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Improving maths for the 11+

The 11+ exam is a voluntary exam taken by students in Year 6 to gain entry to Grammar School in Year 7. The exam is designed to measure a student's academic ability and consists of English, Maths, Verbal Reasoning, and Non-Verbal Reasoning. The exam is usually held in September of Year 6, a year before admission. Participation is voluntary, and parents must register their child for the appropriate exam, depending on the school they are applying to.


To prepare for the Maths portion of the exam, it is important to know which exam your child will be taking, the structure of the exam, and the types of questions that will be asked. GL and CEM provide limited practice materials for free, and some additional materials are available for purchase. Exams vary in length and structure, and it is important to check with your school what the structure is and prepare accordingly.


The 11+ Maths exam is designed to measure innate maths ability and how well the student would do in a challenging academic environment. Therefore, it is essential to develop strong problem-solving skills. Still, it is also crucial to remember that the 11+ Maths exam is just that - a Maths exam. Your child will need a solid grasp of the Maths they have been taught at school to do well.


It is also helpful to introduce as many sample or past papers as possible. While the question's level of difficulty should be no more complex than the style candidates are used to from KS2, verbal and non-verbal reasoning often differ from the national curriculum, so it's good to get some practice! Additionally, focus on your child's key skills, not the most difficult questions. Your child may not have time to attempt them anyway, or questions similar to them may not appear at all in the exam that your child sits.


Finally, it is important to help your child visualise and understand word problems. Graphs and diagrams feature in some 11+ exams, and your child needs to be able to read and understand them.

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