In June 2021, the new Year 4 multiplication tables check will become statutory. Your child will need to take a short online test to make sure their times tables knowledge is at the expected level.
The multiplication tables check is an online test for pupils in Year 4. Pupils are asked to answer 25 questions on times tables from two to 12. They are given six seconds per question, with three seconds rest between each question, so the test should last less than five minutes.
Questions about the six, seven, eight, nine, and 12 times tables are likely to come up most often, as these are the hardest for most children to learn. It’s a good idea to focus on these tricky times tables with your child.
First and foremost, the check is about finding out which children are struggling with their times tables so that they can get extra support. It is not a judgement on what your child can do, but a way for the school to know how their teaching is going and to adjust their focus if needed.
When is the check going to happen?
Every school in England will be required to take part in the check in June 2020.
How can I help my child prepare?
The best way to keep the test stress-free is to work some times tables practice into your daily routine well in advance. With regular practice, your child will get used to tackling these kind of questions with confidence.
If your child is feeling nervous in the approach to the check, don’t panic. Our top five tips for helping your child learn their times tables will get them up to speed:
1. Use times table wall charts
Wall charts show all the answers for a particular times table. You could download a free times table wall charts [PDF] and stick them up somewhere they’ll be seen often. For instance, you could put them over the sink so that your child will see them when they’re brushing their teeth. You’ll be amazed how quickly they learn when they see these number facts every day!
2. Learn the tricks for difficult times tables
There are clever tricks for remembering several of the times tables. For instance, watch Andrew Jeffrey’s method for tackling the seven times table on YouTube
Find more times tables tricks on our YouTube channel.
3. Play times tables games
Games and challenges are a great way to support learning, and a few minutes a day will make all the difference. Why not play snap with some times tables flashcards, matching the sums to the answers as fast as you can? Or you could surprise your child by asking times tables questions at random times during the day and seeing how quickly they can respond (this works particularly well as a competition between siblings or friends).
Using games keeps practice short and sweet, and makes the process much less of a chore for you and your child. You can find a collection of times tables games and activity sheets on our Help with times tables page.
4. Make it real
If your child can’t see any point in learning their times tables, try showing them how this knowledge is useful in everyday life. Instead of just rote learning their times tables, try to create opportunities for your child to use multiplication in problem solving. For example, ask them to scale up a recipe or calculate whether they have enough money to buy more of their favourite things (such as sweets or football cards). This will help your child see the value of their learning.
5. Practise on the computer
Help your child become comfortable reading and answering questions on a screen. Our activities page for ages 7–9 has lots of interactive activities to help your child practise. Don’t forget to use Times Table Rock stars; you can find your child’s login inside their homework book, please contact me if you have any issues with this.