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Exam Preparation - Week 1

Updated: Sep 10, 2021

Hi everyone, and welcome to the Connect 2021 VCE Media blog! My name’s Stefan, and over the next 9 weeks I will be sharing many of the tips, tricks and experiences I’ve gained by completing the Media course and by teaching it here with Connect. Firstly, a little bit about me:

  • I finished Year 12 in 2017, with a study score of 50 in Media. Although my Media studies all happened under the older study design, I have noticed that there are lots of similarities between the old and new versions, and I’ve become really interested in what the 2018-2022 design has to offer for all of you.

  • I’m currently studying Secondary Education/Arts at Monash University, and becoming a Media teacher is one of my goals in the near future.

  • As for a fun fact about me, because this is Media I’d like to share my favourite film which is Hot Rod (dir. Akiva Schaffer, 2007), starring Andy Samberg. It is a modern classic, and if you need some new films to practice your skills of applying codes and conventions I would highly recommend this one.

The real purpose of these blogs is to support all of you in the lead up to exams, by providing week-to-week confidence boosters that can help you decide where to direct your attention for study. The other really great thing about these posts is that you get to hear from someone who has recently been through the process themselves and who knows how it feels to be in your positions right now. With that in mind, I’ll try and cast my mind back to September 2017...

Spring had just begun (sprung?), which often meant that Year 12’s were beginning to feel the heat of exams creeping up on them. I had seen it happen to year levels above me, and I was definitely beginning to understand it myself. Looking back, I can see that this is certainly still the case - my younger brother is studying Year 12 Media just like all of you, and I can tell that the thought of exams is becoming increasingly larger and more stressful.

However, looking back at my phone’s camera roll for September 2017, there’s another side to this story that I’d almost forgotten about, and one that I’d like to share. I have pictures of:

  • learning to drive,

  • birthday parties (why are there so many birthdays in September??),

  • hanging out outside with my dog and

  • playing soccer for school sports.

Now, I realise that these specific examples aren’t exactly applicable this year, but I think the meaning is still here: while September does mean that exam prep starts to loom over you, it’s also a really important time to relax and collect yourselves. Enjoy it! The weather finally starts to lighten up, the final round of SACs come and go, and it’s almost like a period of ‘calm before the storm,’ where you have the chance to take a breath and prepare yourself for what comes next.

With that being said, there are certainly still some things you can be doing during this time. For many of you, your teachers will still be teaching you about agency and control in the media, and how communication theories can be used to explain phenomena caused by media texts in the real world. I’m planning to write a more in-depth piece on this topic in a later post, but for now my main advice is to really become familiar with examples of specific evidence of media influence. One piece I remember to this day was something my teacher called the ‘Masterchef effect’: an episode of Masterchef would play, and the next day would see supermarkets selling out of the main ingredients used by the chefs. Much like codes and conventions examples for your Unit 3, memorising these bits of evidence to use in assessments will make your life 1000% easier. If you can link them to a communication theory that explains why the influence happened, even better! I remember sitting in my last SAC, having spent the weekend practicing questions with all the evidence bits I’d come to learn, and finishing off the SAC feeling super confident.

The other thing I did for Media during this time was to really reflect on my production, and all the efforts I put into creating and submitting my folio. I have so much respect for the class of 2021 in trying to get those productions done - I remember it being one of the hardest things I did in Year 12, and I didn’t have the added pressure of lockdown, so pat yourselves on the back for that one! This is also important because reflection on your production appears as assessed material in your exam. You all put so much effort into creating those projects, so it would be a shame to waste all that creative thinking now - taking the time to reflect really helped me solidify the ways I could write about my production.

That’s everything I have to share for this week, but there is plenty more to come! I will be posting more of the tricks I used to ace Media, as well as recounting some of my own Year 12 experiences in the lead up to exams. Have a great week!

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