How can I help my child prepare for SATs?

Feb 2012
Create an environment that will help them to get the most out of their revision.

[Updated in 2020] 

Taking a school test of any nature can be a daunting prospect for a child, no matter what their age. But with SATs, it can be that little bit more intimidating, meaning that some will not perform as well as they could do as a result of nerves.

This is particularly true with Primary school children. While they will have done examinations on a small scale in class before, SATs are often the first exam in a formal setting that they will experience. 

So what can you do to help your child prepare for SATs?

Replicate exam conditions
One of the most intimidating aspects of SATs for a child can be the actual nature of the test - working in silence and on a deadline.

In order to ensure your child isn't overwhelmed on the day, get them to try some practice tests in exam conditions at home. Make sure they remain quiet throughout the process and give them a time limit to finish. This is good preparation for later school life, and there is no better way to perform well in exams than by practising.

Create a study environment
We all know how easily children can get distracted, and when it comes to revision this increases tenfold. Create an environment that will help them to get the most out of their revision.

This means no TV or other distractions and no interruptions by any younger siblings. But also remember that children need breaks, so create a revision schedule that includes breaks.

Arrange study groups
Studying in groups can be a good way to increase learning, and could help your child with aspects of schoolwork they did not understand.

By studying together, children can share their anxieties with their friends and see that they are not alone in worrying about the exam. Just remember to check that they are actually studying!