In this article, we (“AN”) chat with recent graduate Bea (“B”) about her experiences improving her marks through high school. If you have follow-up questions or want more info on study strategy, feel free to ask in our HSC Forums, QCE Forums, or VCE Forums!

AN: Hi Bea! Thanks so much for joining us. Can you tell us a bit about your high school experiences, and why your marks might not have been absolutely stellar in earlier years?

B: I feel like it was a mixture of different things. To add context, I went to a different high school in a different country in Year 7.

a) going to a high school that wasn’t good and had teachers that didn’t care much about the younger students, so I didn’t ask for any help and advice

b) fellow classmates did not care about their education and slacked off. Being in an environment like this isn’t good if you want to excel in your marks. I felt like I was gonna be ridiculed if I was gonna be *that* nerd who cared about their studies, so I just slacked off like everyone else.

AN: How did you improve your marks? What changed for you?

B: The big change was moving to Australia and studying at a different high school. I feel that the environment is so much better here because the teachers actually care about my education.

I made friends who cared about their studies too so that motivated me to make some goals to improve my education. For example, I was in the second maths class and all my friends were in the top class. My maths teacher helped me every lesson and gave me extra homework so that I was able to reach my goal of getting into the top class. All the long hours of doing practice questions were definitely worth it because I did end up reaching my goal and I remember my maths teacher being so proud.

Same thing with English- I used to be so so terrible at it. I didn’t know how to construct an argument or an essay. I used to put the blame on my English teacher. But the reality was- I was to blame because I was avoiding doing practice questions and learning the content. When I learned to overcome my fears, I improved greatly in English- from averaging C’s in my early high school career to eventually getting a 89 (Band 5) in the HSC- that’s when I realised that you need to put in the effort in order to succeed.

AN: Did you use or try any unusual study techniques?

B: With English, I liked to put my content on flash cards and pretend I was lecturing a class.

I lectured my bedroom wall, my friends and my parents. It helped me explain my ideas and my arguments on the spot.

AN: Lots of people get down about their marks and think it’s no longer possible to do well. What’s your advice to them at this stage?

This is such a stereotypical answer but there’s always light at the end of the tunnel. It’s not the end of the world !! Persevere all the way through, create goals for yourself and work at your own pace.

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