At the end of Key Stage 1 and 2 (years 2 and 6) your child will tackle the SATs. These are a series of National Curriculum tests designed to assess whether your child is working below, above or at the national average level for children of their age.

Whilst your child’s teacher will be continually assessing them throughout the year, the SATs results help schools to understand how they are supporting your child and ensuring good progress. They also provide you and the teachers with useful information about how your child is doing.

We support children to fearlessly tackle the SATs, building their confidence with every element of the tests and the question types they’ll face, every session.


 Practice and revision

 Develop skills

 Preparation and confidence

SATs Key Stage 1

Find out about the Key Stage 1 assessments that take place in May of year 2.


SATs Key Stage 2

The new style Key Stage 2 papers for English and maths reflect the new National Curriculum.


About the Key Stage 1 SATs

The Key Stage 1 SATs take place in May of year 2. Although these are formal tests, they are done in a relaxed way with no time pressures and are often completed in the classroom so as to seem like a normal lesson; in fact most children are not even aware they’re taking a test!

These tests officially assess your child’s maths and English reading. Teachers also give a level for science, although this is based on periodic assessments throughout the year as each science topic is completed, rather than an end of year test.

Unlike the KS2 SATs, with KS1 the tests are not strictly timed as the ability to work at speed is not assessed. Teachers will have the option to stop the test at any point that they feel is appropriate for a particular child.

The results are used by teachers and schools as a way to check against national averages, measuring what has been understood and retained by each child. Individual results will be provided to parents, at the end of the school year.

There are a number of elements to the KS1 SATS tests, including maths, reading and English grammar, punctuation and spelling.

Key Stage 1 SATs papers

*The grammar, spelling and punctuation papers were optional in 2017 and are likely to be the same for 2018


Practice Questions

What’s covered in the KS1 SATs papers?

Reading – two papers 

The Key Stage 1 reading test comprises two papers which cover fiction, non-fiction and poetry texts:

  • Paper 1 – This consists of a selection of texts totalling between 400 – 700 words, with questions interspersed.
  • Paper 2 – This includes a reading booklet of a selection of passages totalling 800 – 1100 words. Children are required to write their answers in a separate booklet.

Each paper is worth 50% of the marks and takes approximately 30 minutes.

Spelling, punctuation and grammar – three papers

This element of the tests comprises three papers:

  • Paper 1 – This is a grammar and punctuation written task. Children will be provided with a prompt and stimulus for a short piece of writing with a clear text type, audience and purpose. The paper lasts approximately 20 minutes and is worth 15 marks. It’s worth noting that handwriting will be worth four per cent of the total marks.
  • Paper 2 – This contains a grammar, punctuation and vocabulary test.  This will involve a mixture of question types including multiple choice and some which require short written answers. This paper is split in two sections, each of which lasts approximately 10 minutes (with a break between, if necessary) and is worth a total of 20 marks.
  • Paper 3 – This is a 20-word spelling test taking approximately 15 minutes and worth 10 marks.

Maths – 2 papers

The Key Stage 1 maths test is made up of two papers:

  • Paper 1 – This tests your child’s arithmetic.  It’s worth 15 marks and takes approximately 15 minutes.
  • Paper 2 – This assesses your child’s mathematical fluency, problem-solving and reasoning through a variety of question types.  This element it worth 35 marks and takes around 35 minutes.

If you have any questions about the KS1 SATs, the experts at your local Explore Learning centre are happy to help!


About the Key Stage 2 SATs

Child preparing for KS2 SATs

In May 2016, children in year 6 were the first to take the new Key Stage 2 SATS tests. The new style papers for English and maths reflect the latest National Curriculum, and are more rigorous than previous years’ tests. There is also a completely new SATs marking scheme and grading system which has replaced the previous National Curriculum levels.

As with KS1, the KS2 tests are taken in May. These are much for formal than those which children would have taken at the end of year 2, are held on the same dates across the country under exam conditions and are externally marked.

In previous years, there was a separate level 6 SATs paper that the highest achieving children were entered for. This separate paper is no longer set, but the tests taken by every KS2 child will have questions that are designed to allow the higher attaining pupils to show their strengths.

