How to study for your SACs and outcomes

At some point, everyone needs to prepare for a SAC or Exam in year 11 and 12. We often see students who just aren’t sure how to even begin studying for one. Many students get trapped in a cycle where they think the only way to study for a SAC is to get their hands on a practice SAC, and this just isn’t true.

So we have created a list to answer the question of “how to study” and included other ways you can study and prepare for your next SAC or Outcome.

Here are our recommended tips

Top tip on how to study!
Use the study design to make a checklist for your revision.
VCE English Language Study design and how to use it to study.

Download the Study Designs for each of your subjects.

Go through the key knowledge for each outcome and make a checklist. Cross-off key knowledge you know well and focus on studying those you don’t! This will enable you to maximise your study time. You can find the study design on the website for your state. For example, if you are in Victoria, type VCAA English study design into Google or HSC Chemistry syllabus for NSW and so on. 

2. Make sure you understand and can USE all of the key terminology

Key terms for each of your outcomes are often in your textbook’s glossary or study design, maybe your teacher has even given you a glossary for all of the terminologies you need to know.
Being able to understand and use key terminology on your SACs and exams is vital to getting a good score.

3. Make a study timetable and stick to it!

Making a study timetable that fits around your other commitments is important, it means that you will always have time for some study. It doesn’t have to be hours of study, even 15 minutes a day of revision can really help.

4. Focus on what you don’t know
5. Don’t forget to revise topics you learned earlier in the year.

Just because the topic has been and gone in class doesn’t mean you should ignore it. Often these past topics have a way of sneaking into our SACs, Outcomes and Exams. Taking time every few weeks to revise past topics can be all it takes to prevent being blindsided by a question you haven’t seen for 4 months on your next test.

6. Sit a practise SAC/exam
7. Reduce stress

Stress can be our enemy when it comes to sitting a SAC or exam. Stress stops you from doing your best so make sure you are keeping on top of it. The last years of school can be scary and challenging, but remember all you can do is your best! So don’t be so hard on yourself, and remember to keep calm during these stressful periods.
Top tips for reducing stress:

  • Getting 7-9 hours of sleep a night
  • Eating healthy
  • Drinking enough water
  • Exercising
  • Meditation
  • Spending time with our family/friends/pets
  • Doing what we love
  • Being kind to ourselves

These things can all help with stress!

8. Remind yourself why you are doing this.

When you put as much time and effort into a task as you are in your senior years, it is important to remember WHY you are doing it. Sometimes the things we are working towards are challenging. But if you can master your WHY, you will find it easier to keep going in those difficult moments.

Our Masterminds


Rianna is studying a Bachelor of Psychological Sciences.
She tutors VCE English, English Language, Psychology, Chemistry and Biology.

Feel free to contact us to book some time with Rianna.

About Evergreen Tutoring Services

Develop a passion for learning. If you do, you will never cease to grow.
– Anthony J. D’Angelo

Evergreen Tutoring Services is an exceptional tutoring service with high achieving and highly qualified tutors. Every tutor meets the highest standard possible to ensure they can give students high-quality educational guidance.

High school student studying online with her expert tutor

We supply Tutors to those in Prep to Year 12 and beyond Australia wide. Tutoring is important for everyone, not just for primary and secondary school students.

In today’s demanding world students who receive tutoring perform better in their adult lives. Our one on one tutoring service means that students now get the help they need without having to compete with a classroom full of people for assistance. One on one tutoring allows students to ask questions of someone with has a high understanding of the subject matter, which allows them to better understand the area of study. Higher understanding yields higher grades and performance in school.

What are the benefits of tutoring?

Tutoring doesn’t just improve student grades, understanding and knowledge, the benefits of working with a Tutor are endless. Here are just a few of the ways students benefit from tutoring:

1. One on one attention

One on one attention allows Tutors to get to know the students learning style and adapt teaching methods to suit them. In essence, Tutors are the student’s private teacher.

2. Improved work and study habits

These skills will help to set up the student for success over his or her entire life.

3. Individual and unique learning experience

The student will receive an individualised learning experience most students can’t get in a classroom. Our tutors tailor individual lesson plans to suit the students’ needs.

4. Increased confidence and attitude

This leads to improved social and behavioural skills- The student’s self-esteem and confidence will increase through tutoring by providing him or her with the resources and skills he or she needs to excel in school. Tutoring services also will help the student become a better communicator, form better relationships with peers, and make more positive social and behavioural adjustments.

5. Higher comprehension of subject matter

The student’s tutor will specifically target whichever aspect of learning they are having trouble with or wish to enhance, whether it’s writing, maths, language, or reading.

6. It builds important learning skills

Through tutoring, the student will learn work and study habits they will use for life. These skills will help prepare your child to successfully achieve his or her goals both inside and outside of school.

