Teachers' Tales

Maintaining motivation during SATs: 5 top tips


by Anna Whiteley
on April 26, 2017

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Maintaining motivation is one of the most difficult aspects in the run up and during the SATs, but one of the most important. Here are our top 5 tips for keeping your class motivated throughout the SATs.

We also made a motivational poster for you to download, print and display in your classroom to encourage them to live up to their true potential.


1) Reinforce positive behaviour – however you choose to do it in your class, stick with it. It’s easy to let things slip during busy times like SATs, but now reinforcement is more essential than ever. Whether it’s notes home, free time, or a shout out in assembly, keep it up, in fact do it more! Reward anything positive you spot: putting in extra effort to revise, supporting friends or trying super hard with a certain question (even if they get it wrong).

2) Set class goals – aim high with your expectations, but set achievable goals. Then have a class reward or celebration in mind for when you smash those goals! Display your agreed goals and a record of the intended reward clearly in class to give you all a boost when you’re feeling the pressure.

3) Give your class control –your class are more likely to want to work towards a common goal with you if they have been involved in it’s planning. Hold a brainstorming session with them and decide together what your class goals are and what rewards will be. Discuss how they like to learn and how they learn best, then integrate their ideas into revision sessions

4) A change is better than a rest – what better time to break the routine of the normal school day than in the lead up to SATs. Things are likely to be disrupted anyway so why not mix things up a bit to keep them on their toes and keep them motivated. Move the chairs and tables, sit them with different people or change the scenery entirely by taking your class outside to revise.

5) Exciting learning experiences – enthusiasm and eagerness to learn and work hard will be improved if the preparation is kept exciting. It might be hard to think of the SATs as exciting thing, but try to change the way you think of the event. Can it be a class mission or team challenge to complete? Psych them up, get them feeling confident and ready to do their best. And reinforce that point, their best is all they can do!

You’ll find tips on making SATs less stressful here.


Download and print a motivational poster for your classroom.


How will your school maintain motivation throughout the SATS? Let us know on Twitter @HeyPobble.

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