If you’re struggling to get organised during VCE, you’re certainly not alone. Lots of students get to year 11 and realise that the organisation systems they relied on during junior years simply aren’t going to cut it anymore. With constant SAC dates, boatloads of homework, revision sessions, exam preparation, and so on, throwing your assignment instructions haphazardly into your backpack and promising yourself that you’ll “definitely remember” your homework without writing it down probably isn’t going to cut it anymore.
If this sounds like you, don’t stress. Below are the three most important strategies to help you get organised during VCE.
Getting organised during VCE
For a printable PDF copy of this guide, please click here: Get Organised PDF.
1: Write it down
This may seem obvious, but a lot of students do neglect this simple step that is crucial for any student looking to get organised during VCE.
No one has a perfect memory and the more information we have to remember, the more likely we are to forget some of it.
The best way to avoid forgetting important information is to implement an organisational system where you can write down homework, upcoming assignments and SACs, general school reminders, and any other responsibilities you may have. This organisational system may be on paper or electronic – try both and find out which one works best for you.
If you prefer to write things down on a piece of paper, I would strongly recommend investing in something like a planner or student diary. These are relatively cheap to purchase and are leaps and bounds better than relying on scraps of paper which can be easily misplaced.
Your diary or planner should have a daily, weekly, and monthly section. In the daily section, you should write down anything that is due that day as well as the day’s homework tasks. In the weekly section you can list the tasks you must work on this week as well as any SACs or assignments due that week. In the monthly section, you should write down any important SACs or assignments so you’re able to easily see your month at a glance – this is very useful if you’re trying to figure out what you should focus on first.
Keep your planner/diary with you at all times. Don’t leave it on your desk at home and promise yourself you’ll fill it in at the end of the day – take it to school with you and write important dates as soon as the teacher mentions them.
Let’s face it – most of us are glued to our devices anyway, we might as well get some benefit out of them!
There are lots of options for getting organised electronically. Pretty much all phones, tablets, and computers come with some sort of to-do list software for writing down your day’s tasks and calendar software that can be used to record SAC/assignment dates. You can also explore additional software or apps such as Microsoft OneNote and Evernote if you’d like to take your digital organisation to the next level.
2: Plan your weeks
On a Sunday night, set aside 20 minutes to plan your week. Using your organisational system (discussed above), figure out how you’re going to approach the current week.
For example, you might check your diary/planner and see that you have a SAC on Thursday, an assignment due Wednesday, and homework for a class on Friday. You should figure out what these tasks require (you can break them down into small steps, if this helps) and try to estimate how much time you will need to set aside to work on them.
Taking a Thursday SAC as an example, you may break revising for the SAC down into the following steps:
- Gather all revision materials
- Initial read of revision materials
- Practice answers
- Get feedback from teacher for practice answers
- Re-read revision materials
You then assign one or two of these tasks to a day and time.
You should also plan your days as well as your weeks. Each morning, set aside five minutes to plan out your day. In your diary/planner, jot down all of the tasks you have to do that day and the order you will do them in.
3: Have a way to organise your school work
If you use an electronic system, make individual folders for all of your subjects – so have one folder for English, one for Sociology, one for Literature, and so on. Within the main folder, add a subfolder for each area of study – area of study 1, area of study 2, area of study 3, etc. This will help you find the relevant files when it comes time to revise for the SAC for that area of study. Make sure you give your files descriptive names so they can easily be searched for – “English All About Eve essay.docx” is a lot easier to search for than “djgnjfn.docx”.
If you prefer physical copies of your work, invest in separate folders for each subject. I don’t recommend using simple exercise books because they provide nowhere for you to store handouts and no way for you to easily combine written and typed work. Instead, purchase ring bound folders with plastic sleeves as well as some dividers. As with an electronic organising system, divide each folder into sub-sections such as area of study 1, area of study 2, and so on. A ring-bound folder allows you to easily combine handwritten work, typed work, and handouts so everything is in one place when it comes time to revise.