Kent Test Skills

The Kent Test consists of an English paper, a maths paper and a reasoning paper. The reasoning paper contains verbal reasoning questions, non-verbal reasoning questions and spatial reasoning questions. The final task on Kent Test day is a timed writing task.

The English paper and the maths paper of the Kent Test will have their basis in the work that the children will have covered at school but there may also be questions, particularly in the maths paper, that require the children to think about what they are being asked in a new way and questions that require the children to combine their knowledge from two areas of what they have been taught at school in order to correctly answer. These types of maths questions are generally considered to be the most challenging.

When we consider the Kent Test, as well as focussing on maths and English skills, it's vital to familiarise children with the many types of question that they should expect to be asked in the 3 reasoning areas. There are lots of books available to help with this - you'll find my suggestions here - and I offer familiarisation sessions during the Easter and summer holidays too, as well as offering ongoing sessions throughout a child's Year 5,  so if you would like my support with preparing your child for any aspect of the Kent Test then please get in touch.

Ahead of the Kent Test, I'm often asked what the most important skills to focus on at home would be. I have 2 answers to this question: vocabulary development and mental arithmetic. 

Vocabulary Development

By far the most enjoyable way for a child to develop their vocabulary is for them to read - a lot and from a wide range of sources. There are many, many high-quality titles available for all ages of children but a few of my recommendations for children in Years 4, 5 and 6 are here. Reading a range of high quality literature will expose children to lots of previously unfamiliar words as well as providing them with lots of fabulous ideas for their own writing, both of which are important when we're preparing for the Kent Test.

As well as encouraging reading for pleasure and for the added benefit of developing vocabulary and improving writing skills, some parents find it useful to use specific vocabulary resources at home, which are targeted at introducing their children to new words and exploring their meanings. Some of my favourites are shown below:


Mental Arithmetic

The maths paper of the Kent Test contains 25 questions and has a time limit of 25 minutes. Some of the questions are challenging and require some serious thought, even for the most able mathematicians. Every year, I tell my pupils that the best way for them to gain this all important extra time for the more difficult questions is for them to ensure that they have fantastically quick mental arithmetic skills. Fast, and consistently accurate, recall of times tables is a great starting point for this but there are lots of other arithmetic areas that can be focussed on too when we consider mental maths skills. I've popped links to a few of my favourite online maths games below. I recommend encouraging your child to play these games regularly if they will soon be taking the Kent Test. 

Hit the Button: Many children will be familiar with this game already but most tend to focus on the times tables option. Try division facts, doubling, halving and square numbers too. As an added bonus, the inclusion of the timer within this game makes it useful for building the pace required for the Kent Test as well as for practise of arithmetic skills.

Tommy's Trek: This is a popular game with my pupils. The platform-game style of Tommy's Trek makes it fun to play.

Make 24: This is my favourite maths game! This game definitely provides a challenge and encourages perseverance alongside practise of mental arithmetic skills.

If you would like any further advice, or if you're interested in my Kent Test preparation sessions for your child, please send me a message. I'd love to hear from you!



(For each book or resource purchased using my links, I will receive a very small commission from Amazon.)