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Year 6 SATs - Common Maths Mistakes

With the 2022 Year 6 SATs test coming closer, students are brushing up on their geometry, percentages, statistics and other topics they’ve learned throughout Key Stage 2. In my experience of tutoring, I’ve seen that it’s not always the word problems or multi-step workings that cause marks to be lost; but rather smaller errors that are easy to make when under pressure. Take a look below at some of the common mistakes that students make.


1. Decimals and place value

Circle the number that is closest to 20.

19.95 20.1 19.09 20.09 20.201


Mistake: 20.1 (because ‘1’ is the smallest number after the decimal in these options)

Correction: 19.95


2. Positive and negative numbers

Put these temperatures in order.

21°C -13°C -24°C 0°C 35°C


Mistake: -13°C -24°C 0°C 21°C 35°C (because 13 is smaller than 24, so it must go first)

Correction: -24°C -13°C 0°C 21°C 35°C


3. Mathematical symbols

Fill in the gap with < > or =

11 x 12 ____ 15 x 10


Mistake: > (it’s easy to get these symbols mixed up if you’re rushing through the question)

Correction: <


4. Indices/Powers/Overs

6² + 10 =

Mistake: 22 (using 62 = 6 x 2)

Correction: 46


5. Graphs and Charts

Altogether, how many children don’t walk to school?



Mistake: 20 (counting the lines on the bar rather than reading the scale on the y axis)

Correction: 200


All of the example questions I used here were from Key Stage 2 SATs past papers. Revise by doing questions, past papers, and maths games to avoid making simple mistakes. For confidence with trickier topics like fractions, angles and transformations, book here for your online session.


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