4 Main Hurdles Getting in the Way of VCE Success

The mid-year break is finished, and students are heading back for term 3. For students in year 12, this is often a time for panic. With SACs piling up and exams creeping closer and closer, students start to really feel the enormity of the task ahead of them. How your child faces the next few months will have a profound impact on their performance on their exams in November. Now is the time for them to get over their bad habits that are stopping them from achieving their full potential. Today, I will go through the 4 main hurdles getting in the way of VCE success, and give some tips for how you can help your child overcome them.


1. Lack of a Plan

Studying hard is important, but there is a big difference between planned study and unplanned study. A student who doesn’t have a plan will read through their notes, flip aimlessly through their textbook and struggle through a pile of practice exams. And they will ultimately miss something or get overwhelmed. The best thing your child can do at this stage of the year is to take a step back and ask themselves some questions: What do I need to know for the exam? Can I break down the course into several smaller topics? What areas do I have the most difficulty on? What should I revise first? By asking these questions, your child will be able to plan more clearly what they need to study and when.


2. Excuses

It is very easy to make excuses. As a tutor, I have heard them all.

“I got a bad mark on my SAC, but so did all my friends.”

“I couldn’t study for the test, because I had too much on that week.”

“I got a bad mark on the exam because my teacher didn’t explain it well.”

Sometimes, these reasons may be valid. But more often than not, students make excuses so that they don’t have to take responsibility for their own success or failure. This is a habit that should be discouraged. One of the most common traits of successful people is that they always take responsibility for their own fate. Successful people accept that their success and their failure are in their own hands, and work hard to achieve their goals. When your child performs poorly, ask them how they can improve next time; when they perform well, congratulate them and ask them what they did to perform so well. Show your child that their performance is up to them.


3. Distractions

This one is an obvious one. Video games, text messages, Skype, Facebook, TV, comics and movies are just a few of the things that can distract students from their studies. Year 12 students are especially good at distracting themselves; some students even clean their house to avoid studying! The best way to prevent your child from getting distracted is to separate work from leisure. Your child should have a specific time and place to relax, and a specific time and place to study. For example, your child should know that when they come home, they can relax for half and hour, then spend an hour at their desk working, then have dinner, relax and watch TV. If your child has a clear study timetable and a designated study space, they are far less likely to get distracted.


4. Fear

All VCE students feel scared, anxious or nervous sometimes. This is natural; year 12 is a stressful year. What is important is how your child handles their fears. There are always some students who let their anxieties overcome and become paralysed by their fear; they don’t know where to start studying, they make silly mistakes in their exams, and they start to give up. As a parent, the most important thing you can do for your child is to look after their emotional wellbeing. Talk to them about what they are worried about, and make plans to overcome these worries. If they are worried about a particular subject, it’s not too late to seek tutoring, and give their performance a much-needed boost. By making clear plans and getting organised at this time of year, you can turn your child’s fear, anxiety and nerves into motivations, determination and success.

Alice in ATAR-land – Why the Cheshire Cat was a genius

When you find yourself choosing subjects for Year 12, there are a number of questions you must ask yourself. The first relates to the story of Alice in Wonderland written by Lewis Carroll.


If you are unfamiliar with the story, it goes like this:


Alice goes on an adventure through a land of make believe meeting such characters on her journey including the Mad Hatter, the White Rabbit and the Queen of Hearts.


But the always smiling Cheshire Cat has the most insight in my opinion.


Can you remember him?


There’s a time in the story when Alice is walking along and reaches a fork in the road. She has the option of going left or right.


She didn’t know which way to go and was in a state of panic. Looking upwards towards the heavens she looked for some form of direction. Her eyes met with those of the smiling Cheshire Cat casually sitting above her in the tree.


Almost instantly Alice spoke out glancing at the divided road: “Which way should I go?” After a moment of silence, the Cheshire cat said, “That depends…”


Alice said, “Depends on what?”


The cat said, “It depends on your destination. Where are you going?”


“I don’t know….I just don’t know….” answered a confused Alice.


“Then,” said the Cheshire cat, while grinning broadly….“It really does not matter.”

Before you select subjects for VCE ask yourself, what outcome do you want to achieve?


Think about that for a moment. Get clear on it.


Although it sounds simple, don’t brush this question off because it pays to get really clear.


Our goal is to help you attain the highest possible ATAR so you have your pick of tertiary courses when the time comes and in most cases, the best subjects to choose in order to achieve the highest possible ATAR are subjects you enjoy and subjects you can study for.


Do you enjoy writing? Can you see yourself writing as a career option? Are you interested in money matters and finance? Do you enjoy business and current events? Do you have an interest in the latest gadgets and seek out the latest in technological advancements? Perhaps you are more logical and enjoy mathematics and science.


Your answers to these questions will help you decide which subjects to choose for your VCE.

For example, if you are interested in business studies and commerce, choosing subjects like Chemistry, Physics and Specialist Maths just because they scale up probably wouldn’t be your best option.


English, Maths Methods, accounting, economics, further maths and business studies might be a better fit.

Similarly, you may enjoy singing, but if after years of practice are no closer to being the next Mariah Carey or Michael Jackson, it might be a good idea to leave music performance as a hobby, and choose subjects that you can study for.

The first step is to get really clear on your outcome. Of course, that’s only the first step.

For more information about how the ATAR is calculated, study scores and scaling, visit www.vtac.edu.au or book a free assessment and consultation by calling 1800 668 177.