Study Skills for Primary School: Set Your Child Up for Success


By the end of primary, your little one is not so little anymore and you’re starting to think about  preparing them for the transition to secondary school. This is where study skills come in. But why not let them just enjoy their last years at primary school?

It’s simple really: teach them study skills now and it will not only help them in their SATs but also encourage good study habits and foster academic success in the future! Here’s how! 👇


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Study skills foundation: practising organisation


Until now you’ve given your child homework help, reminded them to finish a project and told them not to forget their packed lunch. It’s tempting to continue doing this but, towards the end of primary, independent learning will be increasingly encouraged and organisation is key:


Divide the task into manageable chunks

Breaking down a task into smaller parts will mean that your child won’t feel overwhelmed. Study strategies like this will go a long way towards maintaining good mental health. For example, if they have to do a project or write an essay, encourage them to divide it into stages:




Stage 1

identify the issue


Stage 2

do the research


Stage 3

collect the information

main paragraphs

Stage 4

interpret the findings


Stage 5

write a report



Have a trial run

What is your child into? It may be computer games or dance. Whatever it is, you could do a project at home, linked to their hobbies. This will improve their organisational skills, improve their confidence when they do a similar task at school and reduce the stress they might feel. 🙂


Be goal-driven

Before your child starts a project, focus on the goal. What do they hope to achieve? And after a project, discuss it with them so they can practise assessing their success at reaching it, or not! Did they reach their goal? If not, why not? How could they improve for next time? 


Study skills superpower: time management


This is one of the most important study skills to learn. Having been told what to do and when to do it for most of their lives, children often find this challenging. Here’s how you can help them.


Draw up a study plan

Mind maps, diaries, planners and to-do lists will all help with time management. Why not download a GoStudent school planner to help your child visualise their schedule? And remember to add downtime too.


Work first, play later

It’s tempting for children to jump onto their tablets or play with friends as soon as they get home from school. Then, before you know it, they’re stressing about homework right before bed. 🛌If they do their homework first, the fun stuff they’ll do afterwards will motivate them.


Be productive

If your child is sitting at a desk for a long time without being productive, they may think they’re putting in the work but they’re actually achieving very little. Focus on the task rather than how long it takes. This way you and your child can better understand what’s getting in the way of their productivity.


Study skills crafting table: taking notes and revision


Note-taking and revision is important if your child has to take an entrance exam for an independent school or a grammar school. But they also help with SATs.


Designated study space

The first thing to establish is a study space for your child at home. We understand not everyone has the luxury of a separate room, but whatever your set-up, make sure this space is specifically for studying and is free from distraction, at least at certain times. ⌚

If they are big Minecraft fans, you could nickname this study space their “crafting table” where they craft school work from their inventory of study skills and school stationery.


Revise little and often

Passing tests is as much about how your child revises as what they revise. No one can study for 12 hours a day, even before an exam. Primary school is a good time to teach this study skill. And take a look at the Pomodoro technique as a possible study method.


Make effective notes

Tell your child not to try to write down everything about a topic. It’ll be hard to find the important information, too much to remember and can lead to unnecessary stress. Creating effective notes is a vital study skill for recalling the key points. Think about:

  • Keywords, names and dates
  • Flashcards
  • Using coloured pens, highlighters and underlining 🖍️
  • Using pictures to help memory, especially for dyslexic learners


Consider a tutor

Some children need extra help or reassurance beyond what you are able to provide as a parent. This is where a private tutor can really help. It’s something you might want to think about, and tutoring is probably more affordable than you think. 👍


Talk about it

There are a number of changes your child is experiencing at the end of primary, and learning how to study independently is just one of them. Make sure that amongst all the study skills, their feelings aren’t neglected. They’ll probably be anxious and will need someone to talk to.


Study skills for primary school children FAQs


Why are study skills important in primary school?

The end of primary (Years 5/6 in England and Wales, P5/7 in Scotland) is a time of transition. Study skills can help make this change to secondary school smoother and encourage good habits for the future.


Isn’t it the school’s responsibility to teach study skills?

It is and it isn’t. The school will certainly help your child but so can you! There’s no harm in reinforcing these skills. It’s valuable for your child that you are also aware of study skills and their benefits.


How can I improve my child’s study skills? 

As a parent, it’s important to understand:

  • You need to be patient with your child
  • You shouldn’t make lots of changes all at once
  • It’s a process which will take some practice

Good luck. It will all be worth it. And if your child can’t appreciate that now, they will in the future! ⭐