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.
Shifting from passive note taking techniques to more active processes definitely improved my understanding and my grades.
“It would have to be saving time whilst studying. That means studying smarter – not necessarily longer. It’s easy to fall into the trap of passively copying out slabs of information from your textbook, websites, and notes from your teacher – I know this because I used to do it. And although it may feel like you’re hard at work (your hand is sore, you’ve spent an hour or two slouched over your textbook etc.), this is not very efficient at all. This isn’t to say note taking is bad. In fact, you should definitely be creating summaries for your subjects. But this should be an active process.
This means make your own diagrams, charts, tables. Use your own words – an easy way to ensure this is to not look at your resources the entire time that you are making your notes. I also find that writing out notes on topics, or sections of certain topics, that I already know about in great detail is a massive waste of time – I tend to use the note taking process as a way of trying to understand things that still don’t seem clear to me.
Lastly, you could also try creating your notes by making your own questions and then answering these questions in your own words. In my experience, shifting from passive note taking techniques to more active processes definitely improved my understanding and my grades, as well as saving me a great deal of time which is such a precious resource.”
Set the bar high! If you really really really want to do medicine after year 12, don’t just aim for a pre-med degree.
“Have an aspiration:
Through QCE, have an aim in mind – whether it’s your dream university course, or simply an ATAR that you want to achieve – it’s going to help immensely. Think about it: what motivation do you have throughout your final year of schooling if you don’t have something to aspire towards?
At my school, there was quite a correlation between ATAR scores and students who had an aim in mind as opposed to those that didn’t. As you may have expected, the students that had an aspiration worked really hard throughout their studies, ultimately surpassing their expectations and scoring a place into the course of their dreams. The students that just ‘winged’ it in year 12? Well, they didn’t work hard, and so they didn’t get the best ATARs. In fact, they obtained mediocre scores, placing them into university courses that were displeasing to them.
Under the same token – set the bar high! If you really really really want to do medicine after year 12, don’t just aim for a pre-med degree. Likewise, if you’re absolutely sure you want to enter the legal field, don’t just aim for a pre-law degree. Even if you don’t think you’re competitive enough to get in, go for it regardless – you never know the full extent of your capabilities unless you utilise the full extent of your capabilities!”
Be prepared to work consistently throughout the year.
My advice is really simple – be prepared to work consistently throughout the year. Year 12 is definitely a marathon, not a sprint, and those people that do really well are those that are prepared to work hard every week throughout the year, not just for the first few weeks of each term, or right before exams. This doesn’t mean that you need to spend eight ours every weekend studying or anything like that (I certainly didn’t!), but having a routine where you study/do homework each night, even if its only for half an hour, goes a long way to helping you succeed.
Sometimes, the best thing for you will be to get a good night of sleep.
Look after yourself, because the most important thing is you.
This isn’t a cop-out. This isn’t a throwaway line playing down the importance of Year 11 or Year 12. The reality is that, if you want to do the best you can for you – including scoring highly – then you need to be at your peak. Physical and mental. Working too hard, too early would be like training so much that you break your leg, and then trying to play your grand final with a broken leg. It just wouldn’t make sense, and for that reason, nor does trying to study every minute of every day.
I’m not saying you should spend all day just chilling on the couch. I’m sure there will be times where you need to motivate yourself to study, even if it’s not necessarily something you’d be doing otherwise. But sometimes it’s important to take a step back and think, “what’s actually best for me here?” Sometimes, the best thing for you will be to get a good night of sleep.