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June 06, 2020, 02:40:25 pm

Author Topic: How to Do Well in Year 11  (Read 2783 times)

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How to Do Well in Year 11
« on: December 26, 2018, 05:42:34 pm »
How to Do Well in Year 11

Hello, everybody! Iím Nishta and I will be undertaking Year 12 in 2019. I have been reflecting on this past year, and I remember frantically looking for resources that could help me in Year 11, and notes that could be of use. Unfortunately, most of the results were HSC course focussed, and did not cater for the new syllabus. I know the frustration of not being able to locate whatís important, so I put together a master list that will ensure you will be performing to your best academic ability yet in Year 11!

While I do not pretend to be the determining authority on how to succeed in Year 11, I was fairly successful during the school year. Overall, I came 1st in all of my subjects except for two, in which I came 2nd and 3rd. I have learned a lot this past year, as well as made many mistakes, and I hope that this list will shed light on what was particularly helpful for me.

Why is Year 11 important?
Before we get started, some people may be wondering how much Year 11 actually matters. I mean, it doesnít count towards anything, does it? Itís a common line of thought. At the end of the day, itís up to you to prioritise what is important, but I will say this: good habits take time to form. You arenít going to wake up the morning of the first day of Year 12 and be able to begin an awesome study regime, finish all your homework on time, and do well in your assessments just like that. Think of it like marathon training. A runner is not able to finish a marathon the first time they attempt it, instead requiring practice and training. Building up your endurance for long periods of studying and extending your skills is going to take time, and Year 11 is a perfect opportunity to do just that. Ask questions in class, begin using the syllabus as a guide to making study notes, and simply start working that beautiful brain of yours.

Another thing to note is that the preliminary course, while sometimes extraneous, can be useful in learning the HSC course. In Humanities, Science, and English classes, the content and skills you learn in Year 11 will be built upon in Year 12 to a reasonable degree, so it is helpful to have already learned the syllabus. And of course, preliminary maths is a given to be in the HSC exam, so if anything, make sure your maths skills are adequate. I regret not doing enough maths in Year 11, as there is a lot of content in the subject that becomes increasingly relevant.

Also, many university courses allow early entry and they look at your Year 11 marks for this. If this is something youíre interested in, be aware that your Year 11 ROSA can make a huge difference.

Study Smarter, Not Harder
Okay, so weíve heard this one before, havenít we? It seems to come up everywhere when talking about studying. But if youíre anything like me, it was little more than just a catchy saying. After hours of research (no joke, hours), I realised that studying smarter was about using time efficiently and effectively to get the job done. Sure, you could spend four hours doing your homework while also watching Netflix and scrolling through Instagram, but itís a lot more efficient to smash out the work in a dedicated half hour.

The best resource I have found in studying smarter is this video by Psychology Professor Marty Lobdell: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IlU-zDU6aQ0

Itís an hour long, but itís definitely worth the watch. If you implement even a couple of the techniques he discusses, you are guaranteed to be more efficient and effective when you study. Some of the things that have greatly improved my study habits are: taking a five minute break every thirty minutes, switching on a Ďstudyí lamp when you intend to study, actively learning the content, and asking questions. Remember to do whatís right for you that garners maximum output for minimum input.

Time Management
Time management is something that shouldnít be difficult, but is. We are natural procrastinators and consequently find it difficult to commit to a task that our brain flags as stressful and painful when there is instant gratification to be found elsewhere. If time management was important in the younger years of high school, it is doubly so in the preliminary course. People often say that the most successful students are those who are the most organised, not the most intelligent.

So how do you prevent the inevitable wave of assessments and tasks from overwhelming you? There are a number of methods that you can try, including study timetables, to-do lists, utilising a year diary, phone reminders, social media blocking sites, and calendars. Donít be afraid to try new methods of studying and working Ė Year 11 is the year to experiment before you jump into the HSC course, and you want to know what works best by then.

Personally, I found that a study timetable just did not work for me. At all. I tried for all of Year 11, but it wasnít flexible enough to be effective. For me, the best method has always been writing a to-do list every night and making a personalised term calendar. These serve as short and long term objectives respectively, where I can note down homework and smaller chucks of tasks onto a sticky note as the to-do list, while the term calendar sets out key dates of assessments that I need to be aware of. The calendar in particular has been brilliant in making sure I can see the bigger picture, reminding me that five weeks is actually not that far away or much time to study.

