Test your mental arithmetic speed with this shopping trolley challenge!
By Sarah Collins
01 Aug

As calculators are not allowed in 11+ maths tests, it is essential to have confidence in performing simple calculations at speed. Some online tests reward speed as well as accuracy and so rapid recall of times tables and number facts will ensure you can race through the problems like a trolley round a supermarket!
Many problems are presented in a real-life setting like the one below. These questions often look trickier than they actually are because the calculations are hidden in the story, so your first task is to break the text down into simple facts. Once you have separated the information, work out which calculations you are being asked to do and use your maths skills to solve the problem.


Print these questions out for the members of your family brave enough to face the Shopping Trolley Challenge. Now roll your sleeves up and prepare to shop…

It’s the end of term and Jesse’s mother has said she can invite 15 friends for a party as long as Jesse goes to the supermarket to buy the food. She is given a budget of £55.00. Jesse asks her friends Mitchell and Anna to help her and they take a trolley each to make the job quicker.
Mitchell is in charge of the snacks. He’s sure everybody will be hungry so fills up his trolley with the following: four packs of tortillas at 99p each, two multi-packs of crisps at £1.50 each, five large bags of peanuts at £2.10 each and three of bags of marshmallows for later at £1.30 each.
1.  How much do the contents of Mitchell’s trolley cost?
2.  If each multi-pack contains six packs, how much does each pack cost?
3. If half the multi-pack crisps are ready salted, one sixth are spicy beef and the rest are prawn cocktail flavour, how many packs of prawn cocktail flavour crisps does Mitchell have in total?
Anna heads off to find the drinks. She has made a list of everybody’s preferences, including her own. There will be six girls and the rest are boys at the party. All the girls like lemonade but only 60% of the boys do. 20% of the boys only like cola with the rest only liking orange juice. She decides that one bottle will serve three people and a carton will serve two.
4. Work out how many bottles of each drink and cartons of juice Anna will need to put in her trolley so that everybody has a serving.
5. Assuming Anna’s calculations are correct, how much drink is left over?
Jesse is buying the pizzas. She decides that one pizza can be cut into seven portions and each person will eat three slices each.
6.  How many pizzas must Jesse buy to feed herself and her friends?
There are very few pizzas left on the shelf so she chooses two roast vegetable, one ham and pineapple and the rest meat feasts. Ham and pineapple pizzas cost £3.75; 50p cheaper than the roast vegetable pizzas. Meat feasts are 50p more expensive than the ham and pineapple but are on a ‘Buy 1 get 1 free’ offer.
7.  How much do the pizzas cost in total?
Jesse, Mitchell and Anna all shop at different speeds. Jesse takes the last handheld scanner, so is 25% slower than Mitchell in reaching the checkout, who races around the shop. Anna gets distracted looking through the sale rail in the clothes aisle and reaches the checkout in 24 minutes: one third slower than Mitchell.
Jesse packed her bags when she was going around the shop so is out in seven and a half minutes – twice as fast as Mitchell. Anna spots a short queue and is out in four minutes.
8. How long does it take Jesse to get to the checkout?
9. Who is first out of the shop?
10.  As well as her £55 budget, Jesse’s mother has given her a £7 discount token. If Anna’s drinks cost £12.50, how much change will Jesse receive from the whole food and drink shop?

Check out the answers here.

In the meantime, if you need a little maths help, take a look at our Mathematics Revision Guide for 11+ and pre-tests. Covering all the key content for pre-tests and 11+ independent school entrance exams, this vital revision guide will ensure confidence in every topic with end-of-chapter tests and a comprehensive progress record.
Buy now for only £12.99

We also sell an 11+ Mathematics Revision Pack
which will take your child step-by-step through their maths revision - consolidating knowledge, teaching children how to apply this knowledge in questions, and finally building confidence and exam technique.


Tags: 11plus, arithmetic, maths, mental, pre-tests

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