What is the Year 4 multiplication tables check?
In June 2020, 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.
We’ve gathered together everything you might want to know about the times tables check, including what it involves, when it will take place, and how you can help your child prepare. You will also find our top tips, books, videos, activities, and games to help make your child’s times tables practice fun.
Please note: Due to school closures, formal assessments in English primary schools are cancelled for the remainder of this school year.
What is the check?
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.
“Leaving primary school with a fundamental grasp of basic numeracy is as important as leaving being able to read. And just as the phonics check has helped more children learn to read, this will ensure more pupils know their times tables.”
When is the check going to happen?
Your child may have taken part in the large-scale trial of the times tables check that took place between 10–28th June 2019. In June 2020, every school would have been required by law to take part in the check. However, due to ongoing school closures the Year 4 multiplication check will not be taking place this school year.
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 our 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 below:
Video: Seven times table trick
Use this fun times table game from mathemagician Andrew Jeffrey to help your child learn the seven times table.
For more ideas, download our free times tables booklet [PDF], which is bursting with tips and hints for overcoming some of the harder times tables.
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. You’ll find lots of Times tables activities in our Kids’ activities section to help your child practise.