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SATs Mental Maths Advice

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Being able to work out a Maths question in your head is an important skill when it comes to the SATs. In the Maths part of the exam, children need to show that they fully understand mathematical concepts and have the ability to solve problems logically and methodically. In this article, we share our advice on how to improve your child’s mental maths skills when preparing for the SATs.


Practice Mental Maths Skills Daily


Maths SATs questions are based on problem solving and usually take the form of real-life scenarios. You should therefore encourage your child to practice their mental maths skills in everyday situations.


We use maths in our daily routines more than we realise. Here are a few examples of how you can incorporate mental maths into your child’s daily routine:


  • Give your child small errands, such as buying a bottle of milk or a newspaper, and give them more money than they need, so they can work out which coins to pay with.
  • When at the supermarket, task them with finding the cheapest product of a particular item, such as apples or pasta.
  • In the kitchen, encourage them to weigh and portion food. Ask them questions like: ‘If everyone eats 3 potatoes, how many do we need in total?’


Using mental maths in everyday situations could hold the key to your child’s understanding of fractions, division and much more – these skills are vital for your child to perform well in their SATs.


Play Card Games



We’ve discussed the benefits of using games to revise before, but when it comes to mental maths, card games in particular can be beneficial to learning.

Popular family games such as Crazy Eights, Memory and Uno require players to use numbers, sets and various mathematical concepts, so they’re often a good place to start.


Introduce Practice Papers


The Maths sections of our SATs practice exam papers will encourage your child to ‘think on their feet, which can help them improve their mental maths skills. Our practice papers cover every part of the exam and are fully up-to-date with the new SATs curriculum. They can help boost your child’s confidence and familiarise them with how the exam paper is laid out.


Introduce practice papers into your child’s preparation early on to give them as much experience in answering questions under timed conditions as possible.


Our SATs resources include:


Key Stage 1 SATs Practice Test 1


Key Stage 1 SATs Practice Test 2


Key Stage 2 SATs Practice Test 1


Key Stage 2 SATs Practice Test 2


Tackle Multi-Step Problems


developing SATs Mental Maths skills


The KS2 SATs exam requires children to solve problems using the four basic maths operations: addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. They will also need to know how to use these operations to calculate with fractions, decimals and percentages.


A lot of the mental maths problem-solving questions will involve multiple-steps, meaning children will need to carry out two or more operations in order to work out the answer. Please find some example questions below:


A group of friends earn £100 from washing cars.

The money is shared equally.

They get £20 each.


How many friends are in the group?


A school is raising money for charity.

Their aim is to collect £500.

So far, they have collected £365.17


How much more money do they need to collect reach their target?


Be More Visual


Mental maths questions can be difficult for children with weak working memory skills, so having facts or equations written down on revision cards can help. Using graphical representations for maths problems such as numbering steps or using arrows that connect information can be very helpful for some children.


Your child’s overall maths fluency will increase with the improvement of their mental maths skills. By using a combination of the techniques above, your child will be well prepared for their maths SATs.



Related posts:

KS2 SATs Maths: What You Need to Know
Sample Maths SATs Questions and Answers: Arithmetic


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