If I could have this past year over again (oh what luxury!) I would definitely take that approach, together with not panicking, ideally!! Also making the decision to go for it at the start of the year rather than in June, would have helped
I have just started now with ds (year 5), whilst waiting for dd's results (year 6) - terrible planning - they don't tell you that in antenatal classes, do they?! And am focussing more on small areas and max 20 mins, rather than plodding through a whole paper for 40 mins or more. I do think though that the first time you are less equipped (at least I was/am) to spot where the problem areas are, plus my dd gets stressed when looking at things she is less comfortable with and would rather leave it under the carpet, and my own lack of experience didn't help.
This time I am intending to work through Bond levels and "How to" books til about March/April, then start looking at Athey/this site's ipad apps with GLA and indie papers at the end. Having written that, it looks so efficient, and possibly difficult to stick to in practice..... DD is already asking why DS is being treated differently