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11 Plus Mathematics

In general terms, the 11+ maths tests will cover only those topics that have been taught during Key Stage 2. It is therefore essential that your child is secure in their understanding of the maths they are learning at school.

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The following topics have all appeared on past eleven plus exam papers, and you should go through this checklist with your child to ensure that they are familiar with all of these concepts:

  • The 4 basic operations: addition, subtraction, multiplication and division
  • Fractions
  • Decimals
  • Money
  • Metric system
  • Time
  • Prime numbers
  • Prime factors
  • Highest common factor and lowest common multiple
  • Perimeter and Area (Squares, Rectangles, Compound Shapes)
  • Averages
  • Distance, Speed and Time
  • Column graphs
  • Pie charts
  • Algebra
  • Angle calculations
  • Co-ordinates
  • Reflection and Rotation
  • Percentages
  • Simple ratio
  • Volume of cube and cuboids
  • Bearings
  • Simple probability
  • Nets of shapes
  • Sequences and number patterns
  • Marking and interpreting scales
  • Following rules and instructions in more unusual problem solving and investigative activities

There is a wide range of books in our 11+ Bookshop that will help you to check your child’s understanding of all of these concepts.

The most common weakness in many children at the age of 10 is in the four basic operations – addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. There is surprisingly little focus in the National Curriculum on the learning of times tables “by rote”. However for any question requiring multiplication and division a 100% accurate command of the times tables is essential. Regular practice is critical until your child is completely secure in their times tables. Even a few moments practicing them in the car on the way to school each day will make a real difference to your child’s confidence and their recall of them. By the time they take the 11+ they should be able to recall all 12 times tables at a quick-fire pace.

Number Flashcard Games

A good way to support your child in developing greater mathematical fluency is to make up number flashcards from 1 – 100 (easily done in either a word processor or spreadsheet) or downloading maths printables.

A basic game can then be played by shuffling the cards and dealing them two at a time and asking your child to perform one of the four operations. As an example, if the numbers 9 and 54 appear, all four operations can be performed, although multiplication of larger numbers is likely to be beyond the scope of an 11+ maths paper.

Children often enjoy making up their own number games to play using the flashcards. They can be for one or more people to play, and the only rule is that the game must involve addition, subtraction, division or multiplication. These are some examples of flashcard games created by 11+ pupils preparing for the test.

Addition Game – for 2 people

  1. Deal two cards to the first person and add them together. Write down the answer.
  2. Deal two cards to the second person and repeat.
  3. Deal one card to the first person and add the number to the first answer.
  4. Repeat for the second person.

The first person to get to 200 or more is the winner. (You can choose a higher number if you want to, to make the game last longer.) You are allowed to correct the other person if you think they have got it wrong at any time!

Subtraction Game – for 1 person (plus help from an adult)

  1. Deal one card, and then a second. Put the higher number to the left and the lower number to the right.
  2. Now subtract the smaller number from the bigger number.
  3. Do as many subtractions as you can in 3 minutes.

Why not keep a record of how many you do each time, to see if you are getting quicker?

Division Game – for one person

  1. Find one of the cards numbered 1 – 12 and lay it on the table.
  2. Now deal the remaining cards one by one. If the number on the card can be divided by the first card, put it in one pile. If it can’t, put it in a second pile.
  3. When you have finished, lay the “can be divided” cards out in ascending order, e.g. 6, 9, 12, 15, etc.
  4. Do they seem to match the times tables you already know? Ask an adult to check them for you.
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Independent school maths

Independent school mathematics usually tests from a wider syllabus than selective state schools and questions can often appear as “worded problems”.

girl with abacus

Useful resources for maths

Our curated list of external resources is here to provide even more helpful 11 plus maths practice material.

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Free 11 plus papers

Looking to boost your child’s maths skills in preparation for the 11 plus exam? Our collection of free 11 plus maths practice papers is here to help!