7. Fewer distractions

Tutoring provides an environment free of distractions, with fewer students and disruptions to their learning.

8. Challenges those who need it

Tutoring helps bored, or under-stimulated children reach their full potential.

9. Increased ability to manage ones learning

The student will become more competent in his or her learning and more successful in managing his or her school work

10. Tutored students generally perform better on tests and they attend school more regularly

As learning becomes easier, your child will grow to enjoy it. With constant encouragement and praise, the student will no longer feel frustrated and overwhelmed when it comes to school.

11.  Prepares the student for university and TAFE

Students heading off to further learning will learn how to create study plans, develop advanced study skills, and learn superior time management skills.

Why Evergreen Tutoring Services?

Happy primary school student studying with her online tutor from Evergreen Tutoring Services.

We offer a range of highly educated tutors who are prepared, willing and ready to give their student the very best education assistance possible.

Customised lesson plans -All our tutors provide lesson plans designed to help the student perform to the best of their abilities.

Our lessons are online! Stay in the comfort of your own home and work with your tutor online.

Every student deserves the best help possible to ensure a high standard of achievement and education. Here at Evergreen Tutoring Services, we believe every student can achieve amazing things with their mind and life, and we are prepared to help them in every way we can.  

Planning your study routine

Planning your study routine

Welcome to Year 11 and 12, your final years of school. While an exciting time, it can also be quite stressful. One of the key ways to manage stress during Year 11 and 12 is maintaining an effective study routine so that you can keep up to date with your course work and prepared for those final exams. In this article, we will explore some strategies to implement a successful study routine.

Step 1

study doesnt need to be stressful.

The first step to organizing your time is going over your schedule to see where you might fit time to study. Our lives are busy, and quite often, a lot is going on after school and on weekends. Hence it is best to first go over your schedule and commit a time every week to study. The study period could be 15 minutes, or it could be 2 hours; however, the main goal is to commit to a designated time slot each week and honour that commitment. Once you are happy with your routine and commit to it as planned, you can extend your study window or even the number of days you implement it.

Step 2

Now that you have an allocated time each week that you will study, the next stage is finding a space that you are comfortable studying in. This space could be anything from a desk in your room to the library or under a tree at the park. The main things to focus on is trying to limit your distractions and making sure that you are comfortable working in your space for an extended period of time.

Step 3

The next step you need to think about is ensuring any equipment, study notes or textbooks easily accessible. Having all of your equipment ready to go allows you to remain more focused on your study and limits the amount of time that might be wasted procrastinating. Some simple ideas that help with this could be having a login on your laptop that is only used for studying. This can allow you to store all of your school info in one place with no distractions. Another strategy to streamline your notes is keeping all of your work in a folder(s) so that it is easily accessible.

Once you are all set up, you are ready to go and get studying. How you study is up to you, and it really depends on your learning style. Sometimes it takes a bit of trial and error to figure out what style(s) work best for you. Below we have detailed some common strategies that can work well:

Tips for effective study strategies

Working through chapter reviews and chapter summaries.

Chapter reviews are a great place to start when working on a particular topic and chapter summaries work well to provide consolidated information for a broad topic.

Watching videos
Drawing notecards

If you have a study space that allows you to put notes on your walls, this can be a really handy tool. Writing a simple note for something you want to remember (i.e anions are negatively charged and cations are positively charged) and then putting it on a wall to act as a visual reminder. Seeing the note repeatedly as you go about your day can help you remember it.

Have fun with it!

Often we remember things that are a little silly. So sometimes, incorporating fun can help us remember certain terms or facts that we need to remember. If we use the previously given example from chemistry: anions are negatively charged and cation positively charged, how could we make this silly to remember it? Well, if we look closer into cation, we can see the word CAT. Cats are nice, and hence they can be seen as positive, hence cations = positively charged. It’s a little silly, but if it helps you remember something, it doesn’t matter how silly it is.

Study with the right materials.
Maintain balance.

Sometimes we get so overwhelmed with our studies that it feels difficult to do anything else. However, the more balance we keep in our lives with socializing, music, sport, etc., alongside our studies, the more productive we often are.

Reward your success!

Sometimes people find it useful to record their hours worked so that they can see the work accumulating over time. Others like to reward their success. For example, suppose you want to do a regular 2-hour study session on Thursdays. In that case, you could reward yourself with some shopping or a nice dinner afterwards to keep your motivation high.

Final thoughts on planning your study routine

Overall, how you manage your Year 11 and 12 study is within your control. Our main tips are to get organized early by planning ahead, committing to regular study times, having fun with it, and celebrating your progress.
Good luck and happy studying!


Jessica has a PhD in reproductive biology and is no stranger to study. She is also a maths and science tutor at Evergreen Tutoring Serivices.

How can studying maths methods be like carving a granite block of stone with a spoon?

Year 12 Methods doesn’t have to be a struggle.

Study smarter not harder.

