How to make the new times table test esay for year 6 - Tutor My Kids

What we know about the new times table test for year 4.

It’s being called a ‘check’ rather than a test, but schools will be held to account against the results. It will be a computer based test which will be marked instantly. It’ll be for times tables up to 12×12. It will be timed – children will have a set time to complete the test; we believe about 5 minutes.

It was piloted with about 3000 pupils in 80 schools during summer 2016, with the roll-out to all schools in 2020, with schools being able to trial the test in 2019.

What we can guess about the new times table test for year 6.

It’s sensible to assume that it will randomly test the times tables – 5×3, followed by 6×7, 12×11, 7×8 etc, rather than in order, which children tend to find harder.

It’s also possible that these tests will include the inverse division facts – 25÷5, 144÷12, 56÷8 etc. and word problems such as ‘If Lily and her 3 friends have 3 pets each, how many pets do they have altogether?’  and ‘Josh’s class has 32 children in it, if they were put into teams of 4, how many teams would they have?’

How can I help my kids to learn their times table facts?

Children can be great at listing out their times table facts in turn:

Times table facts - Tutor My Kids

Asking kids to remember these out of turn is hugely beneficial  in supporting them with this new test – do a few each day for fun – but also invaluable in helping them to be much more efficient (quicker) with their maths, generally.

It’s really helpful (and may be asked in the online test) to know their division facts too – add a few of those in each day too.

Online resources can help to hone their skills too: This one allows you to set it up either looking for the answer to a multiplication question or alternatively, to find the question to the answer. These are really good skills to have.

This online resource only goes up to 10×10, so do make sure you’re covering off 11 and 12 times tables too.

What we think at Tutor My Kids

Times tables and other number facts are the back bone of maths – the structure that supports the rest of the knowledge. Another way of looking at them is as the foundations of a building. If these are solid, the whole structure (or body) supports itself.

Whilst it is another test, most kids will engage with a times table quiz – especially an online one. Times tables are so key to helping them more quickly and confidently tackle more advanced maths, so focus on this will be hugely helpful. When I go out to assess children before I match them with a private tutor in Cambridgeshire, it’s not unusual to find poor times table skills; when these are present in secondary aged children, this can present to huge problem in tackling more advanced maths quickly and efficiently. Kids need to be able to recall number facts quickly and accurately for help them with those more complex areas.

That said, there are children who will always find retaining their times tables exceptionally hard and these kids will find this new test impossible. For these kids, they need support to find ways to derive these facts. See my How to make maths easy for kids series for more ways to help; follow the links on Facebook, or visit our website.

How do I help my kids at maths

How to make maths easy – Number bonds

How to make maths easy – Doubling

How to make maths easy – Near Doubling

Maths Confidence and Numerateness

Helping students to be confident at maths is something that our private tutors in Cambridge and surrounding areas do all the time. This confidence starts with having having number facts at quick recall; it speeds up the work and enables students to feel that they’re able to work more quickly and allows children to access more complex material. Teaching children numerateness (Yes, I know this is a made up word – but it fits the bill) means that they have an understanding of number which sets them up for life and further learning.

Tutoring maths is a highly specialised thing, because each child will have gaps in their learning that are unique to the child. One-to-one tuition enables these gaps to be filled thoroughly, effectively and efficiently.

Then finally, you’re making it easy for your children to excel at maths, to be confident and numerate.

Get help from a private tutor in Cambridgeshire

If you would like further information on private tuition in Cambridge, Ely  and the surrounding areas, there’s more information on the Tutor My Kids website here or you can call Rachel Law for a chat on 01223 858421.









There are 3 key reasons why private tuition goes wrong. Tutor My Kids has been arranging private tuition in Cambridge and surrounding areas for some years now, so we know some of the common pitfalls of arranging a private tutor for your kids. Here are the 3 that we think are the most problematic:

Picking a tutor who isn’t a teacher.

There are numerous websites out there which allow anyone to register as a tutor. There are often students, post graduate and undergraduate, who register for private tuition. In theory this can be good, because you’re getting a terrifically experienced tutor, BUT it can also be a big problem. Students, especially those who have excelled at their subject, sometimes find it hard to relate to younger students who find that basics hard and can pitch the work at too high a level. They may also confuse kids who only need to know (at this stage) what’s covered on the GCSE syllabus. At Tutor My Kids, all our tutors are teachers, so know how to put across the subject matter well. Many are teaching the current syllabus to children in other schools and/or sixth forms in Cambridgeshire which means that they’re bang up to date with the subject matter. Some even set and/or mark the exam papers, so again have an intimate knowledge of the requirements of the exam board.

