How to increase your marks!

On behalf of the School, I wish all our Year 12 students the very best with their forthcoming exams and encourage the girls to continue their disciplined and deliberate approach to their studies.

With Term 4 upon us and the examination period commencing in a few short weeks, I thought it timely to remind our girls of some study tips. The list below is provided by Melbourne Psychologist Andrew Fuller.

I encourage parents to commence conversations with their daughters about how they are approaching their study and use Andrew’s tips as your reference.

1. Study in silence

This is the single most powerful way to increase your marks. No texting, music or computer screens. Outcomes improve when you practise in the same conditions you want to perform in. In the exam room there won’t be music, mobile phones or computer screens.

2. Organise and transform the information you want to learn

Just reading your notes over and over again does not really work. Your memory stores information best when you organise or transform it. This means organising your notes so that the main idea is highlighted on each page. Then take your notes and turn them into a flow chart or a mind map, or see if you can fit them to a song you know well, or make it into a sound recording. The more times you can transform and re-organise the information the more firmly it is remembered.

3. Put off pleasurable activities until work is done

This can be painful, but if you play computer games before you get down to studying, the levels of dopamine in your brain will lessen and you will lose the drive and motivation you need to study effectively. Work first play later.

4. Talk yourself through the steps involved

One of the things that highly successful students do is to explain out loud to themselves the steps involved in completing a task. This applies to every subject area. By saying out loud, “First I have to do…. Then I have to do….” and so on, any part that you are uncertain about becomes clear and you can then use this to guide where you need to do more.

5. Ask for help

Teachers want their students to be interested and to do well. You will be amazed if you ask a question how many other people don’t understand it either. If you are really scared about asking questions in class, have a private talk to your teacher about this.


6. Write and re-write key points

Writing the main points of the area you are learning helps you to remember them. If you can add in re-organising and transforming them into different formats (drawings, flow chats, podcasts etc.) that makes it even more powerful.

7. Make lists and set priorities

Make a “to-do” list each week. Write down in your diary the most important things to be done in each subject, each week. High scoring students do a little bit on each subject a lot rather, than doing a lot of work on one subject every so often. If you are doing subjects that involve presenting a folio or preparing a presentation, it is still important to do work on the other subject areas.

8. Keep a record of how much study you have done

It increases motivation when we can tick things off lists and when we can see how much we have done.

9. Test yourself

Your memory and understanding is strengthened when you create tests for yourself. Give yourself a test each week for the rest of the year so you can focus more time on learning the parts you don’t fully understand or recall. Your practice tests should replicate the exam in length, environment and format. For example, if you have to write a 250 word response – then practice this in a timed trial.

10. Set study times

Decide when you are most alert and to set aside some time at that time of day to study. If you wait until you are in the right mood before beginning to study, you may wait forever. There are no exams scheduled at 9.00pm at night – so don’t study at this time of the day. Be mindful of your body clock – maintain a school routine.

11. Exercise

Memories seem to be strengthened when you do some exercise about four hours after a study session. Exercise also lowers your stress levels.

12. Lower your stress levels

The biggest barrier to getting good marks is not your brain; it is your stress levels.


Mrs Michelle Carroll


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