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It is no secret that year 12 is an exceedingly difficult year for students, and many suffer from stress. In fact, over 75% of students experience ATAR stress at one point or another during their year 12.
Some students begin to experience this as early as term 1.
While your ATAR is important, nothing is more important than your mental health and wellbeing.
Not only that, but numerous studies show high-stress levels negatively impact your ability to learn, remember and to function under pressure. All the skills you need to perform well in year 12 are diminished by uncontrolled stress.
So, how do we manage year 12 ATAR stress before it gets us down?
There are many ways you can bring down your year 12 stress levels.
The first and easiest one to do is create a schedule for your study and stay on top of it.
Nothing is more stressful than knowing you have 4 different SACs/outcomes to sit next week, and you can only put aside time to study for one of them. Or worse, you have had to schedule a re-sit, and this takes up precious study time for other upcoming deadlines.
The best way to overcome this is to create a study timetable and stick with it. You should put aside at least 2-hours of study per week for each subject or more if you can manage it. This sounds like an insane amount of time. But the more time you put into revising concepts, practising questions and working closely with mentors and peers can hugely reduce your stress and improve your grades.
Look at it like this. When you do regular, consistent study, you build your subject muscle.
Just like you would lifting weights in a gym. You wouldn’t go to the gym and work hard for a week experting to lift as much weight as the person who has been putting in 2 (or more) hours every week since the beginning of the year.
You will likely wear your self out before the week is over and that in itself will negatively affect your performance.
Your ATAR is no different. Consistent work will always beat out short term cramming. Your grades and your mental health will thank you for consistency in your study.
The second is don’t get caught up in what everybody else scored for their SAC/outcome.
Yes, the whole point of year 12 is to compete against everyone else in your cohort. However, comparing yourself to others does nothing but lead to negative feelings and thoughts.
Feeling bad about yourself and your ability will take you quickly down the path of ‘why bother?’
When students take that path, they give up before they even take the test!
Clearly, this is not helpful for your health or your grades.
Now, just let me be clear, looking at higher scoring tests can be helpful. But only if you are looking at them to find ways you can improve. It is not in any way helpful if you are only comparing scores.
Working with your teacher or tutor to understand why you got your score can be very helpful. These people have seen loads of high scoring test/essays/questions, and they have the skills and ability to guide you in the right direction. You can learn more about how to choose the right tutor here.
The other thing you can do is self-reflection. Sit down and ask, ‘Did I follow my study schedule?’ ‘Did I put in as many hours or preparation as I could have?’ ‘How can I improve my study routine so I can do better next time?’
Now if you feel like you did all of these things really well, but still got a score you are unhappy with. It is time to consider additional help.
Tips for extra help:
- Join a homework study group
- Go to lunchtime sessions offered by your teacher
- Find a good tutor
- Ask the student in your class who got that great score if they can help.
- Sign up for a course that specifically helps with the area you are stuck on. (Check out our VCE Methods and English courses here.)
The important thing to remember is that you don’t have to do it all alone. Use all the resources at your disposal, and you will see a difference in your stress and your grades.
You can do it!
What is the take-home?
- Create a study schedule and stick to it
- Join study/homework groups
- Get a tutor/mentor if you feel stuck or want to excel past your current grades
- Ask your teachers and peers for help.
These are just a few ways you can manage your ATAR stress and use it to improve your grades.