SATs Exam Preparation Tips and Strategies
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If your child has their SATs exams coming up, it’s vital for them to feel positive, confident and fully prepared for the tests. In this article, we outline a selection of the best SATs exam tips and strategies.
Prepare Well in Advance
Don’t worry about your child starting their SATs revision ‘too early’. The sooner they start revising, the more likely they are to cover all the required topics for their exam. For SATs, consider starting your child’s revision at least six to nine months ahead of the actual test. This might seem early, but it will give your child plenty of time to get to grips with what’s required of them and to improve any weaker areas.
Revise Little and Often
Children under the age of twelve are able to concentrate for around 20 minutes at a time before they start to lose their focus. At home, try to plan shorter bursts of study time to ensure that your child gives their full attention to the task at hand and doesn’t become distracted. Using a revision timetable, mark out 20-minute revision blocks, gradually increasing the time period to 30 minutes once they have an established routine and are responding well to regular revision.
Try Visual Aids
Lots of children respond well to visual aids when it comes to studying for exams. Visual aids can include flashcards, post-it notes and mind maps – in fact, anything that provides a visual reference and aids their studying. A simple approach is to write keywords or relevant mathematical formulas on flashcards or post-it notes and place them around the house. When your child comes across one, encourage them to expand on the keyword, or do a short maths question. These visual aids are a great way of testing your child’s memory ahead of the SATs exam.
If your child would respond better to mind mapping, check out this short video on how to create them:
Note taking is a more traditional strategy for revision, but one that can be very effective in getting your child to recall important information in their SATs exam. Children who enjoy reading and writing are most likely to benefit from this learning strategy and it can be a fun task.
Rather than simply rewriting text passages word for word, note taking is an important study skill that requires children to record essential information that can be accessed at a later date.
If your child struggles to grasp note taking initially, encourage them to use a highlighter to mark out the most relevant information first.
Use Exam Practice Papers
One of the best SATs exam tips we can share is to provide your child with practice exam papers well ahead of exam day. While revising exam material is important, your child should develop a good exam technique to ensure they perform as well as possible in the test.
To begin with, work through practice SATs papers with your child to ensure that they fully understand each question and have an idea of the type of question they are being asked.
Once they are familiar with the layout of the exam, encourage them to sit a few practice papers on their own, under exam conditions. Not only will this improve their time management skills, it will also identify their strengths and weaknesses – enabling you to allocate additional time to learning where necessary.
Provide Study Incentives
We know that for some children, being asked to do additional revision for their SATs on top of their usual school work is a step too far, so incentives can be a good way to motivate them. If you do choose to use incentives as a SATs exam strategy, you must follow through with your promises. Fail to deliver and it won’t work again!
As a parent, you know which incentives will work best for your child, but here are some suggestions you could try:
- Time on the internet
- A trip to the local park to play sport
- Time playing video games
- A sweet treat
Make Time for Breaks
Breaks are just as important to your child’s SATs exam success as their study sessions. All work and no play can lead to your child being demotivated and burned out, both of which could have a very negative impact on their SATs performance.
If your child is distracted during their revision sessions, make a mutual agreement that if they concentrate on a task for just 20 minutes, they will have a set amount of leisure time. Encourage them to do something active during their breaks, such as playing outdoors, rather than remaining at their desk or staring at a screen, as this will put them in a better frame of mind for when they return to study.
These SATs exam preparation tips will put your child in a good position ahead of their test. In most cases, a combination of several learning strategies is the most effective way for your child to retain information ahead of their SATs exam.