Year 12 Top 10 Exam Tips

With our Year 12 students all set to embark on their external exams, I thought the timing is appropriate to reflect on the advice (for both students and their parents) of one of Australia's leading Adolescent Psychologists, Dr Michael Carr-Gregg. He advised parents against habitual nagging and burdening their children with talk about their own Year 12 experience.

He advised parents instead to offer practical support, such as making short visits to their children's room with food or drink to help them face the pressures of their final school examinations. "All you do is make your children hate you," he said. "It's a temporary hate - but it's not much fun or helpful during this very stressful time." Recounting on his own experiences as a parent, he said the number one mistake parents make is saying to your child, "Don't think you can have a social life this year!"

"At no other time in your life is your desire to be with your friends stronger," he warned. "Human beings are not computers, and research shows that having balance in your life is important."

Dr Michael Carr-Gregg’s top ten tips to help students study smarter, thrive and survive external exams are:

  1. Sleep at least 9.25 hours per night. This amount is necessary to consolidate long-term memory.
  2. Eat breakfast daily. The sole source of energy for our brain is glucose, which is derived from carbohydrates. A University of Ulster study found a teenager's ability to memorise becomes equivalent to a 78-year-old when they skip breakfast.
  3. Eat foods that help memory. Toast, eggs, yoghurt (which helps relieve stress), anchovies and sardines work best, followed by omega 3, fish oils, blueberries and pinto beans.
  4. Drink water regularly. The brain is 80% water, and dehydration can cause headaches.
  5. Exercise. Three 30-minute intervals per week helps prevent depression.
  6. Chew gum (but not at school!). Brain performance can be increased by 35%. Chewing stimulates the production of insulin and raises the heartbeat, causing extra oxygen to be pumped into the brain.
  7. Take a 15-minute break after every 50 minutes of study. The brain overloads if uninterrupted after 50 minutes.
  8. Discover what works best to remember! Discuss work with your peers or listen to tapes repeatedly. Repetition helps your brain transfer information from your short-term to your long-term memory. Pathways to memory also work well through smell.
  9. Keep to a study routine. Students who have a regular schedule and study in the same place at the same time score 33% more than students whose routines vary, according to an examination of 500 students.
  10. Avoid late-night study. Research shows students who go to bed when they are tired retain 35% more than students who ignore sleep warnings.

On behalf of the College, I extend the very best of wishes to our Year 12 students, and their families over the coming weeks.

Tim Grosser | Director of Operations and Planning