Tests Your Children Will Take – Part 6 of a 6 Part Series For Parents.

PART SIX –  The secrets of 11+ success in maths

What’s in an 11+ maths exam?

Unlike reasoning exams, for which your child has to practise special skills, maths for 11+ is just a continuation of the work your child does every day at school. Some of the questions may be a little harder, but they will be testing the same skills and content.

Although the content of a maths exam may differ from one area/region to the next, a paper will usually last from 45 minutes to 1 hour and will test your child in the following areas:

  • Think and calculate quickly
  • Apply times tables knowledge
  • Apply the four operations
  • Understand key aspects of number relationships, measurement, mental arithmetic, geometry and data handling.

What a score means and how to boost it

It is impossible to say that a certain score will guarantee a pass in the exams. However a score of 85% which is 42/40 would be the score to aim for.

Here are some tried and tested tips for improving your child’s score:

  • Go over any incorrect answers
  • Use the Next Steps Planner (inside the front cover)
  • Improve basic exam technique – work on improving speed, working efficiently – coming back to trickier questions instead of wasting precious time on them and pacing themselves over the 50 minutes
  • Improve basic maths – use the checklist below
  • Avoid the 2 most common maths errors 1) not reading the question correctly and 2) making a silly error in a question you know perfectly well how to answer

Identify these silly mistakes with your child and get them to highlight these or ring them with a coloured pen so they can really see them.

  • Target what they don’t know by practicing those aspects of maths they are less confident in or less familiar in.


The maths your child needs for 11+ exams

11+ maths will draw on a number of key areas in line with the National Curriculum and the national numeracy strategy. These can be broken down into a number of sub-topics as shown in the table below.

Number Fractions and decimals Handling data Shape and space Measurement
1. Place value




2. Addition and subtraction problems


3. Multiplication and division problems


4. Mixed or several step problems


5. Factors and multiples


6. Special numbers


7. Sequences


8. Equations and algebra


9. Function machines

10. Fractions




11.Decimal Fractions







13.Ratio and proportion

14. Organising and comparing Information


15. Mean, median, mode and range


16. Probability

17. 2-D shapes: circles, angles and bearings


18. 2-D shapes: triangles



19. 2-D shapes: quadrilaterals and polygons


20. Perimeter and area



21. 3-D shapes


22. Volume and capacity



23. Transformations




24. Symmetry

25. Metric and imperial measures


26. Reading scales



27.Time and timetables

Basic skills checklist

  1. Check number bonds to twenty. Can they easily add and subtract numbers with answers up to 20?
  2. Support times table facts. For the purposes of 11+ maths it is crucial that children are fluent in their tables up to 12x 12.
  3. Help your child with place value. Can they read whole numbers to a million and multiply or divide any whole number by 10 quickly?
  4. Help your child with doubling and halving. Your child should be able to double all numbers to 100 quickly.
  5. Revise the four number operations (plus, minus, multiplication, division)
  6. Check units of measurement. Both metric and imperial for key lengths, weights and capacities.