Preparing for SATs: what can you do?

April 29, 2014 — Leave a comment

It’s that time of year when many Year 6 students can feel under pressure to perform SATs examwell in SATs. The pressure can come from school, home or their peers, but whichever the case, too much can be counter-productive: anxious students perform badly in exams, and if a child develops a fear of exams, it can lead to significant issues through secondary school.

So how to we prepare our child for the exams whilst keeping things low key? Try these tips below:

  • Revise in short bursts of 20 minutes.
  • Get fresh air between each session.
  • Active revision is best: to improve percentages, work through some percentages questions, easier to harder. If you need to learn names of shapes, draw them out in a table, or draw them on your child’s back and get them to guess. But don’t ever allow your child to stare at a page…
  • Your child should work at their level: if they are realistically hoping to achieve a level 5, try to work on questions at this level (if you are a DoodleMaths user, the questions will automatically be at the right level of challenge, or alternatively, you can search level 5 questions topics in the index by searching “L5”)
  • Do old SATs papers: these can be found for free at emaths.co.uk, including the mark schemes if you get stuck.
  • Tutors work if they are good but bad tutors can be counter-productive. Get a recommendation, but give yourself plenty of time – good tutors will not want to ‘cram’ students at the last minute (nor will they have time).
  • When working with your child on, say, percentages, ask them to explain to you what they already know, then build on this. You will gain useful knowledge of where the gaps lie, and your child will help gain confidence in what they already know.
  • If you are explaining a concept to your child, use the one-minute rule: if you can’t explain it in one minute, your child is likely to lose concentration and understanding – so come back to it later before a row develops!
  • The focus of any feedback from parents or teachers should be based on areas of strength and weakness, rather than levels: “Dai, you got a 4c” is uninformative and pressurizing; “Well done, Dai, you got the percentages question right this time, but we still need to work on equivalent fractions” is much more helpful.
  • Finally, eat and sleep well on the week of the exams!

Good luck!

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