Secondary School students were all ears at the Wheelers Hill Campus Scholars’ Assembly as they listened to the Class of 2023 Scholars – students who achieved an ATAR of 98 and above – share their tips and tricks on successfully navigating study, school and making the most of their learning journey. 

Listen to our Scholars’ tips here or read them below. 

What tips or advice would you give to younger students that you think have contributed to your success? 

  • Create a routine for study. For me, I like to listen to some low-fi beats white noise or even go for a run before studying. This just helped to shift my brain into study mode rather than thinking about whatever else happened at school that day or other stuff. 
  • My biggest advice is to always have a good mindset, stay relaxed and don’t be nervous when you go to SACs and exams. 
  • Do not be afraid to share your resources with other students because this will not only improve yourself but help your whole cohort in general. 
  • Firstly, I would say don’t waste time on study scores and ATAR calculators. Secondly, I’d say make sure you take meaningful breaks. This was essential for me because it meant I wasn’t burnt out at the end of the year and could have continued studying. 
  • Understanding the structure of VCE will help you immensely in achieving your goals – from how your aggregate score is calculated to how the examiners mark your exams and how your teachers also mark your SACs. Understanding this will help you a lot in achieving your goals. 
  • My first advice to students would be to complete all compulsory schoolwork or homework during the school day so you can save revision for after school. 
  • I think it is essential to go beyond what’s needed for final exams. For example, when you study mathematics, think a little bit more about the underlying reasons behind the formulas. Try to approach what you study with curiosity. 
  • A tip that I have for success in Year 12 is to talk to your teachers. I think I emailed my teachers twice a day during the exam period and they always replied. They know what they’re doing, they have been teaching VCE for many years, and they have a passion for it so definitely reach out to them if you need any help. 
  • My advice would be that if you receive a mark that you aren’t too happy about, you shouldn’t worry too much about it because the most important thing to get out of it is that you wouldn’t make the same mistake in the future on the exam. 
  • I think it is important to have great communication skills with our peers and with our teachers because a lot of people forget VCE isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon, and during that race you’ll face a lot of challenges, a lot of hindrance and obstacles, that are really difficult to tackle by yourself. We often forget that at Caulfield Grammar we have the resources and the support network to fall back on. 

What were your biggest challenges and how did you overcome them in Year 12? 

  • My biggest challenge was maintaining motivation towards studying throughout the year. I overcame this by creating a study group with my other friends who also had similar troubles. We were able to supervise and encourage each other and ensure that everyone stayed motivated.  
  • My biggest challenge in Year 12 was overcoming distractions and procrastinating at home. So I changed my study environment and went to the library a lot and found myself working a lot better. 
  • One of the biggest challenges I faced, not only in Year 12, but I would say in Year 11, was to stay motivated and to make sure I didn’t burn out. I was able to tackle that by setting a long-term goal. In Year 11 I wasn’t someone who was focused academically. All I really thought about was just having fun and messing around with my mates. But then something kind of clicked and I was like: I don’t really have a goal, so what am I really striving for? 
  • My biggest difficulty was balancing my study with my co-curricular activities such as Music. I overcame this by listing everything that I was a part of and then planning what activities I could do as a bare minimum while still doing what I loved. This meant dropping out of one music ensemble, but it also meant that I could put 100% into the areas that I was committed to, such as studying. 
  • The biggest challenge I faced was my poor time management. Sometimes I struggled to get all my work done. To overcome this, I had to first improve my organisational skills and second squeeze out extra time on weekends, after school or even at lunchtime. 
  • I found that expecting constant motivation was unrealistic. I think occasional struggles are normal. To address this, I used a strategy of setting daily minimum work goals, such as reading a set number of pages from the EAL [English as Another Language] text. In Year 12, constant progress is better than making no progress or inconsistent progress.  
  • One of the biggest challenges I had was time management. Whenever I got home to study, I always ensured that I had a goal for what I was studying and a purpose for what I was studying. This helped me target specific areas of work that I needed to put more effort into. For example, for Maths Methods I would go home one night and look specifically at circular functions. This helped me attain my goals at the end of the year. 
  • My biggest challenge in Year 12 was finding the motivation to do all the work – I was always procrastinating and not doing my work until the very last day. I overcame that by installing an app on my Mac that showed the countdown to all of my SACs and exams, which pressured me to organise my time better.  
  • Procrastination was kind of difficult to deal with, but one thing definitely helped – rather than completing all my work at my own desk, where I was prone to getting distracted and would often lose focus, I designated a different desk in a different room for only study. This helped to eliminate distractions and forced me to study instead. 
  • One challenge was keeping my morale up to study continuously during a four- or five-hour study session. I overcame this by rewarding myself – at 9.00pm when the library closed, me and my best friend would go out for a really nice dinner. 

Is there anything you would do differently if you were starting Year 12 again?  

  • In exam season for my math subjects, I spent too much time working in Exam Ones when I should have been doing more on Exam Twos.  
  • I would definitely be involved in more extra-curricular activities, because this is not only your last time experiencing high school but also your last time being a part of a House and feeling that sense of community. It’s also important setting the standard for younger students. 
  • During the Term 2 holidays I would’ve definitely revised my Unit 3 stuff again, like re-learning some flashcards or re-doing questions I got wrong in my SACs. 
  • I would try to engage in a broader range of sports activities – physical activity can be very helpful in terms of keeping your sanity intact in Year 12. 
  • I think at the start of Year 12 it’s really easy to pedestal your ATAR and feel like you need to hit your academic peak. One thing you can all do now is change that perspective. I put a lot of unnecessary pressure and stress on myself during my exam season, and I think it’s really important to emphasise that although your ATAR is really important for your course entries, it does not equate to your self-worth or your capabilities or your ability to learn. 
  • Work at being closer to your cohort. I particularly miss those hallway interactions where you have that sense of community, seeing the same 150 people every day. So definitely work hard at being closer to your cohort because it makes for some great memories.  

Class of 2023 Scholar Sophie Drummond-Hall reflected on her School journey and the importance of community and opportunity at the Caulfield Campus Scholars’ Assembly.