Practice Key Stage 3 test papers

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SATs Key Stage 3

Key Stage 3 SATs refers to the three years of schooling in maintained schools. These are otherwise known as Years 7, 8 and  9.


SAT KS3 past papers

School Entrance Tests‘ Key Stage Practice Papers


What is Key Stage 3?

Key Stage 3 is part of secondary education covering years 7 to 9.

In year 9, children have to choose which subjects they want to study over the course of KS4. These are the subjects they’ll take for their GCSE exams.


What are the Year 7, Year 8 and Year 9 age groups?

In this key stage, children are usually aged between 11 and 14 years old. They are usually aged 11 and 12 in year 7, aged 12 and 13 in year 8 and aged 13 and 14 in year 9.

What is Key Stage 4?

Key Stage 4 is a stage of secondary education covering years 10 and 11 when children usually take GCSE exams. Children usually take GCSE exams in about eight to ten subjects, which must include English, Mathematics and Science.

What are the Year 10 and Year 11 age groups?

In this final key stage, children are usually ages between 14 and 16 years old. They are usually ages 14 and 15 in year 10 and aged 15 and 16 in year 11 when they finish formal education.


2022 SATs Summary

Here is a useful table that shows the different key stages, the different year groups and the ages children are in each of them:

Key StageYear GroupAge (Years)
EYFS0 – 4
Reception4 – 5
Key Stage 1Year 15 – 6
Year 26 – 7
Key Stage 2Year 37 – 8
Year 48 – 9
Year 59 – 10
Year 610 – 11
Key Stage 3Year 711 – 12
Year 812 – 13
Year 913 – 14
Key Stage 4Year 1014 – 15
Year 1115 – 16


How are each of the 2023 SATs Key Stages structured?

Now you know what Key Stages are, you might be wondering about how each Key Stage is structured and how this can help to shape lesson and revision plans.

The short answer is National Curriculum Aims.

Each Key Stage on the National Curriculum is broken up into different National Curriculum Aims, also known as National Curriculum expectations.

Each National Curriculum aim details a particular skill, ability or level of knowledge that children should aim to achieve for a particular subject at each Key Stage. Within each key stage and subject there are many National Curriculum Aims to work towards.

For example, according to that National Curriculum Aims for Key Stage 2 English, students should be taught to:

  • “Increase their familiarity with a wide range of books, including fairy stories, myths and legends, and retelling some of these orally”.
  • “Draw inferences such as inferring characters’ feelings, thoughts and motives from their actions, and justify inferences with evidence”
  • “Choose nouns or pronouns appropriately for clarity and cohesion and to avoid repetition”
  • And much more.


The transition from key stage two to KS3

For both children and parents, the change from KS2 to KS3 can be a daunting one. There are a further 10 foundation subjects that are taught to secondary school students in state-funded schools. They are as follows:

  • History
  • Geography
  • Foreign languages
  • Art and design
  • Music
  • Design and technology
  • Physical education
  • Information and communication technology (ICT or computing)
  • Citizenship
  • Religious education (this is not a compulsory subject but is optional depending on the secondary school).

Although the assessments at this stage are less formal than, say, SATs, they are still important. The grades achieved at this level will contribute to the GCSE options students are able to take in KS4 (GCSE level) and their overall predicted grades at GCSE.

Key Stage 4 introduction

  • The Key Stage 4 curriculum, which is typically taught to students in Years 10 and 11 (ages 14-16).
  • This is a mandatory stage of education in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland.
  • Students are required to take national exams known as GCSEs at the end of Year 11.


Is there a Key Stage 5?

In secondary schools and sixth forms, Key Stage 5 comprises Year 12 and Year 13 students. In colleges, these students may be classified as School Leavers.


Key Stage 5

Qualifications for Key Stage 5 can take several different forms

  • AS-Levels and A-Levels
  • NVQs
  • Diplomas

A-Levels are marked with a grade system, from A*, A, B, C, D and E, in order of highest to lowest grade. On the other hand, NVQs are differentiated as Level 1, 2 or 3 qualifications and are typically marked as ‘pass’ or ‘fail’. Level 3 qualifications are equivalent to A-Levels.

Students between the ages of 16 and 18 who are completing apprenticeships are also classified as being in further education, or Key Stage 5.


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