We asked a random selection of our tutors one simple question: “What’s your best QCE advice?” We wanted just one simple piece of advice each – just to get to the good stuff. This is part one of what they said! This is our second instalment of the VCE megaguide. You can read part 1 here. You can read part 2 here.
It’s super important to have a hobby that lets you think about something else for a bit.
Do something other than study! I know this sounds counterintuitive, and I’m not suggesting that you give up your education, so you can all put down your pickaxes. All the study that you do in QCE can be majorly stress inducing, so it’s super important to have a hobby that lets you think about something else for a bit. Exercise is great; team sports, yoga, running, whatever you enjoy. If you’re not so into sport, then maybe reading or playing board games is more your style.
Whatever your ‘thing’ is, set aside some time each week for it. Not only will this improve your health (mental and/or physical), developing your passions is crucial in forming who you are, and finding your place in the world. Later down the track, this becomes useful as universities and employers want someone with a personality, as well as smarts.
It’s good to have a general idea of where you want to be getting your marks from.
An important bit of advice in my opinion would be to prioritise the tasks you have. In an ideal world, we would all have unlimited time and energy to do all our homework and revision, but that’s just not reality. Don’t worry about whether your friends are studying furiously for that Chemistry test – if you know that your score on the Methods test is going to matter much more to you, study for that!
Try different tactics to motivate yourself.
Finding the motivation to work can be very tricky throughout the year or during exam period if your exams are in the last week. Sometimes it is a simple case of needing a break to recharge before you get back to daily grind the next day. However, sometimes you do find yourself losing motivation for a few days, which turns into weeks, which can turn into months if you’re not careful.
Try different tactics to motivate yourself. For some people it’s rewarding themselves every time they do a chapter of reading. Rewards can be things like chocolate, a YouTube video or a nap (this one is slightly dangerous if you nap for 3 hours though). For other people it’s having high goals for themselves and reminding themselves of what they want throughout the year. For some it’s having study sessions with friends/other people to motivate each other – just make sure you don’t distract each other. Some people are just lucky and find motivation in enjoying what they’re learning. Figure out what works best for you and good luck!
You can’t study productively or proactively if you’re running on two hours of sleep or heavily stressed.
Look after yourself in all aspects. Many students who aim high seem to neglect their physical, emotional and mental health. You can’t study productively or proactively if you’re running on two hours of sleep or heavily stressed. As shallow and unfortunate as it is to say this, a large part of your score (whether that be your subject score or ATAR) is determined by how you perform in your exams. That means you need to not only academically prepare for the exam, but you need to emotionally, mentally and physically prepare yourself to take an exam well. Can you perform your best on an exam if you’re running on four hours of sleep and anxious as hell? No. Especially during exam season, go to sleep early, relax and calm your nerves, wake up refreshed. A little bit of anxiety is fine and very normal but don’t let it overwhelm you. As soon as you start to panic and stress in the exam, you’ll make lots of silly mistakes and jeopardise your mark which leads me to saying this mantra I lived by during this stressful time, “if you panic, the exam is already over.”
Earlier I did mention the importance of the final exams on your score which leads me to my next point: learn how to take an exam effectively/well. This might sound stupid and I’m sure will raise some dubious eyebrows but it’s important. You might know the content of the course really well but if you don’t know how to take an exam effectively, you will underperform. For instance, are you showing your working out in a logical way? Are you aware how much working is needed depending on the mark? It’s difficult to express this concept generally without getting into the specifics of some subjects.
A way to learn taking exams is obviously doing practice questions/exams but don’t just discard them after you’ve finished, correct them and analyse. What I mean by analysing is writing out a whole list of all your mistakes and what you need to remember/work on.