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Frequently Asked Questions

Why does the Challenge now look different?

In March 2020 we updated the Challenge to make it better for adults who lack confidence with everyday maths. All the changes are based on the feedback we have had from Challenge users:

  • The website has a whole new look, to make it clearer and simpler to use. 
  • There is a new quick check so that it only takes around ten minutes to practise or check your skills.
  • We’ve added a couple of questions about how you feel about maths, and videos to show that however you do feel, you’re not alone. 
  • The site is more flexible, so that you can choose what you want to do, rather than being forced to take a check-up.


Who can use the Challenge?

The Challenge is aimed at adults. You can register as an individual, or you can sign up as part of an organisation, college or workplace.

Does it cost anything to take the Challenge?

There is no charge to use The Challenge.

Registering for the Challenge via an organisation, employer or college

If you are taking the Challenge through an organisation, employer or college, you should have been given a link to follow to register for the Challenge. If so, you must use this so that you are part of the group for that organisation. If you are taking the Challenge as an individual, please use the main website address.

How long will it take to complete the Challenge?

The time taken can vary according to your personal goals. A quick check of your skills takes most people around ten minutes. This is then followed by bite-size chunks of learning. You can use the Challenge as often as you like, for as long as you like. Your progress is saved every time you log out or close the window.

How does the quick check work?

A quick check takes around ten minutes - the more questions you get right, the more you get asked, up to a maximum of 20 questions. You can then look at any questions you get wrong and learn about the maths behind them. By doing this repeatedly you can use the quick check as a learning or practice tool.

It also gives you a rough idea of your skills level – see ‘What does my score mean?’ on your home page. Quick checks were added to the Challenge in March 2020.

What is the difference between a quick check and a check-up?

The check-up has been available since the Challenge was launched and is a longer, more detailed check on your skills. It takes up to half an hour and gives you an accurate level, shows your strengths and weaknesses, any improvement, and provides a target to work towards.

Why can't I get the Challenge to work?

If you experience technical difficulties using the Challenge, please email us and we will get back to you as soon as possible. In order to help resolve the problem quickly, please provide us with the following information in your email:

  • The device and web browser you are using, preferably including the version of the browser
  • Whether you have just started the Challenge or are returning to it
  • Ideally provide a screenshot
  • What happened just before the problem occurred

When I view my wrong answers, the options highlighted are the answers I gave, why have I been marked wrong?

The answers highlighted in red are actually a reminder of the answer you gave, not the correct answer.

Can I see the correct answers?

We do not display the correct answers. The reason for this is that the Challenge is purely designed to work out the level of numeracy you are working at, and your strengths and weaknesses within that. To maintain its integrity as an assessment, we can’t allow the ‘right answers’ to be in circulation. We understand that people want to know which questions they get wrong, so we show this, without providing explanation. The learning resources area of the Challenge explains the workings of each area of numeracy. If you want to know the answer to, or explanation behind, a specific question we are happy to take queries by email, you can contact us at [email protected]

The number of questions I answered wrongly in the check-up doesn’t match my score, why is this?

Your final score is not a raw score, nor is it a percentage. The questions are weighted based on the level they are, giving you a scaled score for each area of numeracy. Therefore, for example, if your score is 50, it does not necessarily mean half of your answers were incorrect.

Is the Challenge suitable if I have a learning difficulty?

We recommend that you speak to someone at your local college who can help you find the learning options that best suit your needs. Have a look at our guide to learning elsewhere.

Or take a look at some of these links:

Can I use the Challenge on my Smartphone/Tablet?

Yes, the Challenge is fully functional on phones, desktop or laptop computers and tablets.

How do I find out more about the Challenge and National Numeracy?

Will I receive a recognised qualification when I complete the Challenge?

Once you score 80 or more on the Challenge check-up you can print a certificate to show that you have the Essentials of Numeracy. This is not an accredited qualification, but an informal way to demonstrate that you have the core numeracy skills needed in daily life and the workplace. We are working to get the Essentials of Numeracy recognised by as many employers as possible.
If you have completed the Challenge and would like to gain a formal qualification, take a look at our guide to learning elsewhere.

What are the Essentials of Numeracy?

National Numeracy has worked with employers, unions, charities and maths experts to define the Essentials of Numeracy. These are the skills and attitudes that everyone needs in order to use numbers and data to make good decisions at work and at home.
The Essentials includes being able to understand percentages, manage your money and schedule a journey. It does not include the bits of school maths that you don't often use in daily life, like algebra and trigonometry.
The Challenge check-up lets you find out whether you have a good grasp of the Essentials of Numeracy. If you do, then you can get a certificate as evidence. If you haven't got the Essentials yet, then there are resources to enable you to work towards getting them.

Can I use the Challenge as preparation for my maths GCSE or Functional Skills course?

Yes, the Challenge is helpful for working towards these qualifications. While some of the content of the Essentials is equivalent to GCSE level, we do not cover all GCSE topics. The Challenge should therefore not be used as the only preparation for GCSE but can be a useful addition or revision tool.

If I start a college course can I still use the Challenge at home?

Of course! Use the Challenge in whichever way supports you best.

Can I choose just one (or a few) topics to concentrate on?

Once you have taken a quick check, the Challenge will guide you to learning resources on the topics that you most need to focus on but will also allow you to look at resources in other topics too.

If I finish the Challenge and want to keep learning, what are my options?

The Challenge is designed so that you can continue to learn even once you have the Essentials of Numeracy. We also have a Learn Elsewhere page which contains information and options such as continuing your learning online or college courses.

I'm partially sighted, is there an option for audio in the Challenge?

Screen readers are available if you are blind, visually impaired, or print disabled, such as Microsoft Narrator or Google ChromeVox

I don't like learning on a screen, can I print out the learning resources?

Yes, you can print resources where appropriate.

Still stuck?

If none of the above answers your question, contact us and we'll get back to you as soon as possible. Alternatively, you can call 01273 900298.