Back to blog

Buckinghamshire Secondary Transfer Test (11+) guide

By Atom | Feb 9, 2024, 12:06 PM

Buckinghamshire grammar schools 11 plus

Are you considering a grammar school in Buckinghamshire for your child? We’ve collated everything you need to know about admissions in 2024–2025. Keep reading to:

  • Find out more about grammar schools in Buckinghamshire

  • Learn about the Buckinghamshire Secondary Transfer Test – the local 11 plus exam

  • Discover which subjects your child will be tested on

  • Plus, get exclusive resources to help your child prepare!

Dates for your diary

  • Friday 3rd May 2024: registration opens for the Buckinghamshire Secondary Transfer Test

  • Friday 14th June 2024: registration closes for the Buckinghamshire Secondary Transfer Test

  • Tuesday 10th September 2024: practice test

  • Thursday 12th September 2024: Buckinghamshire Secondary Transfer Test takes place

  • Friday 11th October 2024: Buckinghamshire Secondary Transfer Test results released to parents

  • Thursday 31st October 2024: secondary school applications close at 5pm

  • Monday 3rd March 2025: secondary school national offers day

Dates can vary, so always check with your target schools!

What is the Buckinghamshire Secondary Transfer Test?

The Buckinghamshire Secondary Transfer Test is an 11 plus exam used by grammar schools in Buckinghamshire. All 13 grammar schools in Buckinghamshire use the Secondary Transfer Test. This means that your child will only need to take the test once, regardless of how many grammar schools in the county they're applying to.

The Buckinghamshire Secondary Test takes place in September in Year 6. All children who attend a Buckinghamshire primary school are automatically entered for the test, so there’s no need to register. If your child goes to a primary school outside of the local authority but you’re applying to a Buckinghamshire grammar school, you will need to register your child to take the test. Registration is open on the Buckinghamshire Council website between Friday 3rd May and Friday 14th June 2024.

Children at Buckinghamshire primary schools take the test in their own schools. Children applying from outside of Buckinghamshire will be invited to take the test at one of the grammar schools in the county.

Note that if your child is applying for a grammar school outside of Buckinghamshire, they will take a separate exam. Find out more information about other 11 plus exams nearby:

What's on the Buckinghamshire Secondary Transfer Test?

The Buckinghamshire Secondary Transfer Test consists of two one-hour papers. These papers are supplied by GL Assessment. Your child takes both papers on the same day with a short break in between.

Your child will have a question booklet and separate answer sheets. All the questions in the test are multiple-choice, so your child needs to mark the answer options they think are correct on the answer sheets.

Both papers start with an introduction and practice examples. About 15 minutes is allocated for these, followed by 45 minutes of test questions.

Verbal paper

In this paper, your child is tested on verbal skills. This includes:

  • English comprehension: how well your child can understand and analyse written text

  • Technical English: grammar, punctuation and spelling – all based on national curriculum content

  • Verbal reasoning: using logic and reasoning to solve problems with written information, like letters, words and numbers

Mathematical and non-verbal paper

In this paper, your child will be tested on maths and non-verbal skills. This includes:

  • Non-verbal reasoning: using logic and reasoning to solve problems with visual information, like shapes, diagrams and pictures

  • Spatial reasoning: tests how well your child can manipulate shapes and spaces in their head

  • Maths: covers key topics taught on the Key Stage 2 maths curriculum

Free Buckinghamshire Secondary Transfer Test prep

11+ master course

Help your child prepare for the Buckinghamshire Secondary Transfer Test with a free 4-week 11+ course.

Get four GL Assessment style practice papers (English, maths, verbal reasoning and non-verbal reasoning), marking guidance, and video lessons emailed to you every week!

Start Week 1 today!
Verbal reasoning paper

How is the Buckinghamshire Secondary Transfer Test scored?

After the test, your child’s answer sheets are marked using Optical Mark Recognition (OMR). This technology picks up the marks your child has made to indicate which answers they think are correct. Your child receives a mark for every correct answer.

These marks are then age-standardised for each of the three sections in the exam (verbal, maths, and non-verbal). Age-standardisation is a common practice in 11 plus scoring and ensures younger children aren’t disadvantaged.

Your child’s final Secondary Transfer Test (STT) score is then worked out by adding each of the three age-standardised section scores using the following weighting:

  • Verbal: 50%

  • Maths: 25%

  • Non-verbal: 25%

For example, your child might achieve a standardised score of 130 in the verbal section, 120 in the maths section, and 105 in the non-verbal section. The formula to work out their final STT score is:

(130 x 0.5) + (120 x 0.25) + (105 x 0.25) = 121.25. This number is their final STT score.

