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How to Prepare for the Year 6 SATs

How to Prepare for the Year 6 SATs

For nearly all Year 6 children, SATs preparation takes centre stage in their lives: at school during classes, when working on homework assignments, and even at home. While naturally, schoolwork plays the most prominent role in preparation, parents still have an important contribution to make to their children’s study in the months leading up to the English and Maths SATs exams in May.

Preparing for the tests at home will boost your child’s confidence and help them to feel more relaxed. So, as a first-time SATs parent, how can you support your child in their SAT prep and complement what they are learning at school?

Have a look at our helpful and reassuring advice and study the practical tips that will put you and your child ahead of the SATs preparation game before they take off to secondary school.

1. Practise Mental MathsPractise Mental Maths

It’s essential that your child has excellent mental maths skills when taking their Year 6 SATs. As a skill, mental maths can be improved with practise, so the more your child practises, the easier it will be for them to make calculations at lightning speed during the SATs tests.

As parents, we know that getting your child to practise maths is easier said than done.  For that reason, encourage them to integrate practise into everyday situations.

For example, ask your child to be the scorekeeper in a Scrabble game, to count the change when you’re out shopping for groceries, or even to double-check receipts. Without a calculator your child will be compelled to use their mental maths skills.

The more often they’re exposed to these types of situations, the sharper their mental maths skills will become and the faster they’ll progress!

2. Do a Lot of ReadingDo a Lot of Reading

A big chunk of your child’s Year 6 SATs English exam will test their ability to demonstrate comprehension skills. In essence, reading comprehension is all about processing text, understanding its message, or meaning, and integrating it with prior knowledge.

Since the text for this section of the exam is not known until the exam itself, there is no material to memorise; the best preparation method is for your child to read as much as they can.

Do your best to encourage and guide them through texts and books of different styles, tones, and subjects. The most important part is to allocate time after each reading period for discussion. Discuss characters, text structure, vocabulary, and any other aspect of the text your child is interested in.

Ideally, your child will make reading a habit and find it enjoyable rather than equate it with ‘study’.  They will also enjoy discussing their thoughts with you so make it feel like quality knowledge time. These sessions will be more helpful than you think because your child is

simultaneously revising, preparing, and improving their comprehension skills for their Year 6 SATs. Over time, their decoding of words will significantly improve, and the SATs will be a piece of cake!

3. Be Your Child’s Teacher: Teach Them FractionsBe Your Child’s Teacher: Teach Them Fractions

Based on past maths SATs results, Year 6 children tend to face difficulties with multi-step maths questions, especially fractions.
Integrating addition, subtraction, division, or multiplication and times tables almost always acts as a stumbling block for children.

Unfortunately, though, fractions are an inevitable part of the SATs maths tests. So, as part of their preparation, you and your child should practise questions that involve multiple steps. But before that, we recommend going back to the basics.

Some children can work their way through fractions without any understanding of the concept behind them, so put on your teacher’s hat during this phase and ensure that your child has a solid foundation when it comes to fractions.

Once you’re sure that they’ve fully grasped the concept, start introducing the advanced questions. Solve as many SATs questions as possible – it’s much better for your child to become surprised or confused at home than during the exam!

4. Focus on Problem-SolvingFocus on Problem-Solving

To put things into perspective, at Year 6 SATs level, pupils must sit three maths papers: one arithmetic SATs paper and two reasoning SATs papers.

Your child will be presented with both straightforward and more complex problems, including multi-step problems on the arithmetic SATs paper. In contrast, the SATs reasoning papers test children’s ability to apply their understanding of different areas of mathematics and to select relevant information to present answers in a correct context.

When tackling reasoning questions, an inability to pinpoint the key information may result in your child providing incorrect solutions. Yet, problem-solving is always an integral part of both arithmetic and reasoning questions.

Because of that it would be helpful during your child’s SATs revision to focus on problem-solving tricks and guidance related to the main mathematical concepts and operations: addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.

Get your child to solve as many problems as possible, and touch on fraction calculations, decimals, and percentages.

Another key element of SATs revisions is to make sure your child knows how to show their workings.

5. Solve Inference and Deduction Worksheets and SATs PapersSolve Inference and Deduction Worksheets and SATs Papers

Preparing for the comprehension skill tests in the Year 6 SATs, means focusing on inference and deduction questions. To clarify, inference questions are those that require students to “read between the lines” of a text, and deduction questions are those that require them to read “beyond the text”.

Once your child masters these skills, consider them a master of the Year 6 SATs, too!

