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After School Assistance

Some students find the traditionally allocated classes don’t offer sufficient opportunity to seek assistance or ask questions of their teachers.  Accordingly, many teacher will offer/provide a tutorial opportunity to assist students in addition to their timetabled classes.

For term 3 & 4, I will be offering an after-school tutorial  in the ISC from 3:30-5:00pm each Wednesday afternoon.  This opportunity is open to any Physics students from Year 10 – 12 and any Year 12 Further Maths student.

If you need extra assistance, please take advantage of this opportunity.  I look forward to working with you.

Kind regards

Mr Judd

Time Investment = Academic Success

Have you ever heard of a tennis player who took tennis lessons for a year, never practiced or played matches, who went on to win a state title? How about a chef who read recipe books from cover to cover, but never once touched an oven, who made the perfect banquet first time? Or have you heard of the musician who took lessons for one year, never practiced, who made it into the Orchestra Victoria?

Anyone who has accomplished true excellence, in whatever field, has worked long and hard to be their personal best.  One does not achieve excellence through luck or good fortune.  Rather, it is through practice and a pursuit of personal best through persistence and repetition.

Success in your studies is just the same. It is simply foolish to assume that attending classes and working well during school hours will result in excellent grades and your best possible study score.

It is simply foolish to assume that attending classes and working well during school hours will result in excellent grades and your best possible study score.

 All students completing their VCE attend classes and most complete regular home based study.  So if you are not completing regular study at home, you are behind the state average and can expect to achieve a study score well below the state median of 30.

If you want, or more importantly need, a study score above 30, then you must be doing more work that the average student in Victoria.  It is that simple.  The VCE is a great educational system as it rewards hard work. Those who commit themselves to their studies and invest regular hours into revision, reading, summarising and practice exams always achieve the best results.

So what are you prepared to do to achieve your best possible VCE results?  What price are you prepared to pay guarantee your personal best.  If you want what you have always got, keep doing what you have always done. However, if you wish to improve your school grades, get serious, make the commitment and invest the time. Great results are only a decision away.

Video Conference with Dr Derek Muller

Dr Derek Muller

Lavalla Catholic College VCE Physics students were recently treated to a Skype conference with science communicator, filmmaker and television presenter, Dr Derek Muller. Derek regularly appears as a television presenter on the ABC’s Catalyst, he has been a guest speaker at TEDxSydney and recently presented the documentary “Uranium – Twisting the Dragon’s Tail”, which aired globally last year.  However, he is most famous for his YouTube channel Veritasium.  As of 12 December 2016 his channel had 205 video uploads, 3.8 million subscribers and 292 million video views.

Derek, who was incidentally born in Traralgon, now resides in Los Angeles, USA, made himself available for a 40 minutes video conference with around 30 of Lavalla’s keenest Physic students. He answered a selection of student questions ranging from quantum mechanics to life advice. He was extremely generous with his time and full of praise for the standard of questions asked by the students.

It was indeed an amazing opportunity for students to gain access to one of the global science communities most popular citizens. Derek even found time to teach students all about Schrodinger’s famous equation, all in less than ten minutes.

The student left the session inspired and maybe even a little star struck.  One student said “It was a really valuable opportunity to speak with someone who has so much experience yet comes from humble beginnings. The idea that someone from Traralgon could go on to be an international success is an inspiring thought.”  Whilst another stated “I very much enjoyed meeting Derek, he is one of my favourite science educators and I find his videos very informative.” Some even went as far as to say “I’d consider it one of the most memorable and definitely the most exciting experience I’ve ever had at school”.

It was indeed a memorable and inspirational event for those present. I would like to thank Dr Derek Muller for his generosity and enthusiasm.  If you haven’t done so already, please check out his YouTube channel Veritasium.

Physics – Exam Day

So you have done your revision, constructed your summary sheet(s) and completed as many practice exams as possible.  On top of this you have checked your VCAA Exam Navigator to check what time the exam starts and what materials are permitted into the exam room.  You have made sure that your one scientific calculator is an approved model and has fully charged batteries for the day of the exam.  You have double checked to make sure you have a pencil for your multiple choice section of the exam, an eraser, a sharpener, a highlighter and also a ruler.

