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Changes to the 11 Plus - New Mathematics Test

With increased talk of "tutor-proof" 11 Plus exams, many 11 Plus regions have altered their tests. Several areas have chosen the CEM eleven plus examinations, which consist of comprehension, verbal reasoning, non verbal reasoning and mathematical problem solving. This particular type of problem solving is also called numerical reasoning.

Download some example questions in our free worksheet:          Numerical Reasoning Worksheet

What is numerical reasoning?

Basically, numerical reasoning is problem solving. However, it involves using your logical skills, as you have to think about which mathematical methods are needed and you need to untangle the information. The questions often use real-life scenarios, making them very similar to functional mathematics.

Why is numerical reasoning being used?

Unlike normal mathematics, you never know what types of question are going to come up in the exam papers. Although normal mathematical processes are involved, there is no way of saying how those processes will be included in any given question. This means it is much harder to tutor primarily for the exam. Grammar schools do not want a student who has been tutored for an exam; they want a student who has the ability to apply maths in any given situation.

Also, numerical reasoning skills are excellent preparation for working life. Many companies now use numerical reasoning tests to assess the competency of their applicants.

Which areas are using numerical reasoning in their exams?

The CEM tests are becoming increasingly popular and are being used by more and more areas. This list gives most of the areas using CEM, but is not exhaustive:

Bexley, Birmingham, Buckinghamshire, Devon, Warwickshire, Reading, Redbridge, Gloucestershire and the consortium of grammar schools in Shropshire, Walsall and Wolverhampton. CEM tests are also used by several individual schools in other areas, such as Sale Grammar, Altrincham Girls' Grammar, Henrietta Barnett School and Chelmsford County High School For Girls. South West Hertfordshire use CEM for the verbal reasoning part of their test.

Who supply the tests?

The tests are supplied by the University of Durham CEM (Centre for Evaluation and Monitoring at Durham University). Click here to visit their website.

How to prepare for the tests.

The only way to prepare for the tests is to try a range of different problem solving questions. That way, your child will get used to working out which mathematical processes are required and deciphering what the question requires and which information is relevant.

The questions will be based on topics they learn in the national curriculum (mainly from Years 4 and 5). It is hard to say exactly which topics will be included or excluded, but the following give a guideline to start from:

Addition and subtraction problems
Long multiplication
Multiplication and division problems
Time problems and timetables
Money problems
Fraction, decimal and percentage work
Interpreting graphs: bar charts, pie charts and conversion graphs
Measurement work, including metric conversions
Area, perimeter and volume

All these topics are covered in our 11 Plus Mathematics Revision Pack

Online 11 Plus Maths, English, Verbal & Non Verbal Reasoning

11 Plus Revision Pack

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