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Author Topic: I received a 99+ ATAR and a perfect GPA - ask me anything.  (Read 96516 times)  Share 

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Joseph41

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I received a 99+ ATAR and a perfect GPA - ask me anything.
« on: March 22, 2018, 12:37:43 pm »
+22
This thread is now continuing on our new discussions section. You can find this specific AMA discussion here - looking forward to seeing you there and answering more questions!


Hey all! I'm holding an "Ask Me Anything" sort of deal in this thread. Basically how it works is, you ask whatever you want, and I answer it in as much detail as I can!

You can ask me about anything, from study techniques, to uni experiences, to favourite characters on Married at First Sight. Basically, whatever comes to mind (within reason), so long as it adheres to the ATAR Notes rules. ;)

Some things you might like to know about me:
* I graduated in 2012 with an ATAR of 99.65
* I then studied a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) for four years, and achieved a High Distinction in every unit I studied
* I now work at ATAR Notes!

I enjoy footy and cricket, cats and dogs, Rubik's cubing, travelling, and decaffeinated coffee. Five of my six subjects scaled down (and the sixth scaled up almost negligibly). I've relatively recently re-watched the entire 2004 and 2005 series of Big Brother (this is a big thing to admit this - I'm not sure why I am hahaha).

Whatever it is you want to know, I'm here to try my best to answer it!
« Last Edit: September 14, 2022, 09:05:30 am by Joseph41 »

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RuiAce

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Re: I received a 99+ ATAR - ask me anything.
« Reply #1 on: March 22, 2018, 12:39:56 pm »
+1
How do you keep your coffee consumption under control? (Assuming you did eventually :P)

Calebark

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Re: I received a 99+ ATAR - ask me anything.
« Reply #2 on: March 22, 2018, 12:47:01 pm »
+1
You're such a jolly presence on the forums. What's your favourite joke?
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Joseph41

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Re: I received a 99+ ATAR - ask me anything.
« Reply #3 on: March 22, 2018, 01:00:46 pm »
+5
How do you keep your coffee consumption under control? (Assuming you did eventually :P)

I don't, really - I just moved to decaf. I still have a large (decaf) coffee every day. I honestly think the effects were largely placebo for me - as soon as I'm holding a coffee (even if I know it's decaf), I feel a bit better.

It was getting to a pretty ridiculous point where I was really needing coffee in the morning to function properly, and that's obviously not a good thing at all. I also had this underlying anxiety, which was affecting me. Since changing over to decaf, which was a couple of months ago, that dependency has gone. I feel now like I could easily go without coffee entirely - I just enjoy having it now.

I also drink more tea now.

It's one of those things, though, which is bit-by-bit. If you want to reduce your caffeine intake, you can - and the hardest part is practically always starting.

You're such a jolly presence on the forums. What's your favourite joke?

My favourite joke? I have one, but it's better delivered in-person/via video form. If you're lucky, I'll upload a version of it later on in this thread. ;) But for now, here's a banger:

Q. Why did the teacher wear sunglasses?
Spoiler
Because their students were so bright.

All-time classic.

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beatroot

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Re: I received a 99+ ATAR - ask me anything.
« Reply #4 on: March 22, 2018, 01:29:48 pm »
+1
Since you mentioned it, who are your favourite people on Married at First Sight? Thoughts on the """"final twist"""" in last night's episode ;)
Any tips on how to look past the 'clique' culture at university? As someone who's also doing a bachelor in arts, I find this to be a problem in my uni life at the moment.
Which will hold greater rule over you? Your fear or your curiosity?

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Re: I received a 99+ ATAR - ask me anything.
« Reply #5 on: March 22, 2018, 01:32:08 pm »
+8
What is the meaning of life? :)
VCE (2014): HHD, Bio, English, T&T, Methods

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uhoh

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Re: I received a 99+ ATAR - ask me anything.
« Reply #6 on: March 22, 2018, 01:39:02 pm »
+2
hey! thanks for doing this :)

how do you manage/ organise your time and get stuff done? to do lists, schedules/ timetables, something else?