Personality clash

Inevitably, when picking a private tutor from a website, it is going to be a bit of a hit and miss affair as to whether the tutor will get along with your child. Often it can work really well, but equally, sometimes less well. At Tutor My Kids, we always meet with our clients in their homes. We also interview our tutors personally and face-to-face which means we can match tutors with students in a much more effective and successful way.

Academic Level clash – getting the right tutor for your kid.

Getting the wrong tutor for your kids in terms of what they need academically, is probably the one that can have the worst effect and compound difficulties, rather than alleviate them. At Tutor My Kids, we usually do some assessment work with the child to get a feel for the level that they’re at. In addition, we contact (with parents permission) their class or subject teacher to supplement that information so we’re employing a joined up approach with school as well.

Rosie’s (not her real name) mum called us to ask for a GCSE maths tutor in Ely. When I worked with her, I found that she had some very deep gaps in her maths knowledge that stemmed back to primary school. I knew that if we put in a GCSE maths secondary school teacher straight away, there was a real danger of her getting entirely demotivated and lost (which of course was the exact opposite of what we wanted a achieve). So we decided to put in a primary school teacher who was able to also teach the secondary syllabus which would enable her to steadily work through the gaps in her earlier maths knowledge whilst supporting her through the secondary school topics. It would have been very easy for her parents to simply hire a GCSE maths tutor and not understand why this wasn’t working out.

Maths in like a brick wall – you need to sure up the foundations to ensure that advanced learning sits well on top of it.

So, it’s easy to get it wrong, either because the tutor isn’t qualified to teach, because of personality clash or subject level clash.  To make an easier and better decision about home tutoring in Cambridge and surrounding areas, there’s more information on the Tutor My Kids website here or you can call Rachel Law for a chat on 01223 858421.


Since September 2014, a new curriculum has been taught in our primary schools which is requiring children to know more maths at an earlier age.

Maths is sequential

Because maths builds upon what children already know, kids without a thorough grasp of the earlier facts and calculation strategies are finding it hard to keep up.

For example, multiplication is being taught much earlier, with children needing to know their multiplication tables. For those children who are not yet absolutely sure on addition, moving onto repeated addition (multiplication)  is proving very tough. There are children who know their times tables but lack the understanding that multiplication is about groups or sets of objects and therefore are at a disadvantage in applying this times table knowledge.

The present year 2 and year 6 (as of writing in March 15) are being examined on the old curriculum, so it’s the year 1s and 5s that are having the biggest adjustment with the other years having more time to learn the new material.

At Tutor My Kids, our maths tutors in Ely and Cambridge are helping children to fill in these gaps and enable children to learn better at school.

For more details please visit Tutor My Kids.



Tutor My Kids Tutor working with child

Some children have difficulty in understanding maths because of gaps in their understanding; others because they have specific difficulties in grasping number concepts.

Gaps in learning can occur for all sorts of reasons – illness, lack of attention one day etc, which make it difficult for knowledge to be added to it, due to the sequential nature of maths. For example, if you know your number bonds to 10 (which combinations of 2 numbers make 10) it’s really easy to then link this to 20 (19 +1, 3 +17) and 100 (30+70). If the number bonds are missing, it’s incredibly hard to pick up the more advanced learning.

However, some children have specific difficulties in learning maths. There is a cluster of issues that can point to dyscalculia – a specific difficulty in learning maths:

These include difficulties in recognising patterns in maths (e.g. the end 5 and 0 digits in the 5 times table), how big a number is (e.g. £20 can be seen as smaller than £15.72 because it has fewer digits), telling the time, ability to estimate logically (can show as ‘wild’ estimates that vary hugely),strategies to solve problems that are immature (e.g. older primary children sharing using pictures or cubes when written methods would be more usual).
One key indicator can be how instantly children can say how many objects there are. (This is age dependent, but most year 5 or 6 children would be able to look at 5 counters and say that there are 5 without counting. This is called subitising.) If a child (or adult) cannot do instantly without counting them, it can be part of the cluster of behaviours that points to dyscalculia.
Helping children overcome missing gaps and/or dyscalculia needs specific teaching to help them link maths ideas to their written form; it is hugely helped by 1 to 1 tutoring by a maths tutor, maths teacher or school intervention.

If you would like to discuss any of these issues, please contact Rachel Law on 01223 858421 or by email

For more information on Dyscalculia screening, click the link.