How to ensure your students get 100 in their Maths Sats

Written by Dan

Last updated

Maths is a subject that can be difficult for students to master. However, with the right tools and strategies in place, it is possible to help your students achieve a perfect score on their Maths Sats. In this blog post, we will discuss some of the best ways to help your students excel in this subject. Follow these tips and you will be sure to see positive results!

We have the perfect solution if you’re unsure where, to begin with, your year 6 maths revision for KS2 SATs. The team at Third Space Learning have created a list of the most crucial SATs revision topics, updated for 2023 so that you can use your time efficiently and focus on what matters most.

Third Space Learning gathered data from 5 years of SATs papers, 100,000 pupils taking 25+ SATs lessons, and feedback from teachers, students, and tutors to create a well-organized sequence of SATs lessons. Furthermore, they’re already in priority order so you and your pupils have the best chance possible of scoring 100 on the SATs in 2023.

Related: For more, check out our article on The Importance Of Teaching Arithmetic  here.

Maths Sats
Third Space Learning

SATs programme

Every year, during the spring, Third Space Learning provides booster maths lessons to around 10,000 Year 6 pupils in England as a part of our annual revision programme for the SATs

Each child is given targeted one-to-one maths tuition from a specialist KS2 tutor who has been trained to teach them how to answer questions related to reasoning and plug any gaps or mathematical misconceptions they may have.

To make sure the schools we work with have great experiences (and are getting their money’s worth), every year Third Space Learning review and updates our SATs revision program based on current data. The results so far have been good. Schools come back to us yearly with different groups of Year 6 students to help them study for exams and learn more math skills.

Because the SATs have been cancelled for 2020 and 2021, their recommendations are based on data from 2016-2019 as well as 2022. In addition, their Curriculum Team has internally reviewed what makes a great revision programme!

Data from 100,000+ pupils

If you’re analyzing your current Year 6 data, you also have access to the data from five previous Year 6 performances on SATs. This gives you a good idea of what revision methods worked in the past and which ones didn’t so that you can make different choices for 2023.

As all maths teachers and leaders likely do, you’re probably wondering what changes need to be made when preparing for KS2 SATs papers next year.

Thanks to the widespread popularity of their one-to-one maths tutoring, Third Space Learning is in the enviable position of having data from over 100,000 pupils to review and analyze when setting their SATs revision program.

They have taught, recorded and analyzed over 1,000,000 one-to-one maths lessons to inform how they will structure their KS2maths revision lessons for 2023. That’s probably over 10,000,0000 questions asked by tutors and answered by pupils! It’s a staggering amount of data!

Even more fascinating is that they’ve also collected this data with an examination of the 15 government national tests since 2016, as well as the content domains and difficulty level.

Question level analysis

Back in 2016-17, Third Space Learning conducted extensive research which they used to create their SATs revision programme. This programme is based on data from previous years and continues to be updated as new data becomes available.

2022 Sats Review

In 2022, Third Space Learning’s Curriculum Team reviewed their popular SATs programme.

What was the process?

25 lessons from previous SATs papers were analyzed, with a focus on question types and the number of marks available. This data was then compared to real questions asked in each paper. In addition, an analysis of Question styles and ‘marks available’ per lesson was completed for the 2022 SATs programme offered by Third Space Learning.

They also observed numerous online tuition sessions to discern which teaching methods were successful and which might need improvement. To facilitate this, they created a document where the Curriculum Team could take note of any trends or issues they encountered.

Related: For more, check out our article on The Importance of Place Value here.

How could you improve your own SAT revision programme?

To give you a better understanding of what we recommend based on the newly revised data, here is an overview of the changes and improvements they came up with. You’re not obligated to do everything on this list, but it’s worth considering each suggestion when you do your own research.

