Five ways to help your child prepare for the Year 6 SATs

There’s still plenty of time to give your child’s learning a boost before the May tests. Here’s how.


If you’re the parent of a Year 6 child, it won’t have escaped your attention that SATs are just around the corner.

While this won’t be the first time your child has undergone this kind of formal assessment during their time at primary school – most schools also administer SATs in Year 2 – the Year 6 tests tend to have a greater profile. For a start, your child is now old enough to know that they will be sitting tests in exam conditions – tests that they will have started preparing for in class some time ago. And for parents, teachers and schools, the Key Stage 2 SATs give a snapshot of a child’s academic attainment at the end of the primary phase of their schooling.

In short, the Year 6 SATs feel like a big deal to pretty much anyone who has anything to do with children in this year group.

Like or loathe SATs, it’s important that your child goes into them feeling prepared. And if this is the first time you, as a parent, have gone through the build-up to SATs yourself, there are some simple things that you can do to help ready your child for the May tests.


1. Boost reading comprehension

When you read with your child, focus on finding information in the text to answer questions and back up opinions. Questions that involve reference to the text make up the majority of marks in the reading paper, so this is a great area to practise at home. Try using questions such as: 'What is it in the text that makes you think that?' or 'Which part of the text gives us that information?'

If your child needs additional support with their comprehension skills, the Catch Up Reading guide covers all the key skills they will need to draw on in the reading paper in a manageable, step-by-step format.


2. Revise key grammar and punctuation concepts

The first paper in the grammar, punctuation and spelling test focuses on grammar, punctuation and vocabulary. It does not test children’s ability to use these concepts in their writing, but to identify the correct or incorrect use of a comma, for instance, or to select the right form of a verb to complete a sentence. You’ll find clear explanations of everything your child needs to know in the Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling: Study Guide, along with plenty of practice activities and SATs-style questions.


3. Brush up on tricky spellings

Even if your child struggles with spelling, there is still time to help them get up to speed on key rules. The Catch Up Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling title has been designed specifically with less confident spellers in mind, supporting them in gaining the essential spelling knowledge they need. Short, regular practice at home will help even tricky spellings to stick!


4. Build test stamina

Building test stamina is an important skill in itself. The Three-Step Test Booster titles for reading and grammar, punctuation and spelling guide children through a series of progressive 10-, 20- and 30-minute tests so they develop the ability to sustain concentration in preparation for the SATs.


5. Factor in some down time

While most schools and teachers go to great lengths to make children feel as comfortable as possible with the idea of sitting their SATs, the build-up to the tests can be nerve-wracking. If you can, plan in some fun activities for your child to take their mind off the tests and keep worries at bay.


Emilie Martin is a Primary Education Consultant at York Notes and an experienced primary teacher and English subject leader.