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  • Writer's pictureShaun Brien

General Exam Advice

You're young! You've spent most of your VCE at home! You've never sat a real exam! We want you to be like a Hyundai from the early 2000's and excel but there are a lot of factors working against you.

An exam may seem like a seemingly random test of anything and everything you've learned over a calendar year but you can very easily (easily meaning with a lot of hard work) game the system to make sure you are as prepared for the exam as possible.

There are 3 key time frames which are going to be very important for you:

  1. Your Pre-exam Preparation.

  2. What you do on exam day.

  3. What you do while sitting the exam.

Your Pre-exam Preparation:

If you haven't already, you should be tackling at least 1 full practice exam for VCE Economics per week (preferably 2 though). This doesn't mean you should know everything from memory already, this just means that you should be attempting exam style questions regularly to best prepare for the end of year exam. I highly recommend attempting as much as you can of the exam first with no notes, then going back through the exam with a different colour pen and your notes to fill in the gaps. Following this you should use the examiners report to try to mark yourself for feedback as well as steal any key phrases you think are useful. Then finally, you should seek feedback from both your teacher and your peers and to go even further beyond that, you should attempt to give feedback to your peers on their practice exams. If you can explain do someone else why their answer would not get full marks, that is an incredible showing of your knowledge and skills in this subject.

Outside of practice exams you should be attempting to use whichever other revision techniques work best for you. That may be mind maps, summarising, drawing etc. The key take away being that you shouldn't revise a certain way just because someone else tells you it works. Personally, in Economics I really rate mind maps due to the interconnected nature of so many concepts. I also like to revise while listening to music, because sometimes I find during the exam if I think of the music I was listening to at the time it can stimulate my memory.

You should also use and access a wide range of resources. The CPAP Unit 4 Study Guide is an incredible resource for up to date information and data, as well as current events, exam skills and practice questions. The RBA has monthly summaries of the Australian economy which tie in really well with our study design. I also recommend attempting to create your own questions which could be on the exam by merging the Key Knowledge and Key Skills from each area of study.

What to do on exam day:

The actual exam isn’t until 3pm. You’re not used to doing assessments at that time, so making sure you do the right things during the day will make sure you are alert and able to perform to your best during the exam.

Things that I find help are:

  • Starting the day with some exercise.

  • Eat a good breakfast and lunch to fuel your brain and body.

  • Maybe have some caffeine before the exam (but not too much)

  • Avoid sugary foods that will give you short term energy but lead to a crash in the exam.

Sitting the Exam:

Reading time in my opinion should be spent answering the MCQ. Then when writing time starts you can quickly select your answers for those 15 marks worth of questions and move on to the short answer. You may need to use some time to draw diagrams for any MCQ you're not sure of or highlight some key words to be safe but it will save you a lot of time! I’d probably then choose to start with the questions focused on AOS1 as they are the most purely theoretical in nature. After then just tackle the questions in whatever order your confidence levels tell you, but you do not need to go in order. Try to plan your answers in shorthand and highlight key words as well as directional words (increase, decrease, favourable, unfavourable). You also haven’t sat many real exams in your life. So make sure you take small breaks during the 2 hours to stretch your hand and wrist as your endurance might not be the best. Here's everything from the above in video form:

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