The day of your Physics exam has finally arrived, the day you have highlighted upon your calendar – Wed 11th of November is here.  The exam reading time starts at 2:00pm, so;

Prior to the exam

  1. Be sure to have eaten lunch prior to the exam.
  2. Be sure to be fully hydrated prior to the exam.
  3. Take stock of your equipment one last time.
  4. Get to the exam venue at least 30 minutes prior to the commencement of the exam.
  5. Be familiar with the designated seating plan.

During the exam

  1. Once seated in the exam room, take a deep breath and have confidence in the knowledge that you are fully prepared for this exam.
  2. Do not waste your 15 minute reading time. Have a plan of how to best use this time.  Perhaps mentally work your way through the Detailed Study – Multiple Choice section during this time.
  3. You have exactly 150 minutes to gain a maximum of 150 marks (1 minute per mark). So don’t get stuck on a difficult question for too long.  Leave it, get your easy marks, and return to difficult questions at the end of the exam.
  4. Be aware that VCAA will set some hard questions. They need to separate the A+ grades from the A grades.  Keep your cool and know all questions are relevant to the topics we have studied and that most students will find such questions challenging.
  5. Read each question carefully – what does the question ask you to do for full marks?
  6. Use dots points to answer descriptive questions and refer to diagrams and/or formulas when asked to do so.
  7. Show all workings out for the numerical questions.
  8. Check you have got the correct unit of measurement as shown in the answer box provided.
  9. At the end of the exam be sure to check that all questions have been answered.

After the exam

  1. Relax in the knowledge that you have done your very best.

Whether the exam is perceived as hard or easy, it is the same for all VCE Units 3 & 4 Physics students across the state.  Do your very best and try to earn as many marks as possible.

There is no such thing as luck in the exam.  So rather than wishing you good luck, my hope for you is that you get the marks your truly deserve.

Study Physics Now

With only seven weeks left until the VCE Units 3 & 4 Physics end of year exam, there is much that can be done to optimise your exam score and indeed your study score.  Given that 60% of your marks in this subject are allocated to this two and half hour exam, it is most certainly worth investing considerable study time.

Consider for a moment the number of hours you have already invested in this subject this year to date. Take into account the problem solving, note taking, practice tests, Edrolo videos and written summaries.  All this has been for only 40% of your allocated marks. So my question to you is what are you prepared to further invest for the remaining 60% of your grades?

Mathematical logic would suggest that all the work you have done so far this year needs to be done again, plus 50% more (60 = 40 x 1.5, or 150%). If you are to get anywhere near this amount of study completed prior to the Nov 11th Physics exam, then you must have already started your exam preparation.

There is no magic solution to success in this subject. However, there is a tried and proven relationship that guarantees success.

Exam Success is proportional to Practice Exams Completed

So focus and take note of the following recommendations:

  1. Make an A4 summary for each of the four Areas of Study & the one Detailed Study (include definitions, diagrams, equations and sample problems)
  2. Condense this summary electronically to two double sided A4 pages (an electronic version is far superior as it can be modified throughout the your study program)
  3. Complete a practice exam in VCAA exam conditions (no interruptions, no noise, summary sheets and data sheets allowed and correct calculator)
  4. Mark your practice paper and take special note of any misunderstandings or mistakes (discuss any concerns with class mates and/or teacher)
  5. Review your summary notes and modify where needed.
  6. Complete another practice exam and repeat steps 3 – 5 as many times as possible

When you follow this process at least 15 times, you will practically guarantee yourself an A or better on the actual exam. It is that simple, yet that hard. Are you prepared to invest the necessary time to ensure your success? Many students in the state are doing this right now! This equates to only 2 – 3 papers per week until your exam.

Many of you will need access to exam papers. I recommend you use the following as a starting point:

  • VCAA Exam papers 2009 – 2014
  • Itute papers 2009 – 2014
  • STAV exam papers – Your school can provide access to such papers
  • NEAP exam papers – Your school can provide access to such papers

Other exam booklets can be purchased at your local Newsagents such as A+ exams, NEAP exams etc.

Your exam score is indeed in your hands at this point in time. You have control of your destiny. Success in this subject is just a decision away. A brilliant mind will not guarantee success, but hard work will.

Work hard and achieve your best possible score in Physics.

There is no time like the present

“The exams aren’t until November” that’s what you tell yourself.  If you’re anything like my good self, there will always be a better time to study or another a “more important” task to do than to hit the books.

For many of us the art of procrastination is one we have practiced for years and indeed mastered.  It is very easy to keep ourselves busy with meaningless tasks whilst all the time we know only too well that we are simply putting off what really matters – Physics study and revision.  Well it’s time to roll up the sleaves and to get real about working hard.

At this stage in the year you will have most likely completed all of Unit 3 including the ever imposing Extended Practical Investigation (EPI).  So now is the perfect opportunity to revise your semesters study and summarise all you have learned.

So now is the perfect opportunity to revise your semesters study and summarise all you have learned.

Different people revise in different ways.  For example some students:

  • Read over their textbook and notes
  • Construct summary pages and then condense to a summary page or two
  • Construct concept maps linking all the main concepts of an Area of Study
  • Place summary cards all over their room displaying definitions and equations
  • Make audio recordings on their ipod or phone that they can listen to at night
  •  Get family and friends to quiz you about definitions and terminology
  • Complete exam style questions from published texts

Whatever your technique, make a start today.  My experience as a VCE Physics teacher is that most students don’t revise their first semester topics until it is too late.  Often the Motion topic is the worst scored section on the entire exam paper.

So make a difference today.  Fully revise the first semester now.  If your school has a mid-year practice exam, study hard for it and test yourself.  If not, then ask your Physics teacher for some sample papers.  All teachers have access to dozens of practice papers and they will be only too happy to assist a keen and dedicated student.

If you wish to gain a high study score in Physics or simply do your best then revision and exam preparation are the key.  You can be 100% certain that many students across Victoria are continually revising and completing practice exams in this subject.  If you wish to compete on the state stage, then get competitive today and invest the necessary hours to succeed.

I leave you with my favourite question: “Are you doing your best? If not, why not?”

“Are you doing your best? If not, why not?”

 Exam tips

Physics has a steep learning curve

The adjustment from studying junior and middle science to that of mastering VCE Physics involves an extremely steep learning curve.  For many students, what used to be straight forward and simple has become quite challenging and often confusing.

The truth of the matter is that the main concepts being taught are not that difficult or foreign.  Rather it is the technical language associated with Physics that can make one feel as though they are studying Latin rather than a physical science.

So if you, like many other VCE Physics students, are finding the start of the academic year demanding and challenging, then please appreciate that you are not alone and that this is a common experience of many studying this subject.

In order to gain confidence in this subject, be sure to:

  • Read your text book prior to class
  • Take detailed and accurate notes
  • Seek clarification from your teacher
  • Discuss challenging terms with other students

As you study your VCE you will regularly be challenged and confronted by a range of situations and circumstances. Just remember that it’s the way in which you respond to such circumstances that determines your levels of anxiety and indeed coping capacity.

Successful VCE Physics students demonstrate perseverance, determination and a strong willingness to work hard and solve problems. So embrace each challenge as they arise and be solution focussed, rather than problem focussed.



Tips to success

There are numerous public speakers who present their “tips to VCE success”.  In addition, there are seminars you can attend, publications you can purchase and videos you can download.

Whilst there is a lot of good VCE material worthy of your consideration, there are also numerous products that miss the mark by a long way.

Traditionally the topics covered within a VCE Success program include:

  • Goal setting
  • Effective note taking
  • Memory storage and recollection techniques
  • Study timetables
  • Exam preparation
  • Dietary consideration
  • Sleep debt


Whilst all the above topics are valuable and indeed worthwhile learning more about, they do not form the recipe for success in VCE Physics.  Unfortunately, there is no one single “quick fix” to ensure success in VCE Physics.

My observations in the class rooms over the past two decades is that successful students in Physics simply work harder than the rest.

My observations in the class rooms over the past two decades is that successful students in Physics simply work harder than the rest.  Generally speaking, students do get what they deserve at the end of their VCE studies.   Those who invest the time and effort, as a rule, get the best results

Having just said that there is no “quick fix” to ensure success in VCE Physics, I can report that most high achieving Physics students use the following common strategies:

  • study ahead of the set class work
  • regularly revise their class work
  • keep up to date with the prescribed chapter questions
  • seek assistance when difficulties are encountered
  • construct summaries at the end of every topic
  • purchase an exam preparation booklet (with solutions)
  • complete a large volume of practice exams
  • attend exam revisions programs

Those who invest the time and effort, as a rule, get the best results.

When 60% of your marks in Year 12 Physics are awarded to a single 2.5 hour end of year exam it doesn’t take much thinking to realise that you must invest considerable time and energy in preparation for this major form of assessment.

It’s a marathon, not a sprint

Studying VCE Physics is much more like a marathon than a sprint. To do your personal best in this subject and to achieve a high study score at the completion of Units 3 & 4 requires a constant application and a positive mindset for a minimum of two years.

Whilst it is true that your marks in Units 1 & 2 don’t contribute to your final study score, it is still essential to work to the best of your ability in Year 11.  Both Units 1 & 2 are essential as the fundamental skills necessary for good results in Units 3 & 4 are introduced in the first year’s study of Physics.

We have all seen the athlete who “takes it out fast” at the start of a long distance race, only to step off the track before the race has completed.

We have all seen the athlete who “takes it out fast” at the start of a long distance race, only to step off the track before the race has completed.  Likewise, we have also seen the athlete who leaves his or her run too late and sprints to the finish line frantically to only make up one or two places in the middle of the pack.

Regardless of your natural potential and intelligence, success in VCE Physics requires a consistent application and an extremely focussed approach. To succeed you must revise your work regularly, you must actively and effectively summarise your work, you must discuss your understanding of concepts with peers and teachers and you must practice your skills every day.

Please also be aware that VCE Physics is very much a handicapped race. Much like the Stawell gift where competitors are staggered at the starting line, or the Melbourne Cup where certain horses have to carry considerable weight, many VCE Physics students are disadvantaged from the start.

Students need to be aware who they are competing against across the state. Some schools have taught the vast majority of the Unit 3 & 4 course by the end of Year 11 and are therefore well ahead of the pack when Year 12 commences.

Others will attend VCE preparation seminars over the summer break and will also be well past the first Area of Study come the start of the 2015 academic year. Certain students have goals that require exceptional results and will be prepared to invest 6+ hours every day of the final year’s schooling. These are the people you will be ranked against when you receive your study score and indeed ATAR.  So don’t waste a single day and  start your race today!

For those student facing the starter’s pistol for Physics Units 1 & 2, I suggest you find a pace that works for you, don’t lose touch with the leading group and use your support crew of family, peers and teachers when times get tough.

For those half way through the race commencing Year 12, I suggest you approach the remainder of your race strategically and methodically.  Never lose sight of your goals and why you started this race in the first place. Please be aware that your “race time” is not just relative to your class, but compared against the entire state.  So don’t be distracted by those around you and think where you rank in the entire state.

Regardless of your ability, at the end of the race when you have completed your VCE Physics Unit 3 & 4 end of year exam, you need to ask yourself one question: “Did I do my best?” If the answer to this question is honestly “Yes”, then you can be proud of your efforts regardless of your study score or ATAR. If the answer is “No”, then you have to ask yourself “Why not?

I urge all VCE Physics students to do their personal best. As I remind all my Physics students “This subject is hard. If it were easy, everyone would be studying it”.

This subject is hard. If it were easy, everyone would be studying it

So work hard, consistently and with a purpose. Do your personal best and have pride in all you do.


Hi and welcome to a Physics website designed for year 11 and 12 students studying Physics as part of their VCE program.

After 20 years of teaching VCE Physics in secondary schools I know I have something to offer students who are about to face one of the most challenging VCE studies available.

Wether you are about to commence your VCE studies as a year 11 student or wishing to maximise your study score as a year 12 student, has something for you.

So please take some time to examine the pages, posts, notes, summaries and online resources available on this website.  For the purpose of improvement, please also feel free to post me any constructive feedback.

Enjoy studying Physics and make the most of the opportunity.

Mark Judd