Teaching and Learning


Between Speech Day and the Final Unit 3-4 Exam

If Year 12 isn’t difficult, then you haven’t completed Year 12 properly. However, if Year 12 is the hardest thing that you do in your life, then you haven’t completed life properly.


This is an idea that I have used with Year 12 students for many years because it can be difficult for Year 12s to maintain perspective at the end of a year that can be challenging but ultimately is just a stepping stone to adult life. Year 12 should be challenging; it should extend students through academic rigor, competing demands and deadlines. It should be a time when young men and women become the senior students in the school and lead the way for younger students. It should be a time when they become ready to leave school behind.


One complication for Year 12 examinations is that they occur after the valedictory celebrations have concluded. There is inevitably some excitement and perhaps some mixed emotions in finishing school and this can be a draining experience. It can be difficult to continue studying after an emotional week, but that’s exactly what Year 12 students need to do.


One of the best things that a Year 12 student can do in the lead up to final examinations is to stay in the school routine. We encourage students to continue attending school after Speech Day; their teachers are available to help with questions and guidance for revision, so it makes sense that students make the most of the opportunity.


It’s good to get out of the house and to have fixed hours for study, rather than procrastinating at home. It also helps to

maintain eating, sleeping and exercising routines, which are every bit as important as the study completed. One trap that students can fall into after the conclusion of formal classes is to start sleeping in. This is dangerous because exams that start at 9.00am require students to be mentally awake in the morning; a routine of sleeping in can mean that a student is physically present but mentally asleep at the start of a morning exam. Sleeping in also encourages staying up late, which obviously isn’t a good idea on the night before an exam.


A common question that students ask is what they should study the day before an exam. There’s not much that can be learned or consolidated on the day before an exam, so it’s a good idea for students to set a cut-off time to stop studying and to get outside to relax and refresh. Students can set aside a clear space to put everything that they need for the next day, including uniform, stationary, water bottle, calculator and dictionary. Planning to arrive with plenty of time to spare will also help to alleviate any last-minute jitters.


Feeling a little bit of pressure prior to an exam is a good thing. It just means that the student values the result and sees it as a measure of the work completed over the past year. It also means that the student is alert and motivated for the task, which is a valuable before exams that can last for several hours.


We wish our Year 12 students well for their exams; may their results reflect the hard work that they have put in over the course of the year.

Ralph Carolan