Getting Ahead in the Holidays in VCE Psychology


This article has been written by Marc Cilia, a VCE Psychology tutor at LearnMate. If you’re interested in private tutoring from Marc, then please check out his page here.


Hey guys!

As I mentioned last time, the aim of this article will be to cover some of the things you can do to get ahead in VCE Psychology over the summer. I know that the prospect of doing schoolwork over the holidays isn’t exactly exciting, but your study score at the end of this course will reflect the effort you put in from start to finish. So even if it’s not easy, try to start now – you’ll be boosting your chances of success come the year’s end!

Holiday Homework

First and foremost, you should make sure to complete any summer homework your teacher may have set. This is important for two reasons. Firstly, it will, of course, assist you in your learning. And secondly, it will show your teacher that you’re serious about the subject. Having a good relationship with your teacher can go a long way in VCE, so don’t make a bad first impression by coming to class without your holiday homework done!

My Recommendations

For those of you who haven’t been assigned holiday homework, I’ll provide some suggestions as to what you can work on. These suggestions will also be relevant for those who do have homework, though there might be some overlap with what your teacher has already suggested. That’s okay!

As you might be aware, the first area of study listed in the study design has a strong biological focus. It covers things like the nervous system and its various subdivisions, the structure and function of neurons, and the role of neurotransmitters. For those of you who’ve completed VCE Psych Unit 1, some of these concepts will be familiar to you. Though those who’ve jumped straight to Unit 3 might find it a little trickier at first, don’t be afraid – it just means this holiday period is extra value for you!

Once your textbook arrives (try to get your hands on it ASAP!), you’ll be able to get started. There are a number of different textbooks available for Units 3&4 Psych, but they all cover the same content, so it doesn’t matter which one your teacher has told you to buy. Just head to the chapter/s that cover the five dot points listed under the “Nervous System Functioning” heading on page 24 of the study design (http://www.vcaa.vic.edu.au/Documents/vce/psychology/PsychologySD-2016.pdf) so you can get started.

What’s great about this topic is that it allows you to try out a number of learning techniques to see what works best for you. As a bare minimum, I suggest you read through the chapter/s on nervous system functioning whilst making your own handwritten or typed notes. Don’t feel obliged to complete this in one sitting! You can spread it out over several weeks. What’s important is that you get into the habit of reading information and converting it into a set of notes that makes sense to you, and that you can refer back to at a later stage if you wish. The act of writing and summarising is important – it will help you remember the information better than if you were simply to read.

You might also like to try out a more visual approach to your notes and summaries. For example, when reading about the structure and function of a neuron, actually draw one, and then label it in as much detail as you can. Being able to visualise the neuron in this way will help you remember its various parts, and the roles played by each. If you like this kind of approach to note-taking, try using pictures and diagrams as frequently as you can.

Lastly, I recommend trying out flash cards. These can be helpful for remembering key concepts and definitions and provide a great way to revise and test yourself anywhere, anytime. They can be especially useful for revising material you find particularly tricky to remember. Write down the tricky material on a card, and refer back to it periodically until it starts to stick!

If you can get through the nervous system content over the holidays, you’ll have set yourself up extremely well for the year ahead. What’s more, it’ll have helped you get into the habit of making good notes, using the techniques that work best for you. Go ahead and experiment!

Marc ☺


This article has been written by Marc Cilia, a VCE Psychology tutor at LearnMate. If you’re interested in private tutoring from Marc, then please check out his page here.


LearnMate is Australia’s leading tutoring agency offering private lessons in all primary & high school subjects including English, maths, science, humanities, foreign languages, and so much more. Our mission is simple: to provide professional, engaging and enthusiastic 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!

LearnMate provides you with tailored, one-on-one lessons for tutoring in a variety of suburbs in MelbourneSydneyGeelongBrisbaneHobartCanberraPerth & Adelaide! With hundreds of tutors on the LearnMate platform, you’re bound to find someone local for any primary or high school year level! You can choose to have lessons in-person or online – whatever is easiest for you!

Getting Ahead in the Holidays in VCE Psychology
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General Introduction to VCE Psychology


This article has been written by Marc Cilia, a VCE Psychology tutor at LearnMate. If you’re interested in private tutoring from Marc, then please check out his page here.


General Introduction to VCE Psychology

Hi everyone!

My name is Marc, and I completed VCE Psychology in 2012, receiving a study score of 47. I’ve since been at Monash University studying psychology, and have just completed an Honours degree. Throughout the course of 2017, I’ll be writing a series of articles devoted to helping you achieve your very best results in VCE Psychology Units 3&4. I hope you’ll find it useful! I’d like to start by giving you a general sense of what you can expect from the course, and how to go about tackling it.

Course Content

The VCE Psychology course certainly poses a number of challenges. Though the course content is not as complex as subjects like physics and chemistry, there is a substantial amount to cover and remember. This might at times seem overwhelming, but you’ll quickly find that if you work hard and consistently, things will fall into place. Thankfully, the subject matter itself is mostly very interesting and has a lot of real-world relevance. As you explore what modern psychologists understand about the way humans think and behave, you’ll be able to relate many of these concepts to your own personal experiences. Indeed, as you progress through the course and continue to come across new concepts, I’d strongly encourage you to come up with your own real-world examples of each. This will help make the concepts more concrete and relatable.

Unfortunately, though, not all of the content might seem so relevant to you! A big focus of the course is on research methods, which involves learning about scientific research and the way in which it’s conducted. For example, you’ll be looking at how experiments are designed, the problems researchers can face, and how these problems can be overcome. This might seem dry compared to the other areas of study in the course, but the reason it’s heavily focused on is that scientific research is fundamental to the field of psychology: It is the primary source of psychologists’ knowledge and informs the way psychologists treat clients in the clinic. The research methods content will probably seem tricky at first (particularly for those of you who haven’t completed VCE Psychology Units 1&2), but it will be a big focus of my articles in future.

The Textbook: Your Bible!

Thankfully, for research methods and every other area of study you encounter, your textbook will contain all the information you’ll need to perform well. It really is your bible for this subject! Reading through each and every chapter of the textbook is vital, and in my opinion, it is essential that you make your own notes and summaries of each chapter as you read. A common mistake I see students make is to rely not on the textbook, but on summaries such as PowerPoint slides provided by teachers. Though these summaries can be helpful, they simply do not have the same level of detail as the textbook chapters. You don’t want to be missing content that could potentially come up as a question in a SAC or exam! So read each chapter thoroughly. Furthermore, the act of making your own notes and summaries as you read will help you remember the information better than reading alone.

Ultimately, if you work hard and consistently for the duration of the course, you’ll have nothing to fear! In the next instalment of this series, I’ll go through some of the things you can do over the summer holidays to make a positive start (and get ahead of everyone else!). 

If you’re interested in having me as your private tutor, just head over to https://learnmate.com.au/meet-our-tutors/marc/ and get in contact!

Marc 🙂


This article has been written by Marc Cilia, a VCE Psychology tutor at LearnMate. If you’re interested in private tutoring from Marc, then please check out his page here.


LearnMate is Australia’s leading tutoring agency offering private lessons in all primary & high school subjects including English, maths, science, humanities, foreign languages, and so much more. Our mission is simple: to provide professional, engaging and enthusiastic 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!

LearnMate provides you with tailored, one-on-one lessons for tutoring in a variety of suburbs in MelbourneSydneyGeelongBrisbaneHobartCanberraPerth & Adelaide! With hundreds of tutors on the LearnMate platform, you’re bound to find someone local for any primary or high school year level! You can choose to have lessons in-person or online – whatever is easiest for you!

General Introduction to VCE Psychology
read more