Studying from home – but not sure how to get started? Studying from home is can be hard for many students, so here are some tips for you to not only get by, but to excel!
Motivating yourself to study at home is extremely difficult. It’s hard to stay focussed, and your usual group of classmates and friends aren’t around to help keep you motivated. But this doesn’t mean that you should lose hope.
To stay motivated it is important that you stay in touch with your peers and teachers. As humans, we are social creatures. By communicating with your peers and teachers, you will remain focused and connected with your school or uni community. Your teachers are pivotal in helping you remain organised in an uncertain time. Teachers can also help with ensuring that you focus on your work.
Connecting with your peers is also essential. You can create group chats on various platforms to keep in touch, participate in Discussion Groups or setup daily Skype or Zoom calls with your peers. Stay connected with others doing the same subjects as you. Two brains are better than one they say .
With your group of peers, you can discuss hard questions, question answering techniques & set up group study goals so ensure accountability. Remember, at times like this, you are all in this together!
Apart from friends and your teachers, your family support network is super important. Your family is there is to support and push you to succeed! Your family is there to support you when you feel overwhelmed with your workload, and also there to help you when you fall into a slump. Remember this! They are your well wishers. Use their support.
A goal is also key in staying motivated. Whether this goal is an ATAR, or a certain grade at university, by having a big picture view of why you are putting in this effort you will be able to maintain your focus and motivational drive.
Map out where you are at
You can’t get to your goals if you don’t know where you are at the moment. Before you start to set up your routine and start studying, assess where you are. What work have you done already? What topics have you studied? What topics do you need to study? These questions will help you get your work organised.
You will also need to work out which subjects need more of your attention. You need to determine your strengths in each subject, and what areas need to be worked on.
Once you know what you’ve covered, what you need to cover and what subjects you should focus on, you can set up your study schedule and get organised!
Your day at school is organised – so your ‘school day’ at home should be as well!
Study Space: You need to have a dedicated study space. The reason why we are able to do so much work in the classroom is because the environment is conducive to learning. You need to replicate this environment by having a dedicated space. Ideally you’ll want this space to be away from any distractions (prime suspects – the television and your bed ).
Routine: Another reason why you get so much done at school is because your time is effectively organised. You need to mimic this by developing your own timetable. The best way to do this, is to stick to your school timetable. But, if you want you can develop a new timetable, taking into account your strengths and weaknesses and which subjects need more of your attention.
Breaks: Schedule breaks throughout the day similar to your school timetable. You can’t focus for more than 2 hours at a time, so it’s essential to take short breaks to stay refreshed and maintain focus. In your breaks you can exercise, get a snack or scroll through memes.
Studying in isolation is hard – but not impossible. By staying motivated, reflecting on your strengths and weaknesses and getting organised, you can stay productive and get your work done.
We all know the feeling when we are overwhelmed with work. Do you feel like there is more work than time? It is necessary that we develop strategies to ensure that our emotional and physical wellbeing is not affected by increased levels of stress.
But there are a few ways you can manage your workload more effectively and reduce your stress levels.
Acknowledge your limits. You need to be able to admit that you can’t do it all. This is the first step in trying to manage your workload stress. Once you acknowledge that you are overwhelmed, you can take control of the situation. But, you must recognise your limits before you look to alleviate your workload stress.
Once you have established you have too much work for the time available, you need to pick and prioritise what you can realistically achieve. You need to choose the tasks that need your attention most, and accept the fact that the rest will be addressed later.
This is where you have to make a decision. You have to decide which tasks need to get done and which you can delay.
A trap that most students (and most people in general) fall into, is choosing the easiest or quickest tasks first. It may feel satisfying to complete these tasks and cross them off your to-do list, but doing these fast and easy tasks may not be the best use of your time.
You need to prioritise.
One easy way to prioritise is to divide your work into four categories:
Important & urgent
Important but not urgent
Urgent but not important
Not important and not urgent
Once you have categorised your tasks accordingly, concentrate on tasks in Quadrant 1, before moving on to tasks in Quadrant 2 and 3. Quadrant 4 tasks should only be attempted if ALL other tasks have been completed. You’ll find that you have so much more time to actually get the important stuff done!