Preparing for Assessments and Prelims
Which leads me to my next point Ė starting early! Itís definitely easier said than done, and itís not always possible to do. But a great deal of stress is alleviated if you begin a task straight away, and the outcomes are generally better because youíve had longer to do it.

By the same token, it really helps if you make study notes throughout the year, rather than in the frantic lead up to exams. Iím guilty of doing the bulk of my condensed notes right before prelims, and it was absolutely terrible. At that point, it becomes cramming, and itís difficult to grasp complex concepts in a short amount of time. When youíre doing this for six or more subjects on top of assessment preparation, it quickly becomes really hard to do well. Ideally, I would have made study notes as we learnt the content in class, but also started learning and memorising it independently. Turns out simply writing out notes doesnít always drill the content into your head Ė you need other methods to actually learn it. This is where studying smarter comes in handy, because rote learning a concept doesnít mean you can write a killer essay on it. So if I could go back, I would start quizzing myself and making mnemonics and using flash cards from the very start, as these were the things that actually made me able to recollect the information needed in an exam.

Basically, begin as early as possible for anything coming up, especially prelims. And when you do, begin learning that information as well. If you write out a page of notes but you canít remember a single thing you wrote, thatís pretty much wasted time, isnít it?

Study Notes
Okay, I know Iíve been talking a lot about study notes and I remember being really confused about how to make effective sets of notes when I began Year 11. It was the first time I actually had to do anything like that by my own free will, but I didnít know how to start. It was too confusing with everyone buying new binders for every subject, and choosing between typing and hand writing them. I only figured out what worked for me as I started studying for prelims, but I wished someone had told me earlier.

Everyone has their own systems, and thatís important because people learn differently, but here is the one I have finally settled on after trying many things.

I have one binder that I take to school each day, filled with loose paper sheets (cheapest from Woolies or Coles). The binder is compartmentalised into each of my subjects, so a section for English, Maths, Legal etc. I also had a separate grid paper notebook for Maths because of how much we wrote, but thatís up to personal preference. I would write all of my notes, important formulas, and examples in the binder, and then I would do class exercises in the separate. This had enabled me to quickly see all of important notes instead of navigating through textbooks questions.

I wrote my notes and anything else we did in class for my subjects in their respective sections, and once I had used up the paper or had finished a topic, I filed those notes away at home. At home, I had a bigger binder for each subject that I would collect the notes in, and would add in anything I did independently. There are a couple advantages with this method: it is convenient since you are only taking one binder around for all your subjects, the majority of your notes are safe at home, and loose leaf paper means that you can organise and change your notes easily. However, I know people who have completely different systems that work just as well, so itís really up to you. As to whether you should handwrite or type notes, I prefer handwriting for the bulk of my notes, although I would type for quick notes during class or when writing long responses. I feel that the information is better absorbed by my brain when I physically write, and it also allows you to practise thinking while writing as you would during an exam. 

Lobdell in his video about studying smarter talks about the SQ3R method: survey, question, read, recite, review. When making study notes, I always survey (skim read) the section of the textbook before I begin writing. This way I can draw out what is important and figure out what the content is about. I then ask some brief questions in my head. If the topic is on liquidity, I might ask, Ďwhatís the definition of liquidity?í or Ďhow does the process of liquidation work?í. Then, I read more comprehensively and take notes on the content, with a good overview of whatís important and some questions I want to answer. The key here is summarising; you want to condense the information as much as possible so your brain can recollect it. Also, be sure to have your syllabus next to you as you make your notes. Teachers canít actually ask you anything outside of the syllabus, so print it out and become familiar with it!