What's the pass mark for the Buckinghamshire Secondary Transfer Test?

The 11 plus doesn’t have an exact pass mark. To be eligible for a place at a grammar school, your child needs to achieve a ‘qualifying score’. Further admissions criteria are then applied to decide which children to give places to.

In the Buckinghamshire Secondary Transfer Test, your child will need to achieve an STT score of 121 or above. Entry to a Buckinghamshire grammar school is entirely dependent on whether your child achieves this score. Children aren’t ranked beyond this point – places are then decided based on how a child fulfils the school’s admissions criteria.

How to apply to Buckinghamshire grammar schools

If you're considering a Buckinghamshire grammar school for your child, it's a good idea to speak to your child's teacher first. Grammar schools are academically-selective and select children working towards the top of their year group. Your child's teacher will be able to indicate whether they think your child will be able to keep up with the pace in a grammar school.

If your child does not go to a primary school in Buckinghamshire, you will need to register them to take the Buckinghamshire Transfer Test. Registration opens on the Buckinghamshire Council website on Friday 3rd May and closes on Friday 14th June 2024. Your child will then be invited to take the test at one of the Buckinghamshire grammar schools.

If your child does go to a Buckinghamshire primary school, they are automatically entered to take the test. You won’t need to complete a separate registration form.

How can I help my child prepare for the Buckinghamshire Test?

The Buckinghamshire Secondary Transfer Test is designed to be challenging. Here are our top tips to help your child prepare for the exam in September 2024.

Bitesize learning

It’s important to build a good knowledge base before the 11 plus. Using a ‘little and often’ approach when learning is key – our brains encode new information more effectively when dealing with smaller ‘chunks’ of information. For children aged 10–11, child psychologists recommend regular study sessions of 20–30 minutes.

Atom Home makes learning a more enjoyable process for your child. They'll explore exciting worlds full of interactive questions, earning coins to spend in the Atom shop. Atom adapts to your child, showing them questions at just the right level of difficulty to keep them motivated.

A maths learning journey on Atom Home

Read widely

11 plus exams test your child’s ability to analyse and interpret written information. Regular reading is a great way to help your child build these skills.

Encourage them to read books from different genres and by a diverse range of authors. Increasing the variety of your child’s reading will help them understand different styles, tones and purposes. Meanwhile, reading a little every day will help widen their vocabulary, sharpen their analytical thinking, and enhance their imagination.

Refine exam technique

When your child feels confident with the topics they’ve learnt in Year 5, they’ll be ready to put their knowledge to the test.

Practice tests can help your child develop problem-solving skills and build confidence working under test conditions. They’re also a great way to consolidate learning and highlight knowledge gaps for further improvement.

With Atom Home, you'll unlock online mock tests and printable practice papers. Enjoy automatic marking and progress tracking with the online tests, and help your child get familiar with the real exam experience with printable practice papers.

A non-verbal reasoning question in a Buckinghamshire Secondary Transfer Test mock test on Atom

Celebrate progress

Setting regular, achievable goals and celebrating your child’s progress – no matter how big or small – will help keep their motivation high.

Make sure to encourage a growth mindset. This means celebrating effort, as well as achievement! When your child makes mistakes or struggles to understand a particular topic, help them understand that they’ll improve through practice. Regular praise will help your child improve their resilience when tackling new and challenging topics.

Tailored preparation for the Buckinghamshire Secondary Transfer Test

Wish you could give your child a roadmap to success in the Buckinghamshire Secondary Transfer Test? You can. Atom Home has everything you need to get prepared, in one package.

You don't need a tutor to get into your top-choice grammar school. You just need Atom. We’ll create a tailored plan for your child and support them along their fun revision journey.

  • Online and printable 11 plus practice papers

  • 90,000+ adaptive questions

  • 500+ hours of on-demand video lessons

  • Automatic marking and instant progress data

Navigate the Buckinghamshire Secondary Transfer Test with confidence.

Start your free trial today. Our local admissions specialists will get to work on your child’s plan. Relax, Secondary Transfer Test prep is sorted.

Try Atom for free
Atom Nucleus

Atom Learning Ltd. is registered and incorporated in England and Wales. Company Registration Number: 10867907 VAT number: 316903508 Copyright Atom Learning Ltd. All rights reserved.