Year 6 SATS: A parent friendly breakdown

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11+ exam By: Please log in to see tutor details
Subject: 11+ exam
Last updated: 19/06/2018
Tags: 11 plus exam advice, 11+, 11+ exam, ks2 sats

As a longstanding Year 6 teacher, the effectiveness of my work is usually measured by the percentage of children in my cohort who meet the National Expectation in Reading, Writing and Maths. Therefore, I have made it my priority to understand exactly what Year 6 children need to know to excel in their SATS.

Let's start with Reading.

Your child will sit a Comprehension test which involves reading a carefully chosen text extract for 15 minutes. They then have 45 minutes to answer a range of questions, which involve using inference, deduction and justification skills to demonstrate their understanding of the text. In short, children must 'read between the lines,' to understand the writer's intentions. At the start of the paper, the questions often involve 'multiple choice,' but the remaining two-thirds of the paper will require your child to search for specific phrases or words that justify, or disprove an opinion.

There is a standard paper for all children, and a more challenging 'Greater Depth' paper for children exceeding expectations. The 'Greater Depth' reading paper is similar to the 11+ reading standard.

The assessment of Writing works differently across schools. Some schools have the children complete a short 'Written Task' where they have to respond to a stimulus. In previous years, the stimulus has been 'Write a persuasive radio advert to promote recycling.' In my school, we compile an Assessment Portfolio which contains every child's best piece of independent writing across a range of genres. As the class teacher, I submit each child's Level to the Learning Authority, who either agree or disagree with the level based on the quality of what they read. This is called Moderation.


Grammar is tested through a very mechanical 'Grammar Paper,' which explores the children's knowledge of word classes, punctuation, subordinate and main clauses. This also lasts for 45 minutes.


Your child will sit 3 different papers in Maths. This always comes as a shock to parents at parents evening. The score from Paper A is added to Paper B, which is then added to a Mental Arithmetic test. Here, children listen to a voice recorded transcript and must answer a range of questions in either 5, 10 or 15 seconds.  

Each of these tests carefully explore the main strands of Mathematics, including Statistics to ordering Decimals to solving problems involving Time, Measure and Money.

Success in the Year 6 SATS requires confidence and versatility across the core subjects: Reading, Writing and Maths. Your child's Literacy Level is calculated by their Grammar score, added to their Reading Score. Your child's Maths Level is calculated by adding all of the scores from Paper A, B  the Mental Arithmetic test. Effective teachers and tutors will be very familiar with each of these test papers, and will allow the most common themes, concepts and types of questions to drive their planning. 

Rhys Merriman Key Stage 2 English Tutor (North London)

About The Author

I am a talented qualified teacher committed to helping Primary pupils unlock a lifelong love for Reading, Writing and Maths. Evidenced by solid results, I teach the Primary Curriculum with strategy and zeal and create the conditions for progress!

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