If you are done trying to carve a granite block of stone with a spoon and you want to get the Maths Methods grades you want easier, faster and with no frustration, then grab one of our packages now.
Start studying the right way.

Let’s talk about study

How many times have you spent hours studying year 12 Maths Methods and felt like you got nowhere?

Maybe you can’t quite figure out how to make the most out of your study time. Or perhaps you are here because you already know you need better resources.

A lot of student get stuck here and in this video I am going to clearly explain how to get unstuck when you study year 12 Maths Methods.

In this video I am going to cover:

  • Why Studying year 12 maths methods can be compared to carving a block of granite with a spoon
  • How to get study in a way that requires less time and effort but gets you better marks
  • And why the correct resources makes all the difference in the world to how well you study


I am Jessica Evergreen, qualified teacher, owner and founder of Evergreen Tutoring Services.

I am here today to teach you about the secret to doing well in year 12 maths methods and how studying it can be compared to carving a block of Granite stone with a spoon.

Myself and my team have helped thousands of students reach their study score and ATAR goals regardless of where they started from. Over years of working closely with students, we have noticed that the trouble a lot of students have with maths methods is that their classroom teachers move too quickly through the content. The students are struggling to understand how to complete questions they only spent 15 or so minutes learning how to do.

The problem with this is it leads to deep confusion, loss of confidence and these two things together often result in lower than desired scores.

These students often work hard, but they work hard with the wrong tools.

Think of it like trying to carve a block of granite stone with a spoon. You can spend hours over a year working diligently at the stone, but you’re not likely to get very far. Trying to carve granite stone with a spoon will just lead to low results, frustration and ultimately failure.

This situation is exactly the same for year 12 maths methods students. While you may not be trying to carve stone with spoons, If you aren’t studying with the right tools, you aren’t going to get the results you are looking for.

But what would happen to our stone carver if they began using a diamond-tipped electric tool? Chances are they are going to carve that stone a lot faster, easier and get a better overall result.

The same thing can happen for year 12 students. By using the right resources, they are going to study faster, easier and get a better overall result.

But what kind of resources should they be looking for?

Well, these resources should cover each topic of the curriculum in digestible chunks. Yes, they have their textbooks. But have you ever looked at the enormous 300+ page book? Talk about daunting. If you are already stuck and frustrated, do you think you will want to spend time hunting through this book on the off chance you will find a detailed explanation on the particular topic you are stuck on?
Probably not.
So, it is important to have access to resources that are easy to use and understand.

Videos that cover one topic clearly at a time is the way to go.

The next thing you should be looking at is can you access it when you need it?
Everyone studies well at different times, and there is nothing worse than sitting down to study and being stuck for hours on a question that you could have answered in 20 minutes if you had just had access to the right resources at the right time. So finding a resource, you can use as often as you need can be extremely beneficial.

So if you are a maths methods student or you know one that feels like you are carving a block or granite stone with a spoon, and you want to get better results, easier, and faster by using the right tools, we can help you out.

How we can help

Our team have carefully crafted a maths methods program with video resources on every topic of the year 12 Maths methods curriculum, and all students who sign up to it get 24 hours a day access to it for the entire year.
Which means they can study when it suits them and with the right resources.

Our Maths methods packages come in different tiers, including our resource package, which covers every topic in the curriculum, our exam package, which works through every question on the 202o maths methods exam and our gold package, which includes access to both these packs and twelve 30 minutes 1-to-1 sessions with one of our fantastic methods tutors so you work through some of the more difficult questions with someone who can help you every step of the way.

I hope you found this video helpful, and if you are ready to stop carving a block of stone with a spoon, sign up for one of our packages and start studying with the right resources today.

Apply Our Methods to Maths and ‘Get’ With Maths Methods

Student logging into his maths methods tutoring session.

One of the most rewarding aspects of learning is when you just ‘get’ something you previously struggled with. Perhaps you approached a text from a different perspective, worked backwards to solve a problem, or had a discussion with someone where they raised some points that you had not yet considered. That lightbulb moment can be so rewarding because it emphasises the importance of looking at problems from different perspectives. We at Evergreen Tutoring Services love working with students to help them tap into their own potential, learn new skills, and develop fun problem-solving abilities that they can use both in and outside of the classroom. And when it comes to Maths Methods, we have the Methods to help you ‘get’ your maths.

Learn at your own pace

A common roadblock when it comes to tackling Maths Methods, is ensuring your learning is evenly paced with the classroom’s content. Sometimes teachers, in the attempt of ensuring everything is covered, move through topics before all students have a firm understanding of the problem-solution model, and how it can be applied to the lesson’s content.

This is what distinguishes Evergreen Tutoring Services from many other tutoring companies. Our team of expert Maths Methods tutors get to know our students, understand what they are working on in class, what they are struggling with, and what they would like to spend more time on. Together we work through the problems with them in an online classroom environment, in a one-on-one non-judgemental setting.

