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Ten top tips for Year 6 teachers ahead of Key Stage 2 SATs

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Top tips for teachers

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Key Stage 2 SATs begin for Year 6 students on 9th May 2022. With primary school teachers and students understandably nervous about outcomes, it is crucial to maintain a positive atmosphere in the classroom at the beginning of the summer term.

Here at Atom Learning, we’ve come up with ten top SATs tips to keep your students engaged, motivated, and in the best possible headspace in the lead up to SATs week.

1. Gamify KS2 SATs revision

Gamifying your students' preparation is a great way to keep your learners motivated while cementing prior knowledge. We've already created some fun revision techniques for you to practice in our recent revision blog.

Interactive activities and competitive challenges are more likely to engage your class than copying from a textbook or rereading previous work. Ultimately, everyone remembers their fun lessons, so what better time to remember than during revision?

2. Focus on existing content

It can often be tempting to try and cover every last part of the national curriculum.

While this may give students a basic grounding across all topics, it may mean they lack deepened understanding. This could be detrimental during their KS2 SATs papers.

We recommend that the focus remains on areas of the syllabus that have already been covered. Introducing new concepts can lead to confusion and increase stress. Mastering the parts of the national curriculum you’ve already taught will allow your pupils to feel confident come exam time.

3. Mental maths papers

On Wednesday 11th May 2022, students will be greeted with their KS2 SATs Maths Paper 1 - Arithmetic.

What better way to prepare children than with mental maths SATs practice?

Mental maths practice can reduce the apprehension surrounding different types of questions. Additionally, students can practice their technique of answering quickly while showing their working. Focusing on proof is crucial for maths tests, so encourage your students to write what they’re thinking and not keep it in their heads!

We’ve created a multiplication grid to help those who may still struggle with their times tables. Click the banner below to download:

Maths multiplication grid.svg

4. Test reading skills

It may sound obvious, but with four days of exams back-to-back, stamina is a crucial skill that Year 6 pupils need to develop.

Assigning time in the day for silent reading in the run-up to a SATs test can support your students’ ability to read long passages of texts without becoming fatigued or distracted.

You may even want to include some non-fiction and poetry here, in case the examiners decide to mix things up!

5. Use online learning resources

Many children love technology, so why not include some interactive online learning in your KS2 SATs revision?

There are a variety of educational websites available complete with questions, answers and games all designed to develop fluency. Allow your students the opportunity to explore topics they need to improve and answer questions interactively.

With Atom Prime, teachers and learners have access to over 90,000 lessons, worked examples, helpsheets and videos. Find out how you can use our free online learning platform in your classroom by booking an introductory call today.

6. Breakfast club

The first rule of the breakfast club is that we talk about KS2 SATs papers at the breakfast club.

Setting up an exclusive Year 6 morning session is a great way of understanding thoughts and feelings before exam season.

A breakfast club is a nice way to break the ice before a day of learning and highlight that all students are in the same boat. This camaraderie can be an effective way of promoting group progress for the weeks ahead.

Additionally, having well-fed students is vital for engaged brains. For those who don’t eat breakfast at home, this can make a key difference both with attention span and mindset.

7. Simulate SATs pressure

It’s important that students understand the way KS2 SATs are conducted before they sit down for the real thing.

A great strategy to adopt is the simulation of the entire exam experience. Practice entering the room in silence, sitting apart from peers and answering questions in timed conditions.

This is an ideal opportunity to examine students’ exam techniques and provide feedback. Whether it’s the pace of answering or the neatness of handwriting, these points can be addressed and practised before the beginning of May.

Exam season can be a stressful time for students. Offering them the chance to experience a mock scenario can help to relieve some of the apprehension they may be feeling.

8. Practice papers

There’s no better substitute for exam preparation than practice papers. With historical SATs papers readily available online, you can guide your students through what they can expect to see and the skills required to answer questions effectively.

Combine practice papers with exam simulation to create an authentic experience. Have each child in your class feel like a pro when it comes to the real thing (and stand them in good stead for what's to come at secondary school)!

9. Peer tutoring

Children often listen to their friends and this goes for revision too.

Give peer tutoring a go during KS2 SATs preparation and allow your class to form effective learning partnerships. Using assessment data and knowledge of your students, combine small groups with similar needs to work together.

As we mentioned in our 5 tried and tested revision techniques, you could encourage your groups to become ‘subject experts’. Students can present back to the class with all their findings, solidifying their own learning and supporting others.

10. Teacher wellbeing

A lot of our focus has been on ensuring students stay motivated, but it’s important that teachers are too.

SATs are always a time of pressure for Year 6 educators so make sure you take care of yourself as well. Take a look at Atom’s guide to maximising the Easter break for some helpful tips which you can use during term time.

In general, try to ensure you are well-rested, hydrated and fed. This will set you up for dealing with the stresses of the summer term.


SATs success with Atom

For more information on how Atom Learning can support Key Stage 2 success, book an introductory call today. Discover how our adaptive learning platform can have a transformative impact in your primary school.

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Good luck to you and all your students in their Key Stage 2 SATs!

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