Tutor Doctor’s Top Tips for Preparing for the HSC & VCE Trials
Trial exams are almost here, and many students are feeling a little stressed about what lies ahead.
Your final marks will reflect the effort you put in now, but anxiety will only hinder your performance. It’s important to tackle your exams with a confident and focused frame of mind.
Follow these tips to make the most of your time in the lead up to exams.
When people become stressed, they tend to take shallow breaths, and this affects concentration. A lack of deep breaths can make you feel tired and groggy, meaning you can’t retain information as well. To overcome this, stop every now and then to make sure you’re breathing right into your belly. This sends a message to your brain that you’re safe, allowing it to focus on learning.
In the lead up to exams many students drop everything to concentrate on study, but this is actually counterproductive. Exercise is an excellent form of stress relief. It helps take your mind off study and releases happy hormones. It will also help you sleep more deeply. We recommend you take regular time out from study to go for a run, play sport, or do a yoga workout.
Effective study involves careful planning. If you wait until you feel like hitting the books, you’ll find yourself putting it off and cramming at the last minute. This is a guaranteed recipe for anxiety. To achieve your best marks, create a detailed study plan and stick to it.
Summarising class notes doesn’t have to be boring and monotonous. To keep it interesting, get creative by designing tables to list facts or quotes, using diagrams and Powerpoint presentations and by coming up with your own rhymes and acronyms. Anything that helps you focus and retain information will pay off.
Sharing your learning materials and study notes with your classmates can be very beneficial. Teaching concepts to another person is one of the best ways to solidify information in your own brain. Find a buddy or two and organise some study sessions together.
Practice is the name of the game when it comes to studying for the trials and HSC and VCE. One of the best things you can do to prepare yourself for exams is to answer past papers. Time yourself so you get a good idea of how long to devote to each section. This will allow you to get accustomed to the style of questions so you know what to expect.
It’s important to reward yourself after a hard study session by doing something you enjoy, such as hanging out with friends, seeing a movie or going out for a nice meal. When you take regular breaks and do something fun, you’re less likely to experience burnout.
The HSC and VCE are obviously an important milestone, but many students fall into the trap of thinking their final mark will define the rest of their lives. The truth is there are many ways to get to the career or course you want. Give every exam your best shot, knowing that whatever happens, you’re going to be just fine.