• Risha

Week starting 12 October

Some important areas examiners LOVE to focus on, and you should too!

Hi all,


As we have all seen, VCAA is quite a predictable board sometimes when it comes to questions. They love asking students about specific topics, and if you look closely there are patterns that crop up every year. Especially if a question type or topic has been done badly in the past, they’re quite likely to ask it again!!

So, I’ve scoured through both the examination reports and have come up with a handy dandy list of things VCAA may focus on in this year’s exam. Obviously, this is just a prediction based on past trends/patterns, I could be completely off with all of this, so use this as a guide rather than a definitive tip!

VCAA has pointed out a few dot points that were not focused on well enough in last year’s exam so it is possible that they will pop up again. These include:


  • Sentence Indications and Plea negotiations (specifically, their appropriateness)

  • How Australian people can act as a check on Parliament

  • Injunctions

  • Roles of the judge and the jury

  • The principles of Justice

  • Relationships between Courts and Parliament

  • Doctrine of Precedent

Some areas from the 2018 exam where students struggled:


  • Appropriateness of VCAT and CAV (53% got it right)

  • Individuals influencing law reform (48%)

  • Reasons for, and effects of statutory interpretation (47%)

  • The significance of S109 (make sure you can nail at least 4 marks for this point) (51%)

  • Parliamentary committees and their influence on law (44%)

  • Describe the ability of Parliament to change the law (28%)

Skills to Focus on:

  • Try and mirror the language in the question to make sure you’re really sticking into the question being asked!!

  • MAKE SURE YOU’RE ALWAYS LINKING BACK TO THE SOURCE MATERIAL

  • The task word “relationship” might be scattered in there because it was done very poorly in the past. Words like “leads to”, “consequently”, “therefore” etc. are perfect for such questions!!

  • Asking about significance/impacts of things!! They’re looking to see how you focus on the actual significance or the relative importance of something rather than just telling a long-winded story about it!!

  • They always chuck in really sneaky absolute questions “always/never”- make sure you never ever agree with them!! Nothing in the study design is ever completely good or completely bad! These are always discuss/evaluate questions in disguise

  • Similarly, they will ask if things are better or better than, these are also similar to discuss and evaluates!

  • Lastly, don’t be boring!! Do not give them 3 definitions at the start of a huge response, you will be wasting everyone’s time!! They do not care about definitions unless they have specifically asked for one in a longer response.

Lastly here are some important points from the VCAA gods themselves (this can be found at the beginning of the 2019 exam report)

Those are some tips from me to you! I would definitely focus in on these areas, especially if you’re not super comfortable with them. This is not to say that other topics are not as important, other stuff can definitely crop up, but these areas sort of have an extra focus on them!! You should definitely aim to know the study design inside out if you are aiming for a 40+!!

Good luck everyone and Happy Studying!


Have a question?


In the final weeks before exams Risha will be hosting 2 Live Q&A sessions to help everyone get fully prepared for exams. If you have a question on how to best get prepared, have been stuck on an exam question or want to clarify an area of content send it through here, and Risha might answer it live!

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