How to prepare for 11+ Maths

How to prepare for 11+ Maths

Is your child is preparing for the 11 plus exam in the UK? Maths skills need to be strong, as it’s one of the main topics that will be assessed.

In the 11 plus, the maths section tests your child’s numerical skills, as well as other core maths concepts.


What is the format of the test?

In, short – it depends.

The maths test varies based on the area and also the school.

For example, some schools set out multiple-choice style maths tests, while some others set a single paper that is a combination of both maths and English types of questions.

The test varies a lot from school to school, therefore it’s important to consult with the school to understand what assessment they do.

Some schools do the GL or CEM Assessment, while others will do a combination and write part of the test themselves.

Some schools will exclusively write their own 11+ assessment.

It’s important to know what test your child is doing, so you can prepare them in the best possible way.

How long do the tests take?

The time varies from school to school, ranging from 30 minutes to an hour. Some schools also set numerical reasoning tests as a way of making the exam harder to revise for.

The reason for this is that assessment boards want to remove bias from learning, to give everyone an equal chance.

What can you do to help your child prepare?

  • Incorporate gamification into learning: Really, this is a biggie. Most children lose focus on learning, due to the many distractions that exist nowadays. Phones, tablets, games are all distractions for everyone and attention spans have never been shorter. As a result, we need to find fun ways to keep our children’s attention. Through the use of games, your child will learn and enjoy themselves simultaneously! Maths based learning games are particularly useful and help prepare for the 11+.
  • Use Past Papers. While hitting the 11+ books too early is a bad idea, it’s never too early for your children to start practicing and preparing for a test environment. There are many e-resources for past papers available online. You can set your child a past paper a week, well in advance and measure their progress. Overall this is useful as it flags areas they need to improve, as well as areas that they are strong.
  • Timed Work. Exams are usually under strict timed pressure, so you have to be on your game todo well. Having knowledge is one thing but being able to do the work in a structured manner is equally as important and something that children should prepare for. When exam day comes around, your child will be comfortable working under times pressure which will benefit them.
  • Don’t put too much pressure on your child. You might be lucky and find your son or daughter sails through the 11+ preparation and exam without any hiccups along the way, but I’ve yet to speak to a parent who hasn’t had to deal with at least the odd issue along the way. Don’t worry about it; it’s natural. It’s best to keep offering encouragement and support.
  • Make lots of time for enjoyment and try to keep life as normal as possible. At the end of the day, it’s important to not put too much pressure on your child, everyone learns in different ways and it’s important to not put pressure on your child and to not overwhelm them.
  • Developing their Critical Thinking Skills: Regular practice and workbooks are a good way to help children understand what to expect. This can be done through puzzles, games, and activities to help keep your child stimulated.

What types of Questions are involved?

Problem-solving and critical thinking is key for the 11 plus exams, the

test is focused on key mathematical concepts and the basic

principles of maths.

As mentioned above the test differs from school to school, but are focused

around fractions and decimals, numbers, shapes, problem-solving, data

handling and measurements.


The foundation of 11 plus learning should start from a young age is

important to get your child familiar with a test environment.

Knowledge is accumulated over time and is built on a strong

foundation, so children should prepare well in advance to have the

best chance of success.

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