Wednesday, 3 October 2007

Mental Mathematics Tests - KS2 & KS3

At Key Stage 2 and Key Stage 3, pupils will not only sit English, Science and Mathematics written papers, but also a Mental Mathematics test. The mental mathematics test accounts for 20% of the total marks for the mathematics score, with the other 80% coming equally from the two written papers.

The Mental Mathematics test is administered using an audio CD. Each pupil is given an "answer sheet" to write down their answers to the questions. The sheet contains boxes to write down answers, plus sometimes also information which may assist the pupil is answering the question. For example if the question is : "Calculate 15% of £260", the pupil may see the numbers 15% and/or £260 on the answer sheet, so they can be reminded of the question as they try to write down their answer.

The CD contains a number of questions, and when pupils are ready, the teacher will start the audio. Each question is heard twice, and pupils have between 5, 10, and 15 seconds to answer the question (depending upon difficulty), before the next questions is read, and so on until the end of the test. The easier questions are read out first, and pupils have 5 seconds to answer these, the next difficult follow, with 10 seconds to answer, and finally the most difficult come last, with 15 seconds to answer each of these.

It is important that pupils try to achieve good results in the mental mathematics test, because it contributes heavily to the overall mathematics score. For example, here are the Key Stage 2 Levels for the 2007 papers taken in May.

Mathematics Paper A is out of 40 marks, Mathematics Paper B is out of 40 marks and the Mental Mathematics test is out of 20 marks, making a maximum possible score of 100. With 20 marks assigned to the mental maths paper, it is essential that pupil revision is also focused to mental mathematics skills, which will prove useful for this test. The same is true for the Key Stage 3 tests.

Level Mark range
N 0-15
2 16-18
3 19-45
4 46-78
5 79-100

The Sats Past Papers team offer the Harris Mental maths test at Key Stage 2 and Key Stage 3 which emulates the actual sats past paper tests. In these test, you download and print off the pupil answer sheet, and are directed to a secure area of our website, where you can click a button to administer the test. Questions are then heard as audio through the speakers of your PC. Pupils get 5, 10, and 15 seconds to answer the question before the next one is heard, very similar to the way in which the real tests are administered, and giving pupils a great mechanism to practice an audio mental maths test.

Friday, 28 September 2007


Guess what? - The latest SATS Information concerning the 2007 LEVELS is NOW available.

The Levels for the 2007 SATS Exams for Key Stage 2 and Key Stage 3 for Mathematics, English and Science have been published on the SATS PAST PAPERS website. These tables show the marks required to achieve the various levels, with each level further divided into A, B, and C, where A is the highest of the sub-levels. For instance the next level up from a 4a would be 5c. The tables are useful for determining the range of marks required to achieve certain level for each of the subjects for the tests which took place in May 2007. For parents, if your child has already taken these test, they should have already received their levels from school, which you can compare to these tables. For educators, the tables should prove useful as a record for how the official scores match up to levels.

If you have recently purchased the 2007 past papers for practice, then once you have marked these papers, you can use establish the level your child is working at by referring to the total score achieved in these papers against the tables below.

If you haven't yet purchased the official 2007 KS2, KS3 - HIGHER TIER, or KS3 LOWER TIER papers, you can do so by clicking these links, which will add the required items to your basket, and you'll be able to proceed directly to the checkout. If you wish to visit the publisher's WEBSITE and browse these publications, you can do so.

The following table shows the typical format of these Levels.

N 0-19
2 20-22
3 23-40
4 41-61
5 62-80

The full table of levels for English, Mathematics and Science, for both key stages
can be found by clickin HERE for Key Stage 2, and HERE for Key Stage 3.

Thursday, 27 September 2007


Just seen the 2007 sats publications on amazon :

ISBN (13) = 978-0955614309
ISBN (10) = 0955614309

ISBN (13) = 978-0955614323
ISBN (10) = 0955614325

ISBN (13) = 978-0955614316
ISBN (10) = 0955614317

You can search on Google for these ISBN's and try to get the best deal, or go straight to the publisher's website at :, where you can buy them on-line, as mentioned in a previous post.

I've not seen the ability to take the on-line mental maths test in the way provided in these publications, but it's very neat - effectively, you go to the publishers website, with the user name and password given to you in the pack, and then you see a button - by pressing the button you can take the key stage 2 or key stage 3 mathematics test (depending upon what you have bought). The official audio is played through the speakers of your PC, and your child write down the answers on their answer sheet. You can take the mental maths test as many times as you like before the beginning of the sats in May.

They offer the mental maths in this way to replicate the real test, which children take by listening to a CD of the audio in their classroom during the test.

Children get 5, 10, and 15 seconds to answer each question, depending upon the difficulty of question. Each question is read twice, before moving on to the next question, and so on until the test is complete. also has a simulated test (called the Harris test), which works in the same way, that they sell for £3.99 I would keep checking this site, because I know they sometimes have offers, and you can download the mental maths and other items too ...

The BBC site is also good for practicing using their Bite Size questions. They also supply the actual past papers, but they are more expensive. Last year, the maths papers alone were £9.99 I believe, and when you add the science and the english, that comes to a whopping £29.97 (or thereabouts). The Actual Sats publications are only £14.50, so make much better value for money and sense to me.

Wednesday, 26 September 2007


Well these will kick off again in May 2008 for all UK schools.

I always recommend practicing the past papers to get the best results. This means going through them, and spending time looking at the questions you find most difficult.

The Key Stage 2 and Key Stage 3 are statutory tests before you get to GCSE. These are taken in Year 6 and Year 9 (although more and more schools are taking these in year 8, to give a longer GCSE course - and more change of higher GCSE grades!).

At KS2, pupils sit English, Maths and Science - three papers in English, two papers in Science, and two written papers and one oral paper in Mathematics.

At KS3, pupils sit the level 4-7 papers in English, and then sit either the 3-5, 4-6, 5-7, or 6-8 papers in Mathematics - they are put in for the appropriate level by their school according to their academic ability. There are only two different levels in Science - the 3-6 and the 5-7 levels. Once again the school will judge which paper each pupil is aligned to, and they will sit the exam accordingly. The more difficult papers are the higher tiered papers, with 6-8 being the most difficult in Mathematics and 5-7 in Science. is the publisher for the Key Stage 2 and Key Stage 3 papers, and they provide three packs. The KS2 pack comes with all the papers and all the levels, and the mark schemes and on-line mental maths are also available. They do two packs at KS3, a higher tier, which contains the 5-7 & 6-8 maths papers, 5-7 science papers and 4-7 english papers. The lower tier contains the 3-5 & 4-6 maths papers, 3-6 science papers and 4-7 english papers.

These packs can also be obtained from where you can also get past papers from 2004, 2005, and 2006, as well as the latest 2007 papers.

After KS3, pupils are usually streamed according to ability in mathematics and science - those that attain good KS3 levels will be in the higher sets in maths and science. At GCSE, there is a combined science course, as well as the traditional physcis, biology, and chemistry split sciences. The split science are usually only offered to the more academic students, and so KS3 results in science becomes hugely important for what comes later for children at GCSE, and ultimately their overall GCSE results.