- What topics do you need to know for the 11+?
- What maths is in the 11+?
- Are the 11+ maths topics hard?
- How much should I prepare for 11+
If you have your heart set on your kid attending an independent or grammar school, they will need to do well in the entrance exam. Knowing how to prepare for each subject is the most important step you can take.
We’re going to share what the 11+ maths topics are and how you can help your child nail the 11 plus maths section of the exam. Giving your kid plenty of time to study all of the 11 plus maths topics is key, so let’s get started.
What topics do you need to know for the 11+?
Different secondary schools set their own admission criteria but most will require your kid to ace an 11+ exam on the following: Maths, English and often Verbal Reasoning and/or Non-Verbal Reasoning. These exams will be more challenging than your kid is used to at school and a little bit of planning and studying will go a long way. 📆
You just need to know what to study for in advance. That’s the tricky part but we’re here to help. Let’s focus on the 11+ maths topics today, which many kids find the most challenging aspect. Our guide to the 11 plus maths topics includes those 11 plus tricky maths questions which can catch students out.
What maths is in the 11+?
While different regions and schools have different maths exams to sit, there are some common 11+ maths topics your kid should expect to see on the paper. If you know which school/s you’re going to apply for, get in touch with us and one of our tutors can help your kid study the right topics the right way, covering all 11 plus topics. At GoStudent we know how to integrate 11 plus problem solving for year 6 pupils into their prep for the 11+.
Here are the 11+ maths topics that appear on different papers across the country.
11 plus Venn diagrams are composed of a set of information (numbers and elements), usually with circles or ovals around them. Your kid will need to work out how many x represent x (e.g. how many students like maths and English?).
Many kids enjoy practising questions around 11 plus Venn diagrams. Once they get the hang of it, there is usually no stopping them with this topic.
Time and distance
The 11 plus time and distance questions are about working out how long x will last or at what time it will finish and distance covered or how many kilometres an hour x is. This is often one of the more challenging 11+ maths topics to study for. That’s because there are many variables and different ways the questions can be presented (e.g. a timetable). ⌚
Ratio proportion and scale
The 11 plus ratio questions, proportion questions and scale questions will require your kid to determine the ratio (x:x) from given information. Once your kid learns some simple tricks for working the ratio questions 11+ out, they should feel very confident answering ratio 11+ questions.
11 plus probability questions can appear in a number of formats. There are often questions about rolling dice and the probability of an outcome or to do with playing cards and questions about the suits, colours and/or numbers.
Profit and loss
11 plus profit and loss questions rely heavily on your kid using division, multiplication, addition, and subtraction. Some of the problems may require your kid to work backwards e.g. if Ann sells a chair for £78 and loses 10 percent what was the cost price of the chair?
When it comes to problems around 11 plus ordering numbers your kid will need to arrange a set of given numbers in ascending or descending order. While this sounds fairly straightforward, the questions usually involve decimals or negative numbers to make it more challenging.
As the name suggests, 11 plus percentages as a topic is purely about percentages. Some questions can be relatively simple but others will ask your kid to solve multiple percentages in just one problem e.g. what is 5 percent of 15 percent of 40 percent of 200? As long as your kid practises these a lot, they should feel comfortable and have no issue with this topic.
11 plus pie chart questions can include a pie chart that comes with a key to read, percentages on the pie chart or numbers to mark up a section of the pie. Your kid will need to interpret what the data says and answer related questions.
2d and 3d shapes
11 plus maths 2d and 3d shapes are often considered some of the most complex topics. 11 plus shape questions asked are often around volume, for example, and include shapes such as cubes, cylinders and pyramids. A straight-up maths topic they will need to learn but once they understand it they will know exactly how to answer these questions.
11 plus matrices is a topic that has to be practised repeatedly. It involves identifying missing parts to complete a pattern. As this doesn’t rely on a mathematical formula, doing as many sample exercises as possible is the only way to ensure speed and fluency in this area.
