St. Columb’s College PPTC Transfer Test (11 Plus) Information



Founded in 1879, St. Columb’s College is a Catholic boys’ grammar school located in Derry. Named after a missionary monk, the college was originally built to educate young people into the priesthood. Today, it’s Derry’s largest and oldest Catholic grammar school, open to around 1400 boys.


Since 2008, St. Columb’s College has been a specialist mathematics school and as a member of the Foyle Learning Community, it offers an extensive and varied curriculum. The school offers 19 different subjects timetabled at Key Stage 3 at the time of writing.


Transfer Test Information for St. Columb’s College


Address: St. Columb’s College, St Columb’s College, Buncrana Road, Derry, BT48 8NH

Admissions Info:, 02871 285 000

School Type: Boys’ Grammar

Number of pupils: 1400 (approx.)

Number of Places in Year 8: 220

Open Day Date: Varies

Exam Date: November/December

Exam Board Type: GL Assessment


St. Columb’s College Admissions


St. Columb’s College is a member of the Post Primary Transfer Consortium (PPTC), an unregulated system that uses the same standardised entrance assessment to determine admission to grammar schools in Northern Ireland.


Admission to St. Columb’s College is determined by student performance in the PPTC Transfer Test. In cases where there are more applicants than available places, the following oversubscription criteria is used, giving priority to:


  • Applicants of whom a brother or half-brother or step-brother or legally adopted brother or half-brother is a pupil in the school or will be in the coming year
  • Applicants who are the first boy in the family to reach transfer age in that family since its arrival in the College’s traditional catchment area
  • Applicants who are entitled to Free School Meals


For further information on St. Columb’s College admissions process, please contact the school directly at or on 02871 285 000.


How to Apply for Year 8 Entry to St. Columb’s College


Before applying for a Year 8 place at St. Columb’s College, parents and prospective students are encouraged to attend one of the school’s Open Events. The events provide the opportunity to learn more about the school’s curriculum and the admissions process.


All the documents required for registration can be found on the St. Columb’s website. There’s also a helpful timetable and guidance notes on completing the registration form.


As the PPTC use the same entrance assessment across all school, parents are only required to register their child for the test once.


St. Columb’s College Transfer Test Format


The St. Columb’s College Transfer Test is set by the exam board, GL Assessment. All children will sit two test papers in Maths and English. The questions on both papers are multiple-choice and students will be given practice questions before each paper to familiarise them with the exam layout.


Maths Paper


The maths paper lasts for 45 minutes and has 45 questions. While most of the questions are based on the school’s curriculum, there will be some additional questions not included in the curriculum, such as elementary logic, mathematical facts, properties or geometric names. The maths paper is designed to test students’ ability to use maths in everyday situations.


English Paper


The English paper lasts for 50 minutes and has 60 questions. The paper begins with three reading passages followed by comprehension questions, which make up 60% of the total mark. The spelling and punctuation questions, followed by general questions, make up the remaining 40% of total mark.


Scores for both papers are age standardised and results are posted to parents in January.


The College’s website shares various test familiarisation booklets to help students get a better understanding of what to expect in the Transfer Test.


How to Prepare for the St. Columb’s College 11 Plus (11+) Transfer Test?


One of the best ways of preparing for competitive entrance exams is to use practice papers. These help students familiarise themselves with the format and question types they will encounter in the actual test and they also provide an excellent opportunity for students to practice working under exam conditions.


Our practice papers cover all the key skills required for the Transfer Test and can also be used to identify any weaker areas that may require additional work ahead of the exam. Our 11+ practice papers are thoroughly researched and up to date. They are designed to be age appropriate but challenging, to reflect the demands of the entrance exam.

Our practice papers can help students prepare for the St. Columb’s College Transfer Test. We would specifically recommend the following practice packs:



Full Practice Tests

Skill specific practice



Full Practice Tests

Skill specific practice



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Our practice tests aim to show what sort of questions were included in St. Columb’s College 11+ past papers. The information provided about St. Columb’s College was believed to be correct at the time of publishing. However, please be aware of future changes. We advise you to contact the school directly if you are unsure of anything. School contact details are provided within the post.



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