Frew

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Re: I received a 99+ ATAR - ask me anything.
« Reply #7 on: March 22, 2018, 01:40:11 pm »
+3
I'm in year 12, standard English. Study techniques you used? maybe specifically for english. Motivation.. How do you find the motivation.

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Re: I received a 99+ ATAR - ask me anything.
« Reply #8 on: March 22, 2018, 02:16:07 pm »
+5
You have a golf club and 2 balls, a baseball and a tennis ball.

You hit both as far as you can, which one will go further and why?
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Joseph41

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Re: I received a 99+ ATAR - ask me anything.
« Reply #9 on: March 22, 2018, 02:25:19 pm »
+6
Since you mentioned it, who are your favourite people on Married at First Sight? Thoughts on the """"final twist"""" in last night's episode ;)
Any tips on how to look past the 'clique' culture at university? As someone who's also doing a bachelor in arts, I find this to be a problem in my uni life at the moment.

I like John. He seems like a truly pleasant man, and I appreciate that. Unassuming, humble, kind. I honestly haven't watched much of this series, though (I have in the past). I think the whole show is pretty ridiculous haha, but maybe that's why people like it. I won't throw out spoilers in case people are planning to watch it and haven't yet, but the most things that have happened have made me pretty uncomfortable. I guess it's a good lesson that everything you do has consequences.

Regarding the clique culture, sorry to hear that! I think it depends on where those cliques are coming from. Are they in your classes? Your course more generally? Or just people you see around? I never really had a consistent group of friends at uni, so I think I know what you mean, and it can be pretty disheartening to say the least. What I'll say is that you don't need to be friends with everybody, but you know that already.

Have you tried approaching those in your classes? I'm not advocating making your own clique, but like, if you have your own friends around you, the existing cliques probably won't impact you as much. Tough one.

What is the meaning of life? :)

To enjoy it.

hey! thanks for doing this :)

how do you manage/ organise your time and get stuff done? to do lists, schedules/ timetables, something else?

Hey, no worries!

Good question. I've never liked study timetables - in fact, I dislike them with a passion! Haha. In Year 11 or Year 12 or something, my school tried to get everybody organised and suggested using study timetables. I took one look at it, tried to block in some study periods, and thought, "this literally makes no sense". Like, how could I forecast several days into the future when I should be studying for certain subjects, or when I should be resting? It just felt really limiting to me, and whilst I like structure in my life, that much structure was just cramping my style.

I don't really get them, either, because like, what happens if you have English revision scheduled for 7-8 on a Tuesday, and then don't do it? Either you beat yourself up about it, or the timetable is seemingly fruitless - and neither of those options is good.

What I use religiously is to-do lists. I used them through high school, I used them very much at uni, and I use them very much at work. To me, they're like study timetables insofar as you document everything you need to do, but they have greater efficacy for a number of reasons:

* You're not blocked into doing things at certain times. For example, if you have an English exam coming up, but have scheduled in Maths revision, what do you do? Ignore your exam? Ignore your timetable? Something has to give. With to-do lists, on the other hand, you can simply get through the tasks one-by-one in an order you deem most appropriate at the time.
* With to-do lists, you can carry over tasks. Despite using a to-do list basically every day, I don't think I've ever finished one; that is, I've never got through every single task I had on my list for that day. But that's fine, because when I don't complete something on my list, it goes straight to the top of tomorrow's. If I don't get through it again, it becomes bold on the next day's. And then a bigger font. And then highlighted. It gets to the point that that task looks so obnoxiously horrible on the page that it's satisfaction in itself to simply get it off the list. And the only way to do that is to finish the task.
* To me, the satisfaction of physically crossing things off is satisfying, and provides reinforcement.

