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Last minute QCS tips for our Year 12s

Category: News

Submitted by on Fri 26/08/16 11:26

We wish our Year 12 OP students the very best for this coming Tuesday and Wednesday when they sit their Queensland Core Skills (QCS) tests. This series of tests includes a writing task and multiple choice exam on Tuesday, and a short response and second multiple choice exam on Wednesday.

Below are some final tips to help you maximise your performance:

  1. Organisation matters. Place all of your QCS equipment in a clear container or zip lock bag the night before and place it in your schoolbag (along with a jumper in case you get cold in the exam room and bottle of water). Being calm and well prepared will give you the ability to focus and use your memory, reasoning and creativity to your best advantage.
  2. Fuel your brain! Good food will help despite the butterflies in your tummy telling you that you don’t want to eat. Proteins, wholegrains and good fats are great for the brain, so consider eggs or avocado on wholegrain toast, yogurt, nuts and quality cereals. Don’t overeat so that you’re uncomfortable, but eat enough so that your mind isn’t distracted by your hangry (angry-hungry) stomach half way through the exam. Also, don’t forget to drink water! Take a full, unmarked water bottle into your exam to help you stay hydrated and avoid feeling sluggish and sleepy.
  3. Ensure enough good sleep. Way more beneficial than staying up to cram for your exam is getting a good night’s sleep. According to the National Sleep Foundation, someone your age requires eight to ten hours per night. With good sleep, your body rejuvenates and releases good hormones that will help you deal with the pressure, and your mind completes all of the phases required for memory consolidation. Try listening to some relaxing music at bedtime and turn off the light at a good hour. 
  4. Don’t fall into the fear trap. You are not alone in feeling anxious about these upcoming days, but it is vital that you sweep out the negative internal dialogue and replace it with positive thoughts so that your anxiety gets to a more manageable level. Try this self-talk: “This is what I’ve been preparing for and I’m not going to let fear sap me of my energy and focus" and “I will be okay and am going to do the best I can”. Protect this positive state of mind at all costs by avoiding overanxious friends who are only going to stress you out! 
  5. Go over your plan before the exam. Each test has a framework that you are now familiar with. Revise this and your management plan. For instance, how many minutes are you going to delegate to each star? What is your strategy for when you come up against questions that you’re unsure of? What are the features of your preferred genre for the writing task?
  6. Get to school on time. This means leaving a little early to avoid any delays that are out of your control. Once you’re there, get yourself organised and find a quiet spot where you can get your head in the game. Enjoy some sunshine if possible. Breathe deeply through your nose and out through your mouth, send up a little prayer asking for calm and clarity, and give your classmates a reassuring smile as you walk into the exam room. 

Just remember, you are not alone. Several thousand Queensland students can relate to the mixture of anticipation and nerves that you are feeling right now! As for the BAC teachers, staff, fellow students, families and freinds? We are all praying for you and will be silent-cheering you on from the sidelines!


AUTHOR: Debbie Cosier is a writer, education blogger, past teacher at BAC and parent. Her youngest son Braden completed Year 12 only last year so she feels eminently qualified to understand the stress that students (and their families) face right before the QCS test! Her website is found here:

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