SATs papers for KS2 are taken in English reading, maths and spelling, punctuation and grammar.



What’s covered in the KS2 SATs papers?

Reading – one paper

The KS2 reading test is only one paper, containing comprehension questions based on three different genres of text. The test has of a reading booklet and a separate answer booklet. Children will have one hour to read all three texts and complete the questions, which are worth a total of 50 marks.

In addition to the reading test, children take a ‘teacher assessment’ in writing. This will be set and marked by their teacher and will not take place during the KS2 SATs week.

Spelling, punctuation and grammar (SPAG)– two papers

This element of the tests requires children to identify and write sentences which have correct grammar, punctuation, vocabulary and spelling. This assesses children on their technical understanding of the English language as well as their writing ability. This comprises two papers:

  • Paper 1: This paper contains a series of SPAG questions requiring short answers. Pupils will have 45 minutes to answer the questions, which are worth a total of 50 marks.
  • Paper 2: This is a spelling paper in which the children are given a section of text with 20 missing words. The test invigilator will read out the test transcript for children to correctly spell the missing words in their answer booklet.  The test takes approximately 15 minutes, but is not strictly timed. The questions are worth a total of 20 marks.

Maths – three papers

The maths test comprises two components, presented to pupils as three test papers:

  • Paper 1: This is largely an arithmetic test, assessing children’s grasp of mathematical calculations. The questions cover addition and subtraction and more complex calculations with fractions worth 1 mark each. They also cover long division and long multiplication questions worth 2 marks each. Pupils will have 30 minutes to answer the questions which are worth 40 marks in total.
  • Papers 2 and 3: These papers assess children’s mathematical fluency – solving mathematical problems and using mathematical reasoning. Both papers will contain varied 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)  and problem solving. Pupils will have 40 minutes to complete each test paper, each being worth 35 marks.

Considering some extra help to get ready for the KS2 SATs? Speak to your local Explore Learning centre team to find out how we can support your family.


Try our SATs quiz!

Our experts have created a range of practice questions for the Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 SATs assessments to help you understand what is covered. This quiz is a great way for your child to practice and prepare for the exams – why not have a go too? We love a bit of friendly competition!


How can Explore Learning help?

Whether your child is taking the KS1 or KS2 SATs we are committed to supporting them to tackle them fearlessly.

  Every session is supporting your child towards their SATs

Our maths and English programmes are mapped to the school curriculum, so your child will be practicing the topics and skills that they need in each and every session that they spend with us. Regular attendance to the centre, and to your parents’ meetings, help us tailor the programmes to get the best out of every session. We also have a range of practice papers written by our educational experts to help children prepare for the types of questions they’ll face in the assessments.

Coming to these meetings also means that we can recommend any additional support that you might want, whether that be coming along to a workshop or figuring out the best way to practice at home.

  Workshops for children and information for parents

We have developed four SATs specific workshops to help familiarise kids with the format and rigour of the tests, as well as help them practice exam and revision skills. These run in the February half term and the Easter holidays for our members. We’ve also developed by a whole range of maths and English curriculum workshops which are offered to our members all year round.

For those looking for more practise on the grammar topics which have been introduced in the curriculum lately, we have also produced a workbook to practise the grammar and punctuation elements they need to know.

Furthermore, for parents, we run information sessions on the SATs and the school curriculum to help you keep abreast of any changes.

Please speak to your local Explore Learning centre to find out when these are running and how to book!

  Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for more advice

Our centre team are always available for questions and support, but we also publish blogs from teachers, parents and experts on social media about exams, managing stress and keeping learning fun at home – feel free to follow us on Twitter or  Facebook.

  Beyond the SATs

Remember, the SATs are fleeting but the biggest challenge your child will face is the transition up to Key Stage 2 or secondary school. We work with children all the way up to year 9, so we’re here to be a support for families during this time. Make sure that you head to one of the Succeed in Secondary open sessions to see how we can build skills that will make your child’s start in year 7 as successful as possible – developing things like teamwork, presentation and debating skills, and essay writing. There will be plenty going on in your local Explore Learning centre over summer and into the new school year to help them step fearlessly into year 7, just ask your team to find out more!

If you have any questions, just give us a call!



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