This study examined pre-service primary teachers' (PSPTs) mathematics performance on a set of question items measuring at the sixth grade level in Hong Kong. These items covered the five learning strands of the local primary mathematics curriculum – number, algebra, measures, shape and space, and data handling. The participants of the study were 152 PSPTs who had chosen mathematics as a major in an undergraduate teacher education program. Their strengths and weaknesses in particular mathematics topics were identified. Across all four years of the teacher education program, only 6% of the participants were able to provide fully correct mathematical responses to all five items. Further, it is surprising that merely 14% of graduating cohorts achieved a full mark for the mathematical word problem that required them to show their working steps. These findings suggest that issues relating to the preparation of mathematics specialists should be further considered in primary mathematics education. Copyright ©Routledge.