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Acing one subject doesn't mean you'll get a good ATAR.

Updated: Mar 20, 2022

Graduating in the Class of 2021 literally meant a year of inconsistency and unpredictability. I was never the best or rank 1 for one particular subject, I was simply decent and competent at most of them throughout my final year. It became clear for me that my route to achieving a 93 ATAR was going to be through the strengths that I had, which wasn't Maths or through English, but it was rather just doing well across all my subjects. Ultimately, to succeed in VCE, you have to play the game. For example, English was never my strongest subject, but I knew that since it was guarantee to be in my Primary 4 subjects, I had to do well enough so that it didn't weigh me down, achieving a decent 38 which would naturally slot in as my 4th best subject. I am far from perfect in this art. If I was perfect, I would've gotten all perfect scores, but I know enough to say that the rules of VCE require a degree of consistency.

Believe me, there were times when I desperately wished that I could've been the best in my cohort for some of my subjects, in fact, still make this your desire! There is absolutely no harm in being ranked 1, but it's also not the end of the world if you are not. I was always around the 4th rank for most of my subjects in a relatively small cohort, but I was never at the bottom of the group, I always made it my aim to stay amongst the best in my class.

I completely understand that there are so many other things going on in Year 12, other responsibilities, lockdown, different relationships, and friendships, but consistency actually frees you to have a life whilst achieving your academic goals. Here are a couple of tips that helped me achieve well across all my subjects:

Make equitable goals.

For me, understanding the "game" that we call VCE was crucial to success. That meant that I had to understand the scaling across my subjects. My subjects being English, Texts and Traditions, French, Chemistry, Me

thods, and PE allowed me to set goals that factored in the high scaling of subjects such as French, Chemistry, and Methods. Therefore, I decided that I would go for the approach of getting 'scaled 40s', which would secure an ATAR close to 95. So I aimed for a 30 in French which would bring me to a 41 and 36s for Methods and Chemistry. By the end of my year, I could predict which scores I would get for each subject (with methods falling behind in t

he end hehe). So I would strongly suggest, set equal goals across all your subjects to ensure you don't fall behind in any of them

Consistent effort = consistent results.

My second point is that it is so important not to neglect your 'weak' subjects. At the end of the day you will never know what will come out as your best subjects, so you need to try your best in all of them. For example, though I joined in Chemistry in Unit 2, I didn't just neglect it instantly but I still believed I could achieved a scaled 40, so I put in the effort consistently to get decent results. On the other hand, I thought I was going to ace PE and get a mid 40. My SAC results were really good and I felt so ready for the exam, however, my results came out to be lower than I expected, making it my worst subject across my whole VCE experience. Making consistent efforts accommodate for inevitable slips ups in VCE.

- Nathan

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