Lateral thinking helps with problem-solving

Happy student studying maths methods with his online tutor.

What distinguishes our Maths Methods tutors from the rest is that they are skilled problem-solvers with exceptional lateral thinking abilities. When it comes to working through a tough maths problem, they will demonstrate various approaches to solving a unique problem. Sometimes students get so focused on solving a problem in a particular manner that they overlook more straightforward, innovative, and, yes, even fun ways of solving the sum.

By contracting Evergreen Tutoring Services, students will learn the MATHS approach to working through Maths Methods, which is:
  • M– Methodical strategies. Evergreen prides itself on employing Maths Methods tutors who are not only skilled problem solvers but are eloquent, friendly, and fun to talk to. Our tutors will be able to help students develop new problem-solving strategies in a non-judgemental environment.
  • A – Adding value to learning. We understand that students often learn at their own pace and manner, and so, we are just as much about the journey as we are the destination. If a student struggles with a particularly difficult concept, we understand that successful learning may be paced. So, if we can help with just one small area of learning in a lesson, we believe we have added value.
  • T – Timing. We do not rush learning, and our tutors make an active effort to match the pace of the lesson with the students’ progress.
  • H – Helpful advice. We do not claim to have the ‘definitive’ approach to tackling maths methods, as there may be no definitive approach. What works for one person may not work for another. Rather, we offer helpful advice throughout lessons, regarding problem-solving strategies, memory tricks, and so on.
  • S – Supportive learning. By being with students at every step of their learning journey, we are proud to say we help them reach their potential, develop fun strategies to approaching maths, and learn new strategies throughout the process.

Evergreen would be delighted to help you on your Maths Journey

To find out more about how Evergreen Tutoring Services could help you ‘get’ Maths Methods, please call 0409 083 909 today for a free consultation. All you need to do is tell us about your learning goals, and challenges you would like to overcome, and we can discuss some effective strategies to help you achieve your learning goals. We believe that learning should be the three A’s:
Achievable, Accessible and Attainable. Let’s reach these targets together!

Looking for some great Maths Methods Resouces to improve your study?

Check out our maths methods resources. This pack includes video explanations on every topic of the Maths Methods Curriculum, practice questions and answers.
We also have a pack that goes through all the 2020 exam questions. This pack includes how to know what the question is asking, how to answer them and answers.
All of this content has been created by our Maths Methods tutors.

How to maximise your grades

Maximising your grades is on the minds of every year 11 and 12 across Australia.
What is it that is going to give your grades that extra edge when it comes to crunch time?

This video by our director and qualified teacher, Jessica Evergreen, will give you the tools you need to start maximising your grades today.

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Maximising your grades


Happy students graduating year 12 with the help of Evergreen Tutoring Services in maximising their grades.

If you would like to contact us about maximising your grades you can reach us on 0409 083 909.

Alternatively you can send us an enquiry here.

Video transcript

Hi, my name is Jessica. I’m the director of Evergreen Tutoring Services, and I’m going to have a quick chat with you today about how you can maximize your grades. This video is applicable to all year levels. But mostly, what we’re going to focus on here is year 11 and 12.

The most common goal we see with students is that they want to maximise their grades. Now, there might be a couple of different ways they aim at achieving that; but the overall goal remains the same. So we’re going to cover a couple of different ways that you can use some of these tips here to maximize your grades.

The first tip is to break your study up.

Now, it’s important to break your study up for a couple of reasons. The first one is burnout. You’ve all heard about burnout, and it’s a very real thing for year 12.
Lots of students experience it. And this happens because of high stress levels and extreme workloads. So breaking your study up into manageable parts is a huge key here, to not only improving your grades but preventing burnout while you do it. Now the important thing here is don’t break your study up into small parts four weeks before the exam. You need to start sooner than that. You should be breaking your study at the beginning of your 12. But if you’re not yet, start now, don’t wait for your exams. Don’t wait for an upcoming SAC. You should be going over topics, small amounts of questions and revising every day.

Now, I know some of you are like, what?! I have five subjects, and all of them have homework!! And on top of that, you want me to find extra time to do this study?!
The answer is yes.
It’s just one of those things where if you spend 15 to 20 minutes a day on each of these topics, you will not only find it easier in class, you won’t be so stressed with SACs and outcomes, and You will do better on your exams. As a whole, you’ll feel like you understand what is going on with your subjects.

Study in small bursts

Now to break this study up, what you should ideally do here is aim for, 15 to 20 minutes blocks, but definitely no more than 90-minute chunks. Unless you’re doing some one on one time with somebody who can make sure you’re using that time efficiently.
Now, there’s a lot of studies to show that when we’re just by ourselves, 90 minutes is the amount of time we can focus before we need a break.