One thing at a time 1⃣
Try not to be tempted in switching between tasks. Multi-tasking generally doesn’t work. Even if you have several tasks in Quadrant 1, try to work out an order to complete all the tasks, without having to resort to doing two tasks at once. Do the most important task first, and only move on to the next task when you’ve finished.
Focus is key in getting things done quickly. It’s pivotal that you don’t lose track when doing your work. Try allocating time to check your phone, messages and emails. Turn off notifications. That way you won’t be distracted every time your phone buzzes.
Look after yourself
It may sound counterproductive, but taking regular breaks throughout the day helps get through a heavy workload. Working without breaks means that your productivity, performance and motivation will drop. Giving yourself a short break can help keep you refreshed, focused and energised!
Stress is real. But if you look after yourself, get yourself organised and seek support from family and friends, you can tackle workload stress!
After you apply via UAC, you can log back in to your application to make changes to your preferences and upload any required documentation. It is through your application home page that you can also check any correspondence from UAC.
Once you complete your initial application process, UAC email your UAC application number and pin. You’ll need these handy when managing your application.
To manage your application, click the ‘Apply or Log in’ tab on the top right of the homepage. From the drop-down menu, select the undergraduate application.
Under the heading ‘Manage your application’, enter your UAC application number and PIN. You’re in!
Your home page on your application should look something like this.
From here, you can update certain personal details, update qualifications (though your HSC or IB qualifications should have been automatically added), and most importantly change your course preferences. Your course preferences can be changed anytime, except in between offer deadlines and offer releases for each Offer Round. This is the time in which universities review your preferences, and therefore you cannot change your preferences. Refer to UAC’s Offer Round deadlines and dates to know when you can change your preferences.
From the home page of your UAC application, you can also view UAC’s correspondence with you. UAC also emails this correspondence with information about your application and offers to your chosen email. It is important to check for UAC’s email in your inbox, but you can also view the same correspondence via your UAC application.
From the home page of your UAC application, you can also begin your Schools Recommendation Schemes (SRS) application. This is essential if you want to get early-offers from universities.
Lastly, you can change your UAC pin from the home page of your UAC application. Remember to keep it safe! You’ll need your UAC application number and PIN to check for offers.
There are just over 3 months before HSC exams start in October! Hard to fathom, but you are nearing the end of your schooling journey. Now is not the time to be complacent or slow down, but rather you need to sprint to the finish!
Your HSC Roadmap can be divided into 5 distinct stages.
Term 2 Holidays
This is where you currently stand. Term 2 Holidays are nearly finished, but you still have time to study before your trials start. Spend this time sticking to a routine. Try to give equal time to all your subjects – they are all going to count towards your ATAR! But if you feel you are falling behind in a certain area, ensure to work on that too. Make use of this time to review your Year 11 & 12 content before the trials. As you would have finished the HSC course (or at least the majority of it) by now, take this opportunity to practice under exam conditions. Do past papers! Do questions!
The HSC Trials is your HSC test run. It is a full mock of what to expect in your final exam. Practice makes perfect! Use the opportunity to improve your exam strategy and review content. It is also your last opportunity to improve your School Assessment mark. Make it count!
Once you have finished your trials and received your results and feedback, work on that feedback. Work on filling any last-minute gaps, any topics that you may not have completely grasped. Check in with your teachers – they want to help you!
Term 3 Holidays
Term 3 Holidays is your final chance to study before the HSC exams. By now, you should be doing many past papers, trial papers and questions. Any weaknesses should be addressed, exam timings should be improved and content revised. By now, you should be entirely focused on the HSC.
The big one! Your HSC exams have rolled around before you even blinked an eye. Take one exam at a time. Once you finish one exam, forget it and move onto the next one. If you’ve studied sufficiently in the months leading up, you should feel confident and stress-free. Congratulations on reaching the finish line.
