Have you just started Year 11, but already feel overwhelmed and swarmed with homework? Does the step up feel tragically harder than what Year 10 was?
I remember what that step-up was like, and it was hard! So no, you’re not hallucinating — everything increases! From homework, to readings, to IA1 assessments, it all piles on at once!
Here are 4 Strategies to decrease your workload and make your Year 11 journey significantly easier! Let’s get started!
Why is Year 11 so hard?
I suppose we should start by asking the question: “Why on earth is Year 11 so hard?”
In isolation, Year 11 was designed to have a challenging, yet achievable workload. The contrast (and maddening difference!!) comes from comparing Year 10 to Year 11. Since Year 11 is meant to be an exact copy of Year 12 (and Year 12 is designed mostly by the QCAA), your workload is decided by someone outside of your school.
This means that while Year 10 was guided by your teachers and your school, Year 11 and 12 are guided by an organisation outside of your school, with different expectations and priorities.
If you’ve ever travelled to a different country, you would’ve heard the term ‘culture shock‘ used! It’s a similar explanation here! Because the QCAA has different management, teaching expectations and assessment structures to what your school may have had, you are simply going through the ‘culture shock’ of changing education systems.
“You are simply going through the ‘culture shock’ of changing education systems.”
We get it can be a lot! The good news is, you will get used to it very soon! And the even better news is that we can help you get used to it with some extra support!
Strategy #1: Eat the Frog
You may have heard this weird phrase before, and that’s because it works!
In your study, you often have that one activity you keep putting off. We call that the “frog“.
The truth is, the more you put off that one activity, the more you are going to kill your momentum and procrastinate your study.
The best strategy when diving into a study session is to always eat the frog. Do that activity you are so dreading FIRST! Face that head on, and the rest of your study will be easy.
Your brain will release natural dopamine and reward systems which will help you defeat procrastination and distraction, by simply knuckling down and achieving that one goal first.
When you’ve “eaten the frog” you feel more motivated to keep on going and do the smaller easier tasks after. And before you know it, you will be on top of your workload, just like that!
“Eating the frog” may look like writing a large paragraph or section of an assignment you have due soon, rather than just scaffolding out the sections with fancy titles and calling it a day (I’m guilty of this!!)
Strategy #2: Stress What Matters
People who say “don’t stress over school” often don’t know what they’re talking about.
We’re not saying be anxious or worrisome. Those things aren’t good and can significantly have an impact on your mental health (the most important thing you need to protect in school!!)
What we’re saying is simply stress over what matters. Stress can be motivating in the right circumstances.
In Term 1 of Year 11, your attention will be stretched in a dozen different directions. The easiest thing is to simply melt down and say it’s too much. That’s totally understandable BUT it doesn’t have to be that way.
Don’t waste time stressing over an extra reading your teachers gave you, when it has nothing to do with the syllabus, and don’t spend hours pouring over making your notes look pretty when your behind on content.
Simply do this exercise with us: Write down everything you need to do, and highlight what actually directly affects your ATAR and your QCE. Everything else is just extra. Like this!
Out of this list of homework tasks that I might have been given, only three of these contribute directly towards my ATAR and graduation. All of the list is important, but now I know where to concentrate most of my energy and effort when I’m feeling short of time and stressed.
So don’t over-stress, and spread yourself too thin, simply concentrate on what matters and prioritise your time accordingly.
Strategy #3: Make Efficient Study Notes
Along a similar line, your notes are your lifeblood come end of year exams! Get in the habit of taking good study notes in Year 11, so you’re not screwed come external 50% exams at the end of Year 12!
One thing that so many Year 11 students miss, is that your study notes should be taken directly under the learning objective you are covering! If you are doing Chemistry for example, everything you learn is teaching you to answer a learning objective, so you should be taking notes accordingly!
So, here’s what you should do with your notes:
Create a Notion Template or Google Doc with Learning Objectives for the Term
Using your normal note-taking platform, create a list of learning objectives from the topic you are currently doing (you can find this right on the QCAA website!).
Then as you go about your day-to-day lessons, simply take notes under the relevant learning objective throughout the term. Then if your teacher goes on a tangent, you know it’s not important for you to take down, and can focus on what matters.
Make Your Notes Easy to Read
Make sure your notes are concise and succinct. Most importantly, you must understand what your notes are telling you.
If you spend more than 10 minutes trying to understand what you have taken down, you should either cut it down or use simpler language where you can process the information clearly.
Utilise Communal Note Systems
One of the best parts of my classes throughout senior was when all the class was willing to help each other out, by sharing each other’s Google Drive folder of study notes to cover gaps that each person may have missed.
Not everyone will be willing to share, but just ask the people around you to trade notes, and you are twice as much guaranteed to cover everything you need to know for your end of year exam!
Check out our guides on how to write effective study notes for Social Sciences!
Strategy #4: Understand the QCE and ATAR System
Finally, understand the system. Know what you’re doing. Don’t just be pushed around.
It pays to understand subject scaling, and how it could affect your ATAR. It pays to know what your marks actually mean in terms of an ATAR prediction via cohort comparison.
The more you understand about the QCE system, the less unknowns there are, and the less you will feel overwhelmed or be taken by surprise.
Tonnes of students don’t understand the QCE system, and so make dumb decisions, from doing subjects they don’t like because they think it’ll scale better, to not utilising their Year 11 marks for Early Entry to Uni…
Being proactive in learning the system will pave the way for your future, allowing you to gain access to whatever University course you’re interested in, and will allow you to have a much better time in senior!
Get support from someone who has succeeded in the QCE system already, to help you in your journey!
Looking for other QCE resources?
Check out some of our other articles related to the QCE below:
- QCE Year 11: How to Effectively Prepare for Your IA Exam Block
- The Ultimate List of QCAA Cognitive Verbs That You Need To Know
- What You Should Consider When Selecting Your QCE Subjects
- How to Stay Motivated Throughout the Year During the QCE and Avoid Burnout
- QLD Subject Scaling: Which Subjects Scale the Best from QCAA?
- Is Year 11 Different to Year 12 for the QCE?
Curious if your school in Brisbane performs well based on ATAR results? We’ve got the answer with The Ultimate Brisbane ATAR School Ranking List!
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