Year 12 exams are the most challenging time in a student’s academic life and figuring out how to start their preparations can be overwhelming. As you know, students need support and guidance throughout this process, and to be successful, they need to create consistent and routine study habits from day one.
That’s why we have compiled some practical and useful exam preparation strategies to do just that. This 12-month Year 12 Exam Preparation Guide has been designed for teachers to share with their students to help them form good study habits, be better prepared for exams and feel confident for the year ahead.
Welcome to Year 12 and your final year of high school! This year can be both exciting and daunting, and when it comes to preparing exams you may be thinking where do I begin? The best place to start is by thinking of what you can do now to help you at the end of the year – vague, right? That’s okay, we have listed some practical strategies below to help you get started.
A plan on a page
Develop and commit to your study plan early in the year. Define what studying will look like for you. For example: 20mins of revision > followed by a 10min break > for 1hr > every school night. Put as much detail in as you need but remember to tweak this as you go, depending on what is and isn’t working for you. Share you plan with your family and friends, so they are aware of the goals you’ve set yourself – ask them to check in to keep you on track.
Summarise as you go
At the end of each week or day, summarise what you have learned in class. Write down what you remember in your own words and compare it against the class material or textbook – include any information you missed or didn’t get quite right. This will not only help deepen your understanding of the topic, but act as a useful refresher for revision.
Tackle tricky topics head on
Learned something in class but struggling to get a grasp on it? It is best to jump over these hurdles as they appear, so if you don’t understand something, don’t procrastinate. Ask your teacher for some extra help and re-read the class material/chapter in your text or watch videos.
studyON is a study, revision and an exam practice tool and has been designed for year-round use. By accessing it on a weekly basis, you can revise and examine your understanding of a topic while it’s fresh in your mind. Review what you’ve learned by reading the Concept screens, watch videos in See more and complete interactivities in Do more. Once you have reviewed the topic, go in and test your knowledge in the Practice Questions section, which includes many past exam questions. Keep your own in-platform notes and use them for revision later in the year.
Extra tip: check if you have studyON by looking on the inside cover of your Jacaranda textbook for a studyON access code.
By now you have found what works for you and have formed some good study habits. You should continue to review the topics you’ve learned and, if you haven’t already, start working on your examination skills.
Utilise a range of revision resources
Make use of all the revision resources at your disposal. This can include your notes, class material, end of chapter tests in your textbook, online resources and more. Don’t forget, your teacher is a key resource so ask them for advice, show them what you’ve been doing and what resources you’re using to make sure you are on the right track.
Find engaging ways to study
Finding different ways to study can not only help you better retain information but can help prevent the ultimate study-killer – procrastination. Try not to make it too complicated. Something as easy as flash-cards can be really effective. Other study ideas include:
- Watching videos
- Starting a competition with a friend
- Creating posters and mind-maps
- Using interactive learning materials
- Become the teacher – teach your parent or friend the topic
- Creating acronyms for tricky concepts
Find or form a study group
Consider joining or creating a study group, where you can swap ideas, refine understanding and discover new study techniques. When working as a team, allow for distractions but keep each other on track. Take 5-minute breaks where you can chat and then get straight back to it.
Practise examination skills
Start with learning how to answer different question types (e.g. essay, multiple choice, short-answer, long-answer), what the command terms mean (e.g. explain, analyse, justify) and how to respond accordingly. Next, practise time management by sitting past exams and completing them under mock-examination conditions. Think about the strategies you will take – for example, starting with easy questions and leaving the trickier ones until the end, or answering the questions with the most points attached to it first.
Put your knowledge to the test in the Practice section, as it contains official exam questions (VCE and HSC) from the past 10+ years. Mix up your study techniques by downloading the Concept screens to use as flash cards. Practise your exam skills by completing the past few official exams in the Sit Exams section and test yourself under mock examination conditions. You also get feedback on every question in studyON, so you know what topics and concepts you are doing well in, and where you might need to brush up.
This is the pointy end of the year, and it is important to remember that all the hard work you have put in has prepared you for this. It’s time to piece everything you have done so far together and form a plan of attack.
Map out the next 30 days
If you have a job, think about the days you are working and whether you will need to work less throughout your exam period. Don’t forget to account for any parties or events. If they disrupt your study plans, consider whether you need to attend.
Revise, practise and revise again
Although it is important not to overdo it at this stage, setting aside 30-60mins each day for revision and exam practice will help you feel better prepared. Do this in small doses, as it will help you remember the information and will reduce any extra stress. Again, take some time to complete practice exams, remembering that exams are different to the assessments you complete throughout the year, as they test your knowledge on the subject as a whole rather than a specific topic.
Plan for the exam
Write down how you are going to tackle the exam on the day. Consider how long you will spend on each question and what to do if you get stuck. Write a list of everything you need for the day (e.g. pens, pencils, protractors, calculators) and make sure it adheres to the examination rules (e.g. clear pencil case, no labels). Also, remember to factor in your meals – forgetting to eat a (healthy) meal before an exam can impact your concentration.
Review your in-platform notes and the important topics you’re likely to be assessed on. Take a look at your My Results section, which will help identify any knowledge gaps, so you can put some extra effort into your weaker areas. If you need to, complete some extra practice questions or exams.
We hope this guide serves your students well throughout the year and helps them feel better prepared for their exams. Don’t forget to download the printable A3 version and share it with your students. You may even like to put it up on the classroom wall to act as a reminder throughout the year!