One might argue that to get around all of my gripes with study timetables, you should just block in "study" - and nothing subject-specific. But to me, this is just as silly - what happens if you're really, really tired during one of those periods? What if you feel like going for a walk instead? Trying to force yourself into studying at times that don't suit you is just silly IMO, and will probably be counter-productive if anything.

Don't get me wrong: there'll probably be times where you kinda need to study but don't feel like it, and you just have to take it. Hard work and the like means that you'll probably sometimes study when you don't feel like it. But if you're in a really, really bad mood, or you just need to rest, trying to study probably won't do much for you, and that's where my issue with study timetables comes in: they're inflexible. And if they are flexible, is it really a timetable?

I actually wrote about organisation and using to-do lists in this article, which might interest you. :)

I'm in year 12, standard English. Study techniques you used? maybe specifically for english. Motivation.. How do you find the motivation.

Hey Frew, welcome to ATAR Notes! Great first post. ;) How are you finding Year 12 overall?

To answer question-by-question:

Study techniques:
For me, these depended a bit on the subject at hand. A lot of my subjects weren't that conceptually difficult, but had a lot of content to get my head around. My memory is usually decent (except for names and times and faces, when I suck lol), but I worked hard on it with different memory techniques and stuff. If I had to learn definitions, I'd usually rote learn them. I know people say not to do this, but I don't see a big issue with it for definitions with the proviso that you still understand it. Rote learning probably isn't the best if you're just learning the succession of words, but if you're learning the words and their meaning, I think you could be doing worse. For other content, I was huge on making summaries. I'd read a chapter of a textbook or something, and then summarise it. And then I'd summarise that summary. And then I'd summarise that summary. And so on. I'd do this until I had a nice one-page sheet that covered the entire concept. What I could then do is give that sheet to practically anybody, and get them to test me. What you'll find is you'll probably be able to speak about a lot more than what's on the page itself (due to the summary process).

For maths, I just flogged the practice questions - particularly near the end of the year. I'm a decent maths student - not the best, not the worst - and I found that the repetition of practice questions really helped. Eventually, you get to understand the ways in which questions are asked, and you can pick up some exam tricks along the way.

I also did a folio subject (two in Year 11, just the one in Year 12), and what I'll say here is that consistency is really helpful. Please don't try to cram your folio, because you simply can't. Doing it bit by bit is IMO way better than doing it all in one chunk.

But yeah, I think summaries and stuff probably helped me most. It depends on what type of learner you are, though. I know people who learnt stuff through song; others learnt stuff through diagrams. I liked summaries, but that doesn't mean that you will!

Specifically in relation to English, I didn't study Standard English. In fact, I didn't study Advanced English, either (I'm from Victoria). But my best advice here is: just write. No matter what you're writing about or analysing, just get something on the page. Then, look at what you wrote, and see how you could make it better (both in terms of expression and content). Get feedback on it from your teacher or here on ATAR Notes in the HSC Marking and Feedback board. Then re-write the entire thing. Keep re-writing it until you're happy with it, and until your teacher is happy with it. Writing one amazing essay like this (going through rounds of feedback etc.) is IMO more useful than writing five fresh ones with no feedback at all. You could be losing marks in the same way over and over, but if you don't go through the feedback process, how would you know?

So that's probably my best advice here: just write - and then improve it. :)

Motivation:
This is a really individual thing. For me, I think I just enjoy doing well and pushing myself academically. I was never at the top of my class through high school until Year 12. We had this "general academic excellence" award, which was given to probably the top 25% of our year, every year (so, Year 7, Year 8, Year 9 etc.). I was never included in this - never in the top 25%. And then in Year 12 I thought, "stuff it - I'm going to prove these people wrong", and I ended up duxing my school.

