University – what is it like?

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University – what is it like?


Many of you may be considering going into university after you finish high school, however a lot of you may be wondering what is university like, how will you know it is something for you because university is not for everyone.

How is high school similar to university?

  • Assessments – in most units you will complete an in-semester assignment and at the end of the semester you will sit an exam.
  • Lecturer and tutor – there are lecturers and tutors present who take you through the course content and can be a point of contact for you.
  • Structure—you still have a timetable to follow, specific subjects and classes to attend.
  • Social aspect—uni is great for meeting new people, making friends in and out of class, and hanging out! There are always heaps of clubs and societies you can join, including sports, visual and performing arts, and more.
  • Support services—just like high schools, universities tend to look after their students pretty well, providing academic, financial, career, mental health and other types of services. You’ll be treated as an adult, but that doesn’t mean adults don’t need help too!

How is high school different to university?

  • Class size – depending on the course you are taking lectures can have more than 100 students in them. You average high school class size is around 25 students, whereas there are uni tutorials that have around 15-20 students inthem.
  • Independence – you are in control in university. Nobody is going to tell you to complete your work. Academics will give you the dates of what assessments you need to do and when they are due at the beginning of the semester and it is up to you to do the work and hand it in on time.
  • HECS – going to university will cost you money and if you are an Australian citizen you can take out a HECS/HELP loan from the government to cover the cost of your degree. This loan will be paid when you do your taxes and reach a certain income threshold.
  • Timetable – you are in control of your timetable. You can schedule your classes early in the morning or in late in the afternoon.
  • Less contact hours – depending on the course that you do you will most likely have less contact hours at university than you do at high school
  • Attendance – attendance is generally not monitored like it is in high school. You are expected to turn up to lectures and tutorials however you don’t have to. In some courses, attendance at tutorials is compulsory.
  • Recorded lectures – in most courses lectures are recorded and placed online for students to listen if they missed the class or to re-listen again for private revision.
  1. The best way to out more about university life or to learn more about a certain course that you want to do at university is to attend university open days.

LearnMate is Australia’s leading tutoring agency offering private lessons in all HSC, WACE, VCE & SACE subjects including English, maths, science, humanities, foreign languages, and so much more. Our mission is simple: to provide professional, engaging and enthusiastic HSC, WACE, VCE & SACE tutors to students, while also ensuring the student feels empowered and confident during their assessments! Ultimately, our goal is to empower students all over Australia to achieve amazing results and make their dreams come true!

University – what is it like?
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How to Prepare for Your FIRST SAC in 2018!

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I will be running the most comprehensive head start workshop for VCE English Language 3/4 these coming summer holidays. To find out more, please go here https://www.facebook.com/events/288217048358026 or here https://www.learnmate.com.au/workshops/english-language/

Don’t miss out – my workshops always sell out every holidays – and I have got so much planned for you. Get a massive head start and feel confident in 2018!


How to Prepare for Your Informal Language SAC!

The first SAC you’ll be completing in 2018 will be informal language. The type of SAC that you will complete will vary by school, with some doing short answer questions, some completing analytical commentaries, and some essays. You will need to ask your teacher what the SAC format will be for your very first EL assessment! If the teacher is unable to tell you (they really should though), then you should ask a past student what their first SAC was a last resort.

Know your metalanguage!

This is a given, not just for SAC 1, but SAC 2, 3, 4 and so forth – and the exam! You must go into your assessment knowing the metalanguage that could be assessed and also how to apply it. Knowing is one part, conceptually understanding is another. This comes through practice, so in the holidays make sure create a list with definitions. Sadly some students leave it to the last minute and this will cause unnecessary stress!

Know what informal actually means!

Always remember that informal language encourages intimacy, solidarity and a social connection with the audience/speakers. Informal language is also generally more efficient in terms of saving time, however, at times informal language can be more ambiguous. To help you with this process, I have listed some informal language features below.

Main Features of Informal Texts (Spoken and Written):

  • Slang terms
  • Colloquialisms
  • Phrasal verbs (verb + preposition)
  • Contractions
  • Abbreviations/Acronyms/Initialisms
  • Ellipsis
  • Swearing/colourful language
  • Discourse particles (like, you know)
  • Interrogative tags
  • Diminutives
  • Simple and compound sentence structure – lack of complex/compound-complex sentences
  • Inference
  • Interrogative sentence types
  • Non-standard orthography
  • Capitalisation/Bolding/Italics
  • Exclamation marks
  • Features of spoken discourse
  • The use of deictic expressions
  • The use of personal pronouns (e.g. ‘I’, ‘We’)
  • The use of active sentence structure as opposed to passive
  • Beginning a sentence with a conjunction
  • Emoticons
  • Neologisms
  • Idioms
  • Assimilation
  • Elision
  • Reduction
  • Shortenings

Before your first informal language SAC, I would recommend you create a list of these on your computer with definition and examples. Always remember that state WHY this informal feature has been used in a given context! For example, a speaker in a friendship group may use swearing to build social rapport with his/her interlocutors and to create social solidarity.

Practice, practice, practice!

