SATs Tips for Tutors
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Whether you are specifically helping your tutee prepare for SATs or not, it’s important to be aware of the SATs exam, and what it entails. In the first instance, if you are unfamiliar with the exam, find out more about SATs in this post.
Ensure Students Understand the SATs Exam Format
It’s essential that students understand how the SATs exam is structured. In Year 6, children sit exams that cover the following subjects:
- Reading – A reading comprehension paper, 60 minutes duration
- Spelling Punctuation and Grammar – Paper 1 is a 45 minute grammar and punctuation test and Paper 2 is a spelling test
- Maths – Paper 1 (30 minutes) tests arithmetic , Paper 2 (40 minutes) and Paper 3 (40 minutes) test mathematical reasoning
A good way to help students become familiar with the exam layout and the types of questions they may be asked is to work through exam practice papers. SATs exams are relatively short time-wise, but require children to answer questions quickly and confidently.
Arrange for students to sit timed papers. If they run out of time, they’ll likely need to work on their time management skills. If they finish too early, they might have missed a question, or not answered each one in full. Practice exam papers give children vital SATs practice and immediate feedback after completion.
We would recommend the following resources for SATs practice:
Create a Tailored Study Plan
A study plan should be one of the first things you implement in a student’s SATs preparation. The plan should allow adequate time to cover all the required topics, while allowing students some much-needed relaxation in between sessions. A study timetable can be as simple as a spreadsheet, or as vibrant as a wall planner – either way, make sure that there’s a plan in place before you begin your first study session together.
Children are more likely to perform well in the exam if they have a structured plan in place, so tutors should aim to:
- Encourage students to study little and often – shorter study sessions make it easier for children to retain information.
- Consider which learning strategy is best for your student. Good tutors should assess a child’s ability on a case-by-case basis, to ensure that their study programme is as tailored as possible and contains the right mix of learning techniques. For example, a good SATs tutor will know whether their student is good at note taking, or prefers visual aids to improve their memory.
Make Revision Fun
Motivation is key in preparing children to sit the SATs exam. Tutors should make revision sessions fun in order to maintain students’ interest in studying, particularly on days where their motivation is lacking. Of course, this can be difficult, especially after a tiring school day, but it’s vital to a child’s success that revision sessions don’t become boring.
Try to vary each lesson as much as possible by introducing different teaching methods and revision games.
Reward Good Effort
A large part of SATs exam success is down to confidence. If students believe that they can do well in the exam, they’re far more likely to perform at their best on the day. As a tutor, it’s important to acknowledge when your student has performed well in a certain task. By providing positive, encouraging feedback, your students will be motivated to continue doing well.
Although rewarding good effort is undoubtedly important, be careful not to give undue praise. It’s important that students have realistic expectations and know where their strengths and weaknesses lie.