In schools in England, Year 2 is for children 6–7 years old, and is the last year of Key Stage 1. There will be a continued focus on phonics, while in maths your child will be introduced to fractions.

The end of the year sees the Key Stage 1 SATs – statutory tests to check that your child is working at the expected level.

Key Stage 1 SATs

The National Curriculum tests or SATs can seem like a daunting part of your child’s education, but if you know what to expect, they don’t need to be scary for you or your child!

Below you will find all the answers to parents’ most common questions about the SATs for Key Stage 1 with some example questions for each paper.

What tests do children take at the end of Year 2?

There are papers in:

  • Reading (2 papers, 40 marks, about 70 minutes).
  • Mathematics (2 papers, 60 marks, about 55 minutes).
  • English grammar, punctuation and spelling (2 papers, 40 marks, about 35 minutes).

Your child’s school will decide when in May to administer the tests. Tests are not strictly timed and children will be given breaks between the papers.

How are the tests marked?

At Key Stage 1, the teachers in your child’s school will mark the SATs papers. The mark your child gets in each test is called the ‘raw score’ (out of 40 for Reading, out of 60 for Mathematics, out of 40 for Grammar, punctuation and spelling). This ‘raw score’ for each test will be translated into a ‘scaled score’, which will show how well your child has done against the expected standard.

Children need to achieve a scaled score of 100 to meet the expected standard. Above 100 means they are exceeding the expected standard; below 100 means they are still working towards the expected standard.

Will my child be given a Level?

No. The system of levelling related to the previous National Curriculum and has been replaced with standardised scaled scores. The Department for Education has said that the expected national standard score of 100 at Key Stage 1 will be broadly equivalent to a Level 2b under the previous system.

Are there any example questions I can look at?

Yes. The Department for Education has produced some free sample papers for the Key Stage 1 SATs tests that you can download.

Key Stage 1 Reading

There are two papers in the Reading test, each worth 20 marks. Each may include fiction, non-fiction and poetry. Children answer comprehension questions to show their understanding of the texts.

In Paper 1, children are given a booklet that contains a selection of short texts to read (between 400 and 700 words). There are questions to answer at various points within each text with space for children to write their answers. The test lasts approximately 30 minutes.

In Paper 2, children are given a booklet of longer texts (between 800 and 1100 words) and questions in a separate answer booklet. The test lasts approximately 40 minutes.

Paper 2 is more challenging than Paper 1, but in each paper easier questions appear at the beginning and more difficult ones later on.

What can I do to help my child be ready for the test?

Activities to try out:

  • Check out our Fun learning ideas for age 7 to find language games and activities to play together.
  • Choose a book from Our Key Stage 1 Reading program: https://www.books4people.co.uk/collections/infants-5-7.
  • Read top tips for ages 6–7 to find ways to help develop your child’s reading skills.
  • Play games and print out activity sheets from the web.

Key Stage 1 Mathematics

There are two papers in the Mathematics test. One focuses on simple arithmetic and is worth 25 marks. One focuses on mathematical reasoning and is worth 35 marks. In each paper, questions appear in order of difficulty.

In Paper 1: arithmetic, children answer 25 context-free questions to test their fluency with number and calculation skills. They may not use calculators, rulers or any number apparatus to help them. In the test booklet, space is provided for children to use for working out, but they should write their answers in the answer box.

The test lasts approximately 20 minutes, so children with good mental arithmetic skills will have a better chance of completing all the questions.

In Paper 2: reasoning, children answer questions to test their understanding of number, measures, geometry and statistics. The teacher will read the first 5 questions and children must listen and write their answer in their booklet. After this children have approximately 30 minutes to read and answer the remaining questions in the booklet.

Some questions involve a problem-solving context. Some questions prompt children to show their working and are worth 2 marks. Children may use rulers, but are not allowed calculators or any other number apparatus.

What can I do to help my child be ready for the test?

Activities to try out:

Key Stage 1 English grammar, punctuation, and spelling 

There are two papers in the English grammar, punctuation, and spelling test . The first paper is an aural spelling test. The second test includes questions on grammar, punctuation and vocabulary. In each paper the questions appear in order of difficulty. Both are worth 20 marks.

In Paper 1: spelling, children are given an answer booklet containing 20 sentences with a missing word in each sentence. For each sentence, your child’s teacher will read aloud the missing word, then the whole sentence, and then the missing word again. Children must spell the missing word correctly, including any necessary capital letters or apostrophes, to gain a mark. The test will last approximately 15 minutes.

In Paper 2: questions, children are given a booklet containing various questions that assess their understanding of grammar, punctuation and vocabulary. The test will last approximately 20 minutes.

What can I do to help my child be ready for the test?

Activities to try out: