Listing Fractions and Decimals in Order

Listing Fractions and Decimals in Order is a common question in the AQE and the GL tests.

It requires the candidate to understand equivalent forms of fractions or decimals.

Often, these can be both considered as percentages to quickly answer this question.

Listing fractions and decimals in order AQE GL

Edges in a pyramid

A common problem in the NI transfer tests is one that describes a 3-d shape in words, and asks how many faces / vertices / edges it has. I discovered that my son was answering these questions by sketching out the 3d shape - this inevitably led to a bad drawing and often to an incorrect answer.

In some schools this is taught as an activity with midget gems and cocktail sticks so I gave that a try and it really helped. And we got to eat sweets - a great way to spend an hour on a rainy day.


Transfer Test 3-d shapes Questions

Ratio Questions in PPTC (GL)

Ratios are a useful way of expressing the proportion of quantities in a mix, without having to specify the entire quantity. So if I’m making ham and cheese sandwiches (with one slice of ham and one of cheese per sandwich) I will require two slices of bread for every one slice of ham and one slice of cheese. I need slices of ham, cheese and bread in the ratio 1:1:2 – and that ratio never changes regardless of the total number of sandwiches required.

Typically in questions, you will be given an original amount that must be split into a given ratio.

Ratios question in transfer test


An adverb is a word that modifies a verb, adjective, other adverb, or an entire sentence.

Most commonly they describe verbs (in a simialr way to an adjective describing a noun).

They often, but not always, end with -ly. 

Transfer Test Adverbs

Prime Numbers

Prime Numbers are like phone numbers - there is no real pattern to them and you can easily look them up. 

One of Einstein's colleagues asked him for his telephone number one day. Einstein reached for a telephone directory and looked it up. "You don't remember your own number?" the man asked, startled. "No," Einstein answered. "Why should I memorize something I can so easily get from a book?"

However, to quickly complete some transfer test questions, you need to be able to recall the first few prime numbers quickly - and you won't be allowed books in to the exam!

AQE advice on prime number questions

Present Tense

A mistake that my son continues to make is translating a verb from the past or future tense to the present tense. He can do it, it's just that his default is the present continuous rather than the present simple. We don't, frankly, know if the markers would accept this but I'd think that it would be safer to stick with the present simple - that's certainly what is on the mark schemes. So let's look briefly at the present tents - again, sorry for the puns. transfer test advice on tenses


The trouble with semicolons is that we don't say them and therefore lack an innate understanding of what they are.

Semicolons separate two clauses (excuse the pun  →)

Clauses are parts of sentences that could stand alone as independent sentences.

transfer test semicolons

Map Scales

A common AQE question is related to reading maps and dealing with their scales - although the same question appears in several other variations.

Essentially, you are given a map scale (eg: 1cm : 100m) and asked either how far in reality is 4 cm on the map, or how far on the map is 1.2km in reality. Occasionally, as a more difficult question, you may be shown a signpost and you must first work out a total distance before converting it to a map distance. In this post, we are going to look at the different types of question in this subject area.

Transfer Test questions on map scales

Function Machines

A while back, I was teaching quadratic graphs to a group of Year 10s (3rd form in old money) when I realised that some of the students had no idea what the equations on the board actually meant! We changed tack and discussed them as rules before converting them to function machines. Function machines are a really useful visual metaphor - it's easy to understand what they are doing to the number - and,by the end of the lesson, everyone knew what quadratic equations do.

In this post, we are going to look at how these function machines exist in the AQE and GL transfer tests, and how to best answer questions about them.

maths function machines



When we learn to speak, we do so organically. We don’t need to be able to spell words and we don’t need to be able to classify them. However, as talking becomes reading and writing we need to be able to spell, and for higher level study of language we require the ability to classify words - describing words, doing words, names of things and so on. Ironically, in adulthood most of us no longer need these skills and so, for catch-up, read TransferReady’s quick guide to nouns. AQE transfer test nouns

Reading Scales

A common question in both GL and AQE is reading scales - and in a digital readout world, it still causes confusion for many at GCSE. The potential to make simple mistakes here is huge but with one simple technique, errors can be eliminated.