So, what do these questions look like within the SATs tests, and how are these skills tested? Here are a couple of examples:


…like a toy sitting on a glass table.

What does this description suggest about the boat?


Here, kids are expected to understand and explain how the meaning is enhanced through word choices. For example, the correct answer could be either that the boat was small or insignificant or that it was still or unmoving, creating no ripples.


Gaby thinks she made two mistakes while trying to rescue the cat.

What is the first mistake that Gaby made while trying to rescue the cat?


Here, teachers will look for students’ abilities to retrieve and record information and identify key details from both fiction and nonfiction text. The correct answer would be that Gaby looking down is the first mistake she makes.

So that your child can build confidence in inference and deduction of knowledge questions, it’s highly recommended they read a considerable amount to build a wide vocabulary. Secondly, Year 6 SATs workbooks are available – your child can work through questions and assessments. Some are in the form of games and will help your child progress effectively.

Plus, of course, there are always SATs practice papers to indicate which types of question should be expected.

6. Work Through as Many SATs Practice Papers as PossibleWork Through as Many SATs Practice Papers as Possible

One of the best ways parents can help their children prepare for their Year 6 SATs exams is through SATs practice papers – still the best among all SATs resources for revision.

SATs practice tests cover everything included in the exam, such as English and Maths and their related branches: reading, English grammar, punctuation, and spelling, and fractions, algebra, division, and multiplication etc.

To help your child prepare effectively for the Year 6 SATs exams, encourage them to focus on working through as many practice papers as possible. They are an excellent way for students to get acquainted with the SATs exam format, layout, and question styles.

Plus, the answers and marks are included which helps the learning process.

It’s best to introduce practice papers early on into your child’s preparation process to ensure that they have sufficient experience in answering questions under time constraints.

Speaking of time constraints, it’s common for students to score significantly less in the questions at the end of the SATs tests, although they aren’t necessarily more difficult. This phenomenon has been attributed to children struggling with time management so, work with your child to improve that skill, perhaps by running timed exam sessions at home.

As a parent, the best preparation you can give your child for their Year 6 SATs is to provide them with your experience of effective time management, advise them how much time they have to answer each question type, how to eliminate incorrect answers, and what to do when they’re stuck on a question during their SATs test.

And of course, exercise what they’ve learnt by putting it to the test!

Tip: Students should be able to complete each of the SATs papers with ten minutes to spare for revision or to go back to any unanswered questions: that should be your target.

Your Child Is Ready to Ace Their Year 6 SATs!

The tips we’ve presented and discussed in this guide are all quite simple. There is no necessity to use all of the techniques, just use the combination that you know will work for your child.

Remember, the whole idea behind these tips is to improve your child’s confidence and reduce stress on the day of the SATs, and the key is to make good progress with practice. So, make sure your child gets plenty of it and focuses on the key skills before SATs week!

At the same time, try to make your child’s final primary school year an exciting one and encourage them to make memories along the way before they ace their SATs and head off to secondary school!

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During her time at primary school, Sukirith struggled with maths finding it difficult to truly understand the more challenging topics.  Despite these initial struggles, Suki worked hard to overcome her low confidence in maths and achieved top grades in both GCSE and A-level maths!  Suki has shown that it is possible to turn a weakness into a strength and that lacking confidence in maths at an early age does not need to determine future success in the subject.  Suki has since helped students struggling in maths at her local primary school and she is currently completing a BSc in Economics at Aston University.  Suki is friendly, patient and understanding of the struggles students face in their learning and she takes great pride in the fact students love their online lessons with her.


Uswah is an incredibly compassionate and enthusiastic tutor who embodies Tutoring Heroes’ core philosophy of helping others.  Uswah prides herself on helping students lose their fear of maths and English, replacing this fear with a newfound enjoyment of the subjects.  As an active member of her University’s Muslim Society, Uswah has played a leading role in raising over £6,000 for charity.  In addition to this, she volunteers weekly for the homeless charity, Strathclyde Street Care.  Uswah is able to build incredibly inspiring and productive relationships with her students, who benefit not only from her subject expertise and tutoring skills, but her ability to act as a role model.


Tiana has volunteered as a primary school teaching assistant, been an Economics Subject Leader, and mentored children through her roles as House Prefect and Year 7 Prefect during her A-levels, and so she has extensive experience working with and teaching students.  Tiana has a natural ability and willingness to form genuine relationships with her students.  Due to her experiences, and having gone through the 11+, GCSEs and A-levels herself, Tiana understands exactly how challenging preparing for exams can be.  This is why she is so passionate about instilling perseverance into students, through her patience and enthusiasm, along with the belief that they can do anything they work hard at.  As well as her academic success, Tiana is an avid singer and enjoys playing netball for her university team.