Once you know the SAC format, you must then practice, practice and then practice some more! Get your work checked by your teacher and read sample A+ responses to ensure you’re on the right track.

Be linguistically aware! And ask why.

  • Read newspapers. Don’t just absorb the content, try and look for subtleties in text and ask yourself why the author would write in the way he/she does. Take photos on your phone of interesting articles that stand out to you.
  • Listen to your friends talk. No, this doesn’t mean be a stalker. This means just listen and in your mind consciously make notes as to why he/she would be speaking like that. For example, is your friend making use of those frequently used discourse particles? Is your friend saying ‘like, ‘well’, ‘you know’, ‘sorted’ and ‘kinda’ a lot? If so, ask yourself WHY?
  • Seeing new terms being used on Facebook by your friends? You may be witnessing the creation of new slang!
  • Seen an advertisement on TV or a billboard? Ask why language play has been used there
  • If you’re doing an essay SAC, make sure you compile some useful quotes – again found in the media, through linguistics or just through your own observations in the world.

So, simply put, next time you come across any form of language – be it in the media, with friends, on notices etc – ask you, “WHY”? Then think.

 


I will be running the most comprehensive head start workshop for VCE English Language 3/4 these coming summer holidays. To find out more, please go here https://www.facebook.com/events/288217048358026 or here https://www.learnmate.com.au/workshops/english-language/

Don’t miss out – my workshops always sell out every holidays – and I have got so much planned for you. Get a massive head start and feel confident in 2018!


 

How to Prepare for Your FIRST SAC in 2018!
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How to Make Notes in Year 12 to Achieve a High ATAR!

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How to Make Notes in Year 12 to Achieve a High ATAR!


Notes are an inherent part of the VCE culture, and is something which all students should aim to make during their VCE. However, there are effective and ineffective ways of making notes, and in this section, we are going to cover some of the ways you can make your notes.

Again, these are just suggestions for you and there is no one way to make notes.

  • You want to summarise and not repeat – in your notes you want to summarise the key points from a particular topic and not just copy out what is already in the textbook or what was said by your teacher/tutor.
  • Simplicity – you want your notes to be simple and to the point.
  • Make your notes throughout the year – don’t wait until the end of the year to make your notes. Get into the habit of summarising key content throughout the year as this will help you with your exam revision. Likewise, it will also help you with your SAC revision as making your notes will give you an opportunity to go over what you have learnt, and fill in any gaps in your knowledge of the particular topic.
  • Use colour – have colour in your notes. Use them to highlight key points.
  • Typed or handwritten notes? – this is the age-old debate: should you type up your notes or hand-write them? There is no one clear answer, and so the tip here is to do what is best and comfortable for you. If you prefer to type up your notes then go for it or if you want to hand write them then go for it.
  • Buying notes – there are companies such as LearnMate that sell notes written by tutors. The advice here is not to encourage you not to buy these notes, as they are another reference for you: however, you should not rely solely on these notes for your studies. Making your own notes will personalise them and this will help you in remembering the content, as the notes have been written by you. You can use other people’s notes to incorporate into your own notes, but don’t just rely on them on their own.
  • Use study design dot points as headings – if you are stuck on a way to structure your notes, use the dot points in the key knowledge section of the study design for your relevant subject as your headings. Your exam will be based on what is listed on the study design, and this is a good way to ensure that you learn everything that you need for the exam.

The following links give you some more tips on taking notes in class and making notes:

  • https://www.wits.ac.za/ccdu/academic-skills/note-taking-and-note-making/
  • http://learnline.cdu.edu.au/studyskills/studyskills/intronotemaking.html
  • https://www2.le.ac.uk/offices/ld/resources/study/notes

LearnMate is Australia’s leading tutoring agency offering private lessons in all HSC, WACE, VCE & SACE subjects including English, maths, science, humanities, foreign languages, and so much more. Our mission is simple: to provide professional, engaging and enthusiastic HSC, WACE, VCE & SACE tutors to students, while also ensuring the student feels empowered and confident during their assessments! Ultimately, our goal is to empower students all over Australia to achieve amazing results and make their dreams come true!

How to Make Notes in Year 12 to Achieve a High ATAR!
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How NOT to Study in Year 12!

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How NOT to Study in Year 12!


People tend to focus on effective study techniques and not so much on ineffective study techniques. In this section, we are going to look at some ineffective study techniques and some of the ways we can correct this.

  1. Studying with friends – studying with friends is not always a bad idea, however it is a bad idea when all you end up doing is talking about Netflix and other things and are not staying focused on the task in front of you. There are a few ways to overcome this dilemma:
    1. Set ground rules before you begin studying
    2. Have regular breaks during your study session where you can talk about whatever you want

2. Studying for hours – sitting down for hours at your desk studying is not a good way to approach your work. Not only is it a health risk (sitting down too long), but it is also counterproductive, because your mind is so overwhelmed with work. Take regular breaks where you go do something other than study e.g. check Facebook (don’t do it for too long!) or go for a brief walk.

