11 Plus Exams – Numerical Reasoning

The only 11 Plus Exam which is actually called Numerical Reasoning is that produced by CEM and administered by Buckinghamshire, Gloucestershire, Parts of Birmingham and Warwickshire and other areas around the UK.

Numerical Reasoning is a very confusing title for what is included within this 11 Plus Exam

It is worth keeping in mind the following points:

Short calculation questions in Numerical Reasoning exams

CEM Numerical Reasoning will contain some reasonably straightforward calculation questions. There’s really no ‘reasoning’ involved. So questions like 356 x 487 may well come up, indeed in the past there have been whole sections of short calculation questions. These test a child’s times tables ability, four operations ability, attention to detail and ability to work quickly but they certainly do not stray outside the KS2 syllabus.

Two step problem questions in Numerical Reasoning exams

CEM Numerical Reasoning  will have questions where missing information has to be worked out before a final calculation can be done to reach an answer. As an example Geoff is 1.8m tall and Peter is taller than Geoff. Carol is 57cm shorter than Peter. John is the same height as Geoff and 45cm taller than Carol. What height is Peter?

To work out the answer children simply need to work through the logic of the question, find Carol’s height and then use the information to work out Peter’s height. Carol is 45cm shorter than Geoff and Geoff is 1.8m, so Carol is 1.35m tall. We know she is also 57cm shorter than Peter so Peter must be 1.35m plus 57cm = 1.92m. Peter is 1.92m tall.

Typically with these questions the final calculation is straightforward but intelligence needs to be applied to collect the missing information. These questions are not overly difficult but remember that there will be intensive time pressure which is how these tests differentiate between children.

Multi-Part Questions in Numerical Reasoning exams

In these questions children will be given something like a graph with lots of information on it and they will be asked five or six questions on various elements of the graph. These questions are not overly difficult but it is essential not to make mistakes because a mistake on one question can lead to mistakes in the others as often one question may relate to another.

Children need great core Maths skills to perform well in CEM Numerical Reasoning

Essentially there’s no difference between Maths and Numerical Reasoning as far 11 Plus Exams goes. Children with great core skills will do well. The tests will of course require children to have very solid core skills and those children without them are likely to make unnecessary mistakes when placed under exam day stress and time pressure.

Remember CEM Numerical Reasoning tests will not stray beyond the KS2 syllabus but in many areas this will include work that they will have covered in year 6 so there will be a requirement to move ahead. Remember though that there’s no point in moving too far ahead.

If parents want to think about how to prepare for these tests then we have created a section which looks at the advantages and disadvantages of the four main types of 11 Plus preparation.