Study tips from Premier’s vce awards recipients

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Study tips from Premier’s VCE Awards recipients


Luke Macaronas – St Kevin’s College

Study Score = 50

The thing I liked best about English was… being able to explore my own ideas through texts, and creative writing. The course really doesn’t talk down to students and, coupled with the diversity of texts on offer, allows the construction of your own arguments and ideas. Its emphasis on that independent approach was really important to me.

The best advice I can give students about English is… there is no one right way to do English. Be courageous and set your own independent work standards. Dive deeper than the class or your teacher into that text, essay or story and discover something that resonates with you. This might mean reading academic articles, or researching the history of the novel you are studying. If you can find something you love and are interested in, you will do better in the exam. The best way to do English is to do what you love, so make it work for you!

The best advice I got from my English teacher was… it’s all about quality not quantity. Do not waste your time doing practice papers when you haven’t perfected your essay writing. Instead, put effort into taking the steps towards an excellent essay. Create a quote bank, construct effective sentences, and keep re-drafting till you write that perfect paper. Then, and only then, start writing to time. That’s not to say don’t study or practice, just study smart! Focus on the things you need to improve, so while everyone else is pumping out half-prepared practices, you will be getting ahead.

One month before the final English exam, I… began writing regular practices. Every week I tried to complete two practice papers, one to time, and one spread across the week, so by the end of each week I had six essays. I would then annotate these essays, compiling a list of spelling errors and new sentences and re-drafting essays.

One week before the final English exam, I… wrote one essay a day. Rotating through each English task, I attempted the most difficult questions and practice papers – the ones I had been avoiding most of the year. Having already done a lot of practice essays, this week was about preparing for the worst-case scenario, focusing on ways to tackle unexpected or difficult prompts.

On English exam day, I prepared myself by… keeping calm and focused. I got up early and gave myself heaps of time to eat breakfast and travel to school. At school I chatted to teachers and friends and tried to enjoy myself. In the exam room I used deep breathing to keep me calm and determined!

After the English exam, I…. had a quick chat to my teachers and friends about what we thought of the paper, and then went home. I had no other exams for the week, and there was little I could gain from dwelling on how I went in the exam. I relaxed for that evening and then threw myself into preparing for the next exam I had.

The best exam advice I received was… to have fun! Remember that VCE and Year 12 is the best and last year of your entire schooling so don’t forget to enjoy it. A lot of people say Year 12 is horrible and hard work, but if you study smart and stay on top of things, it is really manageable, and a time when you make the most precious memories. Treasure your final year at school; make it worthwhile.

I did not work a part-time job during Year 12 because… I was way too busy! But that’s not to say I just did school work. Most mornings I had orchestra or band practice, and most afternoons I had training or debating. I honestly believe I did better in VCE by putting work aside during the year to focus on other activities.

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