In Year 12? April 1st is the day Undergraduate Applications will open, so it is important to know how you are going to apply. We’ve broken down the process into the essential steps you need to take as a Year 12 student to start your UAC application.
Universities Admissions Centre (UAC) is the place to go if you are a Year 12 student looking to apply for university entrance in 2022. It might seem early, but it is prudent to get started with your application now.
On their website, there is information on various courses offered by universities, their start dates and information on prerequisites and academic requirements. Be sure to check these out to help inform your choice of a university course.
To start an application, click the ‘Apply or Log in’ tab on the top right of the homepage. From the drop-down menu, select the undergraduate application.
Read the information, then click “Start” to begin your undergraduate application.
Select your citizenship status, and click Yes to the next question as you will be completing Year 12 this year.
For HSC students, enter your Year 12 student number and UAC pin, which would have been emailed to you by UAC on the 1st of April.
For IB students, use your personal code and birth date as your pin (e.g. 1st of May is 0105).
You will then be taken to the personal details page. Some details may have already been added; ensure that they are correct and fill out any remaining fields.
When entering your email, ensure that you enter a personal email, as this email will be the main way UAC will contact you. Your school email may expire, so it is important that you use a personal email account.
When you click next at the bottom of the page, a UAC application number will be generated. Your UAC application number and PIN will be emailed to you. Keep them safe as you will need them to update your application in the future or whenever you contact UAC.
After clicking continue, you will be directed to the qualifications page. Your Year 12 qualification would have already been added. You have the option to add other qualifications such as employment experience and online open courses, though they most likely won’t apply to you. Don’t add employment experience unless you’ve worked full time for 1 year or more.
The next step in the application is the selection of your courses. The course preferences page is where you can choose up to 5 courses you’d like to apply for. You can always update this list later. Click ‘Search for Courses’ to get started. First, select an institution (you can select all or simply select the institutions you are interested in). Then search your course by using the six-digit course code or course name to refine your search.
Select the start date for your course choices to add them to the preference list. Once you are done, you can review your choices. Put your preferences in order of what you most like to do, as they will be considered in order. When you are done, save your changes to continue.
Now, you need to review your application to ensure that all details are correct. Click the pencil icon, to edit any details. Once you are finished, click the ‘Submit’ button, read through the Declaration, and click the box to agree with the terms. Now, you need to make the payment, either through PayPal or Credit Card or if you choose to pay later through POSTbillpay or BPay. If you choose to pay later, UAC must receive your payment before any offers can be made.
Once you pay, your application is complete. Now, you can manage your application using your UAC application number and pin, apply for Educational Access Scheme (EAS) if eligible or upload documents. It is recommended that you download the confirmation package to ensure that all your details are correct.
You can manage and edit your application whenever you like using your UAC application number and PIN by going to Undergraduate Application from the drop-down menu. From here you can track correspondence, change your pin or download your confirmation package.
Make sure to check the UAC website for up to date key dates such as Offer Round Dates.
You’ve just started university and you are finally out of school. Congratulations!
It is the start of a new era on your learning journey but wait – what is everyone talking about? If you are confused by the uni jargon flying around your ears, here is your one-stop shop to get it translated.
If you are looking for something in particular, make sure to control F or Command F your way through this page to find the appropriate definitions.
If there’s a word you’d like translated – and it’s not in this list – let me know in the comments, I’ll give its meaning and update the list.
Bachelor Degree: Usually awarded after completing an undergraduate course. It is recognised worldwide and probably will be your first degree . Most Bachelor Degrees are 3-4 years, but there are exceptions to this.
Bridging Course: This is a short, intense course designed for students before university starts (in the summer break ), to help them reach the proficiency required in a subsequent unit they may be studying in the year.
Bridging Unit: This is a unit of study that helps provide students with the required level of proficiency in a subject area or skill before undertaking further study.
Census Date: The last day you can withdraw from a subject without financial or academic penalties. So, if you can’t stand a subject, get out while you can!
Course: Is a structure of units that allow you to achieve a certificate of completion in a particular discipline. A typical undergraduate degree is 3 – 4 years of fulltime study.
