What you need to know for success in 11+ maths - tips for parents

Children need to have a complete grasp of key maths concepts such as times tables, division, multiplication and subtraction as well as a number of core subjects. A great way to help your child develop these concepts is by introducing them to fun games. There are so many games online today which are fun as well as educational and whether your child is just going into year 5 in September 2022 or whether they are going to take the Kent test in September 2022 your child will benefit from keeping their brain active as well as developing those brain connections.

Published 26 July 2022

What you need to know for 11  maths - tips for parents

Maths for the 11+

Maths in the 11+ requires your child to have a firm grasp of times tables and be able to recall them quickly and accurately- in my experience - children need to have mastered this by the end of year 4 so they have more time to learn all the other mathematical concepts.  Maths for the Kent test expects your child to achieve a far higher level of attainment in Maths than the general expectation of a child in year 5 and whether you seek extra tuition or not, competence in this area is recommended for a greater chance of success. 

The ability to use the four operations of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division is a key requirement and in my opinion, is the first area your child needs to focus on as these operations underpin all subsequent Maths topics and your child will really struggle if they do not understand these relationships between numbers. 

They will be expected to be able to read,  add and subtract numbers up to 6 digits, understand number placement up to a million as well as decimal placement to the hundredths. Furthermore, they need to be able to multiply 2 and 3 digit numbers together as well as divide 2 digit numbers in 3 digits or more with and without remainders, as well as make a decimal or fractional remainder. 

If your child is taking the test this September and they have not quite grasped this - help them to practice this over the summer - buy some flash cards with times tables - on long car journeys and traffic jams - why not make use of the time and help your child remember times tables in this way? Test them on a variety of calculations such as:

 67+11, 71-37, 33 x 5 , 520/ 10 and so on…

Why not look up on the internet an interactive game using these concepts - children love games and it really will help them learn!

If your child is at the end of year 4 - these above concepts still apply, but they have more time to practice and become competent.  Try helping them to multiply and three digits numbers by 10, 100 and 1000 and then reverse this by helping them divide these numbers. As they progress through the year, they should be able to understand decimal places and how a number gets larger or smaller by moving the decimal place.


Why are times tables so important?

if your child struggles with times tables facts they are also likely to struggle with the following:-





Prime numbers

Factors and multiples

Ratio and proportion


Try some useful tables skills  such as 

Doubling and halving e.g.  even numbers - double 30, halve 90 or odd numbers double 37 0r 49.

There many online games that are interactive and your child gets a score and they can compete with themselves to get better and quicker - this makes it fun as well as being educational.


Other maths topics

They also need to know, recognise and be able to describe 2D and 3D shapes, their properties such as lines of symmetry in 2D shapes, numbers of  edges, faces and corners on 3D shapes as well as angles in triangles and quadrilaterals.

Fractions and decimals

Many children find fractions one of the hardest topics to grasp so early on try using concrete methods. By that I mean show them pieces of fruit, counters or something they can see and ask them

“Out of 10 counters- if i take away 5 - what fraction will i have left?”

As you progress - try to make it slightly harder - e.g.

“if I take away 2 counters  rom 10 -what fraction will I have left?”

By the spring term of year 5 they should have grasped simple fractions as well as percentages. Ratio is another topic children find tricky and I think this is a topic which should be left towards the end of the summer term in year 5 - 

Other topics include Measurement and Data handling

Many parents may find the maths element the most difficult  in which to support their child, possibly because of  lack of time or they might have forgotten many of the skills they learnt when they were at school or simply because  it is confusing for the child to work with the parent when one minute they are the teacher and then  the next minute they are mum or dad again.

At My121tutor, we have been coaching children for the 11+ for many years and not only understand the syllabus inside out, but we also understand the extra demands this makes on parents who want the best for their child. If you would like your child to be in safe, competent hands and  have support through the Kent test for 2023- please get in touch. - my website has many testimonials of very satisfied clients who come back to us  again and again for another sibling for the Kent test or when their child is older and needs a little coaching for GCSEs or A levels. 

Learning is a lifelong process and is never wasted

Rowena Hawtin


MSc, BSc, PGCE established 2006

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