Year 12 is undoubtedly the most challenging year of high school. For those of you doing ATAR, your whole entire 12 years or so of high school will be summed up by a single score that is measured in one year's worth of work. So it's a pretty big deal to get it right the first time.
The summer break often means two months of freedom and procrastination but it's also a great time to get a head of things. Using the two months wisely can boost your morale and confidence and set yourself up for the rest of the year. If you do poorly in the first few assessments, there's a chance you might catch yourself in the 'stuff this' mindset and give up trying. In addition, for those who didn't do so well in year 11, you have a chance to avenge yourself. Starting strong by studying hard in the summer is a great way to actively redeem yourself from a horrid year.
Remember, your ATAR score is complied from 50% of your school mark, so it kinda pays to start strong in Year 12.
So what can you do? Here are some ways you can start strong:
6 Weeks Before School: Do Nothing & Read Your Books!
You've just finished! Go out! Have fun! Throw that textbook away, don't even think about it. Year 11 was definitely a step up and you've finished! Now that calls for celebration and relaxation.
Also read your English books, but don't analyse them, just read them for enjoyment.
4 Weeks Before School: Gradually Start Studying
It usually takes a few weeks to get into a study routine/mindset. When transitioning from a summer break to a school year it can be often difficult adjusting the mindset to study. After all, you've just transformed from doing nothing all day to an expectation of 3 hours a night studying. This jump in study loads doesn't go down too well and often takes 4-5 weeks of adjusting which is crucial as this period is when a lot of intensive testing takes place.
In the first week, begin with about 1-2 hours studying - read your textbooks in advance, do some questions, read the Syllabus and write up some notes. If your books haven't arrived yet, you can check out the ATAR Survival Guide, but be in mind that the syllabus notes are simplified and not as detailed as your class textbooks.
In the second week, expand those hours to around 2-3 hours. And in the 2 weeks before school, try doing 3-4 hours per day. Once school starts, you'll already be in the study mindset and won't feel overloaded, plus you'll be confident in class and while the others are learning new concepts, you'll be revising.
You can try reinforcing your knowledge with practice tests featured on this website!
However, the main problem with studying in the summer is that the teachers are absent so it can be difficult getting help when you're stuck. Tutors are here to help, they're plenty out there and special programs from the main providers such as Academic Task Force and Wace Plus.
I also provide personalised and resourceful tuition lessons in our 'Set for Summer Program' that are one-on-one and focused on your needs. In addition, it's great value at a special rate of $35 per one hour of tuition. Click here for more details and to book
2 Weeks Before School: Develop a Study Timetable
Humans are habit based. Developing a good study routine can program you to study at certain times and avoid procrastination. Ideally, you should allocate around 3-4 hours per night studying, and I mean actual study and not casually watching TV with a textbook open.
Developing a study timetable also allows you to clearly allocate time for your own life's pleasures and organise additional study hours to cover any events such as a party.
Commit to your study timetable for the 2 weeks prior to school starting.
1 Weeks Before School: Install Productivity Apps
Adopt the Promodoro Technique - that is 25 minutes studying, 5 minute break and every 4 study sessions you'll get a 15 minute break
Install RescueTime (if you can) - this is a pricey app, but provides great analysis for your time spent on your computer, you can also set it up to block distracting websites when you spend too much time on them.
Tip: Don't Get Too Ahead in Your Textbooks
Unless, you constantly review them, you're going to forget what you learnt. It's better to learn the early concepts with confidence then know a broad amount of a lot of concepts. Remember, the tests you do in the first few weeks are on the early course concepts.
Year 12 is the best year of your school life and the worst at the same time. Have fun and remember, school only comes around once, so make the most of it!