Hey guys! We’re nearly done, can you believe it?
I really hope that, despite the circumstances, you’ve all enjoyed your year and learning Psychology. I also really hope that you’ve all enjoy this blog and that it’s been a useful resource for you.
As we approach the 12th November (the date of the Psych exam, plz don’t forget) I know it can be difficult to know what to do. As I approached the final days before my exam, I was really confused and overwhelmed; I had done all of the important things, so I wasn’t sure what else to do for Psychology.
I know this is a very stressful time for a lot of students, especially with the English Exam the day before. Here are some things that helped me to feel more confident and prepared in the last few days.
My main priority in the final days before the exam was to reflect on:
• past exam papers and examiner’s reports
• tricky questions
• difficult concepts in my notes
A big mistake a lot of students make is doing an exam paper and never looking at it again. Hopefully you all have some papers or have made a mistakes document, so that
you can reflect on things you struggled with. If you have lost or thrown out your past Psych exams, it’s not the end of the world! Take time to go through the dot-points in the study design, and determine which you are still struggling with. This applies for everyone too; make sure that you’re confident with everything mention in the dot-points, as VCAA could examine you on any of these.
This will help to guide your final revision and highlight the things you really need to cover before the exam.
2. Don’t overwhelm yourself
In the final week of revision, I was very careful not to overwhelm myself. I didn’t want to lose too much confidence or burn myself out before the exam. This is especially important if you’re in Year 12, as you’ll have a lot of VCE exams alongside Psychology.
Personally, I didn’t attempt any more practise exams or questions, I instead spend my time:
• Reflecting on the past exams/examiner’s reports
• Re-attempting questions I got wrong
• Clarifying difficult concepts with my teachers
• Reading the textbook (underrated resource, in my opinion)
While I didn’t attempt any more practise exams, I ensured that I had done the most important ones.
For you guys, I’d really recommend making sure that you’ve done VCAA 2017, 2018 and 2019. In my opinion, these are critical papers (because they are part of the current study design) and are the best reflection of what you’ll encounter on the day of your exam.
3. Revise your notes
Simply revising your notes can be a great way to cement and refresh your knowledge on any concepts you haven’t seen in a while.
However, I really stress the importance of ACTIVE revision to students. That is, sometimes just skimming your notes isn’t the most effective way to absorb content. Whenever I’d ‘skim’ my notes, I’d trick myself into thinking I knew a concept well. However, when I then had to answer a question on it, I couldn’t remember a single thing!
Some ways that I actively revised:
Annotating my notes (e.g. adding extra info, highlighting key words, adding sticky notes etc)
Reading them, then putting them away and repeating it to myself from memory
Applying an example to a concept or figuring out how I would structure an answer for that concept
Explaining concepts to friends and family members
Using flashcards to practise definitions
4. Read the textbook
As I mentioned a little bit earlier, the textbook is definitely an underrated resource in my opinion.
In the lead up to the exam, I loved reading the textbook and it helped me in so many ways, for example:
• Providing more detailed explanations of concepts
• Providing great examples
• Clarified any questions I had and reaffirmed definitions of key terms
I especially think that reading the textbook is a great way to gather extra information for the 10-mark question. It can provide unique and impressive ideas to include. For example, before my exam, I read a long section of the textbook all about shift workers and how sleep deprivation can lead to danger in workplaces. Next thing I knew, that was the topic for the 10-marker in my exam! Reading the textbook had given me so many great examples to use.
I used the Jacaranda textbook in Psychology 3&4, but any textbook is a great resource! I know that Edrolo is also super popular amongst students. Use whatever work for you!
5. Finalise your exam approach
In the final days, I also got my head in the game and finalised:
• The order I’d do the exam in • The time I’d spend on each section • All of my exam materials (i.e. a watch, pens, pencils etc)
I didn’t want to deal with the stress of doing this the night before or on the morning of the exam. This also helped me feel super prepared and ready.
6. Take time for yourself
I had to constantly remind myself that feeling rested and recharged was vital in order for me to handle the exam period. If I pushed myself too hard in the days before the Psych exam, I knew I’d feel burnt out and defeated, which definitely wouldn’t help me at all. So, I definitely took things easy and tried not to cause extra stress for myself. I also made sure I did things I enjoyed and stayed connected to my support networks.
So, that’s it guys! I can’t believe this is nearly the end!
I really hope these final tips will help you all and leave you feeling more confident and prepared in these final days.
Remember that nerves are completely normal, but it’s important to just believe in yourself and try your best. I know that might sound corny, but it’s literally the only thing you can do at this point. Try not to get hung up on scores, ATAR calculator and comparing yourself to your friends. I definitely did this too much, and it only caused me stress. Focus on yourself and giving it your best go!
I know you’ve all had an extremely challenging year; I can’t imagine what it’s been like for you all. I wish you all the best of luck, and really hope you can all enjoy the rest of the year (you truly deserve it).
I’ve loved meeting you all during our lectures; you’ve been a pleasure to teach and made my job so enjoyable!