With Year 12 exams around the corner, there are a few things to keep in mind as a parent. While there’s no set way to provide the ‘best’ support base, rest assured that there are a number of ways in which you can help.
- Suggest a study schedule they can follow: The first step is to help your child assess their needs and use these to plan a schedule. This doesn’t mean that you should write up a strict timetable; it may just involve working out how much time should be dedicated to a subject per day, prioritising certain tasks (such as mapping out key themes, making a ‘cheat sheet’ or sourcing past exams) or prioritising certain subjects (such as those with early exams or those that have a high theory component).
- Help them find a ‘study style’: The second step is to see how your child prefers to learn. You might also find that this differs between subjects — flowcharts may work to draw out key theories of one subject, while writing practice essays may work for another. It might also be useful to offer some assistance. You could set essay topics (perhaps using some from past exams), time them as they complete practice exams or quiz them using content from their textbook.
- Ensure that they find balance: The third (and in some ways, most important) step is to encourage balance. While it’s useful to stick to a study schedule, it’s just as important to ensure that study does not become all-consuming. They might benefit from getting some fresh air, doing some exercise or dedicating an hour or two per week to catching up with a friend outside of school.
Once these three bases have been covered, consider some of the following tips for helping your child as they inch closer to the exam period.
- Arrange for them to speak to someone who has recently completed Year 12: Speaking to a recent school leaver can help your child de-stress. You might also find that they would rather hear from someone closer to their age — someone who doesn’t seem like they’re preaching about an experience they know little about. With the experience fresh in their mind, they will be able to offer practical advice and even more specific tips, such as how much time to spend on an extended response in a certain exam. It can be a huge relief to hear about another student’s experience and how they’ve ended up after Year 12.
- Encourage them to seek help from their teachers: Of course, there are certain things the teacher will not be able to do — such as answering daily emails filled with queries — but keep in mind that there are a number of ways in which they can help. Your child might be able to arrange a meeting during a free period to discuss a key concept they don’t quite understand or ask the teacher to mark a few practice essays and exams. Your child’s teacher will know their strengths and weaknesses and may also be able to suggest areas they need to revise further before the exam.
- Research options for help outside of school: In addition to help from teachers, it may be beneficial to seek study help outside of school. This may mean attending a one-off revision lecture for a specific subject (usually organised by a local university) or a conversation class at a nearby language school. It can be helpful to have an outside perspective and to learn in a different environment, even if this is only for a single session. You might also invest in some more regular private tuition, whether it be from a university student or a professional tutor.
For more information about your state’s secondary school certificate and how it is assessed, refer to the following:
- Understanding the school curriculum in New South Wales — HSC
- Understanding the school curriculum in Queensland — QCE
- Understanding the school curriculum in Victoria — VCE
For details of upcoming Year 12 exam dates, refer to the following authorities:
- NSW — Board of Studies
- QLD — Queensland Studies Authority
- VIC — Victorian Curriculum Assessment Authority