As a result of our analysis this year, we discovered that some lessons were missing from your revision sequence. We’ve added 4 brand new lessons to our SATs revision programme, taking the total number of lessons from 25 to 29. This will allow you to dedicate more time to topics like Solving Multiplication and Division Problems and Solving Problems using Mixed Operations.

Out of the original 25 lessons, 5 needed to be significantly changed. In some cases, the lesson was too ambitious for what a child could realistically accomplish in one sitting. Other times, they realized that they could include a wider range of question types.

By assessing your pupils’ progress through your SATs revision programme, you can identify which areas they need improvement in. After a one-to-one session, have them review every question asked and see if they can answer at least 80% correctly. These questions should be low stakes so that students don’t feel pressure and can easily assess their understanding of the material.

Related: For more, check out our article on The Importance of Teaching Decimals here.

What would you like to achieve by the end of your Year 6 maths revision?

2019’s SAT question topics were covered in 91% of our lessons. In 2022, that percentage increased to 98%. We are confident that 2023 will see an even higher success rate with our revised set of SATs lessons.


Analysis of 2016-2019 and 2022 data

Before designing our SATs lessons, they needed to establish the order and topic coverage of these lessons. This was done by examining the 2016-2019 and 2022 SATs reasoning papers as well as the Year 6 arithmetic test.

So, which questions did they analyze?

  • -KS2 SATs questions by year group
  • -KS2 SATS questions by topic
  • -KS3 SATS questions marks per lesson

SATs questions

Although no SATs question since 2016 has tested content from Year 1 or 2, the majority of questions in 2019 were on content from Year 6. However, around half the marks went to questions testing content from Years 3-5. This is a trend that started in 2018. Another important point to note is that there was an almost equal percentage of topics from both Years 4 and 5 present in the 2019 SATs tests. Therefore, we conclude that it would be more beneficial to revise questions at a level for Years 4-6 during preparations for future SATs examinations.

Maths Sats

Most importantly, the ‘Four Operations’ (Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication and Division) content should be revised frequently because it had both the highest percentage of questions asked and the most marks allocated across 2016-19.

Fractions, Decimals and Percentages’, ‘Measurement’ and ‘Number and Place Value’ were also relatively important. By contrast, Position and Direction appeared least important based on its assessment data from 2016-19.

The Lessons to teach

Third Space Learning’s KS2 SATs revision programme is designed to last for 15 weeks, with weekly lessons ideally lasting for one hour. The programme can also be rolled over into Year 5 for the summer term if needed. We’re looking at the top 15 lessons to teach within the SATs booster phase of the programme, but keep in mind that these recommendations may need to be adapted depending on when you start or how frequently you hold a lesson

The order of the lessons is based on a combination of what we consider to be the most important concepts and a logical sequence for addressing them. In 2022, the Curriculum Team reviewed and updated this list to make sure it still reflected our priorities.

Maths Sats
Maths Sats

Although some of the lower-scoring lessons are higher up on the priority list, it was important to have them there conceptually. Examining content coverage, topics or marks independently would not give a detailed enough picture of the final programme.

This order of topics also assumes that all students have learned equally up to this point, which we realise isn’t always the case due to individual knowledge gaps, etc. You will need to adapt this recommended order for your own students

How to structure SATs revision lessons

So you’ve figured out which topics to revise, and the order in which to teach them. But how do you actually go about tackling these in revision lessons?

At Third Space Learning, they have a two-pronged approach to each of their online one-to-one maths revision lessons.

The first part is their fluency section, focusing on confidence and mental strategies while practising for the Arithmetic Paper. They then have three sets of different reasoning questions to help pupils practise reasoning and show all the working steps.

About The Author

I'm Dan Higgins, one of the faces behind The Teaching Couple. With 15 years in the education sector and a decade as a teacher, I've witnessed the highs and lows of school life. Over the years, my passion for supporting fellow teachers and making school more bearable has grown. The Teaching Couple is my platform to share strategies, tips, and insights from my journey. Together, we can shape a better school experience for all.

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