Do you really know how difficult 11+ maths is?


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Do you really know how difficult 11+ maths is?


From the maths perspective, what are selective schools looking for?

Vic Lennard, our 11+ specialist maths advisor and tutor explains…….

Unquestionably, these schools are looking for a natural aptitude, borne out by their attempts to make exams ‘tutor-proof’ by using problem-based questions. Many schools create papers using the Centre for Evaluation and Monitoring (CEM) based at Durham University.

The majority of maths topics in Foundation Level at GCSE need to be learnt to pass most 11+ exams. In fact, a top 11+ maths student could pass Foundation maths GCSE. Such a student would also score higher on an 11+ maths paper than an A-grade GCSE student would. Why? Because secondary schools teach structured, conventional maths, while 11+ exams require a good understanding of the basics along with an unconventional approach to problem-based questions, which rarely exist at GCSE.

This goes part way to explaining why teaching 11+ maths requires specialist tuition – it requires a tutor with an in-depth understanding of the subject and the methods required to teach GCSE-level topics to 10-year-olds. Additionally, the problem-solving aspect of more difficult 11+ questions involves thought processes that require very specialist teaching. There is also exam technique and strategy to be taught, something that would never be covered in primary school.

Bearing in mind that many 11+ exams are sat in the autumn term of year 6, a number of topics will not have been taught to the required level yet, including algebra, ratios, geometry and statistics. If they have been covered, the requirements of the national curriculum are far below what is necessary for 11+ exams. For instance, algebra is not covered at all until year 6 and even then it is at a most basic standard. Algebra-based questions in some 11+ exams include the informal usage of up to three-step equations along with simultaneous equations. Similarly, ratios appear on the syllabus for year 6, but difficult questions requiring inverse ratios are way beyond the national curriculum.

Additional maths tuition is essential for students taking the 11+ exams.

And remember, before going down the path of selective school exams, it is imperative to have your child assessed to identify their potential. If this does not meet the required level, a more sensible option will need to be considered.

Jaderberg Krais offer educational advice, assessments and tutoring for all children, including the 11+.  What makes us unique is our bespoke service.

If you would like more information contact Lorrae Jaderberg and Katie Krais on: 020 3488 0754.

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