Your Guide to the 11 Plus Mathematics Curriculum

Your Guide to the 11 Plus Mathematics Curriculum

The 11 Plus entrance exams cannot be done without maths. It measures a child’s proficiency in certain math concepts and their ability to apply problem-solving skills. A high 11+ maths score could be an important factor in a child’s overall score and chances of admission to grammar school or independent school.

By explaining the key concepts in the 11 Plus Mathematics curriculum, how to approach different types of math questions, and quite importantly regular and strategic practice, this guide aims to make students confident and successful in their 11 Plus mathematics examinations.

What Are the Key Topics in the 11 Plus Maths Papers?

Your Guide to the 11 Plus Mathematics Curriculum

The 11 Plus exam assesses students’ mathematical skills, which fall within the National Curriculum Key Stage 2 (KS2). Key concepts and topics covered in the 11 Plus Maths papers generally include: 

  • Arithmetic
  • Algebra
  • Geometry
  • Measurement
  • Statistics and Probability

Furthermore, the 11 Plus Math test paper often includes questions that require creative lateral thinking, challenging students to think beyond rote memorisation and apply their mathematical understanding in novel ways beyond school. 

Let’s delve into these 11 Plus maths papers and topics:


Arithmetic focuses on numbers and place value, negative numbers, prime numbers, and the basic four operations. Many children must demonstrate proficiency in these maths operations and word problems.

Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication, Division

In the 11 Plus mathematics exams, a child must be proficient in numbers and the four basic operations: addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. These four operations are the building blocks of maths. Understanding how to perform these operations accurately and efficiently is essential for success.

Fractions, Decimals, and Percentages

They will also encounter 11+ maths questions involving fractions, decimals, and percentages. They should understand and give correct answers when converting between these forms and perform operations with fractions, decimals, and percentages.

Mastery of these topics is crucial for tackling more complex problems in the tests.

Ratio and Proportion

Ratio and proportion questions are common in the 11 Plus mathematics exams. A child must grasp the concepts of ratio and proportion and apply them to various problems. This includes comparing quantities, finding missing values in proportional relationships, and solving problems involving ratios and proportions.


Algebra introduces a child to using symbols and letters to represent numbers and quantities. They learn to solve algebraic equations, simplify expressions, and apply algebraic concepts to solve problems.

Basic Algebraic Expressions

A child learns to simplify and manipulate algebraic expressions by combining like terms, applying the distributive property, and performing basic math operations.

Equations and Inequalities

Equations and inequalities involve expressing mathematical relationships using symbols and solving for unknown values. A child should be able to tackle linear equations and inequalities involving one variable in the 11+ maths exams. This includes understanding how to isolate the variable and find its value.

Patterns and Sequences

Recognising patterns and sequences is a key skill in mathematics. A child should be able to identify patterns and sequences in numbers, shapes, or objects and extend them to predict future terms or elements in the 11+ maths.

Functions and Graphs

Functions describe mathematical relationships between variables, and graphs visually represent these relationships. In the 11+ maths exams, a child should understand the concept of functions and be able to interpret basic graphs, including linear and quadratic functions.

This involves recognising key features of graphs such as intercepts and slopes.


Geometry covers the study of shapes, angles, lines, and spatial relationships. Pupils learn to identify and classify different geometric shapes, calculate angles, and solve problems involving geometric properties.

Basic Geometric Shape

Geometry deals with shapes, lines, angles, and their properties. In the 11 Plus mathematics exams, a child should be familiar with the properties of lines, angles, and common polygons, for example, squares, rectangles, triangles, and circles.

Calculating Shape

Geometry involves calculating the perimeter, area, and volume of various shapes. A child should understand how to calculate the perimeter (the total length around a shape), the area (the amount of space inside a shape), and the volume (the amount of space enclosed by a three-dimensional shape) of different geometric figures.

Symmetry and Transformations

Symmetry and transformations focus on identifying symmetrical figures and performing transformations such as reflections, translations, and rotations. A child should be able to recognise symmetry in shapes and perform basic transformations to manipulate them, such as reflecting a shape across a line or rotating it around a point.


