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YEAR 6 SATs Information

Year 6 (KS2) SATs Information

Key Stage 2 SATs: what parents need to know


In May, children in Year 6 sit tests in:


  • Reading
  • Maths
  • Spelling, punctuation and grammar


These tests are both set and marked externally, and the results are used to measure the school’s performance (for example, through reporting to Ofsted and published league tables). Your child’s marks will be used in conjunction with teacher assessment to give a broader picture of their attainment.


Key Stage 2 Reading


The reading test is a single paper with questions based on three passages of text. Your child will have one hour, including reading time, to complete the test.


There will be a selection of question types, including:


  • Ranking/ordering, e.g. ‘Number the events below to show the order in which they happen in the story’
  • Labelling, e.g. ‘Label the text to show the title of the story’
  • Find and copy, e.g. ‘Find and copy one word that suggests what the weather is like in the story’
  • Short constructed response, e.g. ‘What does the bear eat?’
  • Open-ended response, e.g. ‘Look at the sentence that begins Once upon a time. How does the writer increase the tension throughout this paragraph? Explain fully, referring to the text in your answer.’


Key Stage 2 Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling


The grammar, punctuation and spelling test consists of two parts: a grammar and punctuation paper requiring short answers, lasting 45 minutes, and an aural spelling test of 20 words, lasting around 15 minutes.


The grammar and punctuation test will include two sub-types of questions:


  • Selected response, e.g. ‘Identify the adjectives in the sentence below’
  • Constructed response, e.g. ‘Correct/complete/rewrite the sentence below,’ or, ‘The sentence below has an apostrophe missing. Explain why it needs an apostrophe.’


Key Stage 2 Maths


Children sit three papers in maths:


  • Paper 1: arithmetic, 30 minutes
  • Papers 2 and 3: reasoning, 40 minutes per paper


Paper 1 will consist of fixed response questions, where children have to give the correct answer to calculations, including long multiplication and division. Papers 2 and 3 will involve a number of question types, including:


  • Multiple choice
  • True or false
  • Constrained questions, e.g. giving the answer to a calculation, drawing a shape or completing a table or chart
  • Less constrained questions, where children will have to explain their approach for solving a problem


Key Stage 2 Science


Not all children in Year 6 will take science SATs. However, a number of schools will be required to take part in science sampling: a test administered to a selected sample of children thought to be representative of the population as a whole. For those who are selected, there will be three papers:


  • Biology: 25 minutes, 22 marks
  • Chemistry: 25 minutes, 22 marks
  • Physics: 25 minutes, 22 marks


It sounds very intimidating, but these are ‘questions in a physics/chemistry/biology context’, for example:


Biology: ‘Describe the differences in the life cycle of an amphibian and a mammal’


Chemistry: ‘Group a list of materials according to whether they are solid, liquid or gas’


Physics: ‘Predict whether two magnets will attract or repel each other, based on where the poles are facing’


When will KS2 SATs take place?


This year, Key Stage 2 SATS will take place between Tuesday 9th May 2023 – Friday 12th May 2023. 


Key Dates 2024


  • Monday 13th May: Spelling, punctuation and grammar Test – Grammar/Punctuation – 45 minutes
  • Monday 13th May: Spelling, punctuation and grammar Test – Spelling- 20 minutes
  • Tuesday 14th May: Reading Test – 60 minutes
  • Wednesday 15th May: Maths Paper 1 (Arithmetic) – 30 minutes
  • Wednesday 15th May: Maths Paper 2 (Reasoning) – 40 minutes
  • Thursday 16th May: Maths Paper 3 (Reasoning) – 40 minutes


When will the SATs results be released?


For Key Stage 2 children, SATs results day is normally held around the second week of July. 


By this date, papers will have been marked by the external examiners, the raw marks converted into a scaled score and made available to parents. You will be told whether or not your child is meeting the expected standard along with both versions of their score. As well as this, your child’s school will share how their results compare to the national average.


You will be given your child’s raw score (the actual number of marks they get), alongside their scaled score and whether they have reached the expected standard set by the Department for Education (‘NS’ means that the expected standard was not achieved and ‘AS’  means the expected standard was achieved). 


The range of scaled scores available for each KS2 test is:


  • 80   (the lowest scaled score that can be awarded)
  • 120 (the highest scaled score)


The expected standard for each test is a scaled score of 100 or more. If a child is awarded a scaled score of 99 or less they will not have achieved the expected standard in the test.


How can I help my child prepare for the SATs?


There are a number of things you can do to help your child prepare for the SATs over the course of the next school year. Here are some ideas:


Work with your child and introduce some learning at home


A great way to help cement the knowledge that your child will be gaining in school is to bring some learning into your home. In the maths SATs for example, the four operations (addition, multiplication, subtraction and division) are all bound to come up in some way, shape or form, and this means that you can revise them with your child well ahead of time.


Here are more ideas on how to bring maths into your home.


Place a focus on their mental health during SATs and give them time to relax


In the run up to SATs, things can seem quite hectic to a young mind. They know there are exams coming up, and although we all understand that they are not the be all and end all, to a Year 6 student they can definitely seem that way.


One of the best things you can do as a parent to help your child prepare for SATs is to give them a time and a space to simply relax after a long day of learning or revising.


That certainly doesn’t mean that you should ignore revision/work at home altogether, rather to not worry as much when dishing out iPad or TV time.


How to support your child’s wellbeing during SATs


Use free SATs papers to help them your child prepare for the SATs


KS2 SATs papers are available and can be downloaded for free.



You can also access our current free Year 6 SATs papers here. Some of these relate to the old SATs (pre 2016), so the content and format of the new papers will be different, but they are still useful to help your child familiarise themselves with exam technique.