English SATs Practice Papers: How They Can Help
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In Year 6, your child will take their KS2 SATs exams, including three papers in English. In the English SAT, your child will be assessed on a number of reading and writing skills, so they will need to demonstrate accurate punctuation and good vocabulary. In this article, we explain how English SATs practice papers can help your child succeed in the exam.
Understanding Exam Structure
One of the biggest challenges that your child will face in their first SATs exam is understanding how the tests themselves are structured. Given that your child’s English SATs exam will likely be the very first one that they will sit in their school career, it’s worth taking the time to ensure that they know what to expect from each test paper.
The English SATs exam at KS2 level is split into three papers:
- Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling: Paper 1. This paper tests all three areas and students are allocated 45 minutes to complete the test.
- Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling Paper 2. This paper is a spelling test. The teacher will read 20 sentences out loud and students needs to complete the missing word in each one, while spelling it correctly. This second paper takes approximately 15 minutes to complete.
- In this test, students are presented with three texts, all written in different styles, alongside an answer book with reading comprehension questions. This test takes one hour and questions can be answered in any order.
If your child already has a good idea of how the exam will be formatted, they won’t feel as nervous in the lead up to the big day. Familiarity breeds reassurance, so the more practice papers your child does, the more confident they’ll feel.
Recognising Question Types
One of the most common reasons for children answering exam questions incorrectly is that they don’t understand what’s being asked of them. If your child is able to identify the type of question being asked, they should be able to form an answer that reflects what the examiner is looking for. The reading test, for example, has a selection of question types, including:
- Ranking questions that require students to allocate numbers to specific events within the text.
- Labelling questions, where pupils have to identify particular parts of a story.
- Word finding questions that require students to find a word that refers to a specific theme or event.
- Response questions, where students are asked a straightforward question and need to find the answer within the text.
The grammar and punctuation tests tend to have two different questions types: selected response, and constructed response. The former typically involves choosing from a selection of answers like in multiple-choice and true/false formats. The latter typically requires a written answer, like in ‘complete the sentence’ questions.
Using English SATs practice papers gives your child a better understanding of the types of questions that may be asked in the exam. The more practice tests your child takes, the better they will become at answering each type of question well.
Highlighting Weaker Areas
When it comes to revising for the English SATs exam, efficiency is key. Of course, you’ll want to ensure that your child’s revision plan covers everything they’ll need to know, but a little insight into their current performance can help structure their revision for the better.
English SATs practice papers are a great way to identify your child’s weak areas. Once they’ve completed a few papers and you’ve checked their answers, you may notice a pattern in their shortcomings. For example, if you notice that your child tends to answer the same type of question incorrectly, you’ll know to allocate more time to that particular area.
If you feel that your child’s reading skills aren’t up to scratch, encourage them to read about topics that interest them. This will feel less like revision and will help keep them motivated. If they struggle with grammar, take on the role of teacher and read sentences out loud that have missing words in them, as per the actual exam.
Practice papers are also a good way of making children feel comfortable with receiving feedback, which will help their learning in the long-term too.
The English SATs papers require your child to concentrate for long periods of time – probably longer than they’re used to in class.
In particular, the hour-long reading exam might challenge your child’s ability to focus. Practice SATs papers help your child to gradually build up their concentration levels. We would advise that students start small, with short, 10-minute practice sessions, gradually building up to a point that they’re able to complete a whole test paper in one go, under timed conditions.
By gradually increasing the amount of time that your child has to concentrate for, by the time the exam arrives, they should easily be able to focus for its entirety.
Give your child the best possible chance of success in their English SATs papers by downloading our packs today: