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Author Topic: Year 12 subjects in Year 11: A guide to starting VCE early  (Read 14660 times)  Share 

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Joseph41

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Year 12 subjects in Year 11: A guide to starting VCE early
« on: November 13, 2014, 03:34:02 pm »
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Should you take a Unit 3/4 subject in Year 11? This thread certainly thinks so! Here is why.

Introduction:


I have been writing rather a lot about VCE, recently (see, for example, this thread and this thread). As my brother said to me the other morning, ďWhy donít you write a guide on how to procrastinate before exams?Ē But now that the Class of 2014 has (essentially) finished their collective journey, I want to place more of an emphasis on the Class of 2015, the Class of 2016, the Class of 2017 and beyond. In my opinion, success in VCE starts (or at least, can start) a long time before Year 12; one can put oneself in a fantastic position to achieve their goals with good preparation in the younger years. This doesnít need to be at all taxing, nor should it Ė you donít want to get a stitch before the race has even started, so to speak.

In this thread, I will aim to encourage all students going into Year 11 to undertake at least one Unit 3/4 subject, and all of those going into Year 10 to undertake at least one Unit 1/2 subject. I speak from my own experience, achieving a study score of 48 in my Year 11 3/4 (and an ATAR of 99.65), and from the relayed experience of others. Keep in mind that this guide is merely one opinion and that, ultimately, you should do as your heart tells you. But I hope that this thread gives you something to think about, should you be hesitant about starting your VCE experience.

Advantages of a Unit 1/2 subject in Year 10:

I think the main advantage of starting ahead with a 1/2 subject in Year 10 is in terms of preparation; it will give you an insight into the sort of content that is likely to arise in the 3/4 equivalent and, depending on the subject, perhaps an insight into the form of assessment. For many subjects, 1/2 is barely if at all necessary in order to do well in 3/4. This was certainly the case for me: I did Business Management 3/4 in Year 11, and I donít think 1/2 helped me at all in terms of actual content relevant to the Year 12 subject. But Iím still glad that I undertook 1/2, for it gave me a nice introduction to the world of Business Management Ė something which, at the time, I had barely considered.

I was also Ďforcedí into undertaking VCE units for History and Geography, and doing so told me that those subjects just werenít for me. But that was equally advantageous, because subject selection in Year 12 is critical. More saliently, some schools may allow you to undertake 3/4 subjects only if you have done the Year 11 equivalent, and this is more likely to be the case if youíre going into Year 11. As such, a 1/2 in Year 10 sets you up for a 3/4 in Year 11, which can be fantastically beneficial for the reasons outlined below.

Why to consider a 3/4 in Year 11:

1. Extra 10% on ATAR aggregate:
Iím not going to pretend to be an expert on the technical side of study scores and ATARs, but I do know that oneís ATAR is comprised of the aggregate of their top four subjects (in which Ďan Englishí must be included), plus 10% of their fifth subject, and 10% of their sixth subject if applicable. Five subjects in Year 12 tends to be the norm, so a 3/4 in Year 11 gives you the chance to have a sixth subject (and, subsequently, that extra 10% on your ATAR). Now, 10% of a subject may not sound like a huge amount, and I guess itís not on face value alone. But it can make a significant difference: my ATAR, for example, was 99.65, but without my Year 11 3/4, it would have been 99.00. The cut-off for my course was 99.25, so doing a 3/4 in Year 11 essentially netted me entrance into my preferred course. Moreover, I honestly donít think I would have done as well in my other five subjects if I hadnít completed a 3/4 in Year 11 because, for me, there was:

2. Less pressure in Year 12:
This may differ from person to person, but I certainly felt less of a weight on my shoulders going into Year 12 knowing that I had already completed one 3/4 subject. The release of pressure can come in other forms, too. I kept a fairly extensive diary for most of my high school years, and at the end of Year 11, I was clearly extremely anxious about my 3/4 subject. I was nervous, I didnít know what to expect, and I was fearful of a poor outcome. Going into my Year 12 exams, I had fewer such emotions because I had been through the process before. Less pressure is great, and this can only come about from experience. Further, you can:

3. Gain an understanding of how the system works:
VCE comes with a lot of lingo that you will, at some stage, come across. The sooner youíre exposed to this kind of language, the better; it will become less overwhelming and less confusing. SACs, ATARs, GAs, AOS, study designs, Units and so on will all play a part in your VCE lives. Doing a 3/4 in Year 11 will give you a great opportunity to become familiar with such terms. Further, you can get used to preparation for SACs, SACs themselves, and how to most effectively organise your time to balance family, sport, music, friends, other commitments and a Year 12 subject. Doing so will give you a chance to:

