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Let's talk about KS2 SATs Revision...
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 in primary school. They often report feeling pressured or worried they will let down their parents, teachers or indeed themselves.
SATs stress and anxiety is largely created by being knowingly ill-prepared, uninformed or both. We want to change that.
Our action plan for helping children through their SATs while managing their mental health is for them to understand:
KS2 SATs and their relative importance
KS2 SATs expectations
How to prepare for KS2 SATs
How to handle SATs Exam Week
So, let's get started!
Why do KS2 SATs?
The principle idea of KS2 SATs is to quantify what pupils have learned and understood during Key Stage 2 (Years 3-6 inclusive). Or, to put it simply - KS2 SATs tell us how much kids have learned since starting Year 3.
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 are also often used to help inform secondary school teachers of each child's strengths and weaknesses.
In a simple world, for a true reflection of what children have learned, pupils should not do any SATs revision in Year 6. However, schools want to show their achievements, teachers want to stretch their pupils and parents know their children are often capable of so much more!
Should we bother with SATs revision?
In a word, yes. We've got a whole article about why KS2 SATs are important but we'll give you the short version for now...
A child's SATs results can have some important consequences. Firstly, they often "carry" their mark into secondary school. SATs don't prepare pupils for Year 7 but the marks are often used to determine which academic stream a child is 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. KS2 SATs 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 may not be 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.
Can they fail their KS2 SATs?
Strictly speaking, a child cannot fail their KS2 SAT... but they can underachieve by not reaching the expected standard. If they don't reach the expected standard then they do not need to retake the tests.
What about the stress, anxiety and their mental health?
As we have already pointed out, doing one's best to ignore SATs and convince our children that they're not happening is a recipe for a mental health breakdown.
Thinking of calling-in a 'tactical sick day' so your child misses their SATs? Please don't, your child's teacher will have been working hard preparing them for these tests for weeks.
Thinking of sending in a formal 'SATs Withdrawal Letter' so your child misses their SATs? Again, please don't. What may seem a minor request actually causes an almighty mountain of logistical and statistical pain for the school. It's also not a particularly responsible or mature way to deal with some straightforward primary school tests.
We need to help children understand the relative importance of SATs, how to prepare for them and how to handle the exam week.
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 (let alone in employment)!
Hence, we believe Year 6 SATs revision is essential.
It's important to remember that SATs shouldn't be considered a bad thing. In fact, there are plenty of good things about SATs!
KS2 SATs Expectations
"What's a good KS2 SATs score?" is what everyone asks. Put simply, it's anything above a scaled score of 100 (the expected standard). You can read more about scaled scores and raw scores here.
The best place to start is with last year's SATs results, the 2022 KS2 SATs. Here are the numbers of children that met the expected standards:
71% of pupils met the expected standard in maths.
74% of pupils met the expected standard in reading.
69% of pupils met the expected standard in writing.
59% of pupils reached the expected standard in reading, writing and maths.
The pass mark for the 2022 KS2 SATs:
Maths, 58/110 or 53%.
Reading, 29/50 or 58%.
Grammar, Punctuation & Spelling, 36/70 or 51%.
The average scaled score for the 2022 KS2 SATs:
Grammar, Punctuation & Spelling, 105.
How to prepare for KS2 SATs
Here's our 3-step plan for preparing for KS2 SATs:
- Just get started.
- Target weaknesses.
- Tackle problems.
- Practise everything.
Just get started.
SATs revision is hardest on the day it's started. From there onwards it becomes easier with every session.
Stop worrying about having not started yet and just get cracking.
Target weaknesses and talk to your child's teacher.
What should children revise for their Year 6 SATs? Simple - all the topics that they find challenging.
You're their parent, you helped them learn to read, to add up, hold a pen and have sat with them supervising their homework throughout lockdown and beyond. You know their academic capabilities and limitations inside out, right? Probably not.
Talking to their Teacher
Let's face it, all that pre-school learning and lockdown home-learning was a long time ago and you may well not know their past 10 test results inside-out...and that's fine. If you're not sure about what your child finds difficult, ask their teacher - it's their job to know how their pupil's are working.
Reassure their teacher 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! They could need Maths SATs revision (particularly arithmetic questions etc). Make a list and plan with your child how you'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.
