Year 12 is no doubt a stressful year for everyone, and at times you may feel like you’re alone. But it doesn’t have to be like this. Think about your peers. You guys are like one big team who are going through this journey together. Now think about your teachers. They are your biggest support throughout this entire year and you should utilise them to the best of your ability. They are equipped with the best knowledge to help you through the year! Knowing this, I was able to form study groups and ask for help from my teacher whenever I needed help, and I felt extremely supported in doing so.
Teamwork makes the dream work
I found studying alone really draining when I was in Year 12. When I studied alone, I felt unmotivated and unproductive. However, I realised that VCE is like playing a team sport. You can work together with your peers to achieve similar goals, and hype your fellow team mates up whenever they are feeling stressed. Especially for HHD, I was part of a group chat with a group of around 8 other students who were also doing HHD. Whenever I didn’t understand a concept, I would message the group so that another group member could explain it to me and vice versa. In doing this, I was able to learn from other people, as well as consolidate my knowledge by explaining concepts to my peers. Through this active group chat and study sessions, we were able to lift each other’s spirits for the exams and sacs, as well as provide each other with confidence to push ourselves through the tough year!
Teachers are often very underappreciated in school. They work numerous hours to provide the best support for all us students. I was a very shy student in high school, and I wasn’t the type to put my hand up in class to ask questions. However, I didn’t want to let any lingering questions haunt me until the exam day, so I always booked one-to-one sessions with my teacher so she could give me feedback on the practice exam questions that I completed, and identify areas for improvement. I didn’t do full practice exams, but I completed the extended response and data analysis questions that I struggled with, and handed it to my teacher to explain the breakdown of marks. In doing so, I became more confident for the exam.
Be humble & don’t be afraid!
There were a lot of things I found difficult with HHD, and I wasn’t ashamed that I didn’t know the answer or that I was struggling with the subject. There were so many people around me that could help me and provide me with appropriate advice in order to improve my skills and be more confident in the subject. Throughout my Year 12 journey, I realised the importance of asking for help when needed, because it is when I asked for help that I realised the important role that teachers play in helping students excel to the full potential. Furthermore, having the support of your peers can really lift your spirits before the exam, especially through study groups. I found it so much better to study as a group, rather than sitting at home all alone, cramming for hours at my desk, with no friendly faces to discuss topics with. The main thing I learnt from all this is that it’s definitely ok not to be ok!
How to make the most of Year 12 (even when in lockdown)
You may have heard many things about how to approach year 12. Some of your parents may be putting immense pressure on you to get that 99.95 or that raw 50, which means that you may want to sit at your desk and intensely do practice exams all day. You may also believe that Year 12 is the most important year of your life, which means that the world will somehow end if you don’t happen to do as well as you’d hoped. While Year 12 is an important year, it is not the be all end all. I used to face this family pressure as I was going through high school, but now after graduating, I’ve learned that there are so many different pathways you can take in order to do what you want to do, and that if you really work hard and strive towards those goals, you will definitely get there in the end, without needing that 99.95 ATAR! So how did I really spend my Year 12 days?
Party party PARTY!!
You may be thinking this is so counterintuitive and may be asking, shouldn’t you be focusing on your SACs and exams? Well yes, I definitely focused on my assessments, but I seized every opportunity to socialise with my friends whenever I could. I balanced my study time with my social life so that I could attend birthday parties (18ths), and concerts (I attended two concerts that year, both of them being on the same week as my English SAC yikes). Attending these events was a huge destressor before going back to the textbooks and trying to absorb more information. Furthermore, this year is probably the last time you’ll ever see your friends every day again, so it is best to make the most of every opportunity to hang out with your friends when possible. In the context of 2020, where everything has gone virtual, this is understandably very different. However, scheduling calls with friends (that are not study calls), and having long chats into the nice or having a Netflix party for one night will definitely not make you ‘fail’ VCE.
Besides focusing on my VCE subjects, there was a range of extracurricular activities that were on offer that I participated in. I was part of the school debating team, as well as swimming and tennis clubs outside of school. By participating in these activities, my mind wandered away from the ‘sustainable development goals’, but I focused on making new friends in my cohort and forming new memories. There were also house events that I participated in, such as house swimming, athletics and a lip synching competition (yes that I was a thing at our school and it was probably the most enjoyable event of year 12). Again, while you won’t be able to participate in these events while in lockdown, there are still clubs and societies that are still running online events such as trivia nights or games nights that you could definitely participate in! In terms of sports, you could always go for a run/walk, or do at-home workouts with your friends or a sporting club. Be creative, and take your mind off VCE for a bit!
So what’s next…?
Year 12 is no doubt a tough year, but it is an extremely exciting year! There are so many memories you can make with your friends, and not everything has to evolve around the 4 numbers that you get in December. Despite being locked down this year, and not being able to spend meaningful time with your friends, try and schedule some zoom calls and organise fun events that you can do together while sitting in your own bedroom (please no study calls). Maybe you can plan things that you want to do after lockdown! Whatever it is, my final message is have fun and make the most of your final year, and don’t stress about studying too much (although you shouldn’t neglect your studies either!)
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, have been stuck on an exam question or want to clarify an area of content send it through here, and Martina might answer it live