3. Music – depending on the type of person you are, you may or may not work well listening to music or don’t. This is a personal preference. Some people find classical music soothing to help them learn.

4. Studying in front of a TV or with your phone nearby – these are distractions and will stop you from working productively. Study in a place where you are away from the TV, and keep your phone in another room. You can go check it when you are on your study break.

5. Multitasking – we think we can do more than one thing at the same time but in reality, this is counterproductive. The reason is that not only will you be learning things only on a superficial level, but you will overwhelm yourself because of all the work you have to do and this will make you not want to study. Do things one at a time and start with the stuff you hate doing first, that way you can get it over and done with and won’t have to worry about it again.

6. Sacrificing sleep to study – many students do this because they think it is good. Yes, your bodies may tell you that you can stay up until 3am, but in fact your body needs to recharge to be fully functional the next day. It is better to get up early the next morning to finish off any work, rather than do an ‘pull an all-nighter’.

A common reason why people pull an ‘all-nighter’ is because they have left their studying to the last minute. Don’t leave things to the last minute, make sure you are doing a little bit each day!

7. Energy drinks and junk food – VCE is a stressful time and there is a lot of work to do. Because of this people tend to turn to energy drinks to allow them to stay awake or eat junk food. These products are bad for your health and it’s not worth eating them. Choosing healthier alternatives such as fruit, muesli, nuts etc. are much better for you, and will help with your learning as these foods provide your body with the nutrients that it wants.

See the websites below for foods that are considered good for the brain:

8. Memorising essays – this applies mainly to the English subjects. Memorising an A+ essay and regurgitating that essay in a SAC or exam is not going to get you high marks, because the topic of the essay in the SAC or exam will be different. By writing down someone else’s essay you won’t be answering the question asked of you and hence won’t get the high mark. If you have trouble writing essays seek help from your teacher.

9. Leaving things to the last minute – this will just cause you unnecessary panic and stress. You should know in advance when your SACs are going to be so make sure that you plan out your time correctly, to ensure that you have enough time to prepare properly for them. Get in the habit of keeping a diary and USING it to write things down.

10. Not utilising your teacher – your teacher is there to help you. If you need help then you should ask them. They will be more than willing to help you all you need to do is ask!

11. Cramming – cramming the night before the SAC or exam will not do you any good. Not only will you stress yourself out, but you won’t get anything out of it. Start studying early on.


LearnMate is Australia’s leading tutoring agency offering private lessons in all HSC, WACE, VCE & SACE subjects including English, maths, science, humanities, foreign languages, and so much more. Our mission is simple: to provide professional, engaging and enthusiastic HSC, WACE, VCE & SACE tutors to students, while also ensuring the student feels empowered and confident during their assessments! Ultimately, our goal is to empower students all over Australia to achieve amazing results and make their dreams come true!

How NOT to Study in Year 12!
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Common ATAR Myths for Year 12 Students!

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Common ATAR Myths for Year 12 Students!


  1. Doing subjects that scale a lot e.g. VCE Specialist Maths will ensure that I get a high ATAR:

This is incorrect. Picking your subjects purely based on how much it scales by will not guarantee you a high ATAR. In fact, it can work against you. Unless you are really good at Specialist Maths then you won’t end up with a good study score which may affect your overall ATAR. Your best choice is to choose subjects that you are good at or enjoy as this will give you a better chance of getting a better study score, and hence better ATAR.

2. You need to study super hard to get a good ATAR:

Yes and no. You do need to ensure that you work consistently throughout the year and ensure that you keep up to date with the content and do regular revision. However, you don’t need to be studying 24 hours 7 days a week – that would be insane! You can still do things that you like e.g. play sport or music but you want to make sure that you don’t let those things overshadow your studies.

It all comes down to balancing your commitments and prioritisation. If you are organised and try to plan ahead then there should be no reason why you cannot do other things and do well in your VCE. 

3. The higher the ATAR for a course is, the better it is:

There is no evidence to support this and as mentioned previously the ATAR for certain courses are the way they are because the university admission system is a demand-driven system. The more demand for a course the higher the ATAR will be for that course. 

4. You’re wasting your ATAR if you don’t go into a course that is commensurate with your ATAR:

This is not really the case. You cannot really waste your ATAR if you go into a course that has a lower ATAR than what you got. If you got an ATAR to be able to study law, but you don’t see yourself working as a lawyer then there is no point in going to study law. It is a waste of time and money. Do what you are passionate about! It is true that the higher the ATAR you get the more doors it will open up for you, but if you are not passionate about something then you won’t do well in it – that is just a fact!

Likewise, don’t pick a course that you think will pay well. Your decision should not purely be based on money.


LearnMate is Australia’s leading tutoring agency offering private lessons in all HSC, WACE, VCE & SACE subjects including English, maths, science, humanities, foreign languages, and so much more. Our mission is simple: to provide professional, engaging and enthusiastic HSC, WACE, VCE & SACE tutors to students, while also ensuring the student feels empowered and confident during their assessments! Ultimately, our goal is to empower students all over Australia to achieve amazing results and make their dreams come true!

Common ATAR Myths for Year 12 Students!
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