Read this blog post to learn how to answer these questions quickly and accurately and see some tricky examples.
AQE and GL transfer test reading scales problems

AQE exam November 2015


If you are entering your child in the AQE exam in November 2015, you should be aware of some important dates, and some practicalities about sitting the exam. Read our blog detailing the dates and the process. AQE 2015 exam

Categories of angles

There are a few specific terms which relate to the size of an angle. Questions come up about these words fairly regularly so let's have a look at some cheesecake - and some angles. AQE transfer test questions on angles

Place Value

An important topic on our Step1 papers is what mathematicians call "place value". Basically, it's all about understanding how we read numbers so it's probably a good deal easier than it sounds. AQE place value

How to visit a school

A few years back I visited Pompeii. Just outside the gates of the Roman town was the usual gaggle of traders selling sunglasses and souvenirs. One was selling a guide book titled “How to visit Pompeii”. The awkwardness of the title has stuck with me ever since - not ‘Visiting Pompeii’, or simply ‘Pompeii’ but ‘How to visit Pompeii’. It implies secret knowledge that other guides simply lack. The inside line - don't just visit Pompeii, learn how to visit Pompeii.

Read the TransferReady guide on how to visit a school.

Use of capital letters in compass directions

I recently read this sentence in a book - "Aspen trees commonly grow in North America, northern Scandinavia, north Asia, Europe, north England and Northern Ireland." The use of capitals for 'north' seems to be all over the place but they're all correct so let's clearly define the rule in this short blog post.  AQE GL transfer test use of capital letters

Amounts, Quantities and Values

What is the difference between the amount of coins in a pile and the value of the coins? Do you always spot the important words in a Maths question? This can be the difference between getting or missing a mark in a question that you fully understand. AQE GL practice question amounts vs values

What are you doing for Christmas?

Here are some Christmas Revision Questions to start the ball rolling on your P.6 transfer preperation. By now in P.6, your child should be able to tackle the material in our Step1 papers so here are some festive examples. And sorry, but we can't promise that there will be no festive puns.

AQE Christmas revision questions free 

Percentage Ratios

One of the most common questions we get to is how to answer ‘percentage ratio’ problems. In the AQE exam, ratio problems are usually presented as percentage problems so in this post we’ll look specifically at those. AQE PPTC ratio blog example questions

Before the AQE Exam

What do we remind our children in the last days before the AQE exam? In the final hours before the exam, as well as concentrating on the problem areas, here are 5 Maths and 5 English top tips as well as some general exam technique.

Check out our Ahhh-it's-tomorrow blog...

before the AQE exam

Averages - GL

The GL exam contains two additional types of average from the AQE. These are the median of a group of data and the mode of a group of data and they are both easy to understand and explain but often not mentioned in Primary Schools - I have worked with many candidates who had never heard of them. So what average do we already know?

GL transfer test averages example questions

Rotational Symmetry - GL

The GL test will include a question about 'Rotational Symmetry', which might not be taught in all primary schools. Here is a quick guide to the topic, including a typical question.

GL transfer test - rotational symmetry

Given that ... then what is ...

Given that 0.3 x 9 = 3, then what is 30 x 0.9 type questions are very common in AQE. In this post, we show how to solve them and how to check them with another method.

The 24-hour clock post-it note

In the run up to my son's tests this November, I've been trying to identify some of the areas that he often makes mistakes in and do him little revision notes on post-its for his room. Here's the first on the 24-hour clock.

Order of Maths Operations

Some of you have been asking how to answer this type of question - a lot of the long multiplication questions found in an AQE can been shortened by using simple rearranging which saves valuable exam time. Check out this blog entry for a full worked example ...


How to answer algebra questions

Answering equation questions involving whole numbers can be easily worked out on your fingers...

easy AQE algebra example question

But what about when it involves decimal numbers? How are equations balanced and solved?

Read on...

So, how's that summer revision gone?

Stop footering!

I was beginning to get worried about the lack of progress and amount of silly mistakes over the summer until I spoke to some friends...

Check your work

I don't know how many times I have told my son to check his work when he's finished a practice test within time, only to find him staring at the wall at the end, and crazy mistakes in the paper. So I asked him what checking his paper meant and he didn't know. Top five time... 

AQE - How high?

So, what do different schools accept?

What you need to score in the AQE to guarantee entry is impossible to state - even the schools don't know until the results and the applications are in. That said, previous years can give some indication.

AQE transfer test entrance scores


Maths vs English

The more I study the actual AQE papers, the more that I see that, on the surface, it seems that you can prepare for the Maths questions much more effectively than for the English ones.

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