Key Stage 2 SATs: A Parent’s Guide



Parents with children about to sit their Key Stage 2 SATs are bound to have questions about these government-set assessments. It can be a daunting time for children and parents can often struggle to help them fully prepare.


In this guide, we cover all the essential information you need to know about KS2 SATs and answer those burning questions.


What Are Key Stage 2 SATs?


Key Stage 2 SATs are formal assessments that children sit in Year 6 at primary school. They are national tests that aim to assess pupils’ academic progress in a fair and consistent manner. The tests are both set and marked externally, and the results are used to measure a school’s performance. KS2 SATs were updated by the UK government in 2016 to reflect the new National Curriculum. They are generally considered more challenging than previous iterations of the SATs exams.


Why Are Key Stage 2 SATs Important?


Key Stage 2 SATs exist primarily to provide an overview of a child’s academic attainment and are considered a good way of measuring progress. They provide a means for both parents and teachers to learn about a child’s strengths and weaknesses, ahead of them advancing to secondary school.


Parents should view their child’s KS2 SATs as an opportunity. The assessments give your child the chance to shine and can put them in a stronger position in their next school. Good SATs results can give your child access to better educational opportunities in the future.


What Subjects do Key Stage 2 SATs Cover?



The National Curriculum for KS2 SATs covers the following subjects:


English Reading


For the English reading SAT at Key Stage 2, your child will need to complete an hour-long exam paper that contains questions based on three passages.


Your child will be expected to answer a range of question types during the English reading SAT. The questions will assess some or all of the following:


  • Short constructed responses – children must pick out relevant pieces of information in order to answer the question
  • Ranking and ordering – children must rank events according to when they happened in the passage(s)
  • Open-ended responses – children must explain their answers using the passage(s) as guidance
  • Find and copy – children must find and copy a word that fits the description laid out in the question


English Grammar, Spelling and Punctuation (SPaG)


The English grammar SAT at KS2 consists of two sections:


  1. A grammar and punctuation paper – this lasts 45 minutes and requires short answers.


This test will include two types of question: identification and constructed response. Identification questions require the student to identify or pick out keywords from a sentence. Children should be comfortable distinguishing between adjectives, nouns, verbs etc. Constructed response questions require students to correct, complete or rewrite sentences, or add a missing apostrophe where necessary.


  1. An aural spelling test – this lasts approximately 15 minutes and covers 20 words




At Key Stage 2, children sit three maths SATs papers:


  • Paper 1: arithmetic – this lasts 30 minutes
  • Papers 2 and 3: reasoning – these each last 40 minutes


Paper 1 will test a child’s ability to do fixed calculations, such as long division, whereas papers 2 and 3 will cover a range of questions, such as true or false, multiple choice or drawing shapes and completing diagrams.


Some schools also choose to test Science at Key Stage 2, so parents are advised to check with their child’s school prior to any SATs revision.


How Are Key Stage 2 SATs Marked?


KS2 SATs are no longer scored as ‘levels’. Under the current marking scheme, children receive ‘scaled scores’.


A child’s raw score – that is, the actual number of marks they get – is translated into a scaled score. This helps to allow for fluctuations in the tests year-to-year and allows for more accuracy when comparing results. Parents will receive both their child’s raw and scaled scores, and be told whether they reached the expected standard.


The range of scaled scores available for each test is:


  • 80 (the lowest scaled score that can be awarded)
  • 120 (the highest scaled score)


Children are expected to achieve a scaled score of 100 or more; if they received a scaled score of 99 or less, they will not have attained the expected standard in the test.


How Can Parents Help Their Children to Prepare for Key Stage 2 SATs?


Children set to sit the Key Stage 2 SATs should have access to the best practice resources available to improve their academic ability as well as their performance in the exams. As a parent, you can invest in practice SAT exam papers to ensure that your child has everything they need to achieve high marks in the assessments. Preparation is key, so alongside a revision timetable, children should regularly take practice papers to gain an idea of the types of questions they will face.


The following resources have been created specifically for those sitting the Key Stage 2 SATs exams:


Key Stage 2 SATs Practice Test 1


Key Stage 2 SATs Practice Test 2


These practice tests come with detailed mark schemes includes so you can see exactly what’s expected of your child. With a good parental understanding of KS2 SATs, and regular practice sessions with your child, these exams shouldn’t be the cause of any unnecessary worry at home.


Related posts:

KS2 SAT Preparation Tips

SAT Advice for Parents

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