Time is not unlimited. There is, like it or not, a clock ticking, and it will go by very quickly. How do you make the most out of QCE time management to ensure you maximize your results?
I want to immediately debunk the myth that you should treat all your QCE subjects equally and give them equal attention. I do not believe this at all. Why should a Mathematics wiz, who can already smash any Methods question that comes at them, spend as much time studying for Methods as they do for English, the subject in which they struggle? It isn’t practical, it isn’t efficient, and it isn’t working smart.
The key is to put your time into the right places. Here are my five tips for properly prioritising your time to the correct areas and the correct subjects to maximise your effectiveness in the lead up to QCE Exams.
This one seems obvious, but it is actually somewhat hard to put into practice. Irrefutably, you need to spend more time on the subjects that give you trouble. The thing is, if you have trouble with it, chances are you hate studying for it, so very often, the opposite happens and students spend less time on them!
Avoid this trap at all costs. Allocate your time to address trouble areas. If a study session is easy, it is not well spent: Getting 50% in a practice paper is much more beneficial to you than getting 95%, you learn way more. Invest your time where it is needed, not where it is wanted.
In the lead up to an exam block it may be extremely tempting to study for your subjects one at a time in the order corresponding to your exams. That is, one week on English, one week on Math, one week on Legal. This does make sense on the surface; it maximizes the amount of time you can spend on each subject, because you study for your last exams, last. However, it has a major caveat.
If you do all your study for English first, by the time you reach the exams, you’ll be out of practice, having not written an essay in a little over a month!
Studying is like weight training. You have to work every muscle on a regular basis, or it will start to shrink. It’s exactly the same as that whole “never skip leg day” thing. Divide your time so that you work on all your subjects in an appropriate proportion in a given week. Then, a day or two before the exam, focus more energy on that subject. This is, in my opinion, the best way to work so as to ensure you get the most out of the work you put into the subject.
It is irrefutably the case that memorizing facts, such as quotes or laws, takes longer than developing a skill, such as simplifying a fraction or resolving a vector diagram.
Confused? Let me elaborate.
Memorization takes time, but your brain is better at locking something away when it is stimulated in more ways than one. It is, for most people, faster to learn how to integrate than it is to remember all your Ancient History sources, due to the simple fact that integration is a process. It is like mental muscle memory development. Memorizing facts, however, normally does not have an associated process, and this has two effects:
You can learn to Integrate in one session in one day, but it takes a few sessions over a couple of days to learn your cases for Crime, at least in my experience.
How does this apply to your time management? Quite simple. Recognise that memorising quotes takes longer. You should absolutely focus on this sort of stuff early in the game: I recommend that English and the humanities get the first of your attention in any study schedule.
Very often, students will spend all their time on one particular subject without realising it.
To prevent this, keep track of how long you are working on each subject, beginning whenever you choose. Make a simple spreadsheet or Word document, and write hours next to each subject every day or week. Check on this record periodically, and you may be surprised what you see!
Simple checks and balances like this keep you on track and ensure that you are not spending more time on a subject than you believe you need to. It keeps you accountable for your actions, which almost always leads to a better work ethic!
I know that there is a psychology amongst students to play the system. Purposely “abandoning” a subject to boost marks in others. This is a very dangerous game and one which I recommend against.
Essentially, if you are counting a subject towards your QCE, you should be aiming to do your best in it.
By all means, there may be subjects which you really enjoy that you don’t stress about your QCE results for. However, don’t consciously try and play the system. Students with high results have high results consistently across all their subjects, they don’t “funnel” their resources. Further, if you are doing extra units, be sure you can handle the workload!
So, that’s my 5 tips for balancing your time across your subjects! Remember to jump on the forums and ask any questions you had, add your own tips/experiences, or just to say hi! Balancing a lot of different subjects, particularly those from different branches of the QCE (Arts, Science, Humanities) can be the most challenging thing about Year 12, and it is an important skill. I hope these tips help you bring the balance between your subjects back to where it should be.