Victoria College Belfast



Victoria College, Belfast is a voluntary non-denominational independent grammar school in Cranmore Park, Belfast. Victoria College was awarded Specialist School status in 2009 and specialises in STEM-related areas (science, technology, engineering and maths). The school also has the option to board.

GL Assessment or CEA

Girls' grammar school

Test Month: November and December

Results Sent to Parents: February

Allocations: May/June

Victoria College Belfast
2A Cranmore Park
County Antrim

Admissions and exam information

The GL Assessment exam is made up of two papers and the CEA exams is made up of three papers. The exams cover mathematics and English.


Total of 130 places in Year 8

Entry to the school is possible by two routes. Pupils can either sit the PPTC test or the AQE tests. The PPTC test is set by GL Assessment. There is no charge to parents and parents have to register their application with the PPTC. The test will take place in a Post-primary school. On the application there is an option to select most convenient assessment centre. There are two papers. The English paper is 50 minutes long, and consists of 50 multiple-choice questions, including two comprehension passages. There are also some spelling and punctuation questions. 64% of the marks are for the comprehension questions and 36% are for the other questions. The maths paper is 45 minutes long, consisting of 45 multiple-choice questions. There is a short practice paper before each main paper and a short break between each paper.

The AQE is set by CEA (Common Entrance Assessment). There is a charge for taking the paper (£50 in 2019) but is waived for children on Free School Meals. There is an option to sit the test in Irish. Parents wishing to register their children for the test should register their application with AQE. There are three papers to sit, and whilst it is recommended that applicants sit all three papers, the final age-standardised score is achieved through ‘best 2 out of 3’, it is only compulsory to attend two assessments. This allows for an ‘off day’ or illness, etc. The tests are held at participating Grammar schools and do not need to be sat at the school of choice. The Common Entrance Assessment (CEA) has been developed to meet international test standards and assesses pupils on their English and mathematics ability. Each paper is an hour long and consists of standard-format maths questions and for English a mixture of multiple choice, poem and prose passage for the comprehension element.

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What’s the difference between GL & CEM?

Explore Learning Dominic James0931

If you’re not sure what verbal reasoning or non-verbal reasoning is all about, or if you want to get a better understanding of the kind of knowledge children need for the 11 Plus and entrance exams, then try out some practice questions below. Get your son or daughter to have a go too! Can they beat you? We love a bit of friendly competition!

Try Practice Questions

Practice Questions

Exam preparation

From experience we know that the best preparation for the exams cannot be achieved in a short period of time. We believe the earlier your child can practice the better chance they have in securing a place.

How can you ensure my child gets into the best schools possible?

We know that preparing for the exam can be a major focus in your child’s education and we are here to support you throughout that journey. We do not believe in simply ‘teaching to a test’, which is why we offer individualised courses and specialist courses that complement your child’s education in the run up to and beyond the exam.

Working in small groups and independently our members grow in confidence and develop exam techniques to prepare them for the day of the exam and beyond.

Our unique approach not only uses the most up-to-date resources, our engaging and motivational tutors will guide and support your child every step of the way, whilst providing clear and honest feedback about your child’s progress.

How often should my child have extra tuition?

At Explore we take a blended approach that involves a weekly individual session, essential to focus on your child’s core maths and English skills and vital to exam success, as well as one scheduled class-taught session each week that focuses on exam-specific techniques and content. As part of our offering we recommend regular home practice, to embed learning of new skills covered in class. We utilise bespoke online and paper-based materials to provide your child with clear activities to practise at home.

Why should I choose Explore Learning? 

We understand that you want to give your child the best opportunities in life and we are here to support you throughout their journey into secondary education. We believe every child should have fair access to exam preparation, we don’t pre-test children, and welcome children of all abilities and will give them the best possible preparation to demonstrate their potential.

Our comprehensive 11 Plus and Entrance Exam courses give children the opportunity to become confident in a range of verbal and non-verbal reasoning methods. In addition, we ensure children are developing the core maths and English skills needed to tackle any exam with confidence. We also prepare children for entrance exams into independent schools, tailoring our courses to suit the focus of schools in the local area.

How to secure a place at this school

Our centres specialise in 11 Plus and entrance exam preparation so your child has access to regular practice and the best tuition in the country. For more information, visit one of our recommended centre pages to see how we can cater for your child. To discuss your child’s needs we recommend arranging a visit at one of our Explore Learning tuition centres.

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Entrance exam course info

Our course is open to all. We don’t pre-test; we welcome all children with the ambition and drive to go to grammar or independent school.

Students on the 11 Plus and entrance exam course attend twice a week; one exam preparation class (tailored to the local exam requirements) and one tailored, flexible session that focuses on developing core maths and English skills. 11 Plus members also have access to a fantastic online resource with unlimited non-verbal and verbal reasoning exam style questions – perfect for home practice whenever you want it.

Our course starts 12 months prior to the exam for Year 5 members.

To find out our membership prices, find your nearest centre.

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