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VCE Exam Preparation Strategies

Have you figured out your strategy for tackling practice questions? Or are you still contemplating whether avoiding them is a useful but shameful tactic?

While achieving high scores requires consistent effort over time, an effective approach to practicing questions can help you perform steadily or even exceed expectations during the exam. Here are the specific steps and tips:

Start doing VCCA past papers as early as possible. Even doing one set per week is better than nothing. Ideally, complete at least five years’ worth, and you can go back up to ten years.

For the first few sets, you can do them without timing yourself to stay relaxed. As the exam approaches, try to simulate exam conditions by timing yourself and working in a quiet environment. This way, you’ll be calmer in the actual exam.

For math papers, it is essential to highlight key terms, and after finishing the paper, follow these steps:

  1. Quickly and objectively grade your paper first, regardless of how many mistakes you make. Act like a grading machine, calculate your total score, and record it.
  2. Correct your mistakes. For errors due to knowledge gaps, immediately refer back to your textbook or notes, fill in that knowledge gap, and after doing a few related example questions, reattempt the question you got wrong.
  3. If you have many knowledge gaps, it’s okay. First, correct the avoidable mistakes, such as careless errors. Everyone has different tendencies for careless mistakes, so you need to create your own strategy to avoid repeating similar errors. Instead of blaming yourself for not being careful, focus on the following:
    • Forgetting units: Circle the units in every question.
    • Entering data incorrectly into the CAS calculator: Double-check each input.
  4. For smaller mistakes, jot them down on sticky notes instead of compiling them into an error notebook. Stick these notes on your desk or wall as constant reminders. Eventually, you can collect these notes in a notebook and review them before the exam.
  5. After organizing your mistakes, review the correct answers. For multiple-choice questions, analyze each option. For short answer questions, look at the scoring points in the standard answers, and note what they include that you missed. Learn which steps are necessary and which can be skipped.
  6. The final and most crucial step is to brainstorm without looking at the answers. Write down the concepts each question tests, any related concepts you can think of, and common pitfalls in this area. Let your thoughts jump around; the goal is to use each question to review as much related content as possible.

This entire process takes about half a day, or longer if done thoroughly. It’s not about the quantity but the quality of your practice. You’ll notice that the high-stakes exam questions tend to follow similar patterns. It’s better to do fewer sets but analyse each one thoroughly. Also, keep your annotated papers and review them before the exam.

The core of this process is to maintain a positive mindset. Don’t blame yourself for mistakes. Careless errors are a common human issue. By identifying your weak points and devising corresponding strategies, you can avoid repeating these mistakes in the exam.

Author: Sim K

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Sim K

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