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Preparing for a successful VCE experience

NEWS 12 Sept 2023

The remaining half of the school year is a particularly important time for Senior School students preparing for the Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE). Parents and carers play a key role in helping teenagers navigate the demands of homework, revision, major assignments and exams while managing their self-care however there are a range of tools students can implement to assist them on their VCE journey.

As clinical psychologist Mr Andrew Fuller has noted in his extensive work with schools and students, “When you have a student completing the senior years of school, everyone in the family is doing Year 11 or 12.”

Mr Fuller says parents can support students during their senior years by helping them to manage their time, manage their energy, manage stress, and ‘get everything in at the right time and in the right place’.

We've put together a list of tips and advice below that your child may find useful to assist them during their VCE.

Tips for a successful VCE

  1. Create a study routine - Sit down and plan your workload - consider when exams or assignments are due. Work back from those dates and draw up a work and study plan that breaks tasks into manageable chunks.
  2. Sleep well - Many young people aren't getting enough sleep, according to the Australian Institute of Family Studies. A 2019 report found that half of 16—17 year olds don't get enough sleep on school nights. Government health guidelines recommend that children up to age 13 should have 9—11 hours of sleep, and students aged 14 and upwards have 8—10 hours each night.
  3. Eat well - The London School of Economics recommends that students look at what they eat as they prepare for exams. Some foods are known to improve alertness, memory and energy levels—all important during busy study times. Aim to drink around 1.2 litres of water a day to help brain function. Avoid high-sugar foods as after a sugar rush, blood sugar levels can suddenly drop and cause tiredness. Eat plenty of protein-rich foods such as nuts, oats, eggs, dried fruits and yoghurt and avoid too much caffeine, which can lead to headaches. Green tea is believed to help concentration and is a healthier beverage choice.
  4. Consider adding a sixth subject to your VCE - Studying a sixth VCE subject online at Haileybury Pangea allows for flexibility and self-paced work on a subject of your choice. Many students are juggling multiple personal and academic commitments, so being able to study a sixth subject in a way that fits in with their schedule means they can pursue their interests and access the advantage this offers. An additional VCE subject also adds 10% to your overall ATAR score. You can find out more here.
  5. Make time for friends and relaxation - Keeping up activities beyond school study is important. Maintaining an involvement in sport or other recreational activities is important to wellbeing and helps to maintain a sense of balance.
  6. Focus on what you can control - Dr Chelsea Hyde, Educational Psychologist at Melbourne Graduate School of Education at the University of Melbourne, says it’s important to help students reduce stress by encouraging them to focus on what they can do and what they can control, such as keeping up with schoolwork and setting goals for the future.
  7. Ask for help when you need it - Remember you are surrounded by people who want the best for you and want to see you succeed - your family, friends, and teachers. If you need help or guidance throughout this time, it's important to speak to someone you trust and work through a solution together.