How to prepare for Maths & Numerical Reasoning

eleven plus maths preparation advice and resourcesNumerical Reasoning is the ability to reason with information provided in tables, charts and figures.

Most of the skills required are taught in KS2 mathematics. So 11+ Maths & Numerical Reasoning exams comprise in essence the same topics as taught in the national curriculum for Key Stage 2 with a few topics that are usually only introduced at the start of Key Stage 3. Therefore there are many resources for students to work on the individual topics in Maths and then the only additional resources required for 11+ preparation in these subjects are practice papers of the appropriate level and format.

In addition to the highly recommended Chuckra Online Assessment Tool, COAsT, which makes all of our Premium Tests (initial assessment tests, past mock papers and varied length practice papers) available and affordable to all, there is a multitude of free maths resources on 11plus.co.uk, covering core arithmetic skills and all of the KS2 Key Objectives, which are a great help when preparing for 11+ Maths exams. We have also made recommendations of some other useful resources that are available to purchase in the Chuckra Online Shop which will enhance the 11 plus journey for parents, tutors and students.

You can jump straight to the list of Recommended 11+ Resources for Maths & Numerical Reasoning preparation, or continue reading for more detailed guidance on how to use these resources. The path of preparation outlined has helped thousands of students to pass their eleven plus exams.

 Recommendation
If you have decided to send your child to an 11+ tutor, it is always worth checking whether the tutor knows about the 11+ resources recommended here, which of these resources they incorporate into their lessons and hence which resources you can use with your child to help them along the preparation path.

Assess Current Ability

The Initial Assessment of your child before they embark on any preparation is important to do, even if only to provide a record of your child’s ability at that stage so you can analyse their progress along the way. There are many aspects to take in to consideration when you assess a student’s current ability.

Master the Subject

In contrast to VR (verbal reasoning) and NVR (non-verbal reasoning), the skills required for maths & numerical reasoning are taught as part of the school curriculum and hence your child should be familiar with many of the topics covered in the 11 plus maths exams. However, some children require more support than others when preparing for 11+ maths or numerical reasoning. 

If your child has strong maths skills or you are very short of preparation time, you could try jumping to completing past 11+ mock test papers, and only returning to work on the basics if they struggle with any areas exposed while completing mixed practice papers. However, if you have a little time on your hands, it is always a good idea to check they are confident in all topics as suggested below.

Master the Basics of 11 Plus Maths and make preparation effective:

  • Practise questions of each topic after watching the corresponding video. View the list of KS2 Maths Key Objectives and download the free worksheets for each topic.

Remember, timing is not as important as understanding at this stage, so allow your child as long as they need to complete these questions.

If you need a little extra support to work through the topics, you might like to consider using these practical guides which include practice questions on each topic: ‘How to do 11+ Maths’ by Bond or 11+ Maths Workbooks Set by AE Publishing.

Once your child has mastered all of the key topics then move on to mixed practice papers (timed) and practise, practise, practise!

How to prepare for eleven plus maths testsAlthough Chuckra 11+ Maths tests should keep you busy for a long time, it is also a good idea to gain some exposure to a variety of publishers and to ensure your child is confident completing tests online and on paper. This is easily done by adding in some of the recommended ‘Boost Exam Performance Variety Resources’ to your preparation schedule depending on the time you have available. Some of the packs are physical practice papers which will be posted to you, others are additional tests in COAsT or practice papers to download & print immediately.

Remember to review technique & understanding of each question that your child still finds tricky and complete more questions of the topics they find tricky until these are mastered.

CEM (Durham University) and GL Assessment (formerly nferNelson) are the most widely used publishers for 11 plus exams around the UK at present, however many other exam publishers (e.g. Moray House, CSSE – Consortium for Selective Schools in Essex) cover the same topics. Therefore, we recommend mastering the core KS2 topics and stretching into some areas of basic algebra to be best equipped for anything that may come up on the big day.

Enhance Core Skills

Make sure to incorporate a selection of exercises and games to enhance core skills, throughout the preparation process, to help keep interest and motivation up.

games to prepare for mathsThe Brain Games in COAsT perfect for practising core maths skills are:

  • missingOperator
  • missingNumber
  • reArrangeIt

Boost Exam Performance

eleven plus non verbal reasoningAn important aspect of entrance exam success is having the ability  to stay calm whilst working quickly AND accurately.

View our tips on how to Boost Exam Performance

Find out more about Mock Exam Days

Recommended 11+ resources for Maths & Numerical Reasoning

Strengthen each maths topic before doing mixed practice papers:

Practise mixed topic maths or numerical reasoning exam papers:

  • Maths Practice Exam Papers in COAsT – online or printable (free initial assessment)

    When tests are completed online in COAsT (Chuckra Online Assessment Tool), you can view an analysis breakdown of your student’s performance across all of the tests, split by maths topic to help identify weaker areas which still need more attention.


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