How to plan a 'remotely' effective revision program.
We're at the end of August and there is currently no end in sight to remote learning. VCAA have been incredibly stubborn and unwilling to change VCE Study Designs and have told schools that they should be preparing for the exam timetable which will remain unchanged.
This means that as you come to the end of your learning for Unit 4 in Economics (and all of your other subjects), a lot of your revision program is going to be relatively independent. This is coming at a time where student motivation (and teacher motivation to be honest) is at an all time low due to the mental fatigue caused by lockdowns over the past two years.
That being said, you are still going to be given a study score based on how you perform and rank against every other student in the state. If you're on this website reading this post that probably also means that you are aiming to perform pretty well.
Here are a list of ideas which you could potentially implement into your revision program to make sure that you are prepared as possible in November:
Start slow - This is an issue I've found with a lot of really high performing students. They finish the content, they write detailed summary notes and then by the end of September they've completed every practice exam under the sun. Yes, they're incredibly prepared and they've worked incredibly hard but they run out of physical work they feel like they can do, lose their focus and then have to cram right before the exam anyway. Revision needs to be a slow burn, you're like an athlete preparing for the Olympics, you want your training to peak right in the lead up to the exam.
Get feedback and give feedback (from multiple sources) - Many students are incredible at getting feedback from their own teacher and the process of completing practice exams and getting feedback is incredibly important. But your teacher is just one brain giving their interpretation of what the answers should include. If you're lucky enough to have multiple Economics teachers at your school (must be nice) you should definitely seek feedback from a range of teacher. Not only that, you should get feedback from your peers but also mark their exams and give them feedback. Being able to identify the flaws in your own or other students answers based on the mark allocation will help you so much when it comes to planning your answers in the exam. Giving feedback and teaching others is also an incredibly powerful tool when it comes to embedding learning in your long term memory.
Attend a revision lecture - I'm incredibly bias here because I'm holding my own revision lecture at the end of September (all the details at the bottom of this post) but you should attend a revision lecture. Any revision lecture! The power of hearing the content in a voice other than your teacher is incredibly powerful. I can never recommend highly enough the skills and talents of Romeo Salla at CPAP and the wealth of knowledge contained in the lectures they hold. There are tips and tricks and 1%er time advice in these lectures that could make an enormous difference in your exam score.
Attempt practice/past exams - With luck your teachers will have a wealth of practice exams for you to complete. There are over a decade of VCE Economics VCAA exams available through their website and even though only the past 4 years exams are true to this study design there are still hundreds of relevant questions in the exams before that. Then there are the exams of private businesses such as mine (link below), CPAP (for incredibly challenging but rewarding exams), VCTA, TSSM, etc which your schools may have purchased for you to work on. When working on Practice or Past Exams this is how I recommend starting out. First, try and complete as much as you can of your first practice exam without any notes. This is going to highlight what you know really well and areas you feel confident. Next, in a different colour pen fill in the rest of the exam with the aid of your notes. Then get out the marking guide/examiners report and go through it question by question and add in anything specific from those reports you think would make your answers better. Then submit it to a teacher/peer for any other feedback. Then slowly over time use your notes less and less until you're completing them fully from memory under timed conditions.
Watch Economics YouTube videos - Sometimes you're not going to feel motivated to write, that's just reality. Luckily there are a wealth of VCE Economics videos on YouTube now to help you achieve your goals. Firstly, there are mine where I highly recommend this exam preparation playlist which has exam questions broken down from every single topic as well as many other skill based videos. I also highly recommend the videos created by Josh Verlin where he covers the content of VCE Economics in easy to digest 5 minute chunks and also Casey Kirkup who has playlist of VCE Economics videos to work on exam style question.
Make sure you maintain balance - You cannot possibly study every single second of the day. You need to balance your study with things which you enjoy to prevent burn out. For me this has always varied over time. Now it means going out for a run or exercising to re-engerise and re-motivate myself. In the past it would be little rewards like if I study for the length of a bands album, then I would watch an episode of TV (at the time it was Scrubs, now it would probably be Brooklyn Nine Nine). It could be video games, it could be cooking, the important thing is that if you do the things which you enjoy, the studying won't feel so bad and it'll be easier to maintain.
Know that your result isn't everything - We are living through unprecedented times and you've spent a lot of your life having the importance of VCE built up. At the end of the day there are alternative pathways into any course you want to study. No matter how things go at the end of this year if there is truly a degree you wish to study or a career you want you can get it, it may just take a little bit more time.
If you are interested in attending my online Unit 3 and 4 revision lecture please sign up at the link below, it's only $20.50 for a 3 hour lecture plus whatever time it takes to answer questions at the end.
If you are a student reading this and really want more revision materials, feel free to email me on firstname.lastname@example.org and I can provide you a 50% off discount code for any of the practice exams or tests.