Gearing up for exams

Tips for teachers on supporting students, and yourselves, through end-of-year school exams 

End-of-year Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE) exams start on Tuesday 10 November, with a three-hour English exam.

This is a time of year that can feel stressful for students and teachers alike.

Experienced VCE teacher Kathryn McDiven says it is important for teachers to look after themselves, as well as their students, leading up to and during exams.

Kathryn, in her fifteenth year as a VCE English teacher at Bendigo Senior Secondary College, said self-care was important at this time.

'As well as the great advice to apply your own oxygen mask first before you can really help others, I am gradually learning to outsource or put off as many jobs at home as I can for the next few weeks,' Kathryn said.

'We also need to find some down-time for ourselves and have boundaries about when we stop responding to emails or put down the marking.

'I've already booked myself a massage for the day after the VCE exam, and before I start assessing exams, as something to look forward to.

'There is a light at the end of the tunnel now.'

To help prepare students for exams this year, Kathryn is spending more time on scaffolded and supported tasks in class. Students are using instructions and explanations recorded during remote and flexible learning for revision.

Along with Kathryn's advice, the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority (VCAA) website has advice that teachers can pass on to students about preparing for exams.

Visit the Tips for examination success web page
Access advice to pass on to students about preparing for exams

This year's exams will be completed by Wednesday 2 December, allowing students to get their results before the end of the year.

Prioritising wellbeing

Wellbeing is a key priority for schools in Term 4, particularly the mental health and wellbeing of staff and students.

Teachers can access the following wellbeing supports:

  • the Employee Assistance Program, which is available for confidential counselling for all staff and their immediate family (aged 18 years and over). To book, phone 1300 361 008 or use the live chat function on the Lifeworks Australia website 
  • free wellbeing webinar sessions throughout Term 4 on topics such as managing anxiety during coronavirus (COVID-19)
  • the virtual gym, which provides short workouts for all levels of fitness.

For more information and resources on how to support student mental health, refer to the Department's Mental Health Toolkit.

Find out more

Find out more information
Visit the VCAA – Schools and educators web page