Preliminary exams: tips to keep your Year 11 game tight

The dictionary defines the word preliminary as meaning ‘preceding and leading up to the main matter or business’. When it comes to your Year 11 preliminary exams, that’s true – in one sense.

Your Year 11 exams are definitely a useful flexing of your exam-taking muscles – and your grey matter – in preparation for the HSC in Year 12. But they are also important in their own right.

Not least because they could help you secure an early offer to university. And that means you want to be at the top of your game for your prelims.

You’ve got the subject stuff down (more or less, right?), so we’ve put together some hints and tips to help keep the stress levels down and your head in the right space.

So you can give your preliminary exams your best shot.

Tip #1: Make a move

Being active supercharges your body and your brain, and every little bit helps. It’s definitely not a waste of your valuable time. Get up from your desk and walk around the house or the block. Play sport, ride a bike, take a yoga class, walk the dog, dance like nobody’s watching. Whatever floats your boat. You need to mix things up, take a break from the books, and get the blood pumping.

Tip #2: Eat for your brain

What you eat affects your health – not just for your body, but your brain too. After all, your brain needs nutrition just like the rest of you. Feed it well and it will treat you well. Think of yourself as a souped-up, high-performance car. Without the right fuel you aren’t going anywhere. And while we’re on the topic – drink lots and lots of water. That’s important, too.

Tip #3: Catch some zzzzs

Allow us to persist with the automotive analogy for a moment. Your body – like a car – does not perform well when it’s flying on fumes. And burning the midnight oil to squeeze in just one more hour of revision is likely to do more harm than good. Without proper rest your body – and your mind – is going to struggle. So set yourself a reasonable bedtime and make sure you include some down time before you hit the sack. You can’t go from desk to pillow and expect your mind to immediately switch off.

Tip #4: Get organised

Sort your study space and reap the rewards. It’s a cliché, but tidy surroundings can really help focus your mind. When you know where what you need is, you can concentrate on the important things, like learning that stuff for your preliminary exams. Better to be considering the epochs of Australian history (or whatever subject you’re revising) than searching for the highlighter you know you put….well, somewhere.

Tip #5: Make your escape

Preparing for your preliminary exams is going to zap lots of your time and heaps of your energy. Because they are important and you want to do well. But trust us when we tell you that having something else to focus on and look forward to is also super important. It’s a little escape that you can use as reward for good behaviour. Give yourself permission to watch the Netflix series everyone is talking about, read a book, or load the latest game. Your mind will thank you.

The advantage of acing your prelims

There you go. Five tips that will set you up for success in your preliminary exams. Alongside your revision, of course. Once you ace your prelims, imagine how confident you’ll be going into Year 12.

And, as we alluded to, your Year 11 exams results could mean you get an offer to study with Charles Sturt University before you even sit your HSC. The Charles Sturt Advantage early offer program looks at those Year 11 results and your soft skills – not just your ATAR.

Just imagine how you’d feel knowing you already had a uni offer in the bag before you even walk into the exam hall.

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