4. Learn from your successes and mistakes:
The way I see it, the most effective method of learning is simply from recognising what you do well, and on what you need to improve. During my Year 11 3/4, I tested a whole lot of different study techniques, including different note-taking strategies, revision methods and exam strategies. From these, I worked out which were most effective (for me, because this is contingent on personal preference), and ran with those effective strategies in Year 12. In fact, I still run with them at uni. Due to my Year 11 3/4, I had a good routine for notes, revision and SACs that resulted in less stress, and much greater confidence in myself and my own abilities. This newly-found confidence in my studies resulted in more time for contemplation and:

5. Guidance toward new and interesting places:
Or, indeed, away from subjects that may not have been as expected. A sixth subject gives you another opportunity to find your calling, and it works in two ways: firstly, completing Business 3/4 told me that tertiary studies in the field would not excite me; secondly, it gave me an extra slot for a subject in Year 12, which ended up being Health. In Health, I discovered a huge passion, and I am now studying similar topics at tertiary level. In essence, a sixth subject gives you a sixth opportunity to stumble upon a passion. I donít want to sound overly dramatic, but stuff it: that could be life-changing!

Thatís all well and good, but how might I approach my 3/4 subject(s) in Year 11, or 1/2 subject(s) in Year 10?

With a huge handful of salt, firstly, for your first 3/4 subject is more of a learning experience than anything else. If you consider your Year 11 3/4 to be your sixth (or fifth) subject, the difference between a 50 and a 20 is marginal. Business ended up being in my top 4 (a bonus), but the difference between a study score of 50 and a study score of 20 in my sixth subject would only have resulted in a difference of 0.3 on my ATAR. With that in mind, try not to get too worked up about your results. Regardless, here are some other tips for success in your Year 11 3/4 subject:

1. Ask questions:
If, like me, you tend to be a little hesitant in asking questions during class, now is the time to reverse that trend. At the end of the day, your results will be more important than what others think of you for asking any particular question. And in all likelihood, theyíre wondering the exact same thing(s). In Year 12, itís time to put your pride away: ask your questions, get your answers, better understand the content, achieve your goals.

2. Remember that youíre not alone:
VCE is unlike previous years of schooling in regard to oneís relationships with oneís teachers. At the end of the day, their ultimate goal is for you to do well. After all, that is probably how they will be assessed, too. I found most (there will always be exceptions) of my teachers to be extremely accommodating, helpful and motivating; and I still keep in contact with some of my Year 12 teachers, for I am thankful of their significant efforts. As such, itís important to remember that youíre not alone. Use your teachers Ė thatís what theyíre there for Ė by picking their brains, getting them to mark your practice papers, talking to them about how to improve, going over SACs with them, and so on. If theyíre willing to help you, you should strongly consider seeking their help.

3. Have a goal in mind:
And donít be afraid to set high goals. I understand that in your first 3/4 subject it will be almost impossible to predict what kind of study score you will achieve, but remember this: at the start of the year, the only thing separating you and a 50 is hard work. You can achieve whatever you set your mind to, and self-belief is a big part of your goals coming to fruition.

4. Prioritise:
Ultimately, your 3/4 subject will be more important than your other subjects. Of course, one still has to respect oneís 1/2 subjects. As I mentioned earlier in this guide, 1/2 subjects provide a great base for their 3/4 equivalents; thus, one shouldnít entirely ignore them. But your 3/4 will contribute to your ATAR, whilst 1/2 subjects do not. As such, if you have the choice of doing either a little bit more revision for a 1/2, or a little bit more revision for a 3/4, it will probably be worthwhile to do the latter.

5. Try to enjoy the experience:
Finally, VCE is not just hard work. Year 11 and Year 12 were my two favourite years of schooling Ė Year 12 in particular. The bonds you will make and mutual experiences you will share will be significant, and I think that it is important to recognise and enjoy those experiences. If youíre doing a 3/4 in Year 11 with Year 12 students, take the opportunity to make new friends (for then you can learn from their mistakes and successes, too!).

Conclusion:

I hope that this guide has not been too inane. And I hope, too, that this thread either compounded your interest in doing a 3/4 in Year 11, or at least prompted you into thinking about the possibility. In hindsight, my Year 11 3/4 was extremely significant Ė not so much for the study score, but for the experiences it entailed.

Best of luck with your studies,
Nick. :)
« Last Edit: November 13, 2014, 03:43:15 pm by Joseph41 »

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InNeedForHelp

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Re: Year 12 subjects in Year 11: A guide to starting VCE early
« Reply #1 on: November 13, 2014, 03:42:34 pm »
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Thanks for this.

