School’s out, but that doesn’t mean VCE stops. Holidays offer a great time for you to revise what you covered during class at your own pace, or to read ahead and bring your ‘A game’ to the new term. Now, we’re not saying you should devote all your holidays to studying – life is about balance. But in between going out with friends, getting into shape and watching Netflix, you should take on board these subject-specific tips from Victoria’s top-scoring students to start the new term on the right foot.
In general, doing well in any of English, EAL, English Language, or Literature involves some disciplined practising of the very skill you’ll be using in the end-of-year exam – writing. Now that you’re on holiday, you have the time you need to sit yourself down and practise writing a text response or analytical commentary. If you’re not sure how to start, a good place to begin is with the VCAA examiner reports – read through other students’ model essays/analyses, note down useful vocabulary and quotes, and take note of the way high-scoring pieces were structured.
In any case, make sure you’re practising to write by hand – this way you can work on the legibility of your writing. In addition, don't hesitate to send your essay off to your teacher or tutor – they'll be thrilled to see your enthusiasm and dedication.
For English, specifically, you might want to also consider the following advice:
Because math subjects tend to keep building on previous topics, it’s important that you use your holiday time to clear up any foundational topics you’re a bit hazy on. Here’s what we recommend:
The holidays are also a good time to work on your bound reference. However, heed this warning: do not spend hours copying theory from the textbook into your bound reference – it’s not going to be useful in the exam! What you want in the exam are examples of working out for questions you find challenging. That’s why we recommend breaking up your bound reference into chapters (corresponding to major topics), and noting down key formulas/tips followed by neatly written questions and working out.
If you’re doing Biology, Chemistry, Physics, or Psychology, it’s critical that you not only learn and understand theories and formulas, but also apply these to various scenarios.
In particular, VCAA places strong emphasis on experimental approaches in these subjects. Unfortunately, students often neglect experimental techniques and consequently lose these valuable marks in the exam. Instead, turn experimental techniques into your strength these holidays by following the steps below:
A major difficulty students face in humanities and folio subjects is that they are respectively super content-heavy and workload-heavy.
That’s why, if you are a humanities student, holidays are a great time for making summaries, posters, flowcharts, flashcards, rhymes, mnemonics, timelines – anything that will help you organise all the content in your head and ultimately remember it.
For instance, for History: Revolutions you could try the following during your holidays:
If you’re taking a folio subject like Studio Arts, chances are you’re already determined to knuckle down on your folio over the break. This is not a bad idea; however, there are a few things to keep in mind while doing so that will ensure success in this awesome subject:
There is no doubt that you deserve a study break after the whirlwind of the school term. But as tempting as it is to spend your two weeks blissfully unaware of your responsibilities, keep in mind that ignoring VCE won’t make it go away – or make going back to the new school term any easier.
Maintaining a solid work ethic and applying the tips we’ve discussed to your holiday study routine will have a positive impact on both your productivity during the break, and your overall level of success during the VCE year. Remember, holidays and the free time they stand for are a precious resource, so use them wisely.