By Sonia | Jun 21, 2023, 8:27 AM
As the Year 6 SATs season approaches, your mind might be racing with a million different questions about the exams and what you should be doing at home with your child. During my time as a Year 6 classroom teacher, I heard them all!
What I learned from my experience was that what’s best for one family isn’t always for another. With that being said, I’ve drawn up four top tips that all parents could use to help prepare their child for a happy, calm and successful exam season. But before we dive in, let's recap.
Year 6 SATs are standardised tests taken by children in England at the end of Year 6, when they are 10 or 11 years old. The tests are set by the government and cover a range of core subjects, including Maths, Reading, Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar (SPaG), and Writing.
The Year 6 SATs are designed to assess the progress of children since they began primary school and to measure their understanding of the curriculum that they have been taught. The tests are a way of benchmarking children’s academic performance against other pupils in the same year group, and can be used to determine whether they are on track to succeed in secondary education.
Schools often provide additional support and resources to help prepare students for SATs such as practice tests, revision materials, and one-to-one tuition. You can also help your child by providing support and guidance with their revision, helping them to structure their studying and providing them with the resources they need.
Year 6 SATs shouldn’t be seen as a source of stress or pressure for children. With the right support and guidance, it can be a positive experience and can help them to gain an understanding of the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in later years.
When it comes to revision, it’s best to start early, as it allows your child to go through the material more slowly and thoroughly. This will help them get a better understanding of the tested topics and will make the actual exams much less daunting. Encourage your child to focus on past SATs papers and past papers from the current year – this will give them a good idea of the types of questions that will be asked and the level of difficulty.
Too much time can lead to burnout, whereas too little time may leave them unprepared. I recommend aiming for 20-30 minutes of SATs revision, 3-4 times a week in the 4 months leading up to the exams. This leaves a few days off each week to rest and relax.
Let’s be honest: hearing your child frantically tell you that they have a mock test coming up on Monday is probably not how you wished to start your weekend.
Be sure to ask your child’s teacher about key dates including mock tests, official exam dates and any upcoming parents evenings. Stick them on your calendar or set up an event on your phone so you know you won’t miss them.
As the SATs season draws closer, children may start to become nervous about the tests and feel overwhelmed or even frustrated. It can really help to regularly check-in to see how they’re feeling about things and offer them solutions or advice to any worries they may have.
Even if they don’t seem any different, the constant talk about SATs at school and the changes taking place to accommodate the exams can be confusing. Children will often pick up on myths and rumours about SATs, so it can be helpful to pay close attention to their thoughts and dispel any false beliefs they may have about the tests.
Helping your child revise their weakest topic(s) can help boost their confidence. You can check the gaps in their understanding by asking their teacher or by going through a practice SATs paper with them. Remind them that it's okay if they don't know all the answers straight away, that's what practice papers and worksheets are for.
By identifying and working with them on these gaps, your child will begin to feel more supported, calm and prepared to tackle any questions that may come up in the exam.
One of the greatest challenges that children face during SATs revision is remembering all of the information that they’ve learned in school. Set a dedicated amount of time aside for your child to spend revising the content that will come up in their SATs papers. Creating and sticking to a revision timetable can help children to remain calm, motivated and confident during the exam season. If you’re not sure of what they should be revising, remember to ask your child’s teacher for an outline of the topics.
With SATs tests looming just around the corner, it’s only natural to consider all options when it comes to getting your child ready for the big day. But is hiring a tutor the right choice for you and your family?
This depends on your child’s learning style and the amount of time and effort you’re willing to put into their revision. If your child is a self-directed learner who is motivated to go through past SATs papers and practice questions, then you probably won’t need to hire a tutor. However, if your child needs more structure and guidance when it comes to their KS2 SATs revision, then a tutor could be exactly what they need.
If you are considering hiring a tutor, look for someone who is experienced with Year 6 SATs revision and can provide your child with the right level of support. An experienced tutor can help your child to identify and focus on areas of weakness, as well as provide feedback and guidance on their progress.
At the end of the day, the decision whether or not to hire a tutor for your child’s Year 6 SATs revision is entirely up to you. If you’re willing to put in the time and effort to help your child prepare for the tests, then you don’t need to hire a tutor. But if you feel like your child needs additional support, then a tutor could be a great option for you.
Sonia is a qualified teacher who has 6 years of teaching experience. She loves inspiring students to see their limitless potential and thrives on seeing their confidence and progress grow.
Sonia specialises in tutoring for 11+ and pre-tests, supporting students for a range of grammar and independent schools such as Latymer, Cheltenham College and Magdalen College. Additionally, she tutors general KS2 English, maths, science and verbal and nonverbal reasoning and has experience supporting students with SEN.
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