In this feature article, we chat with one of our first ever QCE lecturers, forum administrator “Bri MT”. Bri graduated with an excellent ATAR of 98.30, and now leads the student community on the ATAR Notes Forums. Get involved for guides, Q&A, and an awesome online community.
ATAR Notes: Bri, thanks so much for joining us. Back in high school, you received a fantastic ATAR. What are three study tips you would give to current QCEers?
Bri MT: 1. Make sure you take care of your wellbeing to the extent that you can. I doubt that anyone is going to be perfect in this regard, but having positive habits, getting enough sleep, and taking some time out for activities that restore you is important. Getting this right helps you be happier and do better academically, so it’s a double-win.
2. Use QCAA resources. The syllabus should be your best friend and the sample assessment feedback on your subject pages is also incredibly valuable. Familiarise yourself with these – you can’t get a more accurate picture than looking straight to the source.
3. Ask and answer questions. It can feel very intimidating to speak up, but this gives you instant feedback. I’d rather look ignorant in the short term than to not grow and learn. Additionally, the whole point of your education is to be learning – you’re not meant to already be 100% confident and know all of the answers. Whether it’s a teacher, tutor, friends, or on the forums, asking and answering questions is a huge help.
ATAR Notes: You were one of our very first QLD lecturers. What do you think are some of the benefits of free ATAR Notes lectures?
Bri MT: For me a great thing about the lectures is that you get the opportunity to hear the content from another source and learn a new perspective on it. There are always going to be things that click with some people and not others, so seeing this different way of explaining things is a great advantage. Another aspect is that you get more exposure to the content, so if you’ve missed something in class this could catch that, or just give you another opportunity to remember content you’ve forgotten.
Additionally, pre-learning some content is something I found useful for my senior high school years as it was less intimidating when I came across it in class and I felt ahead. That confidence boost can be great. Mindset can have a big impact on a lot of high school – if you feel the content is too hard you’re more likely to give up and create a negative self-fulfilling prophecy. Alternatively, if you have more confidence this can inspire you and make your studies more enjoyable as well as receiving higher marks.
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ATAR Notes: You’re currently in your Honours year at university. How did you find the move from high school to uni? What have some of the major differences been for you?
Bri MT: When I started at uni I was travelling 3 hours each way just to get to class, whereas I went to school close to home. I personally made closer friends in uni than in high school and much faster as well but this can vary depending on the student. In uni people often have very different schedules, so it’s more effort and organisation to build those connections but it’s absolutely worth it.
On the academic side, uni is more self-led and self-driven than high school. I enjoyed this freedom and being able to choose classes I believed in with people who also cared about those areas. I feel more like what I’m learning makes a real difference. Being in honours now in particular, I’m using the skills and knowledge from my uni studies to work on a real-world project. It’s intimidating but more rewarding.
People tend to care less about marks in university and aren’t as competitive (this can be different in courses where a lot of people are competing for a small number of places in postgrad e.g. biomed). Of course, this also varies between people but generally other people aren’t going to care much about your marks.
ATAR Notes: What are some resources you can recommend for current QCE students?
Bri MT: 100% the QCAA website is something you should become familiar with. Look at your subject pages, not just for the syllabus but for the other resources and information there. Look at the sample assessments before you start yours and read the comments. Make sure you don’t just skim through and that you process the feedback.
Your teacher is a great resource for you. Not everyone is thrilled with their teacher but often if you talk to them about what you want to achieve and ask them for help they will be supportive. They’ve seen other students go through this and are an easily accessible resource.
The QCE forums are a great place to get free anonymous help from someone outside of your school. They’re particularly good for when you want a student perspective or some extra feedback. If you’re finding that targeted, regular support would be beneficial for you you might also want to look into tutoring.
The internet has a bunch of resources on a range of topics and some things designed outside of the QCE system may also be useful for you but the key thing here is that you should be very familiar with the syllabus. Otherwise, you may end up focusing on things that you can’t be assessed on or that contradict QCE-level understanding. If you’re not sure if something is in the syllabus, ask someone.
This concludes PART 1 of our interview with Bri – 98+ ATAR achiever and QCE lecturer. Keep an eye out for PART 2, where we’ll finish our chat with Bri.
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