As I mentioned earlier, making notes is not the only or even the best way of actually learning the content. When reciting the information, this is the point when you are comprehending it on a deeper level. You need to engage with the content. You could teach someone (Iíve taught everyone from my parents to my dogs when preparing for an exam), say it in your own words, and do practice papers and send them for marking by your teachers. Practice papers and questions are the single best way to simulate the exam experience and improve your marks, given that you get feedback from teachers. Other ways to engage with your content means going away from just the textbook and using outside resources, as I will talk about a bit later. I enjoy watching videos on YouTube about particular subjects or reading news articles, as they offer new perspectives on the same content. They also allow you to be more familiar with the subject matter, and you hardly have to use your brain while doing it! Finally, reviewing is for the weeks leading up to an exam where you go over your notes and do more practice questions. If you follow this strategy, which is definitely not always possible, prelims and assessments will be a lot less stressful and cramming-free.

While this is a resource you can use, you also need to be proactive in finding other resources you can utilise. Whatís given to you, like the textbook, is not always the most relevant thing in doing well, and itís required to go above and beyond. Hereís a list of resources I found to be useful:

ē   Teachers. They are your number one resource. They are a fountain of wisdom, so donít ever stop utilising them. Donít be afraid to ask questions and engage in class discussion, because this enhances your learning tenfold. I made it a goal in the year to answer or ask at least one question every class, every day, in Year 11. Once I got over my initial nervousness, I found it became easier and easier to actively engage in class, and you learn things on a different level to passive listening. Teachers also appreciate it when students do this.
ē   Past studentsí notes and essays. They really are a double edged sword; they can be immensely useful when constructing your own, but shouldnít be an excuse to plagiarise and copy. Copying out another studentís notes is not really productive because you havenít learnt the material as they have by reading the original textbook and then summarising the key points. That act in itself is important in the learning process. However, there are a lot of benefits in seeing the work of past students. When I started Year 11, I read a couple of English essays written by the top student English student in the year above at our school. I was blown away by the quality of the work, and I know that just carefully reading the essays and noting down what made them amazing helped me write my own killer essays, even if they were about completely different topics (syllabus change and all).
ē   ATAR Notes, Art of Smart blog, Matrix blog, etc. It was really useful for me to escape the bubble of my school and peers and explore the mindsets of other students. ATAR Notes has thousands of free notes and work from past students for most subjects, which was a real eye opener for the kind of quality of work students my age were producing. The Art of Smart and Matrix blogs have heaps of resources on everything school related, so itís worth checking them out. Browsing these sites is not a substitute for actual study, however! Itís easy to fall into the trap of thinking you are being productive when youíre reading an article on ĎHow to Get a 99 ATARí Ė youíre not! Leave this for your free time, and remember while it is helpful, it cannot directly improve your marks like study can.
ē   Peers. I honestly could not have survived exams without my friends. Itís tempting to isolate yourself, but itís so much easier studying and working with friends. I would say the bulk of your study time should be independent, but there are times when sitting together and working through some maths problems can be effective. We each have different strengths, and so we ask each other questions on what we donít understand, and teach each other what we do. Itís a win-win situation; your question is answered, and they do say that teaching is the best method of learning.
ē   Everything else on the internet! The internet is a super cool place. No longer is study simply found in the library, when there are millions of sites, videos, podcasts, articles, and resources to explore online. The moment you take your learning outside the classroom, you are already a step ahead of your peers who just regurgitate whatís in the textbook. You start to see connections with the wider world, and how what youíre learning is relevant in a contemporary context, which altogether means you are taking your understanding to the next level. This can be applied to all subjects: watching a video of a court proceeding for Legal, listening to a podcast about the latest scientific discoveries, visiting a gallery (even virtual ones!) for Art, reading novels for inspiration for your English creative writing piece, or browsing a news article about Qantas for Business. You will find the content heaps more interesting, and also find it easier to write about the topic due to all that background knowledge. 

Have Fun
Even when things get stressful, please remember that your mental health comes first. There is no exam in the world that is more important.

Take care of your mental health and enjoy yourself! Itís the last two years of high school and you will regret it if you lock yourself up in your room with no outside communication. If you love music, sports, art, debating, or science, keep doing those things! It may be harder to balance a million co-curricular activities, but you definitely shouldnít quit the ones you enjoy. Hang out with your friends, go to parties, watch movies, travel, do all that fun stuff. These will be the things you remember.

