You have always been told about year 12 or the HSC – and you might have even been told that time and time again probably since primary school. A lot of people mistake Year 12 as a step above Year 11, something that is completely different. This is the complete wrong way of approaching the upcoming year, because when you feel like something is different, your attitudes and the way you are going to tackle this new year will also shift. Study methods that have worked perfectly for you in Year 11 are at risk of being scrapped for sub-par ‘memorisation’ or other studying techniques that you feel is going to be more impactful in the next year. So before we discuss the actual steps, it is important to keep this in the back of your mind.
- Evaluate what worked for you in Year 11
I included this in step one not necessarily because it is what you should do first, but because it is the one that is easily glossed over. Don’t just think about what went well and what did not – physically go through every single quiz/exam that you did. Recall the specific strategies that you used to tackle them – what mindset did you have at that time? How long before the assessment did, I prepare? Did I make notes? These are the questions that will get you to really think about what you used and what you did not – the most useful thing that you can get out of year 11 now that you have finished it is some knowledge and foresight for what is to come in Year 12.
The content is different, but the essence of studying remains. The real achievement, the real accomplishment that you would have made is the enormous leap between Year 10 and 11. Having already done this, you do not need to change much more to accommodate Year 12 besides some cleaning up here and there.
- Start thinking about what happens after high school
Does not necessarily need to be fixed or a permanent decision. But having a general idea of what you want to do after high school – whether it be university, work, travel etc. is incredibly useful in getting you to prepare for those small requirements/tests that a lot of these different life paths require. You would much rather realise now that the UCAT is a core requirement for medicine entry to most undergraduate medicine universities in Australia, rather than after trials next year once the UCAT testing period has already finished. Although this example is limited to a potential career path in Medicine, it rings true for any path. Consider early entry as well – a lot of universities are going to have requirements that are easier to qualify for the earlier you start them.
Go out there and get a general guide on how to pursue the paths after high school that most interest you.
- Revise key concepts from previous years
This is going to be incredibly dependent on the particular subjects – make sure to discuss with your teacher and clarify if there are any pieces of content that transfer. In most cases, it will be the skills that are important to use in Year 12, and even in other subjects, Year 11 content or skills are not important at all. This is perhaps most clearly seen in HSC Biology – only the bare scientific skills (that is common to all science subjects and you have been studying since Year 7) are really carried over, none of the content or Biology-specific skills (e.g, quadrats). Others, like HSC Chemistry, require a bit of both – make sure to remember all your molar calculations, stoichiometry, enthalpy, and electron configurations to an extent. And there are yet others, such as Extension I Maths, where all the content in Year 11 is assessable in the final HSC exam.
Clarify what your subject requires of you to remember from Year 11 and focus at first on the topics that you did particularly poor in, and then (crucially) revise those transferrable topics that you did not do reliably well in.
- Revise your mindset for Year 12
The hardest part about Year 12 is more so the mental journey. Although Year 12 and 11 do not differ much in terms of difficulty, what is incredibly different are the stresses that you will be facing – because you are suddenly confronted with the reality that everything you do now ‘matters’. But remember, everything you have done until this point has mattered. You have survived every single one of those assessments that you thought you had failed, or that you did fail, and not even one mattered in the long-term. This year is no different. Try your best and realise that once you have done your best that is what matters – because just like your Year 7 marks, you will most likely forget every single one of your Year 12 assessment marks, your HSC or even your ATAR.
Evaluate the mindset that you are coming into Year 12 with, and realise that although it does seem stressful, think of it as an opportunity to end your high school journey on the best possible note that you could have achieved.
Good luck! 😊