5 best ways to help your child with the KS2 Maths test in May
With the KS2 SATs in May, we all need to start helping our children prepare for it. And we’ve found the perfect recipe for success on the Maths exams: a heap of your child’s effort, a tremendous push from you, and a bundle of SATs Companion.
1. Listen to the Problem
Even as teachers, we struggle to be patient with our children when they don’t understand a maths topic or get the correct answer. We end up repetitively saying “No, that’s not how you do it” and “Let’s try this again” with a wrinkled forehead and a slightly frustrated tone. But how are kids supposed to try questions again if they don’t understand the concepts?
Whether you’re working on SATs Maths worksheets or using our revision bank with your children, take a step back and some breathers (we know we all need it!). Then, have your child try to explain their thinking process. It’s easier to help them out when we understand how they’re processing the question and which part of the problem they find difficult. When you really lean into listen, you’ll be able to help your child solve similar math problems in the future.
2. Back to Basics
When you have a solid foundation, your learning process is often easier. I once gave a group of Year 5 pupils a mock SATs arithmetic paper. I noticed that many students struggled to move onto the next question because they wasted a lot of time trying to calculate numbers. No matter what level of difficulty the questions may be, it’s all about the calculations in the end.
Help your kids improve their accuracy and speed with mental maths activities. Use flash cards or have them race against the clock. If you can get other parents to do a study session, play ‘Around the World’ with the children. Make it fun for them because the more time you invest in your child, the less time they’ll waste on the exam.
3. Make Maths Tangible
KS2 SATs Maths questions are slightly more complicated because it requires your children to use two-step methods. All the unnecessary information tends to throw off children when they attempt to solve a word problem. As Elizabeth Green says, ‘Math is not a disconnected process but a manipulation of real numbers that exist in the real world and make real sense.” (New York Times) Many kids don’t realise they’re already doing maths when they’re counting how many more pieces of candy they have than their friends.
If you struggle to keep your child engaged while solving problems, I recommend you reword the problem by changing the ‘X’ amount of something to their favourite toy or candy bar. For some kids, they may need to see the objects to understand the problem. Try drawing pictures or use legos to help your child visualise the maths problem.
4. Familiarise them with Different Styles of Questions
3 x 7 is one of the easier styles of questions on the KS2 SATs. However, if your child can easily answer 3 x 7, but can’t answer it in a different style (i.e. select, identify, drag & drop), it means they haven’t fully grasped the concept. It may be more work for you, but try giving your child one question in different styles to familiarise them with what the test questions will be like. Unfortunately, even if your child can answer 3 x 7 = 21, if they can’t figure out 3 x = 21, they won’t be able to get the mark.
5. Familiarise yourselves with sample SATs papers
Not an easy task, as there is are few sample test papers available for the new SATs on the government website! However, it is useful to download so you can see the different styles of questions and levels of difficulty. SATs Companion has 10 test papers for Maths & SPAG, covering all areas of the new curriculum. They cover all the question styles, content and gives personalised feedback to prepare you child for the tests in May.