Credit Points: Are allocated to each successfully completed unit. They are an indication of how much study you have completed.
Credit Transfer: Recognition of prior study at another university or work experience, that can be used as credit points – meaning that you have to do fewer subjects!
CSP: CSP stands for Commonwealth Supported Place. This means that the government subsides your fees by paying a part of it. If you are a full fee-paying student, then as the name suggests, you pay for your fees completely. The difference is quite large, sometimes in the thousands per subject.
Deferred Study: Taking a 6- or 12-month break after high school before starting your study at university. It is also commonly known as ‘Gap Year’.
Degree: Is the award given by the university after completing a course – normally for undergraduates it is the bachelor degree.
Double Degree: Combining two degrees simultaneously, so that students complete two courses effectively – but in less time. Still longer than a normal degree though.
Enrolment: The process of registering into a course.
External Study: Study that is done remotely from university. You have to come into uni very rarely for lectures, tutorials or practicals, and often if you do, these classes are bundled up.
Faculties: The academic division within which teaching and research at uni are conducted. Think of it as the subject faculties you had at school – except these include a whole diverse range of areas of learning.
Gap Year: Same as deferred study.
GPA: Grade Point Average (GPA) represents your academic standing (your marks perse). It is calculated out of 7 or 4, depending on the uni and can be important in getting into postgraduate courses. Find out more about GPA here.
Graduate: A person who has successfully completed a course at uni.
HECS: HECS is short for Higher Education Loan Program, which is a loan you can get from the government if you are enrolled in a CSP. The loan can be used to pay your tuition fees, but not accommodation, laptops or textbooks. You will need a TFN to apply for HECS. You can find out more about HECS-HELP here.
Honours: Is another award that can be earned after a year of study that is additional to the bachelor degree. It is normally as an outcome of an honours program but sometimes is based on academic performance in your studies.
Labs/Practicals: Now, labs and practicals are different depending on the universities and the courses you are completing. But basically, they can vary from anatomy labs, computer simulation lab and your typical science labs for biology, chemistry and physics (though these labs may be larger and more technically savvy than those at school!)
Lecture: Is a presentation given by a lecturer or professor on a specific topic. It often occurs in a lecture hall and there are many students (can even be in the hundreds!) You are expected to listen carefully and take notes whilst the lecturer speaks. There is little guidance from the lecturer. Some lectures are recorded, depending on the university and the unit.
Lecturer: The person who delivers the information in the lecture to students.
Major: A collection of units that are recognised by the university to substantiate that you have specialised in a certain area.
Minor: A smaller collection of units in an area of study.
Non-School Leaver: A student who begins university after more than a year of completing high school.
Online Courses: Courses that are delivered online, with little to no face to face contact between the lecturers and student.
Overloading: To enrol in more than the usual number of units in a semester (normally that is more than 4).
O-Week: Orientation Week! Your first taste of uni before those lectures start! It’s a whole week where you get to experience the uni campus, different societies and association and get free stuff. Each uni does it slightly differently but generally, you will get your enrolment sorted, along with an ID card, get to have a uni tour, an introduction lecture from your Faculty, sign up to the various clubs and societies at the uni (they will have their stalls) and get free food and goodies.
Postgraduate Student: Students that have already completed an undergraduate course and have continued their studies in another course.
Prerequisite: A subject or unit that is required before you can move onto anther unit.
Scholarship: Awards that have financial advantage, either through full or partial payment of fees. They can be awarded for a variety of reasons.
School Leavers: Students applying for admission based of their school results, that is your Year 12 ATAR.
Semester: An academic teaching period. Most universities have 2 semesters of about 18 weeks (12 – 13 weeks of teaching, 2-week holiday, a study week and 2 – 3 weeks of exam period). Some universities have trimesters, meaning there are three semesters in a year (I know! ), but they are shorter in length. Still quite intensive.
STUVAC or SWOTVAC (Depending on where you are from): STUVAC meaning study vacation as it is called in NSW, and SWOTVAC meaning studying without teaching vacation as it called in Victoria, is a just a study week. It is usually a week before the exam period starts and gives students an opportunity to study before the finals. Use it wisely!
