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.
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.
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.
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.