Currently studying Maths at the University of Strathclyde, Zaynab is a tutor who excels at building positive relationships with her students and instilling them with confidence.   Recently described by a parent as being ‘so thorough and yet so fun’, Zaynab excels at making maths both accessible and enjoyable for our students.


 Jessica is currently studying Clinical Pharmacology at St George’s University of London.  She is an avid reader, netball player and Formula 1 enthusiast.  Jessica has always had an affinity for teaching and learning.  Throughout both secondary school and sixth form, Jessica took part in multiple tutoring, paired reading, and peer mentoring schemes to help support other students.  These experiences helped her to gain valuable skills which are essential for tutoring.  Jessica really understands the positive impact 1-to-1 tutoring can have on a student.  She believes that tutoring is not only about improving the student’s performance in a subject, but also about instilling self-belief in them.  Jessica is committed to being as patient and supportive as possible to ensure each student can achieve their goals.


Aliceah is currently studying for a degree in mathematics at the University of Sussex.  She loves sharing her passion for maths with her students and has a wide range of experience supporting young people to achieve their ambitions, including through her role as Widening Participation Ambassador at Sussex University.  Outside of her love for maths and helping younger students, Aliceah is a keen artist (achieving A* in A-level fine art), photographer and crochet enthusiast!


Ariana is a second-year biochemistry student at the University of Nottingham and she loves all things maths and science.  In her spare time, she enjoys developing her artistic skills, such as: creative writing, photography and playing the cello.  Arianna is a strong believer in the value of maintaining a diverse skill set and she uses her creativity to personalise the learning for her different students.  She is acutely aware of the importance of demonstrating patience and compassion to bring the best out of her students, which ensures that they make excellent progress in both their subject skills and self-confidence.


Autumn has a stellar academic background, holding a BSc in Biomedical Sciences, MSc in Psychology and MSc in Phytochemistry.  Autumn has a talent for instilling a passion for learning in her students and being able to explain challenging concepts in simple ways; we are very lucky to have Autumn as a member of the Tutoring Heroes team.  In her spare time Autumn plays the saxophone and is a keen diver and martial artist.


When it comes to tutoring, Ben has lots of experience from both the student and teacher perspective.  Currently completing a Masters in Engineering, Ben has practised maths for many years at a high level, enhancing his understanding of the foundations of mathematics, which he loves passing on to his students.  However, learning has not always come easy to Ben and he has first-hand experience of struggling in school and needing to catch up with his peers.  As a result, it is easy for Ben to empathise with students who are currently struggling with their learning.  In his spare time, he enjoys playing the guitar and a wide range of sports including football and table tennis.


Alexis is currently a Year 2 Undergraduate at New York University, pursuing a double major in Economics and Sociology at the College of Arts and Science.  In secondary school, Alexis achieved stellar results in her A-levels, with straight As across the board.  In particular, Alexis enjoys mathematics and literature, and strives to share her enthusiasm with her students.   Alexis has significant experience tutoring both in a private and voluntary capacity, and is known to be exceptionally friendly and patient, often going the extra mile to ensure students have a deeper understanding of the subject.  Beyond academia, Alexis loves hiking across new terrain, trying her hand at embroidery, and watching the intensely thrilling sport that is competitive figure skating.  Needless to say, she looks forward to meeting and interacting with her students during their weekly lessons!


Chloe recently completed A Levels in Maths, Psychology and Art, achieving grades A*, A, B. She is now at university studying Primary Education in the hope of becoming a Primary School teacher.  Chloe struggled with English in school, but with the right support was able to achieve a grade 8 (A*) in her GCSEs.  Therefore, Chloe is aware of the importance of extra tuition for children and strives to not only improve their understanding but also their confidence.  Throughout school, Chloe gained experience working with children, including SEND children and young adults, and has recently been teaching on placement for her degree.  Chloe is very patient, calm and encouraging and thoroughly enjoys seeing her pupils make progress.


Farah has significant experience helping children improve their skills and understanding across a range of subjects (English, Maths, Coding and TOEFL), as well as being a young leader at her local Girl Guiding group.  A lover of the English language, Farah is currently studying for a Masters in Speech and Language Therapy.  Farah is an incredibly friendly, calm and patient tutor, who takes pride in the fact her students love their online sessions with her.