The important thing here is to work hard for that 90 minutes, put your phone away, and don’t look at it. If you are tempted to put it in a different room, don’t have the TV on, don’t study with music that has lyrics. All of these things cause distractions, especially when you’re trying to study in a way that helps you to remember what you’re doing. Which is, after all, the goal.

Now we have a couple of other articles you can check out on our website, and I’ll put the link down below. But basically, what they are is a list of study tips and a couple of different articles and resources for things that are more subject-specific.

So this video covers a broad range for all of year 12. But if you’re looking for perhaps methods or English and you want more in-depth information on that, have a look at the links or browse through our website, and you will find some more resources there that can help you improve your study time.

The next thing is to revise often.

As we said before, we should break our study up. But the next one is often. It’s not enough to study once a week, for 20 minutes. It’s just not enough. You got to remember that even though you may be at the top of your class in your school, you’re competing against all of Australia. So you’ve got to be competing against those other students at other schools with other resources, everybody wants to do very well, and you are competing against them too.

The way to do that effectively is to make sure you’re revising the right things often.

So studying for 10 to 20 minutes a night on your subjects is all you need to get a good baseline for your study.

The third thing is to study while you’re warm.

There are many studies here, done by universities in various places, that show that when you’re warm, you are more productive. When they did these studies on people who are working, they found that when the temperature was 20 degrees, 44% more mistakes were made than if the temperature was 25 degrees.

What this means is you are more productive in warmer temperatures. It is important to note that once the temperature gets over 28 or 29 that productivity goes down. We’re saying here that you don’t have to crank the heater up but just make sure you’re warm. Put a jumper on or sit with a blanket in your lap. Make sure you’re warm.

Comfort is an important thing for maximising your grades.

So when you put all of these things together, what you find is you’re starting to build the basic study skills that you need to begin maximizing your grades.

Now, there are a lot more steps here, and we’ll cover up more videos about that in the future. But mostly, what we want to focus on is studying the right content in small bursts. Now, if you don’t know what to study, that’s okay. Sometimes it’s confusing. There’s a lot of topics that happen really quickly, and you move on in class, sometimes before you even know what’s going on.

So we’ve got a couple of resources on our website that you can have a look at. They’ve got all of the topics listed. If you sign up for our course, you can watch those videos. But even if you don’t sign up for our course, you can look at the topics, which gives you a pretty good guideline of what you should be studying. So go have a look at those topics and go and study them yourself. You’ll find them in your textbooks, or you can just subscribe, and you can use the resources, practice questions and videos that we’ve got there.

But definitely look at that and use it to help inform what you should be studying to prepare for your exam stacks and outcomes. The next thing is to study often, don’t just do it once, it won’t be enough, it’s the hard truth.

So study often 15 to 20 minutes a night for each subject, at least.

And the other thing is to be warm. Now we know that warmth increases your productivity, and there might be a couple of things that you find the work specifically for you.

So what we’re talking about here is not just warmth, but in particular, finding what increases your productivity. So you might find that sitting by a window with lots of natural light improves your productivity or that including a couple of plants within your study space is also good for productivity. These things can help to just relax you a little bit.

Now all of these things are not only productive and conducive to study, but they help you absorb what you’re studying. So if you’re spending hours and hours, in huge blocks, focusing on a topic you don’t really understand, to begin with, all you’re going to do is frustrate yourself. And the last thing we want is for you to be frustrated. Year 12 is hard enough without you being stuck. Alright, so make sure you follow these things, and the final thing is to get help.

Get help maximising your grades

This might be from your teachers, this might be from your peers, it could be from your older siblings, parents, tutor, whoever it is, don’t stay stuck.

There’s lots of help out there for you.

You could probably even find YouTube videos or online courses that explain each of the topics in depth. We have one on our page. The thing is that there are so many great resources out there that there isn’t a need for you to be feeling stuck. Find somebody, a study buddy, that you can work with, somebody who can go questions through when you’re stuck on a question.

Now that we’ve covered those four things, I’m going to leave you with it.
Just one last thing, if you’re one of those people who are stuck on what to study, or you’re really confused about what kinds of topics you should be focusing on, contact us or jump onto one of our short courses to maximize your grades.

That’s all for today on maximising your grades.

Thank you and good luck.

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How to teach mental maths to grade’s 1- 3

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You can listen to this article here.

How to teach mental maths to grade’s 1- 3 Evergreen Tutoring Services

This episode is also available as a blog post: https://evergreentutoringservices.com/2021/04/09/mental-maths/

How to teach mental maths to grade’s 1- 3

A group of happy Primary School students!

Electronic devices have transformed the way math is taught in schools. Unfortunately, children’s dependence on technology can cause their prior knowledge of mental maths skills to slip away.
However, it is still possible to teach students maths techniques that will help them mentally add, subtract, multiply, and divide. Parents and guardians, in particular, play an important role in highlighting the strategies that their children develop at school, when at home.

