SATs Advice for Parents
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The build-up to SATs in primary school can cause feelings of anxiety and unease in young children and it can also be a tense time for parents too. In this post, we’ve put together some helpful SAT advice for parents, including how to help your child study and how to help them deal with exam stress.
How to Help Your Child Cope with SATs
The more preparation your child does for the exam, the more confident they’ll feel in answering the different types of questions. One of the best ways of helping your child establish effective learning habits is to plan what they’ll study beforehand. Creating a study schedule with your child can be a great way to ensure that they cover everything they’ll need to know for the exam.
However, coping well with SATs isn’t just about what, or when, your child studies but how. The way that your child approaches their revision is just as important as the time they put in. As a parent, there are several ways you can ensure your child develops good study habits, such as:
- Helping them to find a quiet place to study.
- Encouraging them to ask for help, either from yourself or a teacher, if they are unsure of something.
- Investigating the best learning strategy for your child, to ensure all study time is as effective as possible.
- Taking practice exam papers to enable your child to not only familiarise themselves with the test’s layout, structure and format, but to also improve their time management.
- Splitting study time into short, 20-minute bursts. For the majority of children, this is a more manageable approach than long study sessions and it’ll keep their motivation levels higher for longer.
Coping with Exam Stress
Everybody reacts differently to exam pressure, including young children. While many cope well with test conditions, others might need more support. During this time, it’s important that parents also learn to cope with SATs stress, in order to keep your child’s anxiety levels low. But how?
As an interested parent, you are one of your child’s main support networks – not to mention their biggest cheerleader. Children will have a better response to their SATs preparation if they are surrounded by positive messages during their revision sessions. Don’t talk about ‘failing’ the SATs; keep your child motivated by encouraging them after each study session and if they are struggling with a particular topic, work through it with them.
Think beyond the classroom
As a parent, it is your responsibility to ensure your child is eating well, sleeping properly and keeping active during the SATs revision period. Establish a routine of going to bed at a reasonable time, make sure they are eating a balanced diet and build time into their study plan for them to have some fun and get enough exercise. The key is to avoid SATs exam burnout, so allow your child to lead a balanced life in the run-up to the exam.
If your child is struggling with stress, watch this short video together and have a chat afterwards about their worries or concerns:
Feeling unprepared is one of the biggest causes of exam stress in children. The more your child prepares for their SATs, the more likely they’ll cope easily with the whole process – and therefore, so will you! Work through practice SAT exam papers with your child to ensure they are comfortable with the questions. Once they understand what the examiners are looking for, have them take a few practice papers on their own, under exam conditions. You’ll be amazed at how much a child’s confidence increases once they’re fully prepared for SATs.
Dealing with SATs Results Day
Waiting for SAT results can be a tense time for the whole family. If your child doesn’t get the results they’d hoped for, disappointment is understandable, but it’s not the end of the world.
Keep SATs in perspective on results day by:
- Reassuring your child that you’ll be proud of them however they do. Explain to them that their SATs results are only a small part of their time at school, and an even smaller part of their whole life, so as long as they tried their hardest, you’re happy.
- Explaining to your child that SATs only focus on specific subjects. If they have a passion for a subject or two that isn’t tested, then the results don’t showcase their overall ability.
- Learning from the overall experience. If your child has taken SATs in KS1, is there something different you would do for their SATs preparation in KS2? Or if your child has taken SATs in Year 6, can they learn from their experience? Parents should remain positive on results day; even if your child doesn’t do as well as you’d hoped, it’s important to stay constructive about their future learning. If you’re positive, your child is less likely to be despondent.