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Study tips

The SACE starts with your Personal Learning Plan and continues through Stage 1 and Stage 2.

You’ll be learning about and applying a lot of knowledge and skills, and completing assessment tasks during your SACE studies, so it’s important to think about how, when and where you’ll study.

Most students who’ve completed the SACE successfully say they designed and kept to a structured routine from the beginning of Year 11. 

Your routine shouldn’t be all about study, however. Successful students find a balance that gives them time to sleep, relax and enjoy interests outside schoolwork, as well as providing sufficient time for assignments, learning for tests and exams, and other study.

Tips for effective study

You may not study in exactly the same way as your friends or siblings, so you should find a routine that suits you. Many students seek advice from teachers and counsellors about how to plan a routine that suits them and their schedules – sometimes as early as Year 9.

  1. Set yourself up in the right environment
    • Find a place or places where you can minimise distractions. If this isn’t possible at home, consider the school library or your local library.
    • Make sure you have enough space, light and quiet.
    • Switch off your phone and avoid social media while you study.
  2. Plan your schedule
    • Include your commitments (lessons, but also sport, part-time work and family outings).
    • Find time for any other items you want or need to factor into your schedule.
    • Don’t forget eating and exercise – along with plenty of sleep, a sensible diet and exercise are important for your health and well-being.
    • Remember to make time for catching up with friends, or just watching TV and relaxing.
  3. Understand what works best for you
    • You may already know how you prefer to study (and your Personal Learning Plan will help with this, too). Plan your study routine and schedule according to how you like to study.
  4. Make a timetable and stick to it
    • Include milestones such as holidays, assignment due dates and exams in your schedule as soon as you can.
    • Create your study timetable around these dates so you give yourself time to study.
    • Most successful students say it helps to divide work into small pieces rather than one large chunk, so it feels achievable.
    • Spread the tasks out so that your study is varied between simple and challenging tasks.
    • Set yourself achievable weekly goals and try to stick to them.
    • If something unexpected happens and you don't achieve what you had planned, revise your timetable and get back on track as soon as possible.
  5. Ask for help
    • You shouldn’t feel alone – ask family, friends or teachers for help or just a sympathetic ear if you’re feeling overwhelmed or stressed.
    • Ask family members and friends to test your knowledge, and arrange group revision sessions if you’re the type of student who likes to bounce ideas off other people.
    • Teachers can help you identify what you should focus on before tests and other assessment tasks.
    • If you’re looking for external help, headspace provides young people and families with information about mental health issues.
    • has lots of tips about studying, managing stress and life in general, from everyday issues to tough times.

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Using past SACE exams

Past SACE examination papers are a useful resource for revising and preparing for tests and exams.

The questions in exam papers may ask you to solve problems or give essay-type answers. For subjects that have numerical problems, it may help to work with a friend and check your separate answers together. For essays, plan in note form how you’d construct your written answer or essay to cover all the points you want to include.

Subject assessment advice can also be helpful, and is available on all Stage 2 subject. These reports give an overall picture of student performance in previous years' subject assessments. 

The front pages of the examination question booklets can be found on the subject mini-sites a few weeks before the end-of-year examinations begin.

The front page of an examination includes important information such as the number of questions you’ll have to answer, how long the exam will take and whether calculators or dictionaries are permitted.

If you follow these tips, keep up with your revision schedule, and stay focused, you should be able to keep on track.

But if you are feeling worried or stressed, let your family members, friends or teachers know. If they understand how you’re feeling, they are in a better position to help you - with your study or revision, by encouraging you to take a break, or by offering a sympathetic ear.

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Help and counselling services

Crisis Care (SA only)

An after-hours crisis support helpline
Monday to Friday, 4 pm to 9 am
Saturday, Sunday, and public holidays, 24 hours
Telephone 131 611

Kids Helpline (national)

A free and confidential telephone counselling and advice service for young people
Monday to Sunday, 24 hours
Telephone 1800 551 800

Lifeline (national)

A free crisis support service
Monday to Sunday, 24 hours
Telephone 13 11 14

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