I have a query about note-taking and revision techniques, especially for note taking. I have a coming up geography test and I took notes just by bullet pointing what I thought was the important information. I found that I had to re-do my notes because I just got lost in them, as in I couldn't navigate through my notes to find the information I needed because it was just pages of blue pen.

Any tips for both of em?

Edit: I'm taking physics and CSL 1/2 next year, if you took any of them. What study methods did you find that worked well for you?

Joseph41

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Re: Year 12 subjects in Year 11: A guide to starting VCE early
« Reply #2 on: November 13, 2014, 03:52:51 pm »
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Thanks for this.

I have a query about note-taking and revision techniques, especially for note taking. I have a coming up geography test and I took notes just by bullet pointing what I thought was the important information. I found that I had to re-do my notes because I just got lost in them, as in I couldn't navigate through my notes to find the information I needed because it was just pages of blue pen.

Any tips for both of em?

Hi there,

Good question. This is something that I struggled with, too.

I guess the important thing here is visual organisation. If you look at your notes and see only an ocean of blue pen, then perhaps it's time to mix up your note-taking a little bit. I'm a big advocate of headings, sub-headings, sub-headings of sub-headings, sub-headings of sub-headings of sub-headings, and so on. My notes reflect this, too: the most important things will be written with, and highlighted in, a particular colour. The next-most important things will be another distinct colour, and indented slightly from the left of the page. I find that this helps me to remember the information, because the distinct heading tends to trigger my memory into remember its contents (that is, whatever is 'within' that heading).

Something else that I find works for me is making summaries. Often, this will include dot-points, but with one key distinction: my summaries are colourful and clearly set-out. Perhaps you could try doing something like this, working out which of your dot-points are most-important, and going from there.

If it's more the navigation of your notes rather than the notes themselves that is concerning you, you could try markers to indicate to yourself where particular information is. For example, in your notebook, you could have tags coming out with "Test 1", "Test 2", "Exam revision" and so on, to make it very clear where you can find what you're looking for.

All the best. :)

EDIT: Sorry, I didn't do Physics 1/2 or CSL 1/2!

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evawu

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Re: Year 12 subjects in Year 11: A guide to starting VCE early
« Reply #3 on: November 13, 2014, 04:01:35 pm »
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This post seems really helpful!
It makes me regret not doing well in my 3/4 this year hahaha.
2014: Health
2015: English Language | Biology | PE | Chem | Methods

Joseph41

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Re: Year 12 subjects in Year 11: A guide to starting VCE early
« Reply #4 on: November 13, 2014, 04:11:53 pm »
+1
This post seems really helpful!
It makes me regret not doing well in my 3/4 this year hahaha.

Hi evawu,

As I mentioned in the opening post, the experience of doing a 3/4 will likely outweigh your actual results, no matter how well you did (especially considering you're on track to complete eight Unit 3/4 subjects!). And from your posts in the HHD forum, I'm sure your study score for Health will be favourable. :)

Congratulations on completing your first 3/4 subject. :)

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InNeedForHelp

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Re: Year 12 subjects in Year 11: A guide to starting VCE early
« Reply #5 on: November 13, 2014, 05:44:04 pm »
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Hi there,

Good question. This is something that I struggled with, too.

I guess the important thing here is visual organisation. If you look at your notes and see only an ocean of blue pen, then perhaps it's time to mix up your note-taking a little bit. I'm a big advocate of headings, sub-headings, sub-headings of sub-headings, sub-headings of sub-headings of sub-headings, and so on. My notes reflect this, too: the most important things will be written with, and highlighted in, a particular colour. The next-most important things will be another distinct colour, and indented slightly from the left of the page. I find that this helps me to remember the information, because the distinct heading tends to trigger my memory into remember its contents (that is, whatever is 'within' that heading).

Something else that I find works for me is making summaries. Often, this will include dot-points, but with one key distinction: my summaries are colourful and clearly set-out. Perhaps you could try doing something like this, working out which of your dot-points are most-important, and going from there.

If it's more the navigation of your notes rather than the notes themselves that is concerning you, you could try markers to indicate to yourself where particular information is. For example, in your notebook, you could have tags coming out with "Test 1", "Test 2", "Exam revision" and so on, to make it very clear where you can find what you're looking for.

All the best. :)

EDIT: Sorry, I didn't do Physics 1/2 or CSL 1/2!
Thanks! If you don't mind, how would you study for a maths sac/exam? I have my end of year maths exam coming up and I'm not sure if I'm revising effectively.

