8 Plus Maths and Numeracy

Introduction to 8 Plus Mathematics exams:

The Maths paper is based on the syllabus within the National Curriculum and is pitched at Year 3 level. The exam lasts for approximately 40 minutes- 1 hr 15 minutes depending on the school. Usually the papers include mental maths questions and written questions.

Unlike the 7+, schools rarely provide 8+ Maths specimen sample papers. However, most will provide a Maths syllabus on their website or separately with the school’s prospectus. Whilst some schools list general topic area only (such as ‘estimating and rounding’), others will further expand on this by providing individual objectives under each topic heading (such as ‘round any 3 digit number to the nearest 10 or 100’ under the ‘Estimating and rounding’ section).

What will be covered in the 8+ mental arithmetic section?

This is usually a 10 minute activity, consisting of anything between 10-15 questions.Your child will need to listen carefully to the questions being asked as this is an aural mental arithmetic test. Questions usually increase in difficulty and your child will need to complete each question under timed pressure (usually anything from 5-15 seconds). Your child will be expected to know the answers to the questions without using calculators or written working.

What will be covered in the 8+ Maths written paper?

Some schools have 1 written Maths paper whilst others may split their written section into 2 parts. The written paper(s) consist of questions covering a range of topics from the Maths curriculum, as listed below. The worded questions are usually found towards the end and these are designed to test your child’s ability to solve longer and more challenging problems. In this part of the test, your child should show clear working, rather than simply writing down an answer, in order to demonstrate his/her ability to analyse problems and apply familiar techniques in unfamiliar situations.

What can I do to prepare?

Look at the suggestions on our 7+ Maths page first- it’s a good starting point.

Times tables:

Please try to get your child as familiar with them as possible. One school lists these as being ‘the 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 10 x tables’ at 8+ level.

Division facts:

Equally important and often overlooked, do make sure your child knows his/ her division facts of the same times tables.

Mental Maths:

Mental Maths can often panic children because firstly, all questions are given aurally and secondly, there are time restrictions on each question. One way to get better at Mental Maths is to practise the listening part first and read out the Maths questions for your child to answer without any timed pressure. Then, as your child gets more familiar with this, slowly start introducing the time limits. There are lots of Mental Maths practice books available online.

8+ Maths syllabus

Number and the Number Systems

  • Counting, properties and numbers and number sequences
  • Place value and ordering
  • Estimating and rounding
  • Fractions

Money, Measures, Shape and Space

  • Money and measures
  • Shape and space


  • Understanding addition and subtraction
  • Rapid recall of addition and subtraction facts
  • Mental calculation strategies (+ and -)
  • Pencil and paper procedures (+ and -)
  • Understanding multiplication and division
  • Rapid recall of multiplication and division facts
  • Mental calculation strategies (x and ÷)
  • Checking results of calculations

Solving Problems

  • Problems involving money and measures
  • Organising and using data
  • Making decisions
  • Reasoning about numbers or shapes