What does your child or private student need to conquer their SATs exams and beyond?
Preparing for SATs is undoubtedly one of the most stressful times of a primary student’s school career – whether they are sitting their Year 2 or Year 6 tests!
There is an abundance of free practice papers online from past years to help them tackle and familiarise themselves with the content, but is going through endless papers the most successful method to achieving those top marks?
Just going through paper after paper isn’t enough to get the perfect grade! After you’ve marked the papers with the child or after they’ve self-marked their answers, it’s important to use the test results and the mark schemes as a roadmap as to what gaps need to be consolidated.
In Maths, if the child is getting fraction problem after fraction problem incorrect, chances are they are missing a fundamental piece of knowledge when dealing with fractions. Working backwards to pinpoint what that gap is can mean asking the child to walk through how they came to their answer. Giving them quick feedback to address misconceptions is then key to moving forward with SATs exam preparation.
Looking at this standard Paper 1 Maths (Arithmetic) fraction problem, where could the area of confusion lie?
This would depend on how the child explains their thinking:
‘I subtracted the top numbers from each other, then the bottom numbers from each other’: A common mistake to make when adding and subtracting fractions is not first finding a common denominator, but does the child know what a denominator is, how to find a common denominator, or why we need a common denominator?
‘I left the 2 in my answer because it’s not a fraction’: Mixed numbers and improper fractions are concepts some students struggle with. Representing whole numbers as fractions and vice versa would help to tackle these misconceptions.
Depending on their answer, the child may need to go back and review their multiplication tables to find common multiples. The child may even need to draw a fraction as part of a bar or a circle to visualise the act of subtraction. Finding simpler problems to tackle like ½ - ¼ would also help you understand which part of the problem the child is finding difficult.
Taking the Time to Read
You’ve heard it before: reading fosters a love for learning… and it’s true! From a primary school teacher’s perspective, it is plain as day to spot the difference between the results of the voracious readers of the class and those that rarely picked up a book.
This is because reading challenges the learner and exposes them to new situations: new words, new grammar, and new problems. Reading is detective work and forces learners to make inferences and predictions. Reading can be as simple as picking up a book or leafing through interesting news articles.
Excellent reading resources to share with your child or student ahead of the SATs exams include the following:
Some of these resources also include handy questions to consider after reading a text and activities to do. A breadth of knowledge is essential in overcoming the spelling, grammar and reading papers - the latter of which was the lowest performing paper in 2023!
Applying Maths to Everyday Situations
Practising Maths for SATS exams doesn’t just have to be limited to a pencil and paper, especially when it comes to preparing for Papers 2 and 3 which deal with many real-world Maths word problems. It’s essential to expose learners to as many problems as possible - and what better way than to incorporate this into everyday life?
Inevitably, one of the questions in the papers will revolve around the total spent on multiple items or applying discounts on prices. When you’re shopping around with your child, why not ask them which pack of cereal would be cheaper and by how much? Or get them to calculate your change at the till?
If you’re teaching a younger learner, you could make your next lesson a fun one by incorporating roleplay and having the child open a ‘store’ with their favourite toys and ask questions.
Finding a SATs Tutor
At the end of the day, a child needs guidance in order to bag top scores in their SATs exams, but life can get in the way! If you need a helping hand, consider finding a tutor with us at Titanium Tutors.
A tutor who is familiar with the National Curriculum and the SATs test structures would be able to correctly pinpoint gaps in your child’s understanding and help them prepare for their exams. One-to-one guided lessons would also serve as a boost to their confidence in their everyday schoolwork too!
Blog Post Crafted by Cheryl
Cheryl manages our Admin Team, and is a qualified teacher with 5 years' experience in schools across England and Canada.
Cheryl graduated from McMaster University with an Honours Bachelor of Commerce and a Minor in English, and from University of Toronto with a Bachelor of Education, with a specialisation in Aboriginal Studies. She tutored secondary school students in English for over nine years in Canada.
Cheryl speaks Cantonese, English and French, and in her spare time, she can be found illustrating and reading children’s books for inspiration.