VCE exams are here! You’ve studied your heart out all year, but do you know what to do on the day of your exam?
1. Have all the right stuff
Make sure you have:
- your student ID card – also try to memorise your VCAA student number – that’ll make it easier to find your exam paper, as the papers are typically ordered by VCAA numbers, not alphabetically.
- plenty of pens (you don’t want the ink to run out halfway through an essay…), pencils (particularly for multiple choice questions), highlighters (a must!), erasers, sharpeners and rulers, all in a clear bag (not a normal pencil case)
- calculators, a bound reference, and/or dictionary – make sure you check the VCAA Exam Navigator booklet for what’s allowed in certain exams
- a clear water bottle without a label on it
- an analogue watch – without alarms or stopwatch functions on it
Do not bring:
- mobiles and other electronic devices like iPads/smart watches – if you get caught with any of these, VCAA can hold them for three months to investigate them
- white-out fluid or tape
- any paper (which is why you’ll need to memorise your VCAA student number)
2. Sweet, sweet silence
Avoid talking to other people before and after your exams – you can become more anxious than you need to be, particularly if they tell you something about the subject that you don’t know.
Take a few deep breaths once you’ve found your seat. Relax and focus on your own paper, not what anyone else is doing around you. Pretend it is just you and your exam paper. This is your time to shine!
4. Use reading time effectively
Read through all of the long questions first – that’ll save you time later on.
Think about each question by labelling it in your head. This question is about…
Plan a response or an essay outline in your head. Remember not to mark your paper in any way during reading time, as you can be penalised if you do so. This includes marking multiple choice questions with your fingernails!
5. Use writing time effectively
When writing time begins, read each question through again, ask yourself where each mark should be allocated to, and highlight key words. Ensure your answer is suitable for the question type (analyse, evaluate, define, etc.) and for the marks allocated.
6. When you come across a difficult question…
…star it, and move on to the next question. Make sure you come back to it at the end and attempt it no matter what. Writing nothing guarantees you no marks, but writing something will potentially get you awarded something!
7. Be concise
Remember to express yourself as clearly and simply as possible – the more you mindlessly elaborate, the less likely your assessor will be able to find marks to give you. Don’t just write down everything you know about something – direct your answer towards the exact question being asked.
8. Don’t catastrophise
Your exams are an opportunity to show what you have learned in your subjects – they are not designed to torture or trick you. See ACED’s tips for reducing VCE stress here.
9. Stretch in your seat
Rotate your shoulders, wrists, and ankles; shake out any tension. Just don’t roll up into the foetal position!
10. Check yourself before you wreck yourself
Plan for at least 10 minutes at the end of the exam to check over your answers. Go back to any questions you were unsure of and re-do as many questions as you have time for – this will increase your chance of success. If you remember something outside the exam room, it will be too late!
Have these tips been useful? If so, we’d love it if you could share or like our post on Facebook, so your friends know what to do on the day of their exams.
ACED wishes you the best VCE exam success!