The move up from Year 11 to Year 12 is a tricky one to figure out. On the one hand, you’re one step closer to the ultimate freedom of life after school. On the other hand, things just got a whole lot more serious in terms of assessments and exams. Getting it right isn’t easy, so it’s a good thing we’ve got a few tricks up our sleeve to help smooth the process.
Learn from your prelims
You may want to send the memory of your Preliminary exams from the end of year 11 into the distant past, but slow down. Even if they did not go the way you had planned, there’s plenty of value to be had from the experience.
What worked for you in terms of study? What didn’t? What exams told you there was a lot more work needed in a particular subject? What can be improved about your exam strategy in general?
The answers to these questions can be found in your prelim results and the experience you had over the entire year, so sit down and have a think about the last year, make a list of what worked and what didn’t, or what you want to change and get ready to put those into practice for year 12.
Do your research before changing subjects
If you’re sitting on 14 units but have a subject or two that has caused you real trouble in Year 11, dropping them looks like the right option. And if you aced Extension English or Modern History, a step up to Extension II English or Extension History can appear to be a no-brainer.
We’re not saying you shouldn’t do these things, but we also aren’t saying you should. We are saying you should take the time to research exactly whether or not these are the subjects you want to drop, or whether the step up is going to cause more problems than it does benefits.
Talk to your teachers, look into the demands of the subjects in question, balance it all against the rest of your workload, then come to a decision. If you do all that, it will be the right one. And a handy tip: don’t base your subject decision off how many free periods you’re going to get in your timetable. That’s an easy way out and doesn’t always work to your advantage.
Start studying now
I know this is probably the last thing you want to hear, and there’s so long to go until exams come around again. But like it or not, they will, and you know what’s worse than studying now? Desperately cramming later.
Starting to study now doesn’t mean you have to spend every waking hour frantically revising. For now, a few hours spent staying on top of the material you’re covering in class and maintaining your knowledge from Year 11 should be enough. Getting that process started early will save you a lot of hassle down the road, so it’s worth the trouble. Get your notes up to date, familiarise yourself with the syllabus for each subject, jump onto your Atomi account and do some practice questions – doesn’t matter what you do, anything is better than nothing.
Start reading your texts
Getting on top of your English texts early can make a huge difference down the line. As the year progresses, essays and assignments will build up, and exam prep will take up more and more of your time. If you reach that point and are still working your way through your prescribed texts - or worse still, have yet to crack them open - your chances of getting through them while everything else is going on are slim to none. The best way to beat that problem is to stop it before it starts by opening the books now. And whilst we’re on that topic, look into related texts now too. Better now than later.
Get a routine going
Eating well, getting a full night’s sleep, exercising regularly, balancing your time – these are all things you tend to hear as advice for getting through exams. But if you think about it, there isn’t any good reason to wait until exams arrive to get into these habits. Getting into a healthy routine now means staying on top of your work throughout the year will be easier, and maintaining a routine throughout the stressful exam period is a lot more doable than trying to get into one that late in the game.
Not only is having a routine good for your health, but you’ll actually find yourself being able to study more efficiently and focus more throughout the day!
Now is not the time to start panicking about the big year ahead, it’s no different to any other year of school in terms of what you’ll have to do. The biggest difference now is that it all means something, and whilst that is a scary thought, by taking these small steps, the transition from year 11 to year 12 will be seamless, and before you know it you’ll be sitting your last exam thinking ‘wow that year wasn’t as bad as I thought’. Good luck!