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How To Best Prepare Your Year 6 for SATs!

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KS2 SATs are a really stressful time for both students and teachers. Here are some tips and preparation activities that might make this time a little easier on you and your students!

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KS2 SATS - Spelling, Punctuation And Grammar

The first papers that your students will be sitting are the spelling, punctuation and grammar papers. These papers will be sat on Monday 9th May 2022.

There are 2 SPaG papers that your students will be required to sit:

Paper 1 consists of roughly 20 punctuation and grammar questions. Students will be tested on many different topics such as suffixes, tenses, basic punctuation and standard English etc. There are many question types, such as tick box, circle the answer and fill in the gap.

Paper 2 is a 20 word spelling test. Pupils are given a sentence with a missing word which is read aloud. It is then repeated back to them to ensure that they have heard the word correctly. They then have to spell this word out in the blank space provided.


How to prepare your year 6 class for their SPaG exams:

  1.  Spotting the right word – give your students 3 incorrect spellings and one correct spelling. Have them identify which is the correct one! This is an excellent starter activity that will get your students practising for their KS2 SATs.
  2. Have your students keep a reading log – getting each of your students to keep a reading log encourages them to read more, thus expanding their vocabulary! Reading more also familiarises students with correct grammar and sentence structure. A fun task could be getting students to recall different word types which they have seen when reading.
  3.  Colour-coding – Have your students read through an extract and highlight each noun, verb, preposition and adverb etc. in a different colour. Having students identify each of these in a colour-coded fashion can be a great way of learning these key terms.

KS2 SATs - Reading

The third paper that your students will sit is the English Reading paper which will take place on Tuesday 10th May 2022. This paper consists of fiction extracts, non-fiction extracts and poetry extracts -summing up to around 2000 words. Following these passages will be a mixture of comprehension questions and further questions surrounding author technique and style. 

SPaG at home

This paper is worth 50 marks. Here are some helpful tips to aid your students with the reading paper:

  1. Work together – get your students working in groups to see if they can create the perfect answer! Give them some practise questions and let them craft the perfect full mark answer. This gives students a chance to share  skills and learn from one another!
  2.  Practise interference – the questions that most pupils seem to struggle with are interference questions. Get your students familiar with these question types and have them complete lots and lots of practise questions! Again, incorporating group work into this can make this often dreary activity more fun! Sometimes hearing each other’s answers can help a topic to click.
  3. Summarise – have your students summarise extracts before their exams. This is a great way of ensuring that they are really taking in the details of the text which they’re reading. Getting them into this habit before sitting the exam is really important.

KS2 SATs - Maths

The final subject your students will be tested on is maths! There are three maths papers that your year 6 class will sit – an arithmetic paper, a reasoning paper (which will take place on Wednesday 11th May 2022) and another reasoning paper (which will take place on Thursday 12th May 2022). The arithmetic paper tests students on their maths skills e.g., decimals, percentages, fractions, order of operations etc. The reasoning papers are a little different as they include problem-solving question which also cover these key topics.

How to prepare for the arithmetic paper:

  1.  Regular mental maths tests – adding mental maths tests into your weekly routine with students is key to their improvement! Have a weekly mental maths test with a few difficult questions to really challenge your class. Incorporating mental maths into most maths lessons is also really important to help familiarise them with doing sums in their head.
  2. Play fun maths games – playing educational games is a great way of engaging pupils in revision. A good maths game is countdown! If you are unfamiliar with the game show, contestants will choose 6 unknown numbers (big or small) and will have to use them to make a random 3 digit number. This is a great game to get students excited about mental maths!
10 times table

How to prepare for the reasoning papers:

  1. Daily word problem – why not have your students complete a daily word problem before the school day begins? You could do a fun yet challenging word problem in the mornings to get their brains warmed up, whilst also getting them used to the types of questions they will be asked in their maths reasoning papers.
  2. Number of the week – these are excellent worksheets that improve students’ mathematical fluency! This is a super important skill to have when sitting the reasoning papers. You will pick a number of the week and your students will solve maths problems using this number.


Emile is an excellent game-based online learning resource for primary school students!

Emile is the perfect learning resource in the lead up to KS2 SATs. Children will be doing key revision, whilst also having fun! This is a less intense revision resource for your pupils who are already stressed! Watch as your students’ KS2 SATs scores rocket when using Emile.

Over 4,000 UK schools use and love Emile! 

Why not encourage your students to let off a little steam, whilst also doing effective learning?

Try Emile out today with a demo!


KS2 SATs - Dealing With Students' Exam Stress:

As I’m sure you’re well aware, KS2 SATs can be a really tough time for students as this is their first proper formal examination. 

It’s important that students feel supported at this time and you help them to minimise stress. Whilst it is normal to feel a little pressure during the exam period, your pupils shouldn’t be feeling overly stressed!

Ways to tell if a student is feeling anxious:

–  Eating less/losing appetite

– A desire to not attend school

– Stomach aches/headaches can be caused by stress

KS2 SATs - maths

Here are some great ways to reduce students’ stress:

  1. Make the weekend before KS2 SATs a homework free time! Let your students have a little time to relax, get some rest and get ready for the big week ahead.
  2. Offer an in-school breakfast time for your year 6’s. This way you can see that they are getting a good meal before their exam and they have an opportunity to ask any questions that may ease their minds. Being at school earlier reduces stress as they have some time to themselves before the exam!
  3. Allow students to burn off some energy after the exam. Maybe play a fun game or play some sports outside! This gives them a chance to be a little loud and let off some much needed steam. Exercise is a great stress reliever!
  4. Tell them how well they’re doing! Your students may not show it, but they may need to hear that you are proud of their efforts in order to keep them motivated throughout KS2 SATs.

Teacher Wellbeing During KS2 SATs:

We know that your students will be at the forefront of your mind during the KS2 SATs period, however it is important to take care of yourself too!

Make sure that you are following the same advice that you are giving your students – get enough sleep, eat well and have some time to relax!

Although this is a lot of work to be done, it’s vital that you don’t overwork yourself. Your students know when their teachers are feeling stressed, which won’t help them or you! Anxiety during this period is often high for you and your students, so it’s important that you take steps to reduce this!

Here are some tips to reduce stress during KS2 SATs:

  1.  Get 8 hours of sleep – getting enough rest is  so important for mental health and reducing stress! Prioritising sleep and having healthy sleeping habits can significantly help to minimise stress.
  2. Practise meditation – giving yourself an allocated 10 minutes a day to breathe and meditate can truly make all the difference. Meditation is proven to help in stressful time periods! This could be a great activity to add into class time as all students are able to join in and meditate together.
  3. Exercise – Fitting in a good workout can improve your mood significantly! It is a great, healthy way to blow off some steam and release stress. This also ties in with sleep as you will likely sleep better after a good workout!

Question Analysis From 2016-2019:

*Percentages are rounded

*The word counts are not entirely accurate, however are fairly representative of the actual word counts.

Useful Links To KS2 SATs Past Papers:

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