How to get ahead in your VCE studies: the ultimate step-by-step guide 

woman sitting in front of macbook

Let’s be honest, your VCE studies are critical. Depending on your future career aspirations, you may require a high ATAR to achieve your dreams. Even if you don’t need an outstanding ATAR for your course, you probably want to try your hardest regardless since VCE is, after all, a culmination of twelve years of formal education. Whatever your motivations or goals are, you’ll want to maximise your time and productivity to get ahead. So if you’re looking for advice on how to get the best results, look no further than this step-by-step guide! 

Step 1: Ensure you have an organised, dedicated and quiet studying area 


Libraries are an excellent place to get some hassle-free studying done if your home environment is loud or if your siblings barge into your room too often. Depending on your suburb, some local libraries have quiet spaces open until late, and it’s worth checking out online if there’s a library near your house or school. You may also want to consult your school libraries for their opening hours. 

Clearing up space at home 

Though messy rooms can increase creativity, spills on your desks, clutter, or a general lack of hygiene in your study space can adversely affect your concentration. Why not invest in a couple of pencil holders or storage containers if it seems like your entire pencil case is rolling around on your desk? 

Eliminating distractions 

In most cases, distractions present themselves as pop-up notifications on your phone. It’s a good idea to use apps like Forest to block off the latest text from your friends, turn on Do Not Disturb and put your phone somewhere out of sight, or leave your phone with your parents if you’re determined to get on the grind. Check out this article for more information on how to boost your focus. 

Dealing with outside noise/ listening to music when studying 

Listening to music during studying can be a double-edged sword. Though some people find that the rhythmic beats of music take away the dull monotony of studying, others argue that they find themselves singing along to the lyrics. The best solution is trial and error until you figure out something that works for you, though in general, most people find classical music or ambient noise ideal for studying sessions. 

Step 2: Getting all your holiday homework done 

Students of all ages will  be assigned varying amounts and difficulties of homework over the holidays. No matter what year level or units you’re in, you must attempt all the coursework handed to you in the holidays to get ahead. 

For unit 1 & 2 subjects, your prime focus should be on getting a solid foundation. A common pitfall many students fall into is the mindset that units 1 & 2 “don’t matter”, as they don’t directly count towards your VCE marks. Though it is true that there is less academic pressure for units 1 & 2, you must keep in mind that your performance during units 1 & 2 will influence your marks in units 3 & 4. It is in your best interests to give your all if you want to do well. 

For unit 3 & 4 students, holiday homework is essential for doing well. If you have a weak foundation for the content covered in units 1 & 2, your utmost priority should be to fill in any gaps. The more challenging holiday homework or trial exams should be reserved for once you have a comprehensive and thorough grasp of the information. 

Step 3: Creating a subject-specific plan 

Before the start of the academic year, it’s a good idea to create a rough plan of how you’ll learn your content in an informative yet engaging way. 


For English, your main focus should be on reading the texts assigned to you. Ideally, you must read each book at least once during the summer holidays. During this first read, it’s best if you try to enjoy the content you’re reading and not dissect it too much, as getting a grasp of the key themes and characters is your main aim. If you can muster the energy to write a couple of paragraphs for your essays and send them to your teacher for feedback, that would be even better! 


Studying a LOTE? You want to expose yourself as much as possible to the language of your choice. The best way you can do this is through communicating with a native speaker. Though reading books, watching TV shows, or the news are all viable methods of revising LOTEs. At the same time, grammar and spelling are also instrumental, so don’t let those exercise books gather dust on the bookshelf. 


For STEM subjects, the best approach is to go through each topic, get a good understanding of the essential points and foundations, then launch into practice questions. Compared to LOTEs or English, success in STEM subjects requires the continuous revision and correction of any questions involved. Correcting your questions in STEM subjects is especially important, as without amending your mistakes you will inevitably end up making the same mistake again. So, practice, practice, and practice – and correct, correct, correct. 

Step 4: Tutoring 

You can succeed in your VCE studies without a tutor. However, having a mentor to give you tailored, constructive feedback does make it easy to breeze through your coursework and improve exponentially in your studies. 

When choosing a VCE tutor, it’s a good idea to consider several things: their raw study score and experience, but also their general demeanour and personality. At Intuition Academics, we believe that the content we teach and the interpersonal relationships and effective communication we foster between our tutors and students are the keys to VCE success. 


Although the piles of homework sitting on your desk might look daunting right now, remind yourself that it’ll all be worth it in a year. More than anything, remember to enjoy the process, as VCE is a marathon and not a sprint, and good luck!

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  • Sara is a student studying at Melbourne University and an aspiring doctor. Her passion for writing and reading developed when she was young through her diary entries and blogging. Now, she continues to love both creative and factual writing, and works as an English tutor and freelance writer.

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