In this article, we chat with recent Queensland ATAR graduate Rishi, who recently completed QCE with an ATAR of 99.90. This result made Rishi one of the highest-scoring QCE graduates in the state.
This article is PART 2 of an interview with Rishi, focusing on a range of study and QCE-related issues and tips. Many students enter Year 12 with high aspirations, hoping to achieve the best possible ATAR they can. If that sounds like you, or if you’re looking to improve your QCE marks across the year (no matter what ATAR you’re aiming for), this article is for you.
PART 1 of the interview is available here – keep an eye out! PART 1 covers dealing with the change to the ATAR system, Year 12 feelings, QCE jargon, day-to-day study routine, and the best QCE resources.
ATAR Notes: Thanks for continuing this interview, Rishi. You obviously ended up with an extremely impressive ATAR of 99.90. Did you think throughout the year that you were on track for a 99+ ATAR? Did that thought cross your mind often?
Rishi: I was really set on getting into Advanced Science at UQ to study physics, so I knew I needed a 96+ ATAR. That being said, I also really wanted to get a scholarship, because I felt like I could get one if I tried hard enough.
I knew I did pretty well in Year 11, so I wanted to improve on that and get above a 99, so yeah I was thinking about it quite a lot. But in my heart I knew that if I worked hard enough, I could definitely get it.
ATAR Notes: What were the busiest times of year for you? Were there any lulls?
Rishi: The busiest time was definitely right before externals and exam blocks. They were hectic and I was working very hard, and it was incredibly tiring. This will be the case for everyone, but just make sure to take breaks and rest over the holidays if you can.
As for lulls, for me there weren’t any. I was working pretty consistently throughout the term, but certainly holidays were a time of little work for me.
ATAR Notes: Speaking of externals, when it came time for external exam study, how did you approach your revision?
Rishi: I have written an article recently on this topic speaking on how active recall really helped me understand concepts and learn lots of content for big tests fairly easily. I would also make sure to stay consistent with my work, keeping a fairly even time across all my six subjects and ensuring that I worked hard for all of them.
With the 50% exams, I mainly just went and did practice questions from the textbooks. While I obviously couldn’t complete all of them, I made sure to do ones of varying difficulty from every topic over Units 3 and 4. I also did an absolute metric ton of practice papers over the final month coming up to externals, which helped a lot.
Once again, what you do will be up to how you learn best, so use the time you have now up until externals to figure out how you learn, and make sure to use it effectively and consistently.
ATAR Notes: Okay, here’s a big one. Based on your experiences, what are three top tips you could provide current QCEers regarding study techniques?
Rishi: (TIP 1) Get started early. Don’t wait until the last minute to start working for things. Try not to procrastinate. Waiting until the night before your assignment is never a good idea, and by the same logic waiting only until after your IA3s to prepare for your big 50% externals is not a good idea.
Spend two minutes per day just looking over Unit 3 or Unit 4 content for any of your science or maths subjects. Two minutes per day, every day for the next seven months is a great idea so that you feel comfortable to start actual intense revision for the externals.
(TIP 2) Take breaks and time off to relax and socialise. Also make sure you keep exercising and going outside to get your brain off study occasionally. The pomodoro technique works particularly well for this. Also check out this article for more information on taking breaks and rest.
(TIP 3) Find what works for you. This is arguably the most important one. As much as I can give you advice for what worked for me, I am positive that we are not the exact same person and we don’t think the exact same way. So my biggest piece of advice is to try a range of study methods and truly see which one is the best fit. This will be the biggest factor in how well you perform the whole year.
This comes back to the age-old adage: work smarter, not harder.
ATAR Notes: You are now helping current QCE students by lecturing with ATAR Notes, and tutoring with TuteSmart. How are you finding those experiences?
Rishi: Honestly I’m loving it. It’s a great job, and it works well with my uni schedule. I can work from home and know that I have a consistent schedule every week.
It is challenging at times to keep students engaged, but I definitely love teaching and tutoring, so it’s a great fit for my skillset and interests.
ATAR Notes: How about post-Year 12? Is that something to look forward to?
Rishi: Absolutely. It was legendary. For me particularly, who had been so academically rigorous for the past 12 years of my life, the release of a week of socialising was well deserved and much needed.
The three month holiday afterward was just as amazing to help me relax and cool down before uni started.
This concludes PART 2 of our interview with Rishi – 99+ QLD ATAR achiever. Remember to check out PART 1, which will covers dealing with the change to the ATAR system, Year 12 feelings, QCE jargon, day-to-day study routine, and the best QCE resources.
Online QCE tutoring is now available through TuteSmart.
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