I strongly believe that academic success is not a measure of intelligence. There is so much more to gaining success in the BSSS than just relying on your intelligence. To succeed in the BSSS and to obtain the best ATAR you can, you must be wanting to learn the content with a blind passion for knowledge and understanding and you must be willing to put in the hard work. Trust me, you may not want to put in the dreaded all-nighter to finish that boring english essay about gothic literature, but you’ll thank yourself in long run, and you might even learn a few interesting things along the way.
Every semester, you promise yourself the same thing. “No slacking off this semester – I will maintain perfect notes, revise everyday and start practicing for exams at least a month before a start”. You may be able to pull this off for a week, two weeks or even a month but eventually you WILL break down and response is that this is okay.
We can well and truly prevent this situation from happening to you ever again. The 3 main tips I can share to improve the chances of your eventual success in the BSSS’s ATAR system are:
Finding motivation to study consistently throughout the semester can be hard. I believe that the lack of motivation problem can be solved using a three-fold motivational framework.
Mental health – Find motivation can be hard when your mind is distracted by other things such as wanting to watch that new episode of Suits that just came out on Netflix or if you are feeling anxious about being unprepared for your upcoming exams. My strongest suggestion to all students is to try meditating. Free services such as Headspace are great and can offer simple 5-minute sessions. Please talk to your friends and family and share your problems and seek the help of the school counsellor or a private counsellor if necessary.
Interest/joy – Try and be interested in what you’re learning by maintaining a curious mind. Somewhere along the way of trying to get good grades, we’ve forgotten the true joy and satisfaction we receive when we learn. Remember this and use it to motivate yourself. View school as an opportunity to learn things that you never knew before. When you walk in to class, try and be inquisitive – keep an open-mind, ask lots of questions, use all the resources available to you and just do your best. That’s the most anyone can ask of you. Now go out there and learn why the colour of blood is red, or how rainbows are formed or apply calculus to find out how quickly that car is accelerating!
Systematic – As the name suggests, this is more of the systematic side of things. This includes setting up a practical system that motivates you. Pick rewards and consequences that drive you to study and implement them. Also, motivation can be affected by things like where and when you study, so make sure to adjust those things as per your liking. It is best to create a study routine so you study at the same time each day. Try and revise a bit each day, to prevent work from piling up. It is okay if the work does pile up because there is so much to do and so little time, but try and refresh your mindset when this happens and get done whatever you can.
2. Active studying
Because of the large amount of work we have to do, we often end up just mindlessly absorbing the material rather than understanding it and being able to apply it. However, we must not forget the art of active studying. For subjects such as math, this is all about practicing a large variety of questions and exercises from textbooks and other valuable resources. Practice and repetition are key to ensuring you won’t forget the concept. For other subjects which are wordier such as biology, english, psychology, history or even physics, I would recommend using strategies such as creating flashcards with questions, answers and visual aids such as diagrams. Another technique that I would strongly recommend is the Feynman technique.
3. A fun and balanced life
It is absolutely crucial to take breaks when you feel like it. This does not mean excessive procrastinating but rather just stopping studying when you feel it’s getting too much and you’re on the verge of having a mental breakdown. Alongside school, do whatever makes you happy. This can be high-intensity fun such as playing a sport or an instrument or something more relaxing like going out to eat churros, taking an afternoon nap, listening to Eminem’s new album or binge-watching a series on Netflix. The point I want to make is that you shouldn’t feel like you are trapped because you are in school, you can still do whatever the hell you want if you plan accordingly and can make the time for it. Don’t neglect other important aspects of your life such as your mental health, your physical health and the relationships between your friends and family.
In the end, remember to work hard because there is no shortcut way of beating the system, but also remember that the system is working with and for you. If you put in the hard work and work smart, you WILL reap the rewards. You are all wonderful and capable people and your grades do not define you. Even though receiving a high ATAR might make your pathways into entering university easier, it is definitely not the end of the world if you don’t get the result you were hoping for. You can do bridging courses to enter in the degree of your choice at university or simply choose a different degree with a lower ATAR or pick up a job in the workforce. Try your best to remove this pressure of possible failure off your shoulders!
If you loved this article, you will LOVE all of our other articles, such as: How To Structure A Comparative Essay (VCE English Tips), 2U Maths Tips from a Past Student (98 in 2U Maths)! and Chemistry – Oxidation & Reduction explained!
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