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What to expect from the Year 6 SATs maths exam

Exam guide

Mar 31, 2023, 3:49 PM

What to expect from the Year 6 SATs maths exam


What is the Year 6 SATs maths exam?

The Key Stage 2 Standard Assessment Tests (SATs) are compulsory for all Year 6 students at state schools in England. They're used to assess your child’s knowledge of the Key Stage 2 national curriculum and gauge the quality of education across England’s schools.

The KS2 maths test is designed to test pupils’ knowledge and understanding of:

  • Arithmetic: confidence with the range of mathematical operations

  • Reasoning: mathematical fluency, logic and problem-solving

The maths curriculum covers these eight key topics:

  1. Number and place value

  2. Calculations (addition, subtraction, multiplication and division)

  3. Fractions, decimals and percentages

  4. Ratio and proportion

  5. Algebra

  6. Measurement

  7. Geometry (properties of shapes, position and direction)

  8. Statistics

When is the maths exam in 2023?

There are three maths papers on the Year 6 SATs. All three are paper tests.

Paper 1: Arithmetic

  • Thursday 11th May 2023

  • 30 minutes

  • 40 marks available

Paper 2: Reasoning

  • Thursday 11th May 2023

  • 40 minutes

  • 35 marks available

Paper 3: Reasoning

  • Friday 12th May 2023

  • 40 minutes

  • 35 marks available

SATs schedule 2023 udpated

What format are the KS2 SATs maths papers?

The KS2 SATs maths exam requires pupils to format their answers differently, depending on the topic and question.

The arithmetic paper will require pupils to write their answers in free form (with space given for workings).

For both reasoning papers, pupils may need to fill in a grid or a graph, fill in answers free form, or tick the correct answer(s) from multiple-choice options. All questions will have plenty of space around them for pupils to write their workings.

How is the maths SATs exam marked?

There are 110 marks available across the three maths papers. Partial marks will be awarded for correct working where the final answer is wrong, but the pupil has used the formal method of working.

Your child’s raw score (out of 110) will be converted into a scaled score. This makes sure all pupils in the year group are tested on a consistent scale. The scaled score is adjusted for any differences in the difficulty of the test year on year.

Learn more about how the SATs are marked.

How to prepare for the maths SATs exam

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Build the knowledge you need for SATs

The most reliable way to perform well in the SATs is to build a stable understanding of the Key Stage 2 curriculum. Atom Nucleus is a home learning programme created by teachers, designed to help your child build knowledge and confidence across maths, English and science.

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SATs practice papers

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We're here to answer any questions you have about the SATs tests in 2023. To discuss your child’s progress with a SATs expert, get in touch.

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