I survived and you will too!
It was just around this time last year when I was graduating year 12. I remember going into and during year 12 I would ponder, ‘how can I do well this year?’ I had high ambitions for University, I wanted to obtain an ATAR high enough to get straight into a Bachelor of Psychology (Honours). This left me anxious and worried about my work and assessment more often than not. Today I am here to give some words of advice as to how you can do well in year 12, from someone who has survived it and is now in their dream University course. These are factors that I either followed throughout year 12 (and found effective) or that I have learned since getting into my first preference and looking back on year 12.
If you are reading this, chances are you are a year 11 about to go into year 12, or you are at the beginning of your senior year. To make this advice easy to follow, no matter your circumstances, I want to split this up into three timelines. These will include before starting year 12, during year 12 and during term and semester breaks of year 12.
Before beginning year 12:
Going into year 12 induce a mixture of very exciting and very daunting emotions. You are excited because you are almost completed your secondary education and you are about to be released into the real world, but that is probably also what is making you feel worried. This is completely normal! The unknown can be scary, so my advice is to make sure you are as organised as you can be with the elements of your life you can control. Here’s a checklist of things to have organised (or at least to have considered) before beginning year 12:
- Know a rough idea of what you want to do after school. You don’t have to have your whole life mapped out, but have a rough game plan. If you know you want to go to University and study a certain degree, make sure you are setting yourself up to achieve that. This is where speaking to a school counsellor can be very useful!
- Once you have all your classes picked out, see if there is any work you can begin during the holidays. Sometimes there might be readings to do in the first term that you could get a head start on to reduce stress later. Any little thing you can do now will help lessen your stress load later. Also, if you have an after school/weekend job, you might want to advise your manager that you are heading into year 12 and might need to lighten your weekly hours worked. This will be increasingly important around assessment and exam time, so giving them the heads up now could be beneficial to you both. This also applies with hobbies and after school activities that may take up many nights of your week.
- Look at the topics you have picked for year 12 and look at the grades you achieved in those topics the year before (if you sat them in year 11). If you struggled throughout year 11 in a certain subject, let’s say biology, then it might be worth looking into reaching out for a biology tutor from Learnmate to help you in your year 12 studies.
During year 12:
Just ticking the boxes and crossing your fingers tight can’t promise that you will do well during year 12. It takes a lot of time and hard work to achieve your goals. Many people will try and tell you it comes down to one factor, but really it is a combination of many. I am just going to list a few that should help out a vast majority of students, regardless of subjective goals and aims.
- Organisation: Once you get your timetable and topic guides for each subject you are sitting, map it all out. Find out when assignments are due, when drafts should be in, and when you will be sitting exams and tests. Then arrange everything else around those key dates. You can alter things such as your closing work shift on Friday nights and when you go to the basketball courts to shoot hoops, but you can’t change the date your Maths exam is set on. This is where having a diary or journal could be really helpful! I didn’t do this in year 12 but I have since starting University and I really wish I had begun sooner – Bullet Journaling! It is an amazing way to map your important life events out in a creative way, and I find it helps me release stress as well. Here’s a guide to get you started: https://bulletjournal.com/pages/learn
- Honesty: You need to be honest, with yourself and with your teachers. Remember that your teachers are only trying to help you succeed. If you are dishonest to them, they can’t help you. If you are stuck and need help, ask for help! Don’t try and lie yourself out of reaching out then be disappointed when you don’t get the grade you knew you could have. This is where it is important to be honest with yourself. You need to make sure that you are honestly doing the best you can do. This means not studying for 10 minutes then flicking on Netflix for 5 hours and wondering why you didn’t do well on that Shakespeare essay. You need to look at yourself in the mirror and ask your current self if your future self will be happy with the effort you are putting in. The only person you are *trying to* fool is yourself. This can be hard to do if you struggle with perfectionism, so I’d advise you check out the CCI’s modules on perfectionism for advice on that element: https://www.cci.health.wa.gov.au/Resources/Looking-After-Yourself/Perfectionism
P.s. I have worked through all these modules myself and found them very useful, I still use many of the techniques and methods taught in them even after months of completing them.
- Balance: Once you have your organisation down pat and you know you are being transparent and honest, work on your balance. Think about the things that are important in your life, schoolwork, friends, family, your job, hobbies, and then think about if you are being balanced with these tasks. Sometimes we feel like we are super humans who can set out many tasks for ourselves and accomplish them all to high quality, but this isn’t always realistic or easy. The workload of year 12 only increases as the year goes on, you might not be able to maintain all your other life elements the same way you did in previous years. So use your newly honed organisation and honesty skills to balance out every element so you are spending the appropriate time on each based on priority level.
During termly and semester break:
Sometimes it can be hard to keep on track during your breaks. It is likely that your teachers will tell you they are not schoolwork breaks, just class breaks. This means that you will likely still have assessment pieces ongoing during these breaks, but you won’t have to be on school grounds every day. It is important to still perform study during the breaks. If you fall of the wagon and don’t study at all for the entire break, it will be much harder to get back into the swing of things. Despite saying this, make sure you still take time for yourself during this time. Spend time with family and friends, go outside in nature and maybe even pick back up a couple of shifts at work. I’m not suggesting you only study during the break, because that wouldn’t be healthy – you would burn yourself out! But make sure you still practice those organisation, honesty and balance techniques mentioned earlier during your breaks so that you can keep on top of accomplishing your goals.
I hope that you found this advice helpful, no matter where you are on your educational journey when reading this. Know that emotions are only temporary. Any stress, anxiety or worry you are experiencing now will pass. Also please note that you do not have to feel these negative emotions alone. Year 12 can be a really intense time, so never be afraid or ashamed to seek help and guidance. This could be friends, family, community members or teaching staff.
Hopefully this advice helps you travel through year 12 with more ease and peace of mind. Know that no matter what your results are at the end of it all, you are important and valid. Your intrinsically worth as a human being is not determined by your year 12 scores, there will always be another way into your University or TAFE course, or whatever it is you are seeking after school. Whatever happens happens. There is no need to worry about elements that you cannot control. If this advice helps you gain a better understanding of how to manage those factors in your life that you can control, then that is all I can ask of you. Good luck with your studies and future endeavours!
- Bullet Journal, (2013-2018). The System, Lighcage LLC. Link: https://bulletjournal.com/pages/learn
- Centre for Clinical Interventions, (2018). Perfectionism, The Department of Health & The Government of Western Australia. Link: https://www.cci.health.wa.gov.au/Resources/Looking-After-Yourself/Perfectionism
If you loved this article, you will LOVE all of our other articles, such as: You Can Procrastinate And Study – At The Same Time,How to be a Good Tutor and How is University Different from High School?
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