When you know the topics, make some colourful study notes to help keep tabs on what's to be covered.
Us adults are bad enough at motivating ourselves into achieving long-term goals (saving for a holiday, losing weight etc), children find it even harder!
You know what motivates your child. It could be money, a meal out, a cinema or swimming trip or just some special time like baking a cake together. Think of a way of making it a long-term achievement. Many parents find a star-chart is perfect - if offers a sense of minor, token achievements on the way to the big, long-term goal.
"But I don't know what they have learned"
Every parent gets this feeling, even the super-mums among us.
School's moved on a lot in the past 20-30 years so don't expect to remember long-division from 30 years ago - you won't. Even if you do, the method's likely changed and you'll only confuse yourself and your child.
The best way to re-educate yourself and do some Maths SATs revision is to buy a Revision Guide. A Revision Guide will explain exactly what your child needs to know (and how they need to do it). They're priceless.
Tackle problems - Targeted workbooks.
So, we know what we've got to cover and everyone's motivated. What's next? Workbooks.
A workbook is simply a revision book full of practice questions about certain topics. They help test pupils' understanding of topics and work through their weaknesses.
Does your child struggle with percentages, ratios, or fractions? Try a Year 6 Maths Workbook. Do they struggle with delimiters or spotting verbs within a sentence? Try a Year 6 Spelling, Grammar and Punctuation workbook. For every weakness, there's workbook!
Work through these workbooks and be sure to spend extra time tackling the topics your child finds the toughest. When they come across any problems, the Revision Guide will come in handy.
Exam Ninja sells a wide variety of workbooks to help with SATs revision in Year 6. Whether it's Maths, Reading or GaPS, we've got the perfect workbook for them. Full answers are always included.
Practise everything - Past papers and practice papers.
Past papers are simply SATs papers from previous years. All previous KS2 SATs papers are available to download for free from this very website.
Be aware though - Your child's school may have planned to use them in the classroom! They will most likely be the 2022 SATs papers. It's important that you make sure not to use these for SATs revision at home to avoid skewing their teacher's predictions. If in doubt, ask their teacher.
Of course, KS2 SATs revision should not only focus on a child's weaknesses but also their strengths. After all, we all like to practice things we're good at.
Ensure your child is practising topics they're comfortable with and topics they would rather avoid. For comprehensive KS2 SATs revision (and to help they don't take the same papers twice at school) buy some SATs practice papers.
If your child is struggling with completing Maths SATs papers, ensure you download and make full use of our exclusive full worked solutions for each test. These are free to download and are listed among the KS2 Maths question papers.
SATs practice papers are tests that have been crafted to prepare children for their KS2 SATs. They offer challenging questions and full answers so you can check their progress.
Exam Ninja sells plenty of KS2 SATs practice papers (and plenty of other revision books) to help your child feel prepared. All the answers are included.
KS2 SATs Exam Week
The KS2 SATs exam week is normally the second full week in May. The 2024 KS2 SATs tests take place in the week commencing 13th May 2024. Throughout the exam week, do what you can to help ensure they're eating, drinking and sleeping well.
It's become increasingly common for their school to expect them in early (at around 8am) so they can be fed a hearty school breakfast in the hope of a hearty SATs result.
Don't underestimate how emotionally tiring SATs week can be on kids. Throughout the week they will need regular study breaks to help them maintain their strength and 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!
KS2 SATs tell us how much children have learned at primary school since Year 3.
Children should prepare for KS2 SATs to achieve well and mitigate stress and anxiety.
Revise for KS2 SATs by starting with their weaknesses and ask their teacher if necessary.
Use revision guides and workbooks - they're cheap and very helpful.
Use practice SATs papers and past papers.
Motivate them throughout.
Feed them well and go easy on them during SATs Week.
If you have any questions about the 2024 KS2 SATs or Key Stage 2 SATs revision in general, ask Exam NinjaThey know just about everything there is to know about KS2 SATs tests.
What should I revise for Year 6 SATs?
Work through all your weak topics with the help of workbooks then move on to using past SATs papers.
How do I prepare my child for SATs?
Prepare your child for SATs by using workbooks and plenty of past SATs papers.
Are 2022 SATs hard?
How do you revise for SATs?
Revise for SATs by identifying weaknesses, using workbooks and plenty of past SATs papers.