Another part of it was probably just keeping my options open. I didn't really know what I wanted to study in Year 12, and so I figured I should put myself in the best possible position come the end of the year. As it worked out, my ATAR was good enough to enter virtually any course. I didn't "need" my ATAR in the end, but it did get me a scholarship - and that's also something to keep in mind. Your ATAR isn't everything in any sense, but it can certainly give you so options.

You have a golf club and 2 balls, a baseball and a tennis ball.

You hit both as far as you can, which one will go further and why?

Hmm. This sounds like a question a lot of people would know the answer to, but which I certainly don't know the answer to hahaha. What are the weather conditions?

I'm a lot more familiar with tennis balls than baseballs, but I'm going to guess the former. I think the winner would largely be contingent on weight of the ball, and perhaps the baseball would be slightly too heavy? I'm really not sure. Is there an actual answer to this?

P.S. If I were to hit it, I think the tennis ball would be the winner.

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PolySquared

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Re: I received a 99+ ATAR - ask me anything.
« Reply #10 on: March 22, 2018, 02:43:07 pm »
+1
What subjects did you do and what study score did you obtain? What was your hardest subject and why?
2018:
Business Management (50)

2019:
English Language (43) - Chemistry (36) - Further Mathematics (42) - Specialist Mathematics (38) - Mathematical Methods (46)

ATAR: 99.65

Youlosethegame

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Re: I received a 99+ ATAR - ask me anything.
« Reply #11 on: March 22, 2018, 02:46:45 pm »
+1
how much of a life did you sacrifice to get a good atar?

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Re: I received a 99+ ATAR - ask me anything.
« Reply #12 on: March 22, 2018, 02:49:42 pm »
+1
Which one will win and why: A duck or a cyclone?
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Joseph41

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Re: I received a 99+ ATAR - ask me anything.
« Reply #13 on: March 22, 2018, 02:53:38 pm »
+1
What subjects did you do and what study score did you obtain? What was your hardest subject and why?

Hey. :) So I'll list my subjects here with a rough approximation for our NSW friends.

* English Language (no real equivalent - this is practically foundation linguistics, which to my knowledge isn't really offered in the HSC).
* Visual Communication & Design (I guess Visual Arts).
* Health & Human Development (vaguely similar to PDHPE).
* Psychology (not offered in the HSC).
* Further Maths (probably the equivalent of General Maths).
* Business Management (Business Studies).

Raw study scores (our scores are out of 50 - these would all be Band 6 equivalents):

* Health & Human Development: 50
* Psychology: 48
* Business Management: 48 (Year 11)
* Further Maths: 45
* English Language: 44
* Visual Communication & Design: 44

Hardest subject? I'm not really sure. This might surprise, but potentially Visual Communication & Design. People see it as a bludge subject, but it was the subject I invested the most time into by far. As you'll see above, I didn't do Methods/Spesh/Chem etc. - basically none of the "hard" (so to speak) subjects. EngLang was pretty tricky at times, but also enjoyable.

I think what this shows if nothing else is that you don't need to do subjects that scale up to score highly.

how much of a life did you sacrifice to get a good atar?

Hey, thanks for the question. :)

Honestly, didn't sacrifice that much. Invested a fair chunk of time obviously, but like, don't feel like I gave up heaps. I still chilled a lot, had a lot of days off, would have continued playing sport if not for injury at the time, worked casually.

Give up too much and I reckon it'd become counter-productive to the cause. It's all about balance in Year 12.

Which one will win and why: A duck or a cyclone?

Depends - what's the context?

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PolySquared

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Re: I received a 99+ ATAR - ask me anything.
« Reply #14 on: March 22, 2018, 02:57:33 pm »
+1
What was your goal ATAR during VCE and were you surprised with a 99.65? What SS were you aiming for in Business Management and do you have any tips on how to score well in this subject?
2018:
Business Management (50)

2019:
English Language (43) - Chemistry (36) - Further Mathematics (42) - Specialist Mathematics (38) - Mathematical Methods (46)

ATAR: 99.65