Multiplication Tables Check (Year 4)

The national curriculum says that pupils should be able to recall the multiplication tables up to and including 12 X 12 by the end of Year 4, and this check will test this.

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Why is it being introduced?

The DfE has noted the rise in the number of pupils passing the Phonics Year 1 test (up from 58% in 2012 to 82.5% in 2018) and wishes to increase pupils’ mathematical skills by similar focus.

The national curriculum says that pupils should be able to recall the multiplication tables up to and including 12 X 12 by the end of Year 4, and this check will test this.

When will it happen?

It is now compulsory for all schools. There will be a 3-week window in June for schools to administer the tests. All pupils in a school do not have to do the test on the same day, or even in the same week.

What does it involve?

Pupils will sit in front of a computer, tablet or other similar device, and will answer 28 questions. The first 3 questions are practice questions and will not be marked.

The test consists of the remaining 25 questions.

Pupils will have up to 6 seconds to answer multiplication questions, and there will be a 3 second pause between questions. Therefore, after the initial set up, the test should take around 5 minutes.

The time limit of 6 seconds has been set, after an initial trial involving over 1,000 pupils, to enable the testing of recall of the answers (“fluency”) without giving time to allow pupils to work it out.

All Questions will follow the same format:

There will be:

  • between 3 and 7 questions total from the 2-times, 5-times and 10-times questions (taught in Key Stage 1 – by the end of Year 2), which will include at least one 5-times question.
  • between 1 and 3 questions each from the 3-times, 4-times and 11-times questions, and
  • due to their difficulty, between 2 and 4 questions from each of the remaining times tables (6 to 9, and 12).

Questions which are the reverse of other questions will only be asked once (e.g.if “3×8=” is asked, “8×3=” will not be asked).

There will also be no division questions.

There will be an on-screen keyboard set up by default (which can be hidden if necessary), but the keyboard can also be used to enter answers.

There will also be an Enter button which pupils can use to finish their answer, but it is not compulsory.

Answers that have been inputted will be automatically accepted after 6 seconds.

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Does every pupil have to take this check?

From 2019/20, this test will be compulsory for all schools.

For schools which administer the check, ordinarily all pupils should take it. However, the headteacher may decide that specific pupils do not, but only for the following reasons:

  • They are absent through the entirety of the test period (3 weeks),
  • They are unable to access the test, even with access arrangements (see below),
  • They are unable to answer any of the questions, or are working below the Expected Standard for year 2 in maths, or
  • They have arrived at the school after the start of the test, do not have English as their first language, and there is insufficient time for the school to establish their standard.

The headteacher’s decision in this respect is final.

Can pupils have a test run?

The school can organise test runs of the exams (called “Try It Out”).

These test runs will not be marked and will not count towards the official results.

Pupils can have as many test runs as a school deems necessary.

During the official check, pupils will not be able to have a second try solely because they do not do well the first time.


Reruns are only available if there was an IT issue or loss of internet, significant classroom disruption, or if for some reason a pupil did not complete the test.

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What if my child needs access arrangements?

It is possible for access arrangements to be provided to enable pupils to take the test. However, in no cases will the time limit of 6 seconds per question seconds be altered.

Access arrangements include:

  • Adding audible beeps to signal that 4 and 6 seconds have elapsed, after the start of the question.
  • Colour contrast – yellow/black, black/blue, black/peach and blue/cream are available.
  • Changing the font size.
  • Question reader – the computer reads the question and any other text aloud. Pupils can use the Tab key to navigate through the screens. Headphones or a separate room are recommended if using this option.
  • Removing the on-screen number pad, especially if a pupil would be distracted by it. A Keyboard will still be needed to enter the answers.

Additionally, a pupil may have someone else enter their response (but not a family member, carer or guardian). This can be useful if pupils are unable to enter responses, or find it slow, painful, or difficult.

Also, the 3 second pause between questions can be replaced by a “Next” button. This should be useful if it is insufficient or would disadvantage the pupil.

When will I have my child’s results?

In 2019, schools will receive pupils’ results for the official check on 1 July 2019, together with a National Average.

They will not receive results for the “Try It Out” checks.

There is no requirement for schools to provide this information to parents, although there is nothing to prevent them from doing so.

Results will not be published in the DfE’s Analyse School Performance (ASP) service (and thus will not be available to Ofsted) or published online during this pilot year.

In 2020 results will be so published; although there is no mention of this in official publications, they will be probably not be published publicly per school (in line with Phonics and Key Stage 1 figures).

Where can I get more information?

More information can be found on the MTC administration guidance page on, including a video showing the various access arrangements.

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