Primary Mathematics Challenge

Parents and pupils - try the PMC paper Live on line
or buy the PMC book!

Have you tried Primary Maths Problems live online?

PMC Newsfeed December 2014

Wow! Didn't they do well!

Over 79 000 pupils in 2035 schools entered the PMC this year. From the scores you returned to us we have been able to select 1184 pupils who scored 21 or more. They will be invited to sit the Bonus paper in February.

This year's paper was pitched at a better level than last year's... which was a real toughie! Interestingly some of you thought this year's was harder than last year's, whilst some thought it was easier. The statistics show us fairly clearly that it was more accessible than last years, with 26% of the group scoring 16 or over, compared with only 13% last year. Obviously we need to make the final set of questions (i.e. 21-25) very challenging in order to discriminate and select the best performers to take part in the Bonus Round. Nevertheless our aim is always to produce a paper which pupils will enjoy and in which they will feel a degree of success and achievement. We would hate it to be a demoralising experience for pupils and we do suggest that you warn pupils that it is a tough challenge and they should be pleased about what they do achieve, not disappointed if they don't get full marks.

Unfortunately quite a number of schools which ordered the papers did not return their results to us. It may be that you can see from the scores that your pupils will not qualify for the bonus round, but we would really like the statistics about the scores to provide us with useful feedback about the paper. If we only receive scores from high scoring schools and a smaller proportion of lower scoring schools we might be basing our judgements on limited information.

There were some problems this year with providing feedback on line. Thank you for your patience over this. Office staff were able to deal with the scores provided and feed them into the system, but for your sake and ours, we are hoping next year that bit of the system will be moving like a well-oiled (virtual) machine.

We are often asked if PMC could be set later in the school year, but we have considered this and decided we need to stay with the current timing. We aim to write questions which are accessible to all and do not rely on specific bits of knowledge, so it should not matter if you have not yet covered the Y6 curriculum.

We would remind schools that you need to buy sufficient papers for your needs. The PMC papers are copyright and photocopying is not allowed.

Feedback from Teachers

  • There was a real 'buzz' of excitement during the week... especially during the Friday celebration assembly when certificates were handed out and the winners announced.
  • The children enjoyed being able to practise a paper on line beforehand.
  • Fabulous challenging problems as always.
  • Love the style of the questions.
  • Good mix of questions to challenge children. We will be entering next year as it has got children talking about maths at school.
  • A good collection of questions which tested the children's ability at all levels.
  • This provided a good challenge, with pupils needing to use a range of skills to work out the answer. They enjoyed the challenge, but found it tricky.
  • There was a good range of topics. It highlighted for me how difficult my pupils find it to use what they know.
  • A good way to get children thinking differently about maths problems.

Pupils' Comments

  • Fun! Dreadful! We learned a lot!
  • The question about the queues was fun.
  • I did better than I thought. I can do this type of maths.
  • The final questions are the trickiest.
  • I like the joke names like Lorna Mower
  • Phew!

November Scores

Schools taking part

England: 1881
Scotland: 50
Wales: 50
N. Ireland: 29
Eire: 3
Other: 22

PMC Bonus Round

The pupils who scored 21 or more in the November 2014 PMC will be invited to take part in the bonus round. Invitations will be posted out on the 12th January 2015. The bonus round paper must be taken on Wednesday 4th February 2015. If you have a pupil who scored 21 or more and have not received your Bonus Round paper by Wednesday 28th January, please contact the MA office.

The Bonus round is OMR marked. Please make sure the OMR sheet is completed in pencil and return it with the feedback sheet. Completed answer sheets should not be returned to the MA office.

Contacting MA office

PMC policy is that any contact regarding PMC is made through the schools. We are happy to respond to queries from teachers regarding the Challenge. Increasingly we are receiving queries from parents about their children's performance in PMC. We refer these back to the schools and would ask that you make clear to parents that any queries should be channeled through the school.

On-line registration and results

This year, many schools were able to successfully register and return their results on-line.

What is the PMC?

The PMC is a test with multiple-choice problems which interest pupils and are mathematical. It is aimed at the top 60% of pupils in Years 5 and 6 England and Wales, P6 and P7 in Scotland, and Years 6 and 7 in Northern Ireland.

What do your pupils get?

  • the chance to take part in a national challenge
  • 10 easy questions to start with
  • all pupils should achieve a reasonable score
  • certificates presented by the school
  • high-scoring pupils will be invited to take the PMC Bonus Round in February 2014

What do the teachers get?

Each pack of 10 PMC papers also contains:

  • 1 gold, 2 silver and 3 bronze certificates
  • 1 photocopiable Took the Challenge certificate
  • mark scheme

Also provided are full instructions, solutions and follow-up ideas for the classroom, feedback sheet, and an opportunity to raise the profile of maths in your school.

Cost per pack: £9.00 + VAT (schools can reclaim the VAT costs).
All packs will be posted out using the Royal Mail tracking system. The cost for this (£1.10 + VAT) must be added to each order.

Overseas Orders

To ensure orders reach schools abroad on time, it has been decided that they must be sent airmail. Please select one of the rates to add to your order to cover the airmail postage. (You can order more than 11 packs; the airmail cost will be emailed to you.)

of packs
Air MailSurface MailAir MailSurface Mail

For International Signed for option add £4.95 to the postage cost.

12 Packs or more, please contact the PMC Office for prices.

Pupils love their PMC medals

You can order PMC medals for your pupils who got high marks in the November PMC. This attractive medallion, cast especially for the PMC is provided with a yellow MA ribbon, looks good when presented in assembly! The medallion has no date, so can be kept for future years; the back has space for engraving if wanted.

order 1 - 5 medals ......................... £3.50 each
order 6 - 10 medals ....................... £3.25 each
order 11 and over medals ............ £3.00 each
Handling charge for all orders ..... £1.50

Please phone the MA office for further details or print out the order form.


past PMCs

PMC live online






Team Members

Team Members

These are the people who work on the PMC. They are all volunteers who enjoy setting problems which are intended to motivate and 'stretch' young people!



PMC Book

PMC Book

The book contains all the PMC problems from November 2002 to February 2006 arranged in four levels of difficulty.





Got a problem?
Try our frequently asked questions for an answer.

Primary Mathematics Challenge