10 step plan for VCE exam success

This article is slightly amended from the version which was published in the Herald Sun Learn section on September 23rd.

1. Use the Charles Dicken's imagery strategy. Vividly imagine the entire year with the "ghost" of VCE past, present and future. For the past and present critically evaluate your learning and preparation for each individual exam. Fast-forward to the day you receive your ENTER score or first round tertiary offers. Will you be ecstatic or devastated by the future you face? Experience these emotions and use them to compel you to greater VCE results.

2. Write out all your appointments and tasks immediately: This may include:

Personal and teacher appointments
All school related activities
exam dates and locations
study dates and times on large monthly planners for the next 24 hours
See the VCE resources section for study planners and calendars. Place these calendars above your desk so you can readily see your time frame and map out your study plan accordingly.

3. Review all SAC's and assessment tasks to determine areas of strength and weakness. Are the areas of weakness related to poor knowledge, the application of your knowledge or your examination technique? Consult with your teacher to confirm.

4. Make 3 appointments to see your teacher in each subject: 1. ASAP to discuss SAC performance, receive practice exams and other preparation materials such as summary notes or overheads etc. 2. About 2 weeks before exams to review answers to practice papers and to improve performance in specific areas. 3. 3 days before the exam for final clarification and exam preparation.

5. Complete your summary notes for mid year exams by June 1st and October 1st for the end of year VCE exams. Develop these into multiple 1 page Mind-Maps, colourful summary/concept notes at least 3 weeks before the exams begin. Produce "cheat sheets" (sheets that you are permitted to take into the exam-check each exam for specific details) for exams where this is appropriate should be completed at least 3 weeks prior to the exam so you have adequate time to complete practice questions and past exams using them (and adjusting if required).

6. Work in 45 or 50 minute blocks. Then have a small 5 minute break then spend at least 5 minutes actively reviewing that sessions work. You will improve your retainment of this information by over 50% and by over 90% if you review the work each week before the exam.

7. Practice your exam performance under exam conditions, using the same materials and at the same time as your real exam. That way you can learn how to deal with the distractions, the exam pressure and how to avoid the dreaded hunger pains!

8. Aim to eat a small, balanced and nutritious meal every 3-5 hours. This will help to control your blood sugar levels and will go a long way to maintaining your energy levels, keep your mood elevated and hunger at bay.

9. Master how to stress less by gently breathing in through your nose feeling the breathe travel down to inflate the lower abdomen. Slowly release the air to "leak" back up and out through the nose. Try to slow down the breathing with each consecutive breath and repeat at least ten times.

10. Study creatively and combine visual, auditory and kinaesthetic (physical) techniques for learning. Multi-sensory learning creates greater memory associations (linkages) than single sensory learning which means you can remember more easily. For example, to remember your English quotes conduct a role play with a partner and act out the character with passion. You could even talk in a foreign accent or record your role-play as a podcast and listen to them when exercising. If you don't have exams coming up soon this process is equally as important to develop and use during SAC's, practice exams and the G.A.T.

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