The VCE is a great source of stress for most students, but it doesn’t need to be this way! With the right information and a solid study plan, you can greatly reduce stress, cut down on the time you spend studying and markedly improve your VCE marks!
It’s been shown that the most successful students have a few characteristics in common!
- They get ahead of their peers and maintain this advantage across the year.
- They study consistently.
- They study smartly.
Here are some fail-proof suggestions that past students have used to excel in their studies. Apply these suggestions as often as you can, and you’ll be well on your way to achieving the higher ATAR results.
Strategy 1: Get Ahead & Stay Ahead
Students who work through course materials ahead of school spend less time on their studies, and achieve higher SAC and examination marks.
Students who work ahead of class will often find that even if they didn’t understand half of what they covered, everything falls into place when they hear the information for the second time at school. As a result:
- They write fewer notes in class and can focus more on what the teacher is saying.
- Their understanding of examinable materials greatly improves.
- They don’t need to spend as much time on their studies.
- Their stress levels decrease.
- Their confidence in their abilities increases.
- They become more motivated.
- They achieve much higher VCE marks.
You should therefore be taking advantage of any opportunity that will help you get ahead. The sooner you get ahead, the harder it becomes for your peers to catch up – maximising your ranking and ATAR result.
You can save a huge amount of time by attending a quality head-start program like our Summer School and Winter School, which are held during school holidays. Not only will you cover five times more than if you worked through the same materials on your own, you’ll also receive a detailed set of A+ notes, saving you even more study time!
Strategy 2: Manage Procrastination
Students regularly make up clever excuses to justify putting off their studies, which often results in feelings of guilt, despair or regret when they don’t get the marks they wanted or needed.
The costs of procrastination can be huge. Not only will it take you longer to complete the tasks you’re avoiding, you’ll also be adding more stress and work to your already demanding study schedule.
The longer you put off your studies, the more information you forget, which means that it will take you longer to complete that task. So, unless you really love to study, learn to manage procrastination!
- If you do procrastinate your studies, you should commit to a firm study arrangement – one that you can’t work your way out of, and that provides the tools and information you’ll need to achieve the highest possible ATAR. A learning environment like our weekly ‘Master Classes’.
- The Master Class programs are specialised weekly tuition classes that are designed to ensure that students reach their full potential, be that a two-grade improvement or the elite A and A+ scores. These programs build on the teaching that takes place in schools, offering students the opportunity to systematically revise, consolidate and extend on key skills/concepts, and to develop strong problem-solving skills and examination techniques.
- To help you succeed in your battles with procrastination, we’ll send you numerous study tips throughout the year that cover great strategies to keep you motivated and on track with your studies.
Strategy 3: Study Smarter, Not Harder
A Stitch in Time Saves Nine
Work consistently rather than letting tasks pile up. Not only will you reduce stress levels and improve marks, you’ll also save huge amounts of time!
Keep Learned Materials in Long-Term Memory
Students spend so much time learning materials and preparing for their school assessments – so why would you want to go through the same painful process before your end-of-year exams?
If you don’t revise learned materials on a regular basis, you will forget most of what you had committed to memory, and will need to waste time re-learning the same materials before your exams. It takes much less time to regularly revise materials while they’re fresh in mind, rather than re-learning these same materials “from scratch” before your exams. Furthermore, regular revision has the added benefit of engraining information into long-term memory. This will improve the quality of your exam responses, and how well you can apply information to unfamiliar applications in tests and exams.
By attending our Master Classes on a weekly basis, you’ll get the opportunity to regularly revise difficult concepts, build on applications and systematically prepare for the challenging analysis-style questions. You will also complete a large part of your exam preparations ahead of the state, giving you a significant advantage over your state-wide peers.
Start Working Through Past Examination Questions from the Beginning of the Year
Studies have shown that the more exam papers a student works through, the higher their SAC and exam marks.
Learning course materials will only go so far in SACs and exams. Students aiming for the higher marks need to spend time applying their learnings to questions they haven’t seen before, as it is these types of applications that are used to determine which students get the A and A+ marks.
If you’re studying a Unit 3/4 subject and you’re aiming for a 40+ Study Score, you should work through at least 15 exam papers in each subject, with half of these papers being completed before the Term 3 school holidays. This is really important in subjects like Mathematics, where most text-book questions aren’t presented in the same way as in the actual VCE exams.
