The VCE Media end-of-year examination contributes 45 per cent to your study score. If you’ve worked consistently throughout the year and done well on your school assessed coursework, you’re in a good position to start preparing for the exam. Even though you’ve worked hard throughout the year, don’t assume that preparing for the exam is going to be easy. It will take considerable time and effort to revise the knowledge that you’ve amassed throughout the year.
The VCE Media exam has three sections:
• Section A: Narrative
• Section B: Media texts and society’s values
• Section C: Media influence.
According to the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority, each section will have between two and five questions. The examination will be out of sixty-five marks. The exam coversheet, which may vary from the actual exam, is shown below.
Because you have two hours to answer these questions, you are strongly advised to spend a little less than two minutes per mark. If a question is worth five marks, for example, you will spend a little less than ten minutes answering it.
Manage your time effectively and ensure that you don’t spend too much time answering one question. You cannot be awarded more than the marks allocated for a question. When you’ve spent the appropriate amount of time, move on!
GENERAL EXAMINATION ADVICE
Exam preparation requires a great deal of organisation and persistence. It’s taken a long time to develop your understanding of the concepts and knowledge taught in VCE Media and it’s going to take a long time to ensure that you can express this understanding confidently and articulately in an exam situation.
Revision lectures. Every year the Australian Teachers of Media runs exam revision seminars for VCE Media. These are the best and most authoritative lectures on the VCE Media exam.
Organise your notes. Begin by organising your notes. Having a concise and well-organised set of notes from the year is the best way to use your revision time effectively. You’re wasting your time if you flick idly through a folder of disorganised notes and handouts. Your notes should be well-organised and clearly address the key knowledge for each of the examinable outcomes. Organise one plastic pocket of notes each of the following learning areas: Narrative; Media texts and society’s values; Media influence. Get your hands on a copy of the VCE Media Study Design. At the front of each plastic pocket, include a print out of the learning study summary, key knowledge and key skills for each area. Be familiar with each area of study. If it’s in the Study Design, it might be in the exam. When you’re preparing your notes, use these a checklist to ensure that you’ve covered everything. Is there anything you’re unsure about? Do you need to clarify important concepts with your teacher? What are the gaps in your knowledge? What ideas do you need to become more familiar and comfortable with?
Find a quiet place. Before your exams, you’re going to have an opportunity to study. Find a quiet place. Turn off your mobile phone. Log out of Facebook. Shut off your music. Switch off the PS3. There’ll be plenty of time to play Skyrim during the holidays.
Use a timetable. Treat your revision time like a full-time job. Work nine ’til five. Create study timetable that gives you plenty of time to prepare for all of your subjects. Organise your timetable so that in the days prior to each exam you spend a little more time preparing for that subject. Take short, regular breaks throughout the day to keep your mind fresh and grab a snack. Eat fruits, nuts and drink plenty of water. Limit the amount of caffeine you drink. If you work solidly throughout the day, you can have the evening off to kick back and do something relaxing like watching the films you studied for Narrative.
Actively revise. Revising takes more than just idly flipping through your notes and occasionally marking the paper with a highlighter. When you’re revising the key knowledge for each area, make sure you actively take notes. This process of writing down this information will help you recall it in the exam. When you’re revising for media, spend an hour or so reading through your notes on each area of study.
Complete practice questions. After you complete revising for each topic, complete some practice questions from past exams. Remember, you should spend a little less than two minutes per mark. If you’re answering a question that is worth four marks, you’ll spend a little less than eight minutes answering it. After completing these questions, think critically about your responses. How could they be improved? What could you do better next time?
Complete a practice exam. While completing a practice questions is important, when you’re comfortable with the material, it’s important to try a practice exam. The VCAA website has sample questions for the 2012 VCE Media Examination. Because VCE Media has a new study design, this is the best indication of what a practice exam will look like. It’s possible to try Narrative and Media Influence sections from previous exams but be aware that the Study Design has changed slightly. The Australian Teachers of Media has published a practice exam. Ask your Media teacher about purchasing a copy for the class.
Watch your texts. Make sure you watch the texts that you studied throughout the year multiple times.
Get plenty of sleep. After you finish revising for the day, make sure you get to bed early. Burning the midnight oil and trying to survive on a few hours of sleep will burn you out, kiddo! During the exam period, get into the habit of getting plenty of sleep and waking up early. This way, you’ll be nice and fresh for those 9.00 am exams! A study conducted by the Florida Sleep Institute found that you should have between nine and ten hours of quality sleep every night. Getting adequate sleep also means that you’re more likely to remember what you’ve been studying. When you go to bed, make sure you’re not distracted by laptops, tablets and cell phones. Using these devices before bed can interrupt your sleeping patterns. Remember that staying up late and cramming for an exam will actually erode your performance. If you stick to your study timetable, a good night’s sleep is the best preparation you can possibly do!
Turn up on time. All of this preparation is useless if you don’t turn up to the exam. Aim to get there a little bit early. Avoid the people who are freaking out because they squandered their revision time playing Grant Theft Auto.
Use your reading time. The VCE Media examination has fifteen minutes of reading time. Use it. Read the questions carefully. Think of the best examples to use for every example. By the time reading time concludes, you should have a clear game plan for how you’re going to approach the exam.
Manage your writing time. Spend a little less than two minutes per mark. If a question is work seven marks, you’ll spend a little less than fourteen minutes answering it. When your time is up, move onto the next question.
Underline key words. When you start answering questions, underline key phrases to ensure you understand what the question is asking you. When you read back over your response, it’s also useful to underline words and phrases related to these keywords in your own writing to ensure that you have answered the question appropriately. When I was in Year 12, my mathematics teacher wrote the acronym RTFQ on the whiteboard in large letters. It stands for ‘Read the Bloody Question’. Wise advice indeed.
Answer all the questions. Do your best and answer every question. If you’re unsure about a question, answer it to the best of your ability. Even if you’re a little off the mark, you might still get a couple of points. If you write nothing, you’ll get nothing.
Don’t leave early. Every year, I see students leaving examinations early. This is absolute insanity. Use all of the time you have effectively. If you finish early, read over the paper to ensure that you’ve answered all of the questions adequately.
Don’t stress. When you leave the examination, don’t stress…you’ve done your best.