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11+ Following Instructions with Figures illustration | instructions
If you can follow instruction to the letter, then these types of question will pose no problem.

VR - Following Instructions with Figures

This article was formerly a part of Following Instructions with Figures and Picking a Figure to Fulfil Criteria. For the sake of clarity, that has now been split into two more specific articles. To read the information which used to be included, see Picking a Figure to Fulfil Criteria.

Following Instructions with Figures is a kind of words-and-maths question in the Eleven Plus Verbal Reasoning exam. They are quite rare but do appear sometimes, so we’ll include them in this range of exam illustrations.

Following Instructions With Figures is simply a way to test candidates’ knowledge of mathematical terms and their ability to obey written instructions in order to do calculations.

How Are These Kind Of Questions Posed In The Exam?

Candidates are shown some written instructions, followed by some numbers, and then asked to follow the instructions.

As long as your child knows what different mathematical terms mean (quite simple ones in this case) then the questions are pretty easy.

The chances are that your child will know these terms. If they do not, then make sure they do before they come to take the Verbal Reasoning exam.

Let’s look at some example questions:

Example Question One


Multiply the first figure by the sum of the last two:

8 5 4

The sum of the last two digits is 9. The answer is 9 x 8 = 72.

Example Question Two


Add the first figure to the product of the last two:

7 3 6

The product of the last two digits is 18. The answer is 7 + 18 = 25.

Example Question Three


Subtract the third figure from the quotient of the first two (the first figure is the dividend and the second is the divisor):

24 3 6

If 24 is the dividend, and 3 the divisor, then their quotient is 8 (24 ÷ 3 = 8). The answer is 8 - 6 = 2.

There is no difficulty for most people doing these questions – we simply have to ensure that children are familiar with the terminology involved.

Let’s give you a rundown of some key terms. Make sure your child knows them:

  • Sum of – addition
  • Dividend/Divisor - in the expression "a divided by b", a is the dividend and b is the divisor
  • Factor - an exact divisor of a number. Thus 6 is a factor of 42. A factor of a number fits into it without any remainder
  • Multiple – if you multiply a number and it fits into another, the result is said to be a multiple of the first. Thus 80 is a multiple of 20
  • Product - the result of multiplying two numbers
  • Quotient - the result of a division

Of course, they could ask many more questions in word form, for instance about mean, mode and median, but these will all be addressed in the maths section.

Sample Tests

Despite Following Instructions With Figures questions seldom being found in Verbal Reasoning papers, practising them is always a good idea. Even if your child will not have to face them, going over these will help them in their maths test.

You may want to look at our Eleven Plus Maths section, which is geared towards the Eleven Plus Maths exam. You will find it on our site, or you can follow this link: 11-Plus Maths Quizzes.

We also have four quizzes in our Verbal Reasoning section dedicated to Following Instructions With Figures type questions. These can be found in the Eleven Plus Verbal Reasoning section of Education Quizzes, or you can follow these links:

Following Instructions 1

Following Instructions 2

Following Instructions 3

Following Instructions 4

Try them with your child and see whether or not they are familiar enough with the terms. If not, explain them and make sure your child understands exactly what they mean.

The quizzes will also test their ability to read questions carefully. The order of the words in a question may vary. Sometimes the first figure, the second or the third requires action so it is vital that each question is read thoroughly and understood to avoid doing the wrong calculation and picking the wrong answer. Practise should help with this. Good luck!

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