- Most students will run out of time to work through the recommended number of papers, compromising their VCE marks.Not only will an exam revision lecture ensure that you revise course materials in the most effective way, experienced lecturers can cover the course and work through key examination questions far more quickly than you can on your own.
- When you attend our weekly tuition classes you’ll work through hundreds of unique questions that target skills and applications that haven’t been addressed to VCE examination standard in textbooks and other VCE resources. The majority of class time is spent working through examination-style questions, as well as the applications used to determine which students receive the A/A+ grade scores.
- The benefits of working through past exam papers is indisputable. However, it takes time to develop the problem-solving and application skills you’ll need to obtain the higher examination marks. This means that you won’t get the ATAR you’re capable of, if you leave exam papers to the end of the year. To prevent this from happening, students attending our Master Classes receive a large collection of commercially produced exam papers (and worked solutions) to practise as they complete each topic at school.
- Start working through exam-style questions from the beginning of the year, as each topic is covered at school.
- Regularly revise course materials so you can cement the knowledge and skills that are needed in order to get the greatest benefits from practise exam papers.
Don’t Waste Time Writing Notes & Summaries
Your text book contains most of the information you need to learn, so why waste time writing notes?
Not only is the notes-writing process the most ineffective way to learn, it leaves you with less time to learn course materials and to work through past exam papers. It is the actual learning and working through exam-style questions that has the biggest impact on your examination marks – not writing and re-writing notes or summaries.
- Every student who attends our lectures and Master Classes receives a detailed set of A+ notes that cover all relevant theory in easy to follow, student friendly language. Our notes also include worked examples with step-by-step instructions, as well as a huge selection of exam-style questions – everything you need to prepare for your exams!
- Our notes also remove the need for students to waste valuable time preparing their own summaries, creating additional opportunities to commit course materials to memory, and to work through as many examination-style questions as possible.
Use your text books or TSFX lecture notes when preparing for your exams.
Look For Other Ways to Save Time
There is no doubt that quality revision programs (such as those delivered by TSFX) give students the opportunity to revise large amounts of information in a time-efficient and cost-effective manner.
Not only is it faster to have an experienced teacher take you through the revision process, you’ll also gain valuable information regarding VCE exam marking schemes and how answers must be presented if they are to be awarded full marks. So attend as many lectures you can, particularly if you’re studying Unit 3/4 subjects this year.
Strategy 4: Other Suggestions
When we’re under high levels of stress, our cortisol levels increase, resulting in the production of ‘mind-blocking agents’ in the brain. These ‘mind-blocking agents’ affect our ability to remember and apply information, reducing SAC and examination marks. To make matters worse, the amount of information that the brain can process drops significantly, increasing the time it takes to prepare for tests and exams. Therefore, start your exam preparations early so you can avoid the detrimental effects of stress.
Commit as much information to memory before the start of Term 4. Most students leave their exam preparations to the last minute – periods where performance is greatly reduced by anxiety and stress. If you start exam preparations earlier, you will receive a higher ATAR result.
Chip Away at Your Studies
Take advantage of every opportunity to prepare for your exams. A little study “here and there” can add up to significant amounts of time. As an example, if you put aside just 15 minutes each day for learning across 3 months, you would reduce your exam preparations by about 23 hours!
Writing Notes in Class
Minimise the amount of notes you write while a teacher is delivering their class. Students who divide their attention between listening, watching, comprehending and writing notes will only remember about 5% of what was presented 48 hours later – as opposed to 50% if they didn’t write at the same time. You’re also likely to miss vital concepts, resulting in additional study requirements outside school hours.
Sleep, Memory & Learning
During REM sleep, your brain consolidates and processes the information you’ve learned during the day, forms neural connections that strengthen memory, and replenishes its supply of neurotransmitters. The more REM stages per night, the greater the amount of information that is stored in long-term memory. Therefore, aim for at least 7.5 hours of sleep on regular nights and at least 9 hours on days spent preparing for tests and exams.
Extend Beyond What You Learn at School
Extend your knowledge beyond what you learn at school, and read the most popular text books being used across the state. This will expose you to the same information and applications being delivered to other VCE students, giving you a better chance of outperforming a greater number of your subject peers.