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The worst advice you’ll hear going into year 12

By Simon Hennessy on 26 November 2019NSWblogExam adviceSubject advice

When you make the move up to year 12, everyone that has ‘been there, done that’ will try and give you their gems of advice that they think you must hear. The trouble is, quite a lot of it is very far from gem-like.

So we thought we’d set the record straight, sort through all these pieces of advice and warn you of the ones you should ignore going into year 12:

1. Exams are miles away, so relax and do nothing

Yes, exams are miles away. Yes, this means each and every day need not be consumed by endless studying. No, this does not mean you should do nothing.

Getting started early means that you can be relaxed enough to approach exams with calmness, backed up by preparation when they come around. You don’t want to get to exams only to realise that you’ve left yourself with no time, and you end up panicking and regretting all those months that you sat around doing nothing. So ignore the older siblings who say they didn’t study until 2 weeks before exams. Chances are they don’t actually remember.

2. Do what your friends are doing

The fear of the year ahead can confuse you and it’s easy to just fall into the trends and do what your friends are doing. But a word to the wise: just because your mates are studying certain subjects, choosing particular related texts or doing their assignments a particular way, does not mean you should do the same and that it’s the right fit for you.

The decisions you make about the work you do, and how you do it, should be based on what you like and what you’re good at. Work to your own personal strengths. By all means, discuss your options with your friends, but don’t assume that the choices they make should be yours too.

3. Just get on with it

This one really sucks. The “stop complaining and get on with it” approach is, unfortunately, one we still hear, but that doesn’t mean we have to live with it.

Year 12 is a stressful time, and if you’re struggling, there’s no shame at all in admitting that. In fact, doing so - and then taking steps to seek some help to manage that stress - will give you the best chance of getting through the year successfully and, more importantly, happily.

4. Don’t bother working on that, you’ve got it in the bag

Having a subject or two in which you are confident you’ll do well in is not a bad thing; it takes the pressure off you and your other subjects a little. But anyone who is saying “Oh, you’re a Maths whiz, you won’t need to study at all” is just plain wrong.

You may need to study Maths or English or whatever your strength is a little less than your other subjects; that’s fine. But we can assure you, whether you like it or not, there’s no subject where you can get away with doing no work at all. You don’t want to risk that, especially not this year. Spread your time between your subjects, prioritize based on what you’re worst at to what you’re better at but don’t forget about a subject altogether.

5. Don’t bother working on that, it’s a lost cause

No subject is a lost cause. Sure, there are going to be those that you find harder to master, but deciding that you simply can’t master them won’t help you. Getting your head down and working hard to overcome your problem with the subject will help you. If you need help with a subject talk to your teacher, do some extra work on it at home, jump onto Atomi and watch some of our lessons to really get your head around the content – try everything you can.

If we can sum up the main point that makes the last two pieces of advice so bad, it’s this: hard work always makes a difference. Whatever you work hard on, if you’re working in the right way, you’ll see yourself improve.

6. Nothing matters but studying

There’s always at least one person trying to convince you that you should be spending every last waking minute locked in a windowless room, notes out, preparing for your exams. Ignore that person.

Not only are your hobbies, fitness, social life, and extra-curricular interests important for you as a person, they’re important for you as a student. Maintaining a healthy balance makes a huge difference when it comes to staying on top of your work, so make sure you don’t throw away all the things you do that make you you.

7. Try this, it worked for me in my day

Contrary to what your parents, aunts, uncles, and even grandparents might think, the nature of exams and assessments have changed quite a lot since their time. Different content is covered, exams are structured differently, the way things are marked has changed quite a bit.

Because of that, whenever one of the above tries to tell you what to do to ace this year, give them a polite smile and take their suggestions with a hefty pinch of salt. Unless they’re up to date on the syllabus requirements that you’re facing, their suggestions should be treated as rough guidelines at the very best.

8. You have to ace this year

One thing that is crucial to remember during this year is that, no matter what happens, life goes on. You might stuff up your exams or miss out on the uni course you wanted, but the sun will still come up the next day and there are always other ways to get into what you want.

So if you have to put up with someone telling you that nothing will ever be more important than how you do in year 12, make sure to treat their words as the nonsense it is. Of course, you should do your best to succeed this year, but take it from us – year 12 is not going to define your life.


You’ve got enough on your plate this year without having to listen to bad advice. Ignore anything that sounds like the above and you’ll put yourself in a good position for the year ahead!

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