11 plus negative numbers refer to numbers that are less than zero. Example types of questions that your kid may get include adding or subtracting multiple negative and positive numbers. There are some clear rules your child should learn relating to this topic that never deviate so once your kid has mastered them they will be fine.
11 plus number sequences are lists of numbers that are connected but your kid will need to work out how by following the pattern. The pattern will always follow a rule e.g. x2 to reach the next number (= 2, 4, 8, x) or +3 (= 3, 6, 9, x) to work out the missing number.
Units of measurement
11 plus units of measurement are related to area (e.g. square metre), length (e.g. centimetre), volume (e.g litre), and time (e.g. hour). Questions can take a number of forms such as converting measurements from one unit to another (e.g. centimetres into metres).
11 plus symmetry can test your kid’s understanding about line (or reflection) and rotational symmetry. Line symmetry is when half of a shape is the same as the other half and rotational symmetry is when a shape looks the same after being rotated around a point.
11 plus angles focus on the angle sizes of a triangle or where two lines meet. For example, questions can ask to judge which angles appear bigger or work out clock face angles (big hand and little hand). This is a challenging topic and one that requires adequate knowledge and studying beforehand in order to finish the questions in time and correctly.
11 plus short maths relates to those questions where an algorithm can be used to work out the answer (e.g. 12.3-2.6=x). Your child should be able to do all of these types of questions or at least know what they need to do because they would have been taught these over and over in primary school. These questions are straightforward, however, the numbers used in the questions are usually more advanced. ➕
11 plus problem solving questions (or long maths) on the other hand will require more time to work through and the maths problem won’t be initially clear. Problem-solving questions can be very challenging, even for kids who are mathematically oriented. Your kid should practise many of these by writing down the problem that is being asked of them and figuring it out.
11 plus algebra
11 plus algebra questions expect your kid to know basic algebraic equations. Your kid will have started some of the algebra 11 plus topic already by filling in missing numbers from an equation at school and should have started learning simple formulae in Year 6. You should give them extra practice in the form of dedicated puzzles and number problems to help with this topic in their maths 11+.
Free maths 11+ practice paper (Free download PDF)
So your child can get in enough practice ahead of time, you can download your very own GoStudent 11+ maths practice paper and answer booklet right here:
Are the 11+ maths topics hard?
As you can see, the possible 11+ maths topics your kid will be presented with on their exam are wide-reaching. This means they need to feel comfortable with all of them because all of the 11plus maths topics have scope to be tricky. This will also help them in secondary school maths and not just on this one exam.
Parents often ask us “are the 11+ maths topics hard?”. We can only give this answer: yes and no. Since the 11+ maths topics are so varied your kid will inevitably find some easy and others more difficult. It will also depend on what they have been focusing on more at school. More importantly, your kid needs to have a good grasp of what is on the eleven + maths exam by being familiar with each topic, though some topics will be the subject of hard 11 plus maths questions while other topics will be presented with easier questions.
The good news is that the exam is designed to be challenging but with good grades still attainable. Most kids that do really well in this exam put in a lot of preparation, so let’s look at how you can support your child.
How much should my child prepare for 11+?
You should encourage your child to prepare as much as they can (within reason) for each of the 11+ maths topics to improve their maths skills. They are still young and not used to studying long hours so practice should take place steadily and regularly but they still need their fun time and to do homework for their regular schoolwork. ⚽
We recommend creating a 11 plus diy learning plan with them that allows for plenty of free time, extra-curricular activities, and also study time. There are many ways to make learning the 11+ maths topics fun. Getting a dedicated tutor will help save time and make practising engaging and rewarding. That’s because an 11+ tutor knows exactly what to focus on and already has the material prepared with a good understanding of the type of 11 plus maths questions that crop up year on year.
At GoStudent, our tutors create a tailored learning plan for each of their students and your kid will receive one too. This includes 11 plus maths papers. That takes some of the pressure off you and your child instantly. Plus, we love to make classes fun and your kid will find the lessons interesting and learn more as a result. If you would like to try a class, the first session is free so you can see for yourself just how much your child benefits.