Tips from Year 12

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2013 Captain’s Advice to our Senior College

Charlotte Riddle, 2013 School Captain, returned to offer some advice to Senior College students at the 2014 HSC and IB Academic Excellence Award Ceremony. Below is a copy of the address she gave.

Good morning everybody, I have some helpful quick tips to help Year 12 for the rest of the year ahead, Year 11 to learn tips this year to be ready for next year and Year 10 to start hearing how to best deal with the HSC.

I asked other Year 12s advice and these are their tips as well as my own: 1. Balance - Nick says balance is a key thing. No need to neglect friends and cocurricular activities during the exams. In his experience, the best and most grounded students are those who have creative outlets. However, this doesn't mean you should go out every Saturday night - moderation is key.

Some of my social and cocurricular things were getting coffee with a friend on the weekend, summer and winter sport. Even on a Sunday, if you’re studying all day, going food shopping with my mum!

2. Study habits - Nick also says that Year 11 should be a time for perfecting individual study methods and habits so by Year 12 you have them in place. For him, he experimented with many ways of taking notes throughout year 11. By Year 12, he had perfected a thematic approach. You do learn a wide amount of ways to write study notes in your seminars during Year 11, so learn these now, try them and find what best suits you. Drew mentions to stay ahead with your study notes as this minimises stress when exams come around.

I had good study notes as I’d made them from multiple sources but when my HSC came around a thing I would do was rewrite a super cut down version and get a topic into say 12 pages because you don’t want to be reading over 40 pages for every topic in every subject in the weeks leading up to the exams. It’s really important to ask people who you know did well from older years for their notes too. I found it a big help!

Drew mentions that a good study habit is to do your work early on and be careful as a lot of assessments can be dropped on you quickly and at the same time! I loved it when I did my work as I was given it, as it allowed you to send in drafts to teachers, for mum and dad to read over which made it easier to perfect and do better. For example, doing let’s say 60-70% of an assessment task in the first week that you’re given it, will give you such a big advantage. Getting an assessment task always seems like a big task - get over that in the first 5 minutes and get straight onto it.

3. Stress - Drew says the HSC isn't the be all and end all of your life. Grace also says that life isn’t just about work; it’s important to keep social and do the things you love as well as study. You don’t need to stress yourself through the HSC, because the time you take up stressing about things is likely to be the time that it would take you to do the task you’re stressing about. Lynley says in order to manage stress, take deep breaths, talk to your family, friends or teachers. If you are stressed during the day, go and exercise and after doing that, have something to eat shower and rest then deal with it and don’t worry about it. Doing this will take your emotions out of the equation.

4. Passion - Rhiona says to choose subjects you love and learn to love the content. There's no point wasting a year hating what you’re doing. Find your passion in each of your courses and that'll keep you sane. Get excited by how much you can learn. Read extra material and immerse yourself in everything about that subject. Rhiona points out one of the biggest most helpful things in Year 12 - use your teachers; they're there for a reason. Sending your teachers answers to practice questions is a big help.

5. Exams and Practice Papers - Lynley says to plan your work and work your plan – revise and teach and explain the concept to another person and read, cover, repeat. Drews says the best advice he could give is to do as any practice papers as you can get your hands on - they are gold! This is so true because it’s like doing your HSC, just not for real. Practice exam papers don’t count so why not do them again and again? When the real exam comes along, you will know exactly what to do what to expect. You will know what order you want to do the exam in and what kind of questions there are.

6. My tips - Just a few quick things from me.

a. Don’t use an ATAR calculator. I know of someone who used one who needed something like 91 to get into his university course. The calculator said he was going to get 91 and he ended up getting 89.
b. Look at universities. Go to the open days in Year 10 and Year 11, and get to know them. I went around to see universities with friends and just seeing them helped me eliminate them and make my choices.
c. Find the right pen - I found this funny tip from a guy who got 99.95 who says to invest in an easy to write with pen. An el cheapo pen can be a greater detriment to your academic career than you may know as they needlessly tire your already overworked hands. My life took a turn for the better when I sat an English exam with a slightly more elegant pen (than your run of the mill Kilometrico pen) for the first time. My pen flew across the page. Thankfully, you don’t need a Mont Blanc pen to achieve this. A 0.7mm Uni-ball Jetstream I picked up from the newsagency did the job perfectly well. I’m not trying to be comedic; having a good pen can really make a difference, especially for English. Another thing that I at first thought was funny but turned out to be true was that I stuck pencil grips on my pens to make them more comfortable when writing.

Have a fabulous year, enjoy yourselves and stay sane. It will all be over so quickly. Thank you.