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Is year 12 really the best year of high school?

By Danielle Barakat on 2 April 2019NSWblogGeneral

One of the biggest debates you’ll have as a fresh year 12 graduate will be whether or not year 12 was the best year of high school. I’m sure that when you speak to people in the years above everyone goes on and on about how school was so great and how year 12 was one of the best years of their life.

How true is this? Yes, a lot of people can talk it up but what do they actually think and why do they think it was the best (or worst) year of school?

I ran a quick survey of the Atomi office and the results pretty much say what I expected. 67% of people who participated in the survey said that year 12 was their best year of school, leaving only 33% saying it wasn’t.

But why? Let's dive in:

Argument 1: Year 12 is the best year

In the survey I took, I was able to get some insight into why people found year 12 to be the best year, so hopefully, by having a read of these you may be able to relate and realise all the ways you should be making the most out of your last year of school 😱.

Better relationship with your teachers

Something very strange happens when you go from year 10 into your senior years. There’s a shift: a shift in attitude, a shift in learning style and one of the biggest things we noticed is a shift in the type of relationships you have with your teachers. All of a sudden they start treating you like adults, you respect each other a lot more and you understand what they do and how they are there to help you. It goes from being a strict, scary classroom environment to a much more relaxed and open environment (despite how stressful the actual schoolwork might be).

You realise that teachers are real people, with lives and personalities outside of just being a teacher. You can connect with them and become friends as opposed to enemies. It’s such a unique experience, especially when you get to uni and realise that most of the time, your lecturers don’t even know your name 😢.

The whole year unites and becomes drama free

For some weird reason, most of the drama and cliques of your junior years become irrelevant in year 12. Everyone (well, almost everyone) has matured and realises that 1) this is the last year you’ll see each other every day, and 2) school is important. The focus shifts to trying hard and doing well. No matter how much you hate or love your year, you will miss them when you leave school, so enjoy your last couple of months together and help each other out! After all, you’re all going through the same thing.


Ah, 18th season. What a time to be alive!

Year 12, whilst stressful and full of assessments, is also full of parties, gatherings and getting together with your mates to de-stress and have fun. I don’t think much more needs to be said except that the only other time you’ll have back-to-back parties again is during 21st season and that’s a few years away. So enjoy and party hard! 🎉🎉

Your last big sports events

If you’re at a school where the whole year gets around the basketball, soccer or hockey team then start making the most of it as this may be the last time it happens ⚽️🏒🏀. Whether you actually play or are just a spectator it can be so much fun getting together and supporting your school team on a Saturday. What better way to spend the day than with your mates, out in the sun, watching some great sport, eating and not thinking about any assessments you have? If you’ve never attended a school sports game, I would highly recommend attending at least one game in your last year—it may be the last time you have the chance to.


We may not all find this a positive part of year 12, but just go with it for a second. Year 12 is the first year where you can actually take responsibility for your own learning. How much work you do is up to you. The way you choose to study is up to you. A lot of the time in year 12, your teachers will give you free lessons where you can choose to revise, ask for help or waste time. You have the power to take a bit more control and that’s an awesome feeling. It not only gets you used to life after school but it also allows you to learn how to prioritise your work. Everyone has different goals and at the end of the day, the responsibility is on you to do as much or as little work as you like.

Subjects you actually enjoy

How amazing is it to actually do subjects you’ve chosen instead of sitting in a class you don’t want to be in, knowing that you’ll probably never use that content again? (That was Geography for me.) You’ve chosen your own subjects because you either enjoy them, are interested in them or need them for a future career option. This means that more often than not, you should actually be happy going to class! Such a great feeling!

Explore career options

Year 12 is also the time to start thinking about your future. As scary as this may seem for some of you, it’s really exciting to be able to see the light at the end of the (school) tunnel and think about the real world. You now have the opportunity to explore different career ideas, different tertiary study options like uni or TAFE, you even have the ability to apply for overseas programs or take a few months off to travel or work. What you do is now up to you, so explore all of your options and don’t be afraid to branch out and experience something new and different.

Argument 2: Year 12 is not the best year

So, let’s address the elephant in the room. We all know that year 12 is not all rainbows and butterflies. Some people didn’t enjoy year 12 and these were their main reasons why:


There’s no doubt about it, everyone in year 12 feels some sort of stress. Whether it be stress about an assessment, stress about your ATAR or stress about a formal date, it’s something that everyone experiences. At the end of the day, it’s how you deal with it that can make or break your year 12 experience.

But instead of harping on about what things are going to cause you stress this year, let's go through a couple of ways to deal with stress:

  1. Take regular breaks: When you’re not studying, switch off completely. If you’re out, be out. You need to be able to switch off your mind and give yourself a proper break, which will actually increase your productivity when studying.
  2. Physical activity: Keep this up, it’s awesome stress relief. Go for a run or lift something heavy. It works and is so low maintenance. I find boxing a great way to get my frustration out!
  3. Speak to actual humans: don’t lock yourself away in your study and isolate yourself all year, this will only create a monster. Talk to anyone and about everything. Talk to your school friends and teachers about year 12, get some perspective and find out how they keep cool, calm and collected. Or, if you’ve had enough ATAR talk, find people you can talk to that won’t remind you of school. There’s an entire world out there, don’t be afraid to explore it a bit.


There are expectations coming from all around you. Whether from your school and parents to do well, from your uni course cut-off or even from your friends to turn up to social events, there’s no denying that pressure exists. Sure, a little bit of pressure can turn into motivation, but too much pressure can also go the other way and cause you to become disengaged. You can easily start to hate school and everything associated with it.

Here are our tips for dealing with pressure in year 12:

  1. Accept that you can’t do everything: None of us are superheroes. At times during the year, you will let something slip. Maybe your notes won’t always be up to date or maybe you won’t have done any past papers recently. Don’t beat yourself up about it and don’t set your expectations too high. This is what holidays are for, use them to catch up and organise yourself.
  2. Break your study into smaller goals: Having smaller and more achievable goals will get your self-esteem up. Use a study timetable, it’s life-changing!
  3. Don’t hold yourself to someone else’s standards: Just because someone else has a goal of getting a 99 ATAR, it doesn’t mean that you need to have the same goal. Remember, you don’t have to tell people what ATAR you get, there are plenty of ways to go where you want to go with any ATAR and your parents should be happy if you try your hardest.
  4. Get actual help if you need it: All jokes aside, if you’re not coping with the amount of pressure you’re under, there is nothing wrong with getting some help. Hit up a hotline, visit a counsellor or see a doctor. They do help and it’s definitely worth it. There’s no judgement here.


Yes, we all hate exams but unfortunately, they’re unavoidable in year 12. I don’t know anyone that actually enjoys exams so everyone is in the same boat. The only way to overcome this is to accept that they’re going to happen and to be prepared for them.

Being prepared honestly takes away 50% of the stress and hate associated with exams. We have so many tips and tricks about how to deal with exams on the blog so make sure you read those and jump on and watch some of our videos, read our lessons and do our quizzes. They are the ultimate way to revise and be ready to smash year 12.


So when all is said and done, some people will love year 12 and some people will hate year 12. It’s up to you to try and make the most of the situation because it is your last year of school and there’s something exciting about that. Don’t forget to try and get involved as much as you can and look for ways to reduce stress and cope with pressure instead of letting it get to you.  

You’ve got this and remember you’re all in this together!

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