Where to start?

It is important to first recognise that number sense forms a crucial part of a child’s ability to understand numbers and number relationships. When topics such as ordering numbers, counting on and comparing numbers are learnt, a child’s counting skills come into play.

Keynote: By grade 2, it is not expected that students will be fluent in concepts such as more and less or counting backwards. This requires a deeper level of thinking that relates to number ideas. 

As a minimum, children are expected to be confident in the following skills by at least grade 3:

  • Immediately recognising a number between 1-10 when they see it (on some dice, for example) without counting –
  • Name the number between 0-10 that comes after or before a given number
  • Beginning understanding of Part- part-whole relationships

Definition: Part-part whole – recognising that there are two parts in a whole, and a number can be broken down into many parts. For Example, showing your child a pattern that includes circles in 2 different colours and asking them, “how many circles do you see?” “how many are green?” “and how many are pink?”
This will help them to realise that while there is a total number of circles, it can again be broken up into smaller numbers.
This skill comes into play with many mathematical concepts, such as understanding the number 10 is a whole number but is still made up of 8+2 or 6+4 and so on.

Tips for how to do this

A visual example of how to teach Whole and parts to students.
How whole numbers are made up of parts. 8+2=10

Creating questions in this type of layout can be extremely beneficial for students as it gives a visual as well as a written demonstration of how these numbers work as wholes and parts.

Playing with dice and practising instant recognition of the numbers without counting is also a great way to build this skill.

Examples of how to use dice to impove instant number recognition.

In your child’s mental maths learning journey, it is useful to check that these skills are in place. Be sure your child has a good foundation here before building on new number/counting topics.

Dilandra- Tutor at Evergreen Tutoring Services

Introducing the topic

Doubles recipe. A rhyme to help students learn to double up to 10

When presenting these topics to your child, ensure that you include anything that might help them see a pattern or trend in a simple way. Getting as many senses involved in your approach to solidifying these concepts is essential. E.G

  • Auditory (silly sayings and rhymes) “4 + 4, there’s a spider on my door.”
  • Patterns or repetitions of numbers
  • Touch (using dice or blocks)
  • Visual (images for adding doubles)
An example of how to use visual questions to teach mental maths

Assessment for mental maths

Assessing your child’s knowledge of doubles can also be a good place to start as this concept forms the foundation for many counting and number topic in your child’s later years of schooling. For example, the doubles plus 1 concept is a suitable example of how the topic of the double can be useful. If your child understands 3 + 3 = 6, they are more likely to know 3 + 4 because it is just one more double than 3.

Moreover, although students up to grade 3 are familiar with numbers up to (and beyond) 20, it shouldn’t be assumed that they are as confident with these as they are with numbers up to 10. These numbers past 20 do play a big part in many simple counting activities, and therefore, it is an important relationship for children to grasp.

The aim for your child should be that when shown a set of 8 with a set of 10, they should recognise, without counting, that the total is 18.

Mental maths games

To make it easier for you, we have compiled some games below that can assist you as well as your child to continue their learning of some of these key mental maths topics at home.

Math Jeopardy

Give your child a piece of paper and then say a number. Give them one minute to find as many ways as they can to make the number using addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.

Mental Mystery

Have your child count out five small objects such as pennies, marbles, or candy and have them close their eyes. Then hide some of the five objects, while leaving the rest uncovered.  Ask your child to calculate how many objects they see and how many objects are covered. Practice this activity until your child can quickly solve these simple equations without having to count. Add one more object once your child has mastered a level as an extension. For older children, start with a higher number of objects (e.g., 10-20 objects).

Good luck!


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What The Past Can Teach Us About The Present

Many of the English texts that are studied, in high school English classes, share a strong similarity. They were written in the present but set in the past. This might be anywhere from a few months before the author wrote it to several hundred years. Students often struggle with this writing choice, as analysing texts set in the past can be challenging for several reasons. To start with, texts set in the past often utilise outdated slang, sayings, and words that sound odd to modern readers.

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Secondly, texts set in the past often present the reader with confronting, challenging scenarios. Usually, these concern social issues such as sexism, racism, small-town prejudice, and so on. While many of these challenging issues are still prevalent in today’s society, they are nowhere near as socially acceptable as they were in the past.
This is one of the central benefits of setting texts in the past. It provides readers with a window into how widespread taboo topics used to be. Including how controversial issues that contemporary society has fought hard to eliminate such as Racisim and sexism. In the past concepts such as these used to be seen as ‘normal’, with people casually saying unsavoury comments that would rarely be tolerated in today’s society.

It allows you to compare the past and the present

Setting texts in the past allows readers to compare the past with the present. It gives them the opportunity to discuss issues such as: How were things back then? How are things now? In what way are things different now? In what way are things the same now?

