Shepparton students’ advice for this year’s Year 12s

By Michael Von Güttner

The most difficult part of more than a decade of schooling is, without doubt, the final year.

Exciting — or nerve-wracking — decisions need to be made, paths chosen, prerequisites filled.

So much hinges on 10 months of schooling and the exams that follow them.

Who knows this better than those who completed Year 12 two months ago?

Below are study tips and advice from four recent graduates: former Goulburn Valley Grammar School students Grace Sandles, Rachel Theil and Hugh Farrell and Sterling Mackenzie from Wanganui Park Secondary College.

Stress management

Managing time and prioritising is vital to not overburdening yourself during VCE — and Grace agreed.

“You hear it all the time, but balance really is so important,” Grace said.

“So you have to work out what you’re willing to put study ahead of, and be confident in that decision.”

Grace said students also must be open to adjusting those decisions, in order to find what worked best for them.

Hugh said it was inevitable that all Year 12 students would experience stress at some point.

“You need to realise that you are going to get stressed and have ways that you can try and deal with that,” Hugh said.

“Whether it's by doing things that are related to school that you enjoy, or by interacting with people who you enjoy the company of.”

It can be as simple as taking a break.

Study smarter

There are mountains of resources on how to study better, life hacks and what works or doesn’t. It is all about figuring out what works for you.

After exceeding her expectations in her VCE results, Rachel shared her top study tips.

* When studying, don’t spend too long on a particular topic. Instead do a 30 to 45-minute burst, take a five-minute break and then get started on something new.

* Write daily tasks on a piece of paper, sticky note or whiteboard. This helps create a timetable to stay on track. Crossing off each completed task gives a sense of accomplishment.

* Mind maps are a great way to visualise and connect ideas between topics.

* Reciting out loud to a parent, friend or even the bedroom mirror can help identify what you already know and still need to work on.

* Don’t limit yourself to a number or score you want to achieve. Set yourself a goal outside what you think you can achieve, so you don’t limit your ability to succeed.

Where to next?

Year 12 students often feel pressure to make long-term decisions.

Sterling said looking at a large range of options was vital.

ATAR is not everything; as Sterling found, many courses and tertiary institutions were looking for more than a score, particularly those with close industry ties.

He was accepted into a Bachelor of Film at the SAE Institute in the middle of 2019 after an interview and presenting his media folio.

The best way to discover what interests you is research, and that is exactly what both Sterling and Hugh did.

“Go to as many open days, seminars and talks as you can,” Hugh said.

“Try and figure out what you want to do and where you want to do it.”