SATs Attack
10 May 2019

SATs Attack

It’s May and that spring feel is in the air, the flowers have started blooming and the weather is becoming more favourable.....such a lovely feeling. Just calls for a nice leisurely lounge in the garden, listening to the birds tweeting, while you sip on that cool glass of juice with possibly some soothing tunes in the background.

But...if your child is in school, you will also know that in May, the exam preparations also reach fever pitch, with the older children in years 12 and 13 taking exams as well those at university steadily swatting away.

But, things are also happening at the other side of the learning spectrum, with the kids in years 2 and 6 also gearing up for a series of assessments. Yes......the KS1 and KS2 SATs.

Now you might think that taking exams can be nerve-wracking only at the higher levels – well think again. This can also be the case for your child ....and possibly for you too!

So how do you tackle these pre-test anxiety-laden situations? Well, before we even get into the tips we have for you, the first piece of advice would be to remain calm.

If you as the parent are calm, you will be in a better position to help your child maintain that same level of disposition throughout the process. So here goes:


Get to know all there is to know about the exam- use all the questions words you know, to accomplish this:

  • What is the exam about?
  • When is it held?
  • Where will it be held?
  • What will it encompass?
  • What will be the duration of the test?
  • What will be needed on the day?

The key is to do an as thorough due diligence as you can in order to be in the best possible position to help your child.

Speak to the school

If you are still a bit confused and still need answers, the best place to get them would be from your child’s school. Most schools will hold meetings/information sessions for the parents around that time, to discuss and answer any questions you might have, so best to pen that date firmly in your diary and be sure to get a front seat on the day.

Start practising on time

Do not leave the revision (or even the study) sessions till the last minute, as your child may need enough time go over a number of topics taught that might have been forgotten or not well understood. Remember, each child learns at a different pace, so don’t think because John down the road hasn’t started learning in earnest, it’s ok for your Jane to hold off for a bit as well.

Have a Plan

Following on from above, the best strategy would be to have a study plan in place as this will enable you keep track of what has been done as well as stay on top of what is left to be done. This will also ensure that the process is structured and well spaced out, thereby not leaving your child too overwhelmed by everything. Discuss the strategy with your child so you both arrive at something that will work for all. Don’t forget to source a quiet area in the home where all of this (studying) can take place.

Study tactics

Think about how to get the best out of the study sessions; which (combination of) methods can be employed to yield the best results/outcome within the time you have:

  • Cue / flash cards (dates, definitions etc)
  • Videos (to explain challenging concepts)
  • Discussion sessions (to reason topics through)
  • Formula notes to memorise. Always advisable to jot them down on the question paper
  • Annotations and highlights in texts, for important details (the main character, tone etc)

Questions & Answer Sessions

Make time out to have a catch-up or Q&A session with your child, to find out what has been learnt and if there are any areas that need revisiting or further clarification. You could also use that opportunity to quiz your child on questions that could come out in the exam, or just form questions based on the notes your child has made.

 Practice papers

Practice papers have to be a must when preparing for any exam/test. Using past or practice papers will enable your child get to grips with the question types and the process in general. It is advisable that your child does as many papers as is possible within the time he/she has before the exam as the more papers done, the more familiar your child will become with the test and with that, their confidence should grow. Using practice papers also helps to reinforce what has been learnt. Using practice papers is also a good way of identifying areas that still need a bit more practice, as well as areas that have been mastered. This, in turn, will also help structure the revision process much more effectively. Using past papers is also a good way to help with the timing.

Breaks and other activities

Don’t forget to factor in regular breaks between study sessions as well as ‘wind-down’ times when your child can do something else (hobbies or other activities), as we know – all work and no play....

Striking the balance is the key and would also go a long way in helping to alleviate the stress that might be brewing as a result of all the studying. Have discussions with your child about the exam and keep things positive and encouraging. Remind them of all the benefits as opposed to the repercussions. Show your child techniques on how to relax, so they don’t feel too anxious.

Also consider the following tips:

  • Make sure your child gets enough sleep the night before. An early night is recommended, in order to ensure your child is alert on the day.
  • A good (healthy and brain-boosting) breakfast in the morning of the exam.
  • Tools check (pencil case and its contents)
  • Get your child off to school early enough so he/she arrives on time.

 We have outlined the tips above, to help you help your child prepare for the SATs but this can be used for any exam.

For more on the actual SATs process, read our blog here

If your child is in year 5 and you are looking for assistance ahead of the SATs next year, contact us to see how we can help

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