Schools may choose to administer the level 6 mathematics test in addition to the levels 3-5 test.

The level 6 mathematics test consists of:

  • Paper 1 – a non-calculator paper, lasting 30 minutes
  • Paper 2 – a calculator available paper, lasting 30 minutes

Children’s marks from both tests are aggregated to determine whether they are performing at level 6 in mathematics.


The test expands on the content of the levels 3-5 test by including higher level problems that require children to think for themselves and bring aspects of mathematics together.

Children taking the level 6 test should have covered the key stage 2 mathematics programme of study in depth. It is assumed that children working at level 6 will generally be secure in their knowledge of level 5. They should be able to work independently to apply their knowledge within unfamiliar and challenging problems, while thinking analytically and communicating their ideas effectively. They will be beginning to be able to identify mathematics to be used where the signposting of mathematical concepts is less obvious and/or what is being asked is less familiar.

The test samples the key stage 2 and key stage 3 programmes of study to determine if children are working at level 6, rather than whether they are fully secure at level 6. Because of this, some children working at level 6 may encounter some elements of the key stage 3 programme of study which they have not yet covered. Children will not therefore be expected to be able to answer all questions correctly in order to attain a level 6.

The elements of the key stage 3 programme of study that the test covers are not specified. Teachers will need to have covered enough of the key stage 3 programme of study to be assured that a child is working at level 6.

The test includes questions which assess levels 5 and 6 of the national curriculum. Questions that assess level 5 will typically be drawn from the upper end of the level. These questions will focus on process skills in addition to knowledge and understanding. (Process skills include how to engage with a problem, complete an appropriate method, and interpret and reflect on outcomes.)

Questions drawn solely from the key stage 3 programme of study will often be provided with 'scaffolding', so that they are accessible to children working at level 6.

Schools can download the 2013 level 6 mathematics test from STA’s orderline.

Equipment needed for the test

Children should have the following equipment for the test:

  • a pen and pencil;
  • a ruler (showing centimetres and millimetres);
  • an angle measurer;
  • a mirror; and
  • tracing paper.

A calculator is required for Paper 2 (a scientific calculator is recommended but not required).