Alongside thousands of Year 12s across Queensland, I completed the dreaded QCS (Queensland Core Skills) test earlier this week.  It varies depending on where you’re from, you may recognise a similar test i.e. HSC, GCSE, SAT. Two full days of writing, multiple choice and short response exams. Delightful. I’m not going to sugarcoat it… it was very challenging – even with heaps of preparation.  However, it was two of the fastest days of my life!  My school hosted a breakfast on the first day and gave us brain food in between exams on both days which was a neat treat. It was probably to lessen the blow or distract students from the pain.  A wave of relief washed over me as soon as I’d finished the final multiple choice on Wednesday afternoon, that being said, I have 5 pieces of assessment to focus on now. In perspective, 12 years of schooling had been leading up to this test that will have a key factor in determining our OP (overall position) and for most of us, will dictate whether we receive guaranteed entry or even get accepted into our uni/college course. Before you make any snarky comments, we understand that there are other ways to get into our preferred course, but if there’s a somewhat faster way, why would we want to take an unwanted detour? I’m not going to find out my results for months but I know and you should know that your OP and your QCS grade doesn’t determine who you are, your intelligence, and what you are capable of.  I’m so glad in 2018, they’re booting this test system but for y’all doing this next year and the year after, here are some top tips for slaying QCS or any test:

  1. Sleep – Sounds simple but a lot of people including myself don’t get at least 8 hours of sleep.  You want your mind as well as your body to be well rested, it’s an exhausting two days.
  2. Make sure you have all necessary equipment – having to borrow equipment on the day itself will just cause unnecessary stress. 
  3. MANAGE YOUR TIME – this is one I struggled with, while others were the total opposite. Think of how to split your time between the questions because you don’t want to lose points for not filling in answers you knew the answers to due to a time shortage.
  4. Keep calm – I was surprisingly calm during the tests… besides the last 5 minutes – hastily shading in the bubbles or writing a concluding sentence. Just relax, the less tension you have, the more you’ll be able to focus and understand.
  5. Don’t ruminate – I have a tendency to overthink things as a lot of us do.  But as the wise Elsa of Arendelle and James Bay say, let it go.  We can’t change the past and as long as you did your best, that’s honestly all that matters.

These can be applied to any exam and sure, it may be an important test at the time that may influence your short-term but it’s still only a test.  Work hard and don’t burn yourself out. You will be great for as long as you want to be. x

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