TFN: Tax File Number (TFN) is needed to apply for HECS-HELP loan and if you ever want to work. There is a processing time for this, so don’t leave to the last minute – best to get it done in the summer holidays before you start uni (I know you want to relax after Year 12, but things have still got to be done). You can apply for it here.
Timetable: The timetable is your weekly guide as to what classes you have to attend every week for a semester. Depending on the unit, some classes will be allocated (i.e there is no other time or date for that class), whilst in others you will have flexibility. Make sure you choose a good timetable – because you will likely be stuck with it for the semester!
Tutor: Is a teacher who supervises and runs tutorial classes for a small number of students (much smaller than lectures).
Tutorial: Tutorial can differ between universities and units, but generally they are similar to a high school class. There are a smaller number of students, compared with lectures, that participate in discussion and activities.
Undergraduate: A student studying a bachelor degree is deemed an undergraduate or an undergrad.
Underloading: To enrol in less than the usual number of units in a semester (normally that is less than 4).
Unit: Is a component of study focussed on a particular subject or topic. Successful completion of a unit gives you a certain number of credit points (depending on the uni) that go towards completing your course. Basically, the equivalent of a subject at school.
WAM: Weighted Average Mark (WAM) is the average of the marks you achieve in all your completed units in your course. It is another measure of academic standing often used by certain universities instead of GPA. You can find out more about WAM here.
Starting university is exciting, but it is important to make sure that you are organised. Part of being organised is making sure that you have all the required books for the units or subjects that you have enrolled in.
There are various aspects to consider when going to purchase your books for uni; the price being an essential thing to consider, with university not being cheap.
Individual books can cost up to $200 for each unit or subject, and it’s imperative you don’t end up broke after your first semester.
First off, you need to consider which books you need for a subject. These are usually found in the Unit Guide on your university’s website or your university portal. Make sure that you are looking at the updated list, as required textbooks do change from year to year.
The other thing to look out for is whether a textbook is required or recommended. Required textbooks are essential in completing the unit or subject, whilst recommended textbooks are a good resource to consult during your studies, but are not essential. Whether you require the extra help from the recommended textbooks would be dependent on your confidence in the unit you are attempting, and whether the extra help from the recommended textbooks would be beneficial.
Once you have worked out what textbooks you need, the hunt begins.
Buying brand new books directly from bookstores is an expensive option, but means that you will have a brand new textbook. Often these books come with an eBook which can be handy. However, you will need to ascertain whether the cost is justified.
Second Hand Textbooks
The second option is to buy second-hand textbooks from other university students. There are various forums where students sell their old textbooks. One such site is StudentVIP, where you can purchase textbooks, notes and find tutors. Gumtree, eBay and Facebook are also great places to search for a bargain.
University libraries often have physical textbooks that can be loaned. However, these loan periods may not cover the entire semester and therefore require careful planning. Some university libraries also have electronic copies that can be accessed. Some university libraries even allow students to download certain chapters of textbooks. This can be a great option if you don’t require the whole textbook. Don’t forget to check out your local libraries, who may have your textbook available.
Whatever way you choose to buy or borrow your textbooks, it is important to get organised before the semester begins. This will ensure that you can start the year smoothly and without a hitch.
If you have any comments or questions, please leave a comment down below.
When you are starting university, you will often hear the phrase, O Week. But what is O Week, what does it entail and why should you participate?
O Week stands for Orientation Week. It is a week of various programs run by the university and student associations before the start of Semester 1. Each university has its own individual set up, however, most universities generally encompass the same activities.
O Week is an opportunity to get your ID card.
You will have to go to the Student Services (each Uni uses a different name, but it is the Admin) building in your university, where you will be able to take a photo, and get your ID card. This varies from uni to uni, but your ID card is very important. It gives you access to library content, is necessary to have for exams and is your proof of being a university student. You can also verify your student Opal Card here. You can also get an introduction tour of the university campus. Again, it is important to check this on your university’s website to work out when these tours are being run.
