Parents and guardians
of Year 12 students often have questions and concerns about
the year. The following information and advice is an attempt
to answer some of the most common questions.
How can I help my son in a subject
that I know nothing about?
It is enough if you ask general questions about each subject,
such as 'What are you doing in accounting at the moment?'
or 'What are you learning in physics?' It doesn't matter if
you don't understand the answer. Just talking about the subject
helps students to clarify and remember information, and to
identify gaps in their knowledge or understanding.
How much homework should I expect
my son to be doing at night, and would this be the same on
weekends and holidays?
This question constantly arises. Some people say four hours
per night; some say six, with the exception of weekends and
holidays. There is certainly no doubt that in Year 12, a student
should be doing some homework every night, whether this is
set work or the student's own private study (for example,
re-reading set texts, note-making or summarising). How many
hours should be spent? This depends on how quickly the student
Some students work slowly and meticulously. Others struggle
to understand the work and need a longer time to absorb the
material. Some students have very little difficulty and finish
their work quickly.
Provided they are motivated and well organised, students
should be mature enough to determine how many hours of study
or homework is needed to keep up-to-date with their work.
Balance is important, and if you feel that your son is spending
too much time on homework and going to bed too late too often,
you should raise this matter with them. Perhaps your child
needs to work on time management, or needs to adopt some strategies
for the achievement of a better balance between work and leisure.
Friendship groups can be a great help with homework. The
best type of study regime includes personal study time as
well as productive study time with like-minded friends, who
can lift individuals up, challenge them, inspire them and
keep them on target when the pressure becomes too great.
What if my son is an EAL or special
In English, there are minor differences in the school-assessed
coursework and the exam for EAL students. These differences
are explained in the relevant sections of the VCAA Study Design
and the English VCE course on this website. There are also
provisions for students with special needs. For example, in
some cases, it is possible to get extra time for the completion
of coursework. This might be the case in other subjects as
well, so please ensure that your son speaks to the appropriate
teacher or the school's VCE coordinator about this.
How important is the mid-year General
Achievement Test (GAT) and can my son do anything to prepare
This test is VERY important. It is one of the ways your son's
final study scores are determined. You should encourage your
son to take the GAT seriously and complete it to the best
of their ability. Your school should be able to supply you
with information about the GAT and you can access past GAT
papers on the VCAA website www.vcaa.vic.edu.au.
How can I help my son with choices
for next year and beyond?
Students in Year 12 are called upon to make some very important
decisions about their future. As parents, you can help by
discussing the various options, allowing the students to attend
open days at tertiary institutions, even accompanying them
if possible, and encouraging your child to think carefully
and honestly about what they would like to do in the future.
Speak to your child's teachers and ask for their advice.
What if an illness or a personal or
family-related problem occurs during the year?
Time missed from classes is hard to make up. Be very reluctant
to keep your son home from school, especially if an SAC is
scheduled for that day. Try to make medical or dental appointments
outside of school hours. If your son is sick, call the Year
12 coordinator and find out what work will be missed if he
or she stays home, and make your decision accordingly.
In the case of a prolonged illness or other serious problem,
make an appointment to speak to the Year 12 or VCE coordinator.
The school may be able to assist by providing alternative
arrangements for the completion of school-assessed coursework.
In the case of an examination being missed or adversely affected,
your son can apply to the VCAA (through the principal of the
school) for a 'Derived Examination Score', which is calculated
using the results of the school-assessed tasks, the GAT score
and the indicative grades provided by the school. More information
about special provision can be found on the VCAA website www.vcaa.vic.edu.au.
How much contact should I have with
the teachers? What help can the school provide?
Parents should take advantage of every opportunity to speak
to teachers. Go to information nights and report nights. Establish
a rapport with the teachers early in the year, if possible,
and after that it will be easy to maintain contact. The school
can help with advice about tertiary courses and careers, information
about your son's attitude, effort and progress, access to
health and counselling services, and it can also provide resources
such as second-hand textbooks and access to information technology.
Teachers will have information about student revision days
run by subject associations and universities.
What can I do if my son becomes moody
This is a common occurrence and is often the result of tiredness
or stress. Parents should not feel threatened or get angry
or upset. Just try to keep all channels of communication open.
The moodiness should pass. Communication should improve.
If there is no improvement, you might call the Year 12 coordinator
to see if there is something occurring at school that you
don't know about and which might explain your son's behaviour.
If your son needs some professional help, many schools have
counsellors who are trained to deal with such issues.
Should I continue to demand help with
household chores from the Year 12 student?
It is really up to you and your family to work out what best
suits your situation. Many teachers believe that Year 12 students
should continue to lead a normal family life, which might
include doing chores, but perhaps you might go easy on them
at exam times.
Should my child keep up his part-time
As well as a study regime, every Year 12 student needs a personal
and social life, which may include a commitment to a sporting
team, an exercise program, or a part-time job, but it is important
to maintain a balance. If the pressure of schoolwork becomes
too great and there are too many demands on the student's
time, the number of hours spent on activities such as the
part-time job may need to be cut back.
Specific information about English/EAL
English is compulsory in VCE and students must satisfactorily
complete at least three out of four units of English (or an
alternative, such as Literature, or English Language)
over the two years of VCE in order to pass. Two of these units
must be a 3/4 combination. Here is some advice about how you
can help your son to do well in English: