Here’s our 11 top tips for getting through the 2018 SATs!
1. Avoid the taboo.
Avoid any temptation to pretend the 2018 KS2 SATs don’t exist and instead talk to your child about them.
Talk to your child about their SATs. Understand what tests they’re doing, when they’re doing them and any concerns they have.
Listen, be sympathetic and reassure them that they should not worry. Their teachers will also be doing this but it means so much more when it’s coming from their parents.
2. Be positive, stay positive! Motivate, stay motivated!
Children adore being told that they got the right answer, crafted a wonderful story or explained something perfectly. It’s both reassuring and motivating.
The 2018 SATs tests provide an opportunity for your year 6 child to shine. With a positive and planned approach, it’s their chance to achieve. The results they earn are independent of their classroom and teacher – they do it all by themselves.
We all need the occasional pep-talk and a motivational speech can work wonders. Inspire your child with this way of thinking and help keep them motivated.
3. Identify areas of hidden concern.
Don’t face the 2018 SATs entirely unprepared – it’s a terrible idea!
As the tests get closer, so too will their natural feelings of stress and anxiety. Remember, this is their first set of “real” exams – it’s only natural to worry. As parents it’s our job to teach our children that the way to solve these anxieties is to address the root cause.
Have they harboured a times-tables problem all this time? Are they really comfortable division, fractions and decimals? Are prepositions a complete mystery or do they get lazy with comprehension?
If these concerns sound familiar then reassure them and compile a list of their concerns. Only once you know the problems can you begin fixing them.
4. Bring maths out of the classroom.
The 2018 SATs seek to assess your child’s mathematical skills. To help inspire and develop their ‘mathematical fluidity’, try bringing maths outside of the classroom. ‘Gamify’ it!
You’ve probably been doing it for years but here are some easy suggestions for the SATs in 2018…
Ask them to estimate how long it will take to walk or drive to school and time it to calculate the difference. Then, record the distance using your car’s dashboard or smartphone and ask them to tell you the average speed.
When next in the supermarket, ask them to estimate the total and reward them if they get it right. Follow it up by asking them how much change you can expect to receive.
Maths can also be shoe-horned into DIY projects of any size. For example – How much carpet do we need? How much paint do we need? How many nails will we need to hang those pictures?
Weights and measures are a natural fit for cooking. Many past questions revolve around adjusting a recipe for more or fewer biscuits! So, why not do it yourselves at home?
It might sound odd but children can get very excitable when maths is turned into a game – especially when they get the right answers!
5. Bring English out of the classroom.
Many children (particularly boys) avoid reading like the plague. It happens before year 6 and well into secondary school.
The trouble is, children that read regularly will find the 2018 SATs comprehension test far simpler than those who don’t. So, here’s our suggestion…
Pick a book and read it, chapter by chapter, at the same pace as your child. They may be hard to convince and you may have difficulty squeezing reading into a busy day but parents that have tried it swear by it. If they kick, scream, stamp and stomp, give them a hug and persist.
As both of you progress, don’t just fact-check but instead ask them questions like…
How do they feel about certain characters, their motivations and their relationships? See if your child can place themselves inside a character.
What do they want to happen next? What do they want to know? What do they think could happen next?
How do they think it could all end?
All too often, children aren’t interested or simply ‘don’t care’ about reading. Like many things in life, reading is a ‘slow-burn’ satisfaction that requires patience and effort. It’s never too late to discover this.
6. Past KS2 SATs papers and KS2 SATs practice papers.
As already mentioned, neglecting to prepare for tests can lead to stress and anxiety. This is especially true when time is short and children feel that their friends are more prepared than they are.
The first one or two papers might not go entirely to plan but with some experience, they will rapidly improve. It doesn’t take long for children to enjoy working through practice papers.
If they don’t feel comfortable with a particular topic then make a note of it. This needs to be added to their list (see point 3 above) and time should be set aside to work through the concern.
7. Study breaks? Go for a walk.
Study breaks are essential to limit brain fatigue so don’t waste them in front of a TV, tablet or mobile phone. That reward is best saved for the end of ‘study time’.
Fresh air has the basic function of clearing our brains so find the time to take your children outside. We would recommend a walk or brief trip to the playground.
It’s easier said than done, we know that. It doesn’t have to be a ‘family walk’, special event or even be particularly long or arduous. Walking in the fresh air without an LCD screen to fiddle with helps clear their head enormously.
They will get home with a fresh mind and feel genuinely relaxed. It’s worth all the effort.
8. Don’t burn them out.
Kids can be surprisingly busy little things.
As well as a full school timetable, fun in the playground at break times, after school clubs and homework, they still need to fit in time to relax! Fighting a tired child into completing KS2 SATs papers doesn’t help anyone. It’s important to find a good balance.
We can’t tell you the best balance for your child, that’s best left to you.
9. Eat well.
We’re not the food police and we don’t expect parents to completely change their children’s diets. That said, a few small changes can make a surprising difference.
Start their day with a healthy breakfast. It doesn’t have to be dull and it doesn’t have to be expensive but it can give an amazing lift to their day.
Once home, avoid your children’s desperate attempts to stuff themselves with sugary snacks. Instead, try to stick to fresh fruit or nutritious alternatives.
Lastly, an early, healthy dinner will help your child get the deep sleep they need. We know that this is a tough job for busy parents but with some planning it can be done.
10. Sleep well.
At the end of the day, do what you can to encourage them to get to sleep early. By ‘early’ we mean not late!
For some children it’s a bed-time story, other’s it’s a daily bath and for some it’s just a consistentroutine.
We know it’s easier said than done with cubs, brownies and other clubs but a good sleeping pattern is invaluable. Nobody does well in their year 6 SATs when they’re tired and hungry.
11. Keep it real.
Lastly, keep everything in proportion. They’re only year 6 SATs. Even if they completely mess things up, it will not blight their life forever.
If you have any questions about the 2018 Key Stage 2 SATs or 2018 SATs revision in general, ask Exam Ninja. We know just about everything there is to know about the 2018 KS2 SATs.
Lastly, good luck for the KS2 SATs in 2018!
Do you have any tips for the SATs in 2018 that you would like to add? Why not add them in the comments below!
SATs revision is a hot topic for teachers, parents and children. Some schools have a structured Year 6 SATs revision programme whilst others try not to mention SATs revision at all. The same can be true for parents.
The SATs exam period can be one of the most stressful times for a child. They often report feeling pressured or worried they will let down their parents, teachers or indeed themselves. To control stress it’s important that you and your child understand the relative significance of SATs. It’s also important that you have a realistic understanding about how to prepare them.
The principle idea of SATs is to quantify what pupils have learned and understood during their Key Stage 2 (Years 3-6 inclusive). The Department for Education (DfE) processes these results and judges each school’s performance. These results are then used to create school league tables. The tests also help teachers learn each child’s strengths and weaknesses in English, Maths and Science.
Arguably, children should not do any SATs revision in Year 6. Indeed, the perfect scenario for these tests would be for no children to have prepared at all!
Secondly, it’s important to remember that a child cannot “fail” a SATs test. There is no “pass mark”, it is simply trying to measure how much each child has learned throughout Key Stage 2.
Should we bother with SATs revision?
A child’s SATs results can have some important consequences. Firstly, they often “carry” their mark into secondary school. These marks are usually used to determine which academic stream they are placed in. For example, strong KS2 SATs results may lead to a child being placed in a more capable Maths set in secondary school.
Secondly, don’t underestimate how important it can be for a child to have a positive exam experience. SATs tests are often a child’s first set of “real” exams. If you’re lucky enough to know the feeling of acing a test, you’ll know how motivating this feeling can be. SATs revision in Year 6 isn’t especially inspiring but achieving top marks certainly is.
Only a few years after their KS2 SATs, children will take their GCSEs. After these they will be preparing for their A-Levels, University exams and maybe more. Children need to see exams as a good thing – an opportunity to demonstrate just how much they know and understand.
We know they’re young and we know that SATs have little significance in the grand scheme of their education. However, telling them to bury their head in the sand because SATs “don’t matter” is not a good idea. It is not a great example to set and it’s certainly not what they should do for future tests!
We believe some Year 6 SATs revision is essential.
How should children prepare for their SATs?
How we recommend handling KS2 SATs revision:
1. Target weaknesses – Talk to your child’s teacher.
If you’re not sure about what your child finds difficult, ask their teacher. Reassure them that you want to support your child to have a positive exam experience. Their teacher should be able to tell you what Year 6 SATs revision your child needs to focus on.
Make sure you probe them for exactly what’s troublesome, sometimes it can be surprising! Make a list and plan with your child how they’re going to tackle their Year 6 SATs revision. Inspire them with what they can achieve and think of a way to motivate them to achieve it.
Unsure of the topics yourself or confused about how your child’s been taught? Get a Study Book – they’ll help with SATs revision by explaining exactly what they need to know.
2. Tackle problems – Targeted workbooks.
Workbooks help children practise specific topics and work through their weaknesses. Does your child struggle with percentages, ratios, delimiters or spotting verbs within a sentence? Try using a workbook.
Exam Ninja sells a wide variety of workbooks to help with SATs revision in Year 6. Whether it’s Maths SATs revision, Reading or SPaG, we’ve got the perfect workbook for them. Full answers are always included.
3. Practise everything – Past papers and practice papers.
Your child’s teacher may well plan a series of “mock” exams for them to take in school. These may be referred to as “SATs Revision Papers” or similar. They will most likely be the previous year’s SATs papers. It’s important that you make sure not to use these as for SATs revision at home to avoid skewing their teacher’s predictions. If in doubt, ask their teacher.
KS2 SATs revision should not only focus on a child’s weaknesses but also their strengths. Ensure they’re practising topics they’re comfortable with and topics they would rather avoid.
For comprehensive KS2 SATs revision and to help ensure there’s no mixing up marks, try SATs practice papers. SATs practice papers are tests that have been crafted to prepare children for their SATs. They offer challenging questions and full answers so you can check their progress.
The KS2 SATs exam week is normally the second full week in May. The 2018 KS2 SATs tests take place in the week commencing 14th May 2018.
Throughout the exam week, do what you can to help ensure they’re eating, drinking and sleeping well. They will also need regular study breaks to help them maintain a positive attitude.
If they don’t feel an exam went well, encourage them to focus on their next exam. It’s important that they maintain motivation and continue to try their best. Don’t forget, we want them to have a positive experience!
If you have any questions about the 2018 KS2 SATs or Key Stage 2 SATs revision in general, ask Exam Ninja. We know just about everything there is to know about KS2 SATs tests.