First of all, congratulations on your amazing achievements! Thanks so much for agreeing to answer these questions. 😊
What was the biggest challenge you faced during year 12, and how did you overcome it?
I think the biggest challenge I faced was about motivating myself during the quarantine periods, especially when we thought the IB exams would be cancelled. It was easy to slack off when we could go to class whilst sitting in our beds, not sure whether we would actually need to use the stuff we were learning. It was therefore important to keep up with the timeline and remind myself of the work I should be doing, despite everything that was going on in the world.
How did you stay motivated during this time? How did you cope with stress?
I think my sanity was largely intact due to the support from my parents, teachers and friends. The IB students were an awesome community, and all my teachers were amazingly supportive. It was tremendously helpful to know that there are people by your side and facing similar challenges. Of course, thinking about how much money I could make from tutoring if my exams went well also helped.
At what times and how much did you study throughout year 11 and 12? Would you recommend a study timetable?
I didn’t have a study timetable– personally, I avoided making detailed to-do lists because they aggravate my anxiety and make everything unnecessarily urgent. I preferred to have a list of tasks in my head, so that I had some room to be in denial if I procrastinate! Despite this, I had a pretty busy study schedule and spent most of my time doing work – about 5 hours a day after school and more on weekends.
Did you have any useful study techniques that worked well for you in terms of exam preparation?
My advice for exam preparation is to always over-prepare. The night before my maths, English and Psychology exams, I had stressed-induced insomnia, and had to rely on muscle memory and an abundance of caffeine coursing through my veins to last through four hours of writing. Therefore, I would say that it is always better to push yourself and be prepared for these unexpected circumstances, that even when something like this happens, you’re still going to pass.
I didn’t have a lot of specific techniques for revision, other than memorizing every word of my notes and burying myself in past exams.
Did you keep up any hobbies or extracurriculars during year 12?
I was running Sci-Fi Club online for a short period and got to watch the Mandalorian with everyone, which was quite fun. I also continued to play drums, which, as expected, was a great form of catharsis.
They say that you must sacrifice one of the trinity- social life, school and sleep- in order to do well in year 12. Would you say this is accurate? How did you balance all three?
I don’t think I am the best person to answer this question, because I had neither sleep nor social life even before year 12, and things went even further downhill after that. But I do think that it is possible, and a healthy social life is quite essential in remaining positive.
What are your plans going forward? (Uni, course etc.)
Currently I’m studying Biomedicine in the University of Melbourne. I am, however, trying to apply overseas. Fingers crossed.
Anything else you’d like to say to the year 11s and 12s going through VCE/IB?
Good luck, you are going to make it! There will be some days where you feel like everything is crashing down around you, but if you work hard and believe in yourself, everything is going to be fine.