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.

[pullquote]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.[/pullquote]

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”.[pullquote]This subject is hard. If it were easy, everyone would be studying it[/pullquote] So work hard, consistently and with a purpose. Do your personal best and have pride in all you do.

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