A new times tables exam is coming! Your questions answered…

A new times tables exam is coming! Your questions answered...

You might have heard that there’s a new times tables test being rolled out for Year 4 pupils. Confused? Worried? We’ll try and answer some of the questions you might have.

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What’s it officially called?

Officially, it’s known as the Multiplication Tables Check, or MTC.

What is it?

The times tables test will test pupils’ abilities to meet the National Curriculum standards for times tables (up to 12 x 12) in a more informal way than testing methods such as SAT tests in Year 6.

Who has to do it?

Year 4 pupils. All state-funded maintained schools, academies and free schools in England will need to take part in the check.

What the test will look like (picture from GOV.UK)

How long is it?

The check is 25 questions long, with 3 practice questions. It should take about 5 minutes.

What’s in it?

There’s an emphasis on the 6, 7, 8, 9 and 12 times tables, since these are the most difficult for children to remember. In addition, there’s no questions on the 1 times table, except potentially in the practice questions.

How do they do it?

It’s digital. In a first for primary schools in England, the check is on a laptop, tablet or other similar device. 

When will it start?

A national voluntary pilot has recently been completed (as of 28th June 2019). Following this, the times tables check will become mandatory for schools in June 2020, with every Year 4 pupil expected to complete the check.  

What about the results?

There’s no pass/fail mark for the test. Schools will use their own results to put additional support in place for struggling pupils. National trends will be published to enable the tracking of progression over time but individual schools will not be featured in performance tables.


To recap:

  • Times tables test
  • Year 4 pupils
  • 25 questions, 5 minutes
  • June 2020 onwards

Digits, Counting, Mathematics, The Number Of, Education

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How can I help my child prepare?

Practising little and often throughout the school year is very effective. Getting your child to recall 5 or 10 sums over breakfast before school every day is a quick and fuss-free way to learn.

Looking for patterns or similarities (6 x 7 is the same as 7 x 6, for example) also helps us to remember things. Or perhaps you could find an interesting, real-life way of looking at these sums – such as working out how much a certain number of sweets might cost.

Are there apps that can help?

There are various digital resources that can help your child grasp their times tables in a fun, interactive way. Edplus has a specific times tables topic that is very effective at asking the questions your child hasn’t mastered yet. At the same time children find the games really fun so it’s engaging. To find out more visit www.edplus.app