Sisters Ella and Georgie talk to us about their perspectives on Year 2 SATs, before and after. Ella is 12. She is now in Year 8 of secondary school, so took her SATs nearly two years ago. Georgie is 10. She is in Year 6 of primary school and will sit her SATs this May.
How do you/did you feel about SATs?
Georgie: I’m nervous about taking them but I know that if I do enough preparation at home, I’ll get through them with the results I need. They keep telling us at school that it’s just a test and that it is just for them.
I’m most worried about my maths tests. I’m doing some practice at home, but I’m still not getting the marks I’m hoping for. I think this is just down to my memory as I know how to do the questions – we’ve covered the maths in lessons – but I panic and can’t remember how to do it. I also make lots of mistakes because I rush through, trying to get it all done.
Ella: I remember that in all of my Year 6 lessons everything was about SATs. This could have been quite stressful, but Mum and Dad were really relaxed and supportive about it all which meant I was a lot less concerned and more confident than most people. I was quite nervous when it was the actual SATs, but the school also helped by making it a more interesting experience rather than just tests.
The thing I was most worried about was how the wrong marks in SATs might affect me, that I might get put into the wrong sets at secondary school because I didn’t get the scores I was hoping for.
Getting ready for SATs
Georgie: At school we’re using really good books at the start of the day, including some of the Bond books that Mummy works on. We have a thing called a starter and my teacher gives us an activity on the board to work through. It will be something like algebra or word problems, and it will be fun. At the end we can make up a problem of our own, then share our answers.
Ella: The main preparation I did was in maths as the highest achievers in my year were taken out of main lessons to do extra classes. This focused on just what we needed to learn rather than going back over things we’d already covered. I didn’t really do any extra work at home.
Georgie: The thing that works best for me is the preparation I do at home as we can work on the topics I’m struggling with, or that I got wrong in a test, and focus on just this. Instead of having limited time, you can spend longer on it at home without other pressures.
How much pressure did/do you feel?
Ella: The reading level score from my SATs is what determined which sets I was in for all except my maths class at secondary school, and my maths set was determined by my maths SATs results. This meant that my test score really did matter. My reading score has also been used to establish my target level, even now, for all except maths. This includes art, music, science, food technology; all expectations of what I should be able to do are based on the reading test I took when I was 10!
Georgie: I feel quite stressed in tests because I know I just have one chance to write the answer and then I have to hand it in. I know that my teachers will try as hard as they can to help me get the highest marks I can. I do feel a bit pressured as most of my friends are very clever and I feel that I need to get the same marks as them or higher.
My friends and I were feeling quite anxious about our SATs, so we asked our teacher if we could make a box that people could put the things they’re most worried about into. So, if there is a topic they don’t understand or they just want to go over something another time, they can just write their idea down on a piece of paper and post it into the box. Then our teacher can see what we feel most worried about and we can work on that. Our teacher thought this was a really good idea and we’ve really enjoyed making our box!