QCE Lessons: 7 Things I Learnt From High School

By ATAR Notes in QCE
26th of February 2019
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I graduated from high school a few years ago. I did my best, I worked pretty hard, and I was eventually happy with my results. But on reflection, I learnt more from my high school experience than just the content from my subjects – and I hope you will, too. Here are some of the things I learnt.


1. I am capable.

In the earlier years of high school, I was an okay student. Nothing special. To be honest, I didn’t completely extend myself as I could have – I just didn’t see the point of it all, and struggled a little with motivation as a result.

Don’t get me wrong: I never flunked school or anything like that. But I just sort of cruised through, which I’m sure is something a lot of people can relate to. There’s nothing you’re really working toward on a short-term basis.

When Year 12 came around, that changed a bit. I suddenly had something to work toward. And I started pushing and extending myself, and realised that – lo and behold – I actually did have what it took to do well. And you do, too – even if it doesn’t necessarily feel like it at the moment. Persistence, internal drive and discipline are so important in Year 12, and everybody has those things at their disposal.


2. It’s never too late to change study habits.

Even if there are only two weeks before your exams, you still have time to improve – not just on your content knowledge, but also in the ways you study and prepare. I recommend reading this article on QCE study preparation, which is one area of study that a lot of students tend to ignore. Or, perhaps, just don’t think about.

You can study as much as you want, but if it’s not effective study, the impact will, obviously, be limited. I think this is largely what I did in earlier years of high school, and I subsequently became pretty frustrated at the whole concept of revision. It becomes a lot easier when you can see the improvements you’re making!


3. It’s okay to be different.

Just, in general, it’s okay.

If you want to get really high marks but none of your friends are really that fussed, it’s okay. It’s okay if you want to prioritise your study. More broadly, it’s okay if you’re interested in different things.

Going to uni made me realise that there are so many different types of people in the world. At school, you’re only really exposed to a certain number, and everybody is trying to fit in as best they can. In other, less confined environments, you will, hopefully, be able to express yourself more freely. Stick with who you are, and prioritise whatever it is you want to prioritise.

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4. Numbers are overrated.

I really got sucked in to worrying heaps about my internal marks, and what impact they would have on my final scores and, indeed, my ATAR. With the introduction of the new ATAR system, this is going to be very easy to do. If you’re interested, you can read more about the technical side of QCE and the ATAR in this section of the ATAR Notes Forums.

But really, the most important thing is to learn from your mistakes, and to put numbers to the side. There’s only so much you can glean from your internal marks.


5. Small decisions can have big consequences.

And small decisions really do add up over the course of the year. Going to bed just a little earlier, staying just a little bit more hydrated, doing an extra five minutes of revision. These are things that, in isolation, probably won’t change your ATAR much if at all if you do them on just one day. But if you do them every single day between now and your exams, of course they’ll make a difference.

This is where discipline is required, and where discipline can really pay dividends. You don’t need to be the “smartest” person in the room to do these things, either.


6. Aiming high is a good thing.

Aiming for 75% on a QCE assessment or exam makes no sense. Sure, that might be the point where you’re happy with your mark or not, but always aim for 100% – even if you don’t think you’ll get it. Otherwise, you’re literally aiming to lose marks, and that’s probably not the best mindset to have.

If you can get full marks on one question, you can get full marks on them all. Always aim for 100%. This doesn’t mean you should only be happy with 100%.


7. Marks are not worth sacrificing your health.

Seriously. And if you need help, you should voice that. Very many people will be happy to help. 💙

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