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Getting ready for SATs exams

by Tony Churchill

Getting ready for SATs exams

SATs exams are coming up for our 10-11 year old children in mainstream primary school. For many, a huge amount of pressure is felt during this time. OK Our Kids offer some ideas on how to help your child cope with exam stress.


It is perfectly acceptable to have high expectations of your children to achieve well academically. But what isn’t so good is if that expectation isn’t met with the high level of very much needed support. Research shows that children who don’t receive this support are more likely to struggle.


You know the saying “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day”. It really is true. With the right balance of protein, carbs and vitamins, a wholesome and nutritious breakfast will have your child raring to go.

Enough sleep

Quality sleep is ever so important. Getting the right amount of sleep lifts our mood, improves our memory and is great for routine. In terms of quantity, children aged 10 and 11 should be getting about 9.5 to 10 hours sleep a night.

Staged revision

Trying to get everything done in a very short period of time is incredibly stressful. It’s vital for a child’s emotional well-being that they enjoy some down time doing whatever takes their interest, whether it be riding a bike, watching a movie or creating a piece of art.

Motivational language

Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) – Is your child’s way of learning auditory, visual or kinaesthetic? Do they prefer to listen to retain information, read or watch something being done or are they more ‘hands on’ and have to get a ‘feel’ for how something works? Work with your child to overcome their fear of failure. It doesn’t matter if they have not quite got to grips with what they are learning yet. Everyone makes mistakes and it is a way of learning. No-one can be good at everything. A London based Year 6 teacher would give these three tips to a child who is preparing for their SATS exams.

  • Speak with your teacher to understand exactly what you need to revise
  • Know what your strengths are and concentrate on those for your revision
  • You are only competing with yourself so work hard to make yourself proud; don’t worry or feel disheartened about other children’s marks.

Minimum distraction

Once study time has been agreed and you’re happy that your child has had enough food, liquid and play, aim to minimise interruptions. No matter how much your child tries to tell you otherwise, revising while in-front of a TV, phone or tablet screen is not practical or conducive. Also, try to limit background noise and ensure that siblings are quietly occupied.


It’s key for your child to understand that there will be extreme feelings during these next few weeks and how to cope with these highs and lows. So many of our historical icons picked themselves up and kept trying. For example:

  • The World Wide Web took 19 years to manifest to how we know it today.
  • Television has evolved from mechanical to electronic to colour to digital to smart and now 3D versions.
  • The invention of the wheel first came about in 3500BC. Imagine if we were still using discs of concrete to get about in our modes of transport!
  • For decades, James Watt tweaked and worked on the improvements of a steam engine. This incredible invention in many ways led to the creation of other machinery including cars and planes which have had an incredible effect on how we live now.
  • And of course, the light bulb – Edison worked on hundreds of versions before revolutionising how we live after sunset.

Ultimately, we all want our children to be happy. Expectations may have changed over the years but taking tests at school has remained a way to see how a child is progressing. Exams are not the be all and end all of primary school. Take some time to reminisce over how far your child has come and their highlights; school plays, sports days and outings are quite memorable.