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What is on the 11 plus (11+) maths exam?

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Introduction to the 11 plus (11+) maths exam

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The 11+ maths exam assesses your child’s knowledge and understanding of Key Stage 2 national curriculum content. Effectively solving most 11+ math problems requires a firm grasp of underlying problem-solving concepts. Therefore, students must have a solid foundation in the basic principles before they can begin to employ them in problem-solving scenarios.

The first step in preparing for the 11+ maths exam is knowing what to expect from the paper, including structure, question type and content. The exact format of your child’s 11+ paper will depend on the exam board or school that administers the test.

There are three main 11+ exam boards, each with its own layout, time allocations and mark scheme. The more informed you are about these details, the better you can help your child build their study plan. Granada Learning (GL Assessment) and Centre for Evaluation and Monitoring (CEM) are the two main 11+ examining boards for grammar schools. In contrast, many independent schools across the UK use the Independent Schools Examining Board (ISEB). 

In late 2022, CEM announced that they would change their exam format to online rather than paper-based. As a result, most grammar schools are now switching to GL Assessment. If your child is applying for Year 7 grammar school entry, they will likely face a GL exam; however, you should double-check the specifications of your child’s targeted schools. 

The types of questions in the 11+ maths exam

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Your child could receive many different types of questions in their 11+ maths exam. Below, we have broken down the main question types:

  • Numerical reasoning

In this section, students are assessed on their ability to interpret, analyse, and draw conclusions from numerical information, such as tables or graphs. 

Proficiency in addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division is crucial for solving these problems.

  • Problem-solving and word problems

Word problems require students to apply mathematical concepts to real-world situations. These questions assess students’ abilities to extract relevant information from textual descriptions and formulate and solve mathematical equations based on that information. The most common forms these problem-solving questions take are story-based questions or missing numbers in patterns.

  • Shapes and space

These questions assess students’ ability to understand and manipulate shapes and space. These questions involve determining the area, perimeter, or volume of shapes and may require students to visualise in two or three dimensions.

  • Algebraic problems

Students are introduced to basic algebraic concepts and are tested on their ability to solve simple equations. A solid understanding of algebraic expressions and the ability to isolate variables are essential.

  • Fraction, decimal, and percentage problems

Students must demonstrate their understanding of fractions, decimals, and percentages. Questions in this section typically involve converting one form to another (i.e. a fraction to its percentage) and may require calculations involving them.

  • Data interpretation

This section tests students’ ability to interpret and analyse data presented in various forms like charts, grids, graphs, and tables. Accurately reading and drawing conclusions from data (i.e. mean, median, mode or probability) is vital in answering these questions.

How to help your child prepare for the 11+ maths exam

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  • Practice papers and resources

Working through papers can help students become familiar with the exam format, question types and time constraints. It also allows you or your child’s teacher to identify their strengths and weaknesses. Focus on areas where they struggle and allocate more time to practice those specific topics. 

Use educational resources, such as textbooks or online platforms, to review and practice core topics like addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, fractions, and decimals. Start by reinforcing the basics and gradually build on your child’s knowledge until they are comfortable with the fundamentals of 11+ maths.

Numerous resources are available to aid in preparation, including revision guides, online resources, and tutor support. At Examberry, we offer a wide range of 11+ revision resources and 11+ practice papers to try. Here, you can access practice papers for maths, enabling you to precisely determine your child’s strengths and the areas they need to work on. We also have a variety of area and school-specific resources, so you can find tailored support for the school your child is applying to. 

  • Timed exercises

Teaching your child to allocate their time wisely during the exam is vital in preparing for the 11+. Regularly giving your child timed tests helps them get used to exam conditions, fostering familiarity with the time constraints and improving speed and accuracy in solving problems.

  • Maths in daily life

An excellent way to help your child regularly practise and get used to 11+ maths is to incorporate maths into everyday activities. 

For example, you could get them to measure ingredients for cooking or ask them to calculate travel times. This helps demonstrate the practical application of maths and makes learning more engaging.

  • Interactive learning

Using fun and engaging interactive learning tools is a great way to strengthen your child’s maths skills. Games, puzzles, and interactive lessons can make maths more enjoyable and less intimidating for children. 

These apps often use vibrant visuals, interactive exercises, and reward systems to motivate children. Select apps that align with the 11+ maths syllabus, ensuring that the content is relevant and beneficial.

  • Establish a study schedule

A consistent and balanced study routine is vital for preparing for the 11+ exam. Having a regular study plan, setting time aside each day and staying organised can ensure your child has plenty of time to practise. You should encourage your child to take regular breaks and get enough sleep, as too much work could overload them. 

A structured schedule also helps you, your child’s teacher, or maybe even a private tutor track which topics they have covered and determine how much time they need to spend on each subject.

  • Provide support and offer constructive feedback

You should maintain open communication with your child about their concerns and progress. Offer support, encouragement, and constructive feedback, and reassure them of their capabilities.

Providing your child with regular constructive feedback is crucial for their learning. Focus on their strengths and encourage them to check, proofread, and edit their work. Praise your child’s efforts and reassure them that making mistakes is a part of the learning process.

Examberry Papers

One of the most effective way to prepare for an 11+ entrance exam is to use practice tests written by experts.

We offer a range of  11+ revision resources including area & school-specific papers, subject-specific papers, spelling & vocabulary resources, and reading books.

Each of our practice tests:

Key Recommendations for the 11+ maths exam

Further Recommendations for the 11+ maths exam

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