Itís all about prioritising things. Figure out whatís important to you. School was important to me, but so were friends and family, so I struck a balance between how time spent doing different activities. During exam time, I had to say no to things I really wanted to do like going out, but thatís simply because of my prioritising. I knew that the long-term benefits I will receive for studying outweighs any instant gratification I can get from going out that one night.

There was so much to put into this, and I know that I didnít even scrape the surface on how to do well in Year 11. If there is anything you would like me to answer, feel free to comment below! Or if you are a Year 11 veteran, provide your own nuggets of wisdom as we. Over the year, just remember that there is no sure-fire way to succeed, so do whatís best for you!

HSC 2019: English Extension 2, Maths Advanced, Legal Studies, Business Studies, Visual Arts


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Re: How to Do Well in Year 11
« Reply #1 on: December 26, 2018, 06:13:44 pm »
Just chill in year 11.
Plan your days, have a timetable (its really important and it makes your life easier to organise + you will be surprised how much free time you will have)
You dont need spend all time studying. Remember year 11 and 12 is not all about study. Have fun, do things you havent done before.
You only got 2 years in high school, so enjoy them as much as you can.
you probably dont believe me, well take this guy from my school -
He was doing 7 vce subjects (crazy!) (4 unit 1 and 2, and 3 unit 3and 4) and was involved in bilion other things in school community and other extra-curricular activities. He had things planned! had a timetable  and still ended up with so much free time. I mean if he can have free time with all the crazy stuff i mean anyone can.
Dont overwork yourself!
Also be flexible, if one things doesnt work out. Thats not the end of the world. If you fail a sac dont worry learn from your mistakes and improve!
Even though this is an HSC post, but you get the point right!
And Make sure you enjoy!
« Last Edit: December 26, 2018, 06:19:24 pm by redpanda83 »
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Re: How to Do Well in Year 11
« Reply #2 on: January 18, 2019, 12:01:01 pm »
Another thing to remember is not to burn yourself out in year 11, it's important to understand the content taught as it's the foundations of your HSC knowledge, but studying/marks aren't the end of the world. Use year 11 to find out what works for you and what doesn't and you'll find most of your peers who topped the cohort in year 11 struggle to do the same in year 12 as they're burnt out. One of the students in the grade above me ended year 11 coming first in everything, however, she didn't continue this trend for year 12 (Although she still did very well it wasn't as good as she expected after ending year 11). Use year 11 as the practice year for year 12 and master your skills to achieve greatness.

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Re: How to Do Well in Year 11
« Reply #3 on: January 22, 2019, 01:54:18 pm »
Another thing to remember is not to burn yourself out in year 11, it's important to understand the content taught as it's the foundations of your HSC knowledge, but studying/marks aren't the end of the world. Use year 11 to find out what works for you and what doesn't and you'll find most of your peers who topped the cohort in year 11 struggle to do the same in year 12 as they're burnt out. One of the students in the grade above me ended year 11 coming first in everything, however, she didn't continue this trend for year 12 (Although she still did very well it wasn't as good as she expected after ending year 11). Use year 11 as the practice year for year 12 and master your skills to achieve greatness.

I can definitely see myself going down the burn out track haha. Did surprisingly well in Year 11, but I feel like a lot of it was just me getting lucky with essay questions. My study pattern is extremely inconsistent and I am already struggling to solve this (term one hasn't even started yet!). If I can give any Year 11s advice, it's to chill the hell out but also whack your study patterns right into shape so you're not in the position I'm in. You might be able to get away with not doing much study throughout the year, then going hard the week before exam week in Year 11, but this is definitely not the way to do it when HSC year comes around. In conclusion - it doesn't matter how well you do this year, as long as you can get yourself into a manageable study routine. This is how consistent, successful results come. But, easier said than done.
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Re: How to Do Well in Year 11
« Reply #4 on: January 22, 2019, 06:20:45 pm »
That was honestly a really good blog to read about the HSC holistically c:
I definitely liked how you mentioned to Have fun because the HSC can definitely weigh on your mental health at times, and it's important to take a step back and look at the bigger picture.

Yr 11 is definitely the testing grounds for yr 12, and it's a time where you are able to develop study habits that will carry you through the hard times in Yr 12, so use it wisely but also focus on your health!!
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