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Re: Year 12 subjects in Year 11: A guide to starting VCE early
« Reply #6 on: November 13, 2014, 10:59:05 pm »
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Hi Joseph!
I'm really after some help in regards to subject selection and your thoughts, comments or opinions would be extremely appreciated!!

At the moment, my main goal after school is to study a bachelor of laws/criminology or laws/commerce (majoring in human resource management).
At the moment, the current subjects I intend on completing next year (year 11) include:
- 3/4 Psychology (I've just completed 1/2)
- 3/4 Religion and Society (RE is compulsory at my school, so I had to choose between R+S or compulsory RE)
- 1/2 Literature
- 1/2 English
- 1/2 Legal Studies
- 1/2 History (20th, then Aus) OR Business Management

My major contemplation is based around whether to do Bus Man or History, and to be honest, I have no idea which to choose! I think I will enjoy them both equally, but am trying to work out which one I will more likely score well in, as well as comparing the two of them with my other selected subjects. - Your insight would be fantastic!!

Also, I was really happy to see that you achieved such an incredible ATAR by completing 'normal' subjects - not subjects that all get scaled up a ton, so that really helped with my confidence!! Haha :)
2015 - 2016 (VCE): Psychology, Religion & Society, Legal Studies, Business Management, Literature and English
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Joseph41

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Re: Year 12 subjects in Year 11: A guide to starting VCE early
« Reply #7 on: November 16, 2014, 02:02:15 pm »
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Apologies for these late responses. I have been unwell and have had exams for the last few days.

Thanks! If you don't mind, how would you study for a maths sac/exam? I have my end of year maths exam coming up and I'm not sure if I'm revising effectively.

Hi InNeedForHelp,

Another good question (I'm not sure how it managed to reach -3 respect). I did Methods 1/2 and then Further 3/4, and studying for both was a little different to studying for all of my other subjects. I found that in both of these subjects (and, presumably, other mathematical subjects), the most effective method of studying was completing practice questions. The annoying thing with that (for me, at least) is that it took away my usual routine: learn the content, get tested verbally on the content. Subsequently, I was never quite as confident going into Methods tests and Further SACs than other subjects.

If your upcoming test allows a cheat sheet, then that makes things a little easier. Generally, my cheat sheets would consist of any relevant formulas (highlighted), plus a sample question or two for each concept. But in terms of studying, I think learning the formulas and doing practice questions would be the key.

Hi Joseph!
I'm really after some help in regards to subject selection and your thoughts, comments or opinions would be extremely appreciated!!

At the moment, my main goal after school is to study a bachelor of laws/criminology or laws/commerce (majoring in human resource management).
At the moment, the current subjects I intend on completing next year (year 11) include:
- 3/4 Psychology (I've just completed 1/2)
- 3/4 Religion and Society (RE is compulsory at my school, so I had to choose between R+S or compulsory RE)
- 1/2 Literature
- 1/2 English
- 1/2 Legal Studies
- 1/2 History (20th, then Aus) OR Business Management

My major contemplation is based around whether to do Bus Man or History, and to be honest, I have no idea which to choose! I think I will enjoy them both equally, but am trying to work out which one I will more likely score well in, as well as comparing the two of them with my other selected subjects. - Your insight would be fantastic!!

Also, I was really happy to see that you achieved such an incredible ATAR by completing 'normal' subjects - not subjects that all get scaled up a ton, so that really helped with my confidence!! Haha :)

Hi JTaverna,

Tricky one!

Keep in mind that I did BusMan 1/2 and 3/4, but only Unit 1 of History, so my analysis may be a little skewed.

In hindsight, I wouldn't choose BusMan again, because it is peripheral to my interests, and I didn't find it particularly enjoyable. But that's the thing: my view of Business is clouded slightly because I didn't love it as a subject. For you, that could be entirely different. Moreover, you have said that you think that you would enjoy each subject equally.

In terms of difficulty, my understanding is that History is quite demanding, but I can't say heaps on that. BusMan is content-heavy but no topic in isolation is particularly difficult, I don't think. I'm a big advocate of there being no 'easy' or 'hard' subjects as such. Perhaps others who have done both BusMan and History at 3/4 level would have more to say on this than I.

For what it's worth (very little), if I could choose my subjects again, I would probably choose HHD, Psych, Language, Further, Biology and History. That is, Biology and History over VCD (which I loved, but is no longer relevant to my career aspirations) and Business.

And I'm glad to hear that my 'normal' subjects have given you some confidence! When my brother scored 50 in I.T., I realised that scaling is rendered entirely irrelevant should you do well enough.

All the best. :)

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