The stress of VCE can feel like it is lasting an eternity, but in reality, it’s one of the shortest calendar years you’ll experience in your schooling, and one of the only times you’ll have so much choice over your subjects. Taking compulsory English, however, can be particularly intimidating in this already intense period of your school-life, especially if you’re not as confident in the humanities. Here are four useful tips to help you nail your English exam essays, even if it’s not your strongest subject.
1. Invest In An English Tutor
In many countries, after-hours tutoring is the norm for high schoolers. It’s no secret that it works as a way for students to improve their skills and get results. Classroom English teachers simply do not have the time to devote the amount of one-on-one attention students need to excel.
Investing in regular sessions with experienced VCE English tutors is a great way to get customised support for your studies and to hone in on your writing skills. They will be able to help you with revision and exam preparation, critique your writing, and assist with any other issues you’re facing to ensure you’re comfortable when exam time rolls around.
2. Read Previous Years’ Exams
Many VCE students make the mistake of overlooking the publically accessible study resources provided online by the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority. This includes exams from previous years as well as the study design and assessment criteria of all the different VCE subjects, including English.
By reading past exams, you will be able to see exactly how yours will be structured and what the full mark answers were. Just make sure you check to see if there were any major changes to the study design of VCE English over the years as the exams will vary based on these, meaning they may be quite different from your year.
3. Practice Under Test Conditions
Once you have access to exams from previous years, simply looking at them will not put these resources to their most valuable use. Together with your VCE English tutor, you can set up mock tests and practice exams, allowing you to get comfortable working under timed conditions.
This can make a significant difference in how competent you feel during exam time. Some students will underperform, not because of a lack of knowledge, but because of feeling stressed and overwhelmed in exam conditions.
4. A Healthy Sleep Schedule
There is definitely such a thing as over-preparing and overdoing it when it comes to studying. If you are regularly missing out on sleep to study and plan for exams, then you’re doing yourself a disservice.
In addition to being vital for good health, sleep improves your ability to concentrate and recall what you’ve learned. So, if you are pulling all-nighters to memorise information, the lack of sleep will likely impact your ability to remember it the next day. People around the age of 18 usually need about 8 hours of sleep to maximise performance, so make you prioritise sleep as part of your English exam preparation routine.
While it’s only a short period in your schooling, it’s important to make the most of the limited time you have to study for your VCE exams. By taking on board the above tips, you’re already putting yourself in a better position to nail your English exam. Just remember not to be too harsh on yourself – there are always alternative pathways and support available to help you navigate your education.