Week starting 26 October

Welcome back to the Connect Psychology 3&4 Blog!


I hope you’ve all been enjoying this blog and have found it valuable as we approach the exam.

Last week we touched on each section of the exam, but today we’ll be covering the order and timing of each of those sections.


1. Timed practise exams are key


My biggest regret in VCE Psychology: not doing enough timed practise exams.


When I was doing Practise Psych Exams, I tended to take my time writing answers, look at my notes and take frequent breaks. While this allowed me to do Practise Exams thoroughly, it didn’t allow me to test myself under pressure.


While I thought I would be fine in the real exam, this was NOT the case (it was a slight disaster). Because I had not practised my order or timing, I was completely lost and frazzled in the exam. As a result, I kept flipping between sections, didn’t use my reading time effectively and barely finished the paper.


And so, my tip to you all is: try to mimic exam conditions as much as possible! The more timed practise exams you can do, the better.


2. Managing your time in the exam


Managing and being strict on your time can be very difficult during the exam.


Despite the exam being two and a half hours, it absolutely flies. When I was doing my exam, I BARELY finished.


Therefore, finding effective time-management strategies is key. Such as:


Knowing how long you need for each section: by doing timed practise exams, you’ll be able to determine how long you need for each section.

the clock in the exam room, so bring your own watch to

ensure you can keep track of time.

Be strict on your timing: it’s extremely difficult, but you have to tough on yourself and move through the sections as you planned to.

Don’t know? Move on!: I definitely dwelled on questions too much. Make sure you do all the questions you feel confident with first (so you know

you’ve gained some marks).



3. Timing of each section


As I always say, it’s incredibly important to figure out what works best for you. Every student is different in terms of their strengths, writing speed and timing of each section.


Therefore, by doing timed practise exams, you’ll be able to figure out how long each sections takes you.


Some rough guidelines (from my experience):

• Multiple choice: 40-50 minutes (average around 1 minute per multi)

• Short answer : 70-80 minutes

• 10 marker: 30 minutes (needed in order to produce an impressive, holistic response)


4. Order of each section


The order in which to complete each section can be highly variable between students. It completely depends on you and the order that you find most effective.


If you’re struggling, these are some effective orders depending on the type of student you are:


  • The very nervous student (this was me)

- Start with: Multiple Choice. It’s a great way to warm-up when you’re extremely nervous

- Finish with: Extended Response. By leaving the 10 marker until the end, you can warm up and gain information from the multiple choice and short answer.

  • The time-poor student

- Start with: Extended Response - this way you can ensure that you do it properly and spend a good amount time on it.

- Finish with: Multiple Choice - you have a 25% chance of getting it right by guessing, so maybe leave this until the end.

  • The tired student

- In the middle: Multiple Choice - this can be a nice break in between lots of

writing and serve as a bit of a mental break.


Again, these are NOT the only orders that you need to or can use. It’s important you figure out what works best for you, by doing timed practise exams!


It’s also important to be flexible and change your order if necessary: your order may change depending on how you feel in the exam and the difficulty of each section in 2020 Exam.


5. The importance of reading time

Reading time is often overlooked by students.

Many students just look around the room and wait until writing time before they actually look at their paper. For VCE Psychology, I believe that the 15 minutes of reading time are extraordinarily valuable. Although you can’t physically write anything, you can already read questions, plan your answers and decide what you want to start with.


Some tips of how to use your reading time most effectively:

  • Use it for the section you are going to start with: this will save you A LOT of time when you start writing (e.g. some students read all the multis in reading time, and can answer the first 30 in around 10-15 minutes).

  • Don’t skim questions: take a moment to actually read them and plan out your response.

  • Identify difficult questions that you will leave until the end.

  • Already take a look at the 10 marker (even if you won’t start with it): when you’re completing the rest of the exam, you can pick up info from the multis and short answer that you might include in your extended response.

Hopefully these tips help you all when doing your practise exams!

Again, try to do as many timed practise exams as you can: these mimic the exam settings and will prepare you for the pressure of the actual exam.

It was by far my greatest regret that I didn’t practise my exam timing enough; it left me feeling extremely stressed, unprepared and deflated during the Psychology Exam. I really don’t want that to happen to any of you!

Best of luck with your exam practise, and I’ll see you all in the next one!

Have a question?

In the final weeks before exams Ashleigh 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 Ashleigh might answer it live!

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