Luke Santomartino graduated in 2016 with a raw 48 in Methods 3/4.
If you want to save some time before the exam, check out these complete course notes for Methods.

So, it’s three weeks until your first Methods 3/4 exam.

Perhaps you’re still wasting time re-watching your favourite How I Met Your Mother episodes, procrastinating the time away as though it’s a $5 Super Stunner on a Friday arvo.

You might be reading this article hoping – praying – that it will contain some information to increase your Methods score on the ATAR Calculator. Here’s my advice.

Time management

Of course, you need to split up your time to maximise study effectiveness. That is, divide your time between your subjects.

But what should take priority? Should you study more for Methods, or for English?

That’s a tough question to answer, and is totally based on your situation.

But I will say this: do not put all your eggs in one basket. After all, VCAA takes your top four subjects – not your top one. So be sure not to neglect – or prioritise – Methods too much.

Precision and accuracy

There are two exams for Methods 3/4; however, they aren’t too different to study for – and I’ll tell you why.

When doing my own study for Methods, I knew I had to develop speed calculating things both manually and on the CAS.

So, everything I did everything both by hand and on my calculator – no matter how hard or time-consuming.

Some things may be easy to do on the calculator, but I still did them anyway. This meant I got to know my calculator very well, and I was able to use it quickly and precisely.

On the flip side, if a question was difficult to do manually on a tech-active exam, I still did it anyway. Being able to concentrate on and complete very long multiplication allowed me to do easy ones waaaaaayyy faster.

As such, I recommend doing both Exam 1 revision and Exam 2 revision both by hand and on the calculator. (Limitations may occur when by hand.)

Practice exams

Now, the age-old question: how many exams should you do?

I can’t say much in terms of quantity, but it’s important to ensure quality.

For every practice exam I attempted, I made sure I did it until I got 100%. This is because in Methods 3/4, questions are repeated; they tend to come up again and again.

As a result, I made the decision that for every question I came across, I would work on it until I could not only complete it, but also understand it. This meant that when I opened my exam in reading time, I flicked through the pages thinking to myself, “done that before, done that before, done that before”.

It’s not so much about the number of exams you do – but the number of exams you understand.

The most critical information here is that there’s no point doing practice exams if you’re not learning anything. Do and re-do exams until you can get 100%, and then move on.

Managing stress

Sometimes, Methods 3/4 can be stressful. I without doubt felt that same stress.

What helps is creating checklists with everything that needs to be done. Then, you can prioritise the order in which those tasks need to be completed.

Check things off once you’re done, and set goals. “I’m going to have a 30 minute break once I check three things off,” and so on.

But be strict with your breaks, and what you get done in a day. NEVER say, “I’ll do it tomorrow”; finish what you’re doing then and there. Never stop halfway through, because that’s an inefficient use of time.

There’s no need to study 24/7

Finally, relax.

Take time to chill out and rest your brain. Play some PS4, scroll through Facebook – do whatever.

But don’t get carried away!

If you speak with high-achieving students, they took time our to relax. If you speak with low-achieving students, they also took time to relax.

The difference is usually that one group realised when it was time to get back to work.

So, take the time to relax, but don’t over-indulge.

If you want to save some time before the exam, check out these complete course notes for Methods.