Grace is currently studying Architecture using her talents in art and design, combining them with her love and aptitude in maths, English and history to help to create her projects.  Her university career follows on from her successful school and college years where she gained the highest grades in her GCSEs and A-levels.  Grace has a wealth of experience working with younger students to help instil confidence and enjoyment - from peer mentoring, sports coaching and English and maths tutoring.  Having recently worked through exam processes herself, Grace understands the difficulties and pressure on young people, and is passionate about supporting students to achieve their full potential.  Grace strives to create a positive and reassuring learning environment where she can support her students with the most appropriate learning strategies and techniques for each individual student.  Grace is very proud of the partnerships she has built with her students, and how the subjects she supports them with often become her students’ stronger subjects.


Gregory is currently a second-year law student (LLB) at King's College London.  However, getting into such a prestigious program was no easy task.  Prior to entering University, he would often burn the midnight oil, pushing himself to go above and beyond his studies. His efforts were not in vain, obtaining straight As in his GCSEs and A-levels, and securing a place at such a prestigious institution in London.  Gregory is motivated by wanting to ensure his students do not have to go through their school studies alone, and wishes to be there for them both as a tutor, and a source of inspiration.   Gregory prides himself on being patient and kind with those he is tutoring, focusing on understanding rather than mere memorisation of concepts.  He believes that with a strong foundation, all students can build up their understanding and tackle harder problems without difficulty.


Mel is currently studying for her Masters in Theoretical Physics, and enjoys being able to pass her enthusiasm for maths onto her students.  From experience, Mel appreciates the importance of having confidence in your own abilities in order to succeed.  This inspires Mel to focus her teaching on building her students’ confidence, knowing that it will in turn improve their maths.  In her spare time, Mel loves to read and crochet, as well as being a gym enthusiast.


Prisha has a fantastic record of academic achievement in not only English and maths, but across the board, which makes her a very well-rounded tutor.  Prisha is currently pursuing a BSc in Product Design, which deepens her understanding of maths (and how it is applied) which enables her to bring maths to life for her students.  As an avid reader, English language and literature has always held a special place for Prisha, and this passion helped her to score full marks in the IELTS test.  Having worked on educational projects with young people, she is experienced at how to interact with them and explain concepts in a manner that is not only fun, but also does not overwhelm them.  Prisha works hard to ensure lessons with her students are not considered a chore and strongly believes that with the right support, every child is capable of great achievement.  Outside of education, Prisha plays for her university basketball team and is also a big fan of baking and dancing.


Rabia is a highly organised individual who, throughout her GCSEs and A-levels, had been a peer-mentor to younger students, aiding them to build confidence with their reading and writing skills.  Through her Audiology degree at university, in which she supports patients of varying ages, Rabia has attained an appreciation of how to modify and adapt her communication style, in order to facilitate effective communication with different individuals, something that she also utilises in her tutoring sessions.  Being an avid reader, Rabia spends her free time reading books of different genres and time periods, and enjoys discussing with others the themes and messages in a particular novel/text.


Shair has a notable range of English tutoring experience across the student spectrum, teaching from KS2 and up to GCSE level.  Her aspirations to make a difference in the field of education continue to grow.  As well as through Tutoring Heroes, she teaches a range of students at her local tuition centre, ensuring they also receive the 1-to-1 support they need in order to fuel their progression in English.  An avid reader with an immense love to learn about different cultures and writings, Shair is currently in her final year of studying BA Comparative literature.  Shair is an approachable, friendly and considerate tutor, who ensures her students leave their lessons feeling confident and ready to take on new academic challenges.


Sipeng was originally educated in China where she developed a very strong understanding of maths.  After moving to the UK, she achieved the highest grade (A*) in GCSE and A-level maths.  Crucially, in addition to her strong maths ability, Sipeng has significant experience of tutoring and inspiring younger students to achieve beyond their expectations.  Sipeng recognises the positive impact that several teachers have had on her own education, and is driven by the desire to help her students in a similar way, so that they too develop confidence in their maths ability and achieve higher grades as a result.


On moving to the UK aged 11, Shatha found that her maths skills were behind the standard expected, so Shatha has first-hand experience of what it feels like to struggle with maths.  Despite this initial struggle, Shatha achieved a Grade 8 in GCSE Maths and Further Maths, and an A grade in A-level Maths, proving how it is possible to turn a weakness into a strength.  Shatha has a range of experience helping children, including two years’ tutoring at a Kumon centre and volunteering at Sheffield Children’s Hospital.  A keen tennis player and trilinguist (English, Arabic and Spanish), Shatha particularly loves watching her students overcome their fear of maths, just as she did.