Questions like this are extremely important in English studies, as they help students to identify how society is continually changing, and how the popular views amongst society are often changing, usually for the better.

For example, Craig Silvey’s Australian novel Jasper Jones was published in 2009, but set 40 years prior to that, in 1969. The date is important to the novel, which deals with small-town prejudice, racism, rumours and closed-mindedness. One of the central problems the main characters face is this:

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The title character’s girlfriend is mysteriously found dead in a bush clearing. Jasper Jones goes to one of his friends for help, and the friend suggests they go to the police, and let them handle it. Jasper promptly rejects this idea, stating that because he, Jasper, is an Aboriginal teenager in a predominantly white town, and has been falsely scapegoated in the past, that if they go to the police, Jasper claims, then he will be arrested for her murder. Jasper’s friend says that is not true, because Jasper did not do it.

Jasper responds with:

“Listen, Charlie, we can’t tell anyone. No way. Specially the police. Because they are gonna say it was me. Straight up. Understand?”

The novel Jasper Jones examines the harmful effects of racism across society, and looks at how racism reduces people to caricatures of who they really are. As it is set during the Vietnam war, Jeffrey, a Vietnamese teenager, repeatedly gets abused racially, being called ‘Cong’, in reference to the war.

What is so significant about Jasper Jones’ setting is that it provides readers with a view of how Australian society has changed since 1969, but also… some of the ways it has stayed the same. Jasper’s concerns about being unfairly scapegoated because of his background, sadly, still ring true, even in 2021. While today’s society may have taken steps towards eliminating racism and sexism, studying Jasper Jones can show us that there is still work to do.

Montana 1948

Another text that is often studied in English is the American novella, Montana 1948 by Larry Watson. Published in 1993, and set 45 years prior to that, this novella explores many of the same themes as Jasper Jones.

It concerns a problem the Hayden family, located in a small, rural town in Montana, USA, is experiencing. Their housekeeper, a Native American woman called Marie Little Soldier, has fallen ill, but refuses to go to the town doctor, Frank Hayden. Frank is the uncle of the narrator of the story, 12-year-old David, and the brother of David’s father, the sheriff of the town, Wesley Hayden.

The Hayden family investigate Marie’s reluctance to visit Frank, and discover that Frank has been sexually assaulting his female Native American patients. Wesley’s wife urges Wesley to arrest Frank, ensuring that justice is done. This introduces the central problem, and key theme, of the story.

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Wesley is under enormous pressure from his extended family to just look the other way. They claim that hurting Native American women is not a serious crime, in and of itself.

Wesley’s central dilemma is the basis for the book. Whether to arrest his brother and shame the Hayden family name or to look the other way and allow the abuse to continue. Through this dilemma readers are granted a unique insight into how severe race relations used to be. With crimes against non-white people rarely viewed as severely as crimes against white people. Turning a blind eye to the ‘lesser’ crimes committed against non-whites is a central theme of this novella. This quote, that one of Wesley’s co-workers says to young David highlights this:

“You know what your granddad said it means to be a peace officer in Montana? He said it means knowing when to look and when to look away.”

Studying Montana 1948 helps readers to better understand, through a modern perspective, a number of key points and themes regarding institutionalised racism.

  • That there has always been pressure from external forces to keep things as they are. For racism and sexist to remain in power, society must not progress in its views or attitudes. As we see in Montana 1948, people who worked at fighting against racism and sexism often faced enormous pressure against those who wanted to keep things as they are.

How this can help YOUR studies

When you are studying a text set in the past, but written in modern times, it is worthwhile to understand how characters within the novel react to important issues, regarding racism, sexism, and so on.
Do they:

  • Try to challenge it?
  • Accept it?
  • Secretly want to challenge it, but feel peer pressure to let it continue?
  • Want to challenge it but do not even know where to start, due to the other side having overwhelming support?

By identifying these key points, you will be in a better position to analyse the outdated views within the text from a modern perspective. By doing so, you are ensuring your analysis of it will be able to address several key points. Including what ways society has changed, and in what ways it has stayed the same.

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Jasper Jones and Montana 1948, despite being set in different countries (Australia and the US) and different times (1969 and 1948) were both written years after their setting. They both concern characters addressing a similar problem.
Whether they should let the ‘status quo’ of their small town remain as it is, or whether they should seek to challenge it by confronting the outdated views of the townsfolk. In turn showing them exactly why racism, sexism, and other forms of prejudice are harmful and wrong.

Analysing a text set in the past can be rewarding once you work at identifying how views and attitudes have changed over time. Including examining the outdated attitudes of some of the characters through a modern perspective. It helps you effectively understand that a key aspect of progress is that it is ongoing. If everyone does their bit to eliminate prejudiced views, society will be a better place for everyone.

Good luck!


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Managing ATAR stress in year 12

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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.

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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.

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:
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  • 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.

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Essay Writing tips and tricks

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Essay writing is something most students are introduced to in early high school. It is also one of the areas most students find difficult. On of our expert English tutors, James, has written a short article to help you out.

Essay writing, and the textual analysis within it, is a lot like baking a cake. It can seem scary at first, but when you break essay writing down to a step-by-step process, you realise that it is quite straight-forward. It can be very easy if you stick to a plan.


Broadly speaking, all English essays will have the same “ingredients” within them. It is your job to use them to produce an essay that argues a clear, succinct point, in a logical way.

A good, effective structure for an analytical essay is what I like to call The Five-Step Rule. A good effective essay will often have about five paragraphs. Any less and you risk not analysing the themes of the texts in enough detail. Any more and you risk repeating yourself by going over the same idea again and again.

I like to use the KISS formula: Keep It Smart and Simple.
What this formula means is clearly explain your ideas and analysis, concisely. Try not to express an idea in 30 words when you could present the same idea in ten. For example, instead of writing:

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“The X-Men movie employs stark metaphors in its exploration of who the real monsters are: the mutants who just want to live their lives in peace, or the humans who oppress them.”

Which uses 32 words to convey a single idea, a smarter, simpler way to convey the same idea would be:

“Through the use of metaphor, the story makes us question preconceived notions of prejudice”,

Which broadly expresses the same argument about challenging notions of prejudice. However, the idea is expressed much more succinctly and clearly in the shorter sentence.

Analysis of X-Men (2000)

Let’s say we are writing an essay analysis of the Bryan Singer directed movie X-Men’s central themes. What would be a good strategy for going about writing up an analysis of this movie? The Five-Step Rule would see you structure an essay on it using this basic structure:

X men 2000 essay topic

First paragraph: Introduction
Second paragraph: First Argument
Third paragraph: Second Argument
Forth paragraph: Third Argument
Final paragraph: Conclusion.

Essay paragraph 1

In the first paragraph, introduction, you should introduce what the essay will be analysing, how it will go about doing so, and discuss (briefly) what your view on the text is.

Start the introduction with a topic sentence in which you state your essay’s main idea, that is, the argument or contention your essay sets out to prove. An example of this would be:

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“The film X-Men demonstrates that when society divides people into categories of “us and them”, anger and discontentment often follow. Leading people to judge others on what separates them rather than what unites them.”

This topic sentence works at achieving two things: firstly, it clearly and succinctly demonstrates an understanding of the text and its central themes, and secondly, it expresses the subjective opinion of the person writing the essay, which demonstrates that you not only understand the text, but you can analyse the key ideas within it while incorporating your own views to construct a central argument.

Essay paragraphs 2-3

Paragraph 2 and 3 are where you work at showing textual evidence and examples to support your primary contention. It is a good idea to discuss some scenes, ideas or themes within the text to support your argument. Be sure to provide direct quotes from the text to provide evidence for your argument.

For example, to help support your central argument, you could write something like:

“X-Men member Jean Grey argues that the profiling of mutants is dangerous and is a form of prejudice when she states ‘mutants are not the ones mankind should fear’. A quote which illustrates the contention that everyone is capable of doing good, and so should be judged on personal behaviour, as both humans and mutants can be evil.”

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Paragraph 3 is particularly effective when it is a natural continuation of paragraph 2. It analyses specific moments from the text, with direct quotations, to argue your central view. To avoid repetition, it is best to discuss a different scene/part/passage of the text to the one you discussed in paragraph 2. This further supports your central argument by demonstrating how your central point is evident throughout the text rather than just seen in one part.

Essay paragraph 4

Paragraph 4 can either do two things: It can either continue the pattern established in p2 and 3, in that it discusses a scene from the text, and how this scene works at demonstrating the central themes of the text and your analysis of it, or it can compare and contrast the separate examples found in p 2 and 3, and discuss how together they work at establishing firmly that the text supports the idea that…
How you choose to structure p4 is ultimately up to you, and you do drafts of both if it helps, to see which one you believe better works at proving your central argument.

Conclusion paragraph

The conclusion is the final paragraph of the essay. It should briefly discuss everything that you have discussed throughout the essay, before coming to some kind of summary of what it all means in regards to your central argument: that is, it incorporates all the separate ideas discussed throughout, to show that the text supports the idea that, for example:

“Prejudice is wrong because it takes away people’s individuality, by grouping them into broad categories, and as X-Men starkly shows. If you are doing this to other people, then they may also start doing it to you, which leads to anger and resentment across society.”


We have discussed an effective, accessible structure for writing analytical English essays. While your essay’s specifics will change depending on your year level, subject, and text, The Five-Step Formula can still be used as the basic structure from which more detailed analysis will flow.


James is one of our expert English tutors and helps students for year 6 to year 12.
He has a Masters degree by research and a Bachelor’s degree in media studies.

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