This involves units of measurement, converting between units, and applying them to solve real-world problems. Topics may include length, area, volume, and time.

Length, Mass, Capacity, and Time

Measurement skills are applied to various real-world situations, including length, mass, capacity, and time.

A child should be able to apply these abilities in solving problems involving length (e.g., measuring distances), mass (e.g., weighing objects), capacity (e.g., measuring volumes), and time (e.g., calculating durations).

Estimation and Approximation

Maths estimation and approximation involve making educated guesses and calculating approximate values. A child should develop the ability to estimate measurements and calculate approximate values when precise measurements are not necessary or feasible.

Data Handling and Statistics

Statistics focuses on interpreting and analysing data. School children learn to read and interpret graphs, calculate central tendency and dispersion measures, and draw conclusions from data sets.

Data Interpretation

Data interpretation involves reading and understanding information presented in graphs, charts, and tables. A child should be able to extract information, identify trends, and draw conclusions from various data representations.


Probability deals with the likelihood of events occurring and involves basic probability and calculations. A child should understand fundamentals such as outcomes, events, probability, and calculating probabilities of simple events.

Averages and Range

Averages and ranges are measures of central tendency and variability in data sets. A child should be able to calculate measures of central tendency (mean, median, mode) and measures of variability (range) to describe and analyse data sets.

By mastering arithmetic, algebraic, geometric, and statistical topics, pupils can enhance their maths abilities and build confidence in tackling the maths section of the 11 Plus exam. Students should dedicate time to practice the skills to pass the exam.

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What Is the Structure of the 11 Plus Mathematics Exam?

The 11 Plus Maths Exam is structured to assess a child’s mathematical abilities at a level suitable for entry into grammar schools or independent schools. Typically, the tests cover various topics aligned with the schools’ national curriculum for Key Stage 2, focusing on fundamental mathematical concepts.

Test questions may include multiple-choice questions, worded problems, short-answer questions, and longer, more challenging problem-solving and critical-thinking questions. These questions assess a child’s ability to apply maths topics in different contexts.

Typically, there is a time limit for completing the 11+ Maths exam. This adds an element of pressure and evaluates the child’s ability to work efficiently and manage time effectively during the test.

The exam also assesses accuracy and speed, so school children taking 11+ Maths must answer questions correctly while completing the test answer within the allotted time frame.

How Can My Child Prepare for the 11+ Maths Exam Papers?

Preparing for the 11+ Maths exam requires a structured approach focusing on mastering maths concepts, practicing regularly, and building the child’s confidence. Here are some tips to help your child prepare effectively:

Understand the Exam Format

Familiarise yourself and your child with the structure of the 11+ Maths exam. Knowing what to expect will help reduce anxiety and improve performance.

Focus on Key Areas

Identify the key areas covered in the exam, such as the times tables, fractions, decimals, and more. Allocate time for focused 11 Plus maths practice on each topic, ensuring comprehensive coverage.

Regular Practice 

Encourage your child to practice regularly, preferably with timed sessions to simulate exam conditions. Regular practice enhances mathematical skills and increases speed, which is essential to test success.

Maths Practice Papers and Past Papers

Accessing maths practice papers and past papers specifically designed for the 11 Plus exam is essential. These maths practice papers and past papers mimic the format and difficulty level of the actual tests, allowing many children to familiarise themselves with the types of 11+ Maths questions they will encounter. 

Use of Free Resources

Utilise free resources like online practice platforms, school textbooks, and educational websites offering free support materials and examples. These resources give pupils additional practice opportunities and explanations to reinforce maths learning.

Take Mock Exams

Closer to the exam date, simulate exam conditions by administering mock exams. These 11 Plus Maths practice with exam papers help your child become accustomed to the time constraints and pressure of the actual test.

Seek Support from Tutors

Consider enlisting the help of tutors specialising in 11 Plus preparation. Tutors can provide pupils personalised guidance, targeted 11 Plus maths practice, and strategies to address your child’s specific needs, boosting their confidence and performance.

Prepare your child well for the 11 Plus Maths test if you’re aiming to gain entry into a grammar or independent school. By being familiar with the key maths topics, students can tackle the challenging questions presented in the test papers with confidence.