Key Stage 2 SATs testing - what's involved?

Multiple choice exam paper
Not sure what your 11 year old will be tested on in their SATs? Read on to find out more, along with examples of the questions they may come up against.

English, maths (and in some cases science) KS2 SATs are taken at the end of Year 6. They are marked externally and your child will receive a separate score for grammar, punctuation and spelling, reading and maths. You will also be told whether your child has reached the national standard for tat subject.

KS2 English SATs

Reading in the Year 6 English SATs looks at the understanding of:

  • significant themes
  • ideas
  • characters
  • events
  • ‘between the lines' meanings

Questions will be asked to assess a range of reading skills, such as the ability to interpret information and comment on writers' use of language. Your child will also be asked to spell words and show they understand the rules of grammar and punctuation in the KS2 Grammar, punctuation and spelling paper.

When it comes to assessing children's writing, markers will look for how well your child:

  • engages the reader
  • uses accurate punctuation
  • extends the range and sophistication of their vocabulary.

For the test, they may have to write a story or some non-narrative form like a poem or a report. One recent task required children to write a page on the Tongo Lizard for an information book about endangered species. Also included was an explanation of the word ‘endangered' and a picture of the lizard. Possible areas for content development – habitat, eating habits, appearance, and reasons for the creature's endangered status – were also suggested.

KS2 maths SATs

There are three separate tests for maths: an arithmetic test of 30 minutes, and two reasoning tests of 40 minutes each. The skills tested include:

  • knowing all times tables and using them to divide and multiply
  • using a protractor to measure angles
  • calculating the perimeter and area of shapes that can be split into rectangles
  • solving problems by collecting and using information in tables, graphs and charts
  • solving problems involving ratio and proportion.

An example of the kind of problem your child may be faced with is, ‘If it is 130km from Exeter to Bristol, another 215km from Bristol to Derby and a further 106km to York, how far is it from Bristol to York?’ When solving problems that involve more than one step encourage your child to do it in steps, to persist and to check their answer is reasonable in the context of the problem. Some marks are given in these tests for working out.

KS2 science SATs

Science is tested at KS2 level accoring to a sampling system, so most children do not currently sit a science SATs test. There are two separate science tests, lasting 45 minutes each, to assess understanding of scientific ideas and the use of scientific evidence. Your child will be tested on many aspects of the science curriculum and may be asked to:

  • name the major body organs and know where they are
  • classify materials by their different properties
  • comment on the design of a simple experiment
  • make changes to and draw simple electrical circuits.