Updated: Sep 10
It’s the end of the year and you are all probably exhausted from cramming a year’s worth of content AND content from all your other subjects into your brains. Some of you may be suffering from lack of motivation or complete burn out. But it doesn’t have to be like this. You don’t have to become nocturnal, and sit at your desk for 10+ hours into the night trying to memorise the dimensions of health & wellbeing. And you CERTAINLY don’t have to sleep with your HHD textbook under your pillow, hoping that all the content passively diffuses through to your brain. There are definitely more efficient ways that you can learn all the SDGs & the health status indicators without ruining your own mental health & wellbeing.
Here is what I did at this point in time leading up to the exams.
1. Making those links!
Throughout the year, I realised that the concepts in HHD link to a lot of real-life situations happening both nationally and globally. Most of these stories are ones that you would often hear on the news, or happen to stumble across while exploring all the nooks and crannies of the vast internet. What I did every night was watch the news with my family while we gathered for dinner. While watching the news, I would discuss the stories I saw that I could make a link to HHD with. For example, if I had heard about a flood happening in a third-world country, I would ask myself, how does that affect the health & wellbeing & human development of people in those countries? What SDGs would this situation relate to? By asking myself these questions and explaining the links to family, I was actively learning the content, without having to sit at my desk and write notes. Active learning makes life a lot more fun...and of course, less stressful!
2.Acting as the examiner
Ever heard teachers emphasise the importance of relying on the study design? However, what does this really mean? We are all very fortunate because HHD is a subject that is content and application-based. Back in Year 11, I would grab the study design and make notes under each dot-point to confirm that I knew & understood the material. However, I realised that questions on the exam will not be designed for you to simply list everything you know about each dot-point, but it will ask you to link concepts together...especially to the dimensions of health & wellbeing. With this realisation, and the help of my Psych teacher who changed my life, I developed a new method of studying for content-heavy subjects, including HHD. Under each study design dot point, I would write my own questions and allocate my own marks to each question that I designed. I used previous exam questions as a guide. Then, I tried answering these questions myself, with the knowledge of what each mark might contribute to. In doing so, I was actively aware of what the examiner is looking for in each of the questions, which definitely helped me answer questions on practice exams and the real exam as well.
3.Making summary tables
Everyone’s learning styles are different but I found that doing summary tables to interrelate the different dimensions of health or the factors that impact on the health status of different populations in Australia really helpful. Summary tables allowed me to keep the content organised, and I could refer to them or add to them any time.
4.Explaining concepts to my friends
Back in Year 12, I had a HHD study group and the purpose of this group was to share anything we didn’t understand and to hype each other up before the exam. In any subject, I found that by teaching other people what you’ve learnt, as well as listening to others explain their perspectives on certain concepts, you are also consolidating your own knowledge. Therefore, whenever any of my friends were unsure about a certain topic, I would offer to try and explain questions to them ALOUD. In doing so, I also stumbled across gaps in my knowledge that I also needed to brush up on, and hence, I focused on those specific topics before the exam. Furthermore, we also tried to answer questions and then critique each other’s answers by being each other’s examiner.
Find your best way of studying!
These are the things I did in the lead-up to exams, but my methods may not be useful for everyone so you may find better ways of studying content than I did that works for you! At this point in time I was really trying to find ways to learn content that worked best for me, and if methods were ineffective, I would immediately find new ways to improve. I talked to past VCE students, teachers and my friends as well to see what they did, and to get some advice on how I could improve what I was doing.
So BEST OF LUCK CLASS OF 2020!! You are all going to be HHD geniuses when the exam comes around :)
Have a question?
In the final weeks before exams Martina 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, a question about an exam question or area of content send it through here, and Martina might answer it live!