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Being thrown into a new QCE curriculum is scary. Especially once you’re studying units 3&4 and faced with the prospect of external exams. However, just because it can feel overwhelming doesn’t mean it has to be. There are ways that you can prepare so that you know what you need to learn and can be tested on – this article aims to arm you with some of those.
1. The syllabus
The syllabus should be first point of reference when you aren’t sure if you need to learn something. You can find them on the QCAA website by clicking into the subject you’re trying to find clarification on and the syllabus will tell you everything you can be assessed on – if it’s not in the syllabus it’s not going to be on the exam. Sometimes the syllabus can be ambiguous with the details of what exactly you need, which is when you should move on to other methods of tracking down the info you need.
2. Other QCAA materials
Aside from the syllabus, QCAA also provides other resources such as sample assessments which serve as guides for the new QCE studies. If the content is in a sample exam it might be on your exam, and you should be able to display the skills required for sample assessments. This doesn’t mean that you need to know everything in the sample reports or experiments, but you should be able to use the skills evidenced (e.g. for sciences this includes finding uncertainty & plotting graphs appropriately). Make sure you look at the comments on the assessments so you can learn from the samples’ strengths and weaknesses!
As much as I’d love to say that teachers are flawless and impeccable, they are just as human as the rest of us and sometimes make mistakes. Your teachers will be marking your internal assessments and have access to resources and training you don’t so it’s definitely worth listening to them BUT it is sometimes the case that teachers teach students content they don’t need for the exam so it’s worth checking for yourself. Your fellow students can also provide you with insight into what they’re learning which can be useful for anything you might have missed but I recommend double or triple checking this info – I’m sure not every rumour at your school has been true and panicked people can be easily (and accidentally!) tricked.
If it’s not in the textbook chances are that you don’t need to know it, but I wouldn’t recommend learning everything in there as textbooks often have wayyy more information than you need. Not only would you be wasting time, you probably wouldn’t succeed. Although the publishers will have tried to address the new QCE syllabuses, there is the chance that the syllabus has been updated since the textbook was published so there could even be some content missing – don’t rely on anything printed as your only source of information.
Hopefully this checklist helps you feel prepared and somewhat less stressed year 12 – if you have questions about any of your subjects, QCE in general, or simply want to connect with other students please feel free to leave us a post on the forums. Adjusting to the pressures of QCE can be difficult but you don’t need to do it alone 🙂