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What to expect from the Year 6 SATs maths exam

Exam guides
How to prepare for Year 6 SATs Maths


What is the KS2 SATs maths exam?

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

The KS2 SATs maths exam covers two components (arithmetic and reasoning) across three separate papers. All three tests are administered on paper and take 110 minutes in total:

  • Paper 1: Arithmetic. Pupils have 30 minutes to complete the test, with 40 marks available.

  • Paper 2: Reasoning. Pupils have 40 minutes to complete the test, with 35 marks available.

  • Paper 3: Reasoning. Pupils have 40 minutes to complete the test, with 35 marks available.

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Year 6 SATs - Parent Webinar. Education expert tips to help your child prepare. Watch now

What topics are in the KS2 SATs maths exam?

The KS2 SATs maths exam is designed to assess pupils’ knowledge and understanding of arithmetic (how confident they are with the range of mathematical operations) and reasoning (mathematical fluency, solving problems and mathematical reasoning). The exam will assess the following eight 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

Download our helpful KS2 SATs maths checklist to help your child prepare for all the topics that will be covered in the exam.

SATs Maths checklist.png

What style of questions are included in the KS2 SATs maths exam?

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.

When are the KS2 SATs 2023?

In 2023, the KS2 SATs exams will take place between Tuesday 9th May and Friday 12th May. The three maths papers will be sat towards the end of the week:

  • Thursday 11th May: Maths Paper 1 (Arithmetic) - 30 minutes

  • Thursday 11th May: Maths Paper 2 (Reasoning) - 40 minutes

  • Friday 12th May: Maths Paper 3 (Reasoning) - 40 minutes

SATs schedule 2023 udpated

How is the KS2 SATs maths exam marked?

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

The raw score (out of 110) will then be converted into a scaled score. This ensures that all pupils in the year group will be tested on a consistent scale. The scaled score reflects the same level of attainment in one year group as in the previous year group and is adjusted for any differences in the difficulty of the test.

How can I help my child prepare for the KS2 SATs maths exam?

Free SATs study guide: download now

Atom Learning can help your child prepare for the KS2 SATs maths exam for just £29.99 per month. Our technology personalises learning with a motivational interface and reward system to help keep your child engaged and motivated. The content on Atom is comprehensive across the KS2 maths national curriculum and ideal for SATs preparation.

Start your 5 day free trial to get your child underway with revision for the KS2 SATs maths exam.

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Parent WhatsApp groups

If your child is currently in Year 6, why not join our Year 6 WhatsApp group? You'll get access to free resources to help your child continue to excel throughout Year 6, plus Education Expert advice on preparing for SATs and the transition to secondary school.



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