will have more than 20 questions ‘behind the scenes’, the child is only faced with a random 20 questions each time so they can try the same test many times and will be getting different related challenges.
  • Not just practice questions, but if the child gets it wrong, the system will provide information on the rule or reason as to why this is happened, so they can build on their fundamental learning for the next time.
  • Leader board with the most recent 10 attempts listed (from all people) and this offers a level of competition that makes the child strive to be better.
  • Child friendly with the use of colours and pictures which encourages the child to want to log on and try a new quiz every day.

Simply choose the licence you need depending on the length of time you need access, click on the blue box, pay and then you’ll be off within minutes.

For any further questions, please contact me or check out the Frequently Asked Questions page.

Google Reviews:

Check out the Google Reviews to read what other customers felt about The Transfer Tutor.

Spoiler alert – all the kids (the most important people) and parents love it!

Try It Out:

To give you a feel for the quizzes, why not try out the quick fire free quiz by clicking on the button below (no need to register or pay, so don’t worry). This will hopefully let you see how the questions work – or more importantly, let you see if this is something that would inspire and encourage your child to learn.


Social Media Links – Keeping Up To Date

Follow or like The Transfer Tutor on your social media channel of choice and ensure you never miss a beat with the whole transfer process, handy tips, advice, special offers and competitions.

Click below for your preferred channel or search for @TransferTutorHQ wherever you are.

Free Facebook Group

You may have read in the reviews about people referring to the Facebook Support Group and this is certainly a great place to keep informed, ask questions, get support and keep up-to-date with anything happening in the transfer space.

It’s free to join but please ensure you have a genuine Facebook profile picture (ghost pictures are not approved as not deemed authentic) and then simply click here and answer the simple questions -> Join Facebook Group.