During VCE, feedback and criticism from your tutor and teacher are pivotal to success. Far too often, students do not seek enough feedback. This could be due to any number of reasons. For example, I was often reluctant to hand in essays until I felt that they were perfect; or I left revision too late and didn’t have time to get proper feedback. Don’t be like me, learn from my mistakes!
A lack of feedback can be detrimental to your study score, particularly for subjects like English. A major trap or pitfall occurs when you repeat the same mistakes every time you revise because you never sought or implemented feedback. This error begins to come naturally to you, and you have repeated it so many times that you believe it is the correct way to answer the question. Hence, you may walk out of an exam thinking that you have written a powerful and flawless essay, when in fact, it is riddled with mistakes!
So how can you avoid falling into this trap that will ultimately undermine your study scores?
- Begin to submit your work as early as possible
By preparing for SACS and exams early, you can prevent several issues. First, you give yourself plenty of time to practise questions, receive feedback, and incorporate that feedback to improve.
Second, you can beat your fellow students to have worked reviewed, which generally means you will receive feedback quicker. Close to exams and SACs, your teachers will be bombarded with a lot of work from students who start revision too late.
2. Effectively use the feedback that is provided to you
When you receive feedback, only half of the work is done! To get the most out of the feedback, you should use it as a lens to harshly critique your own work. Being brutally honest is the best way to improve. Highlight the things that you have done well, cross out and make notes on the errors you have made. You may even choose to re-write the question with the feedback in mind.
Then, the next time you sit down to revise or write a practice essay, focus on implementing the key points of the feedback. It is good to measure to jot down 3 or 4 focus points at the top of the page before you begin the question. Then when you finish, evaluate how well you implemented them, and consider how your thoughts compare to those of your teacher and tutor.
Over time, you will begin to get a feel for what changes a 9/10 to a 10/10, so you can send work less frequently and instead, focus on reaching this standard under timed conditions.
3. Most importantly, don’t be afraid to send in your work!
I can assure you that your tutor (and hopefully school teacher too), sincerely wants to help you improve, and would be more than willing to review your work. Don’t be worried that your work is not perfect, to begin with, as it will become exponentially better with every revised attempt that you make. It is always important to get the first few, ‘not so fabulous’, attempts out of your system…so start sending away!
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