Quiz reveals how good you are at maths – as Brits avoid cost of living questions as they're too nervous about figures

Can you answer these everyday maths questions? Good news – you can use a calculator.

A new quiz has been created in the lead up to National Numeracy Day on Wednesday 18th May to see how confident you are in your everyday maths ability – from working out a discount on a purchase to choosing a product based on best value for money.

The quiz was created after research found millions of Brits are burying their head in the sand over the rise in the cost of living – because they lack the number confidence to work things out.

A study of more than 3,000 adults found of the 40 per cent avoiding the topic, nearly seven in 10 feel there is little they can do, or that it’s simply out of their control.

As many as 69 per cent said their lack of mathematical ability hasn’t been a massive problem for them in the past – until now, as the cost-of-living crisis bites.

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National Numeracy Day is run by the charity National Numeracy and Founding Supporter KPMG, which commissioned the research. 

Bina Mehta, Chair of the professional services firm in the UK, said: “The rising cost of living puts our nation’s numeracy skills firmly under the microscope.

“We all use numbers to navigate day-to-day life – from understanding interest rates to working out value for money while shopping – yet nearly half of the UK’s working population has the expected numeracy levels of a primary school child.

“That has real consequences for those lacking confidence, leaving them more vulnerable to debt, unemployment and fraud.

“Beyond the concerning impact on individuals, poor numeracy skills also inhibit our country’s productivity and ability to tackle inequality.

"Numeracy – alongside literacy and lifelong learning – is a key building block for improved social mobility. It lays the foundation for a healthier and more inclusive economy.”

COUNTING THE COST

It also emerged that while half of adults said they confidently know their total monthly outgoings, 45 per cent rely either entirely or in part on someone else to take care of the bills for them.

And the recent price hikes have left 45 per cent struggling to budget, 37 per cent baffled as to how much things should cost any more, and 57 per cent looking for ways to stretch their cash further. 

More than a third (36 per cent) also admitted it is just too stressful to even begin to think about how they’re going to pay the bills.

But the study found 38 per cent feel uncomfortable seeking help with everyday maths.

Sam Sims, Chief Executive of charity National Numeracy, said: “As this new research shows, low numeracy can prevent us from being in control of our money and seeking help when we need to.

"But everyone can improve their confidence with numbers – National Numeracy has helped over 420,000 people do just that.

“Feeling confident with maths can help us make sense of our money and with the cost-of-living crisis, this is more important than ever.

"National Numeracy Day raises awareness of the importance of numeracy to personal lives, career development and the economy.

"And it empowers people to take the first steps to improving their number confidence and skills at this critical time.”

Some examples of everyday maths might include adjusting a recipe to serve more or fewer people or working out if they’ve received the correct change.

A third said past experiences have made them doubt their mathematics ability, and the same amount feel they always seem to get things wrong.

Of those who do lack number-confidence, 49 per cent would like to improve their numeracy, but don’t know where to start.

While 49 per cent have made jokes about their lack of numeracy skills to make light of something they actually worry about.

But 48 per cent believe a lack of confidence surrounding numeracy has held them back, according to the OnePoll figures.

Bina Mehta from KPMG UK added: “Nearly a third of people believe that if you are bad with numbers, there is no way to improve, but we need to dispel that myth. It’s a skill like any other that can be improved.

“Now more than ever, our collective efforts will help to improve number confidence for all. It may not be a silver bullet in solving the cost-of-living crisis alone, but it is at the heart of helping people confidently navigate it.”

If you’d like to improve your own numeracy skills, then head to https://www.nationalnumeracy.org.uk/challenge/media

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