Sunny or Rainy 5 ways to achieve a 45+ score in your subjects without spending all day studying Click here to read the article Presented by a student who received two 50s and five 45+ scores.

The author graduated in 2020 with an ATAR of 99.80.

50 English, 50 Sociology (VCE Premier’s Award), 49 Legal Studies, 47 History: Revolutions, 45 University Psychology

1. Consistency is Key.

Throughout the turbulent year of 2020, I found having a consistent study and revision schedule significantly beneficial for staying on track – if not ahead – on my goals for VCE. When preparing for SACs, I would ensure my notes and practice assessments were finalised and completed to an exam standard, so when the revision period came around, my resources were fully ready to go.

Studying consistently throughout the year gave me a solid understanding of the content that could not be replicated by cramming in the weeks and days before the exams. At the end of the day, if you are aiming for a 50 study score, you have to see each homework task or revision session as a step closer to your goal.

Doing 20 minutes more each day over the course of 3 months will amount to 210 extra hours of studying which you simply cannot replicate in exam season – use consistency over a long period of time as your advantage. Discipline in sticking to your schedule and goals is more important than motivation (at times).

2. Think Ahead. Work Ahead.

Another handy trick I used to foster an in-depth understanding of the content is coming to class pre-prepared with a grip on the content.

For subjects such as Sociology, Legal Studies and History: Revolutions that have a clear study design of key knowledge dot points, familiarising myself with the content before enabled me to approach the class with a baseline understanding and be prepared to actively contribute to class discussions. This not only enriched my learning by getting the most value out of class time by asking meaningful questions but gave me the time to process and reflect upon the content before hearing it a second time.


3. Take Initiative. Be an Active Learner.   

During Year 11 and 12, I found taking accountability for my learning yielded the best results. Where I was unsure about the content or needed clarification, I actively sought feedback and guidance from not only teachers, but fellow students and my own research.

For me, taking an active role in my learning meant not only gaining this feedback, but taking it on board to ensure see measurable improvements. This was particularly the case for me in History: Revolutions where I began practice questions scoring 6-7/10 but continually sought feedback until I soon rose to 10/10s by the time of the SAC.

Although my English and Legal Studies teachers may have been inundated with my emails, your teachers are ultimately resources to make use of. It is up to you to utilise your resources – teachers, friends, research, textbooks.

4. Work to an Exam Standard from the Get-go.

It is never too early to make use of past exams. By getting comfortable with the style and quality of VCAA questions, the exam will feel less intimidating and manageable throughout the year so when you get to exam revision, it will be a breeze.

This is particularly true for subjects such as Sociology, History and Legal Studies where VCAA may ask a simple question in a complex manner – it is all about familiarising yourself with this from the get-go.

In preparing for SACs, I treated the VCAA Examiner’s Reports as a pot of gold – these documents gave me invaluable first-hand advice from markers regarding higher- and lower-scoring responses. For English, this is most notable through the examiner’s analysis of student approaches to Section A, B and C of the exam, as well as pointers on how to fully engage with the prompt.

If you proactively respond to and adopt this feedback early in the year, you will no doubt approach your exam with confidence.


5. Wellbeing and Balance is Essential.

It goes without saying that you cannot perform to your best standard without taking care of your wellbeing. Excessive study regimes with lacking self-care will prove counterintuitive – you are not a machine, so don’t overwork yourself like one. 50 study score students come out of Year 11 or 12 with memories beyond the books so don’t forget to look after your mental, physical and emotional wellbeing.

Go forth and conquer your VCE!

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