The various faculties at the university also run numerous introductory lectures and tours. This is faculty dependent, and so you will need to check if your faculty is running such programs and their timings.
You will find that there will be many stalls set up around the university campus. These stalls will be manned by various student associations. You can sign up for them and get freebies. Some associations are religious, while others may be sporting or pertaining to hobbies.
Most importantly, there will be food that you can purchase. There also is free food and other freebies from a great variety of companies prompting their products.
Basically, O Week is an opportunity for you to get yourself organised with your ID card, verify your student Opal Card, explore your campus, get to know your faculty and discover student associations and clubs you might be interested it. It is also a great chance to meet people and make new friends at uni.
Who discovered the Americas? Who was the first to voyage across the Atlantic?
Most would answer Christopher Columbus, but it could have possibly been Mansa Abu Bakr II, a Malian emperor who may have crossed the ocean to the Americas in the 14th century. If true, this makes it 200 years before Columbus!
Though Mansa Musa is more famous than his relative, Mansa Abu Bakr, Abu Bakr II, has an interesting story. The older brother (or uncle according to other sources) of Mansa Musa, Mansa Abu Bakr II, was the ruler of the Mali Empire during the 14th century when the Mali Empire had reached its pinnacle.
His life is not as well documented as Mansa Musa, and the only known written account about him is in the work of historian al-Umari. This account comes from Mansa Musa’s conversation with al-Umari, documenting his rise to power.
Mansa Musa explains that his brother, Abu Bakr believed that it was possible to reach the end of the Atlantic Ocean. He was obsessed with setting off and discovering what could be found across the ocean. He planned a massive expedition, equipped with 200 ships filled with provisions, water and gold, enough to last them for years. The expedition set off into the Atlantic Ocean.
Many years passed before only one ship returned. The captain of the ship explained to Mansa Abu Bakr that all the other ships were lost in a river with a powerful current.
Mansa Abu Bakr then got 2,000 ships ready, half the ships to carry men and the other half for provisions. This time Abu Bakr decided to head the expedition himself, and left Mansa Musa in charge, and embarked on his journey in the Atlantic Ocean.
This account is only found in the written tradition of al-Umari. However, if this is considered to be reliable, it opens the question of whether Mansa Abu Bakr reached the Americas. There are pieces of evidence which do suggest this. Names of places on old maps are said to have been named after Malians. There is also the argument that metal goods from West Africa were found in the Americas by Christopher Columbus. If this is true, this supports the argument that Mansa Abu Bakr may have very well crossed the Atlantic.
Though the story of Abu Bakr’s voyage has little evidence, and can not be completely verified, it certainly is a fantastic and extraordinary story.
HECS is short for Higher Education Contribution Scheme, which is a loan a university student can get from the government if you are enrolled in a Commonwealth Supported Place (CSP). The loan can be used to pay your tuition fees, but not accommodation, laptops or textbooks.
Not everyone is eligible for the HECS-HELP loan. To be eligible you must:
Be enrolled in a Commonwealth Supported Place (CSP)
Be an Australian citizen or a New Zealand Special Category Visa (SCV)
Submit the Request for Commonwealth Support and HECS-HELP form to your university before the census date
Be enrolled in each of the units before census date*.
Not have exceeded your HELP loan limit.
There is a limit to the amount of combined HELP loans that you can borrow, including FEE-HELP & HECS-HELP. For 2020, the HELP loan limit is $106,319. For those studying medicine, dentistry or veterinary science, or eligible aviation courses the HELP loan limit is $152,700.
Your HELP balance is renewable. You can check your balance on myHELPbalance by using your Commonwealth Higher Education Student Support Number (CHESSN), a unique identifying number.
To apply for HECS-HELP you will need a tax file number (TFN) and complete and submit a Request for Commonwealth Support and HECS-HELP, which your university will provide, before the census date*.
You will need to repay your debt to the government with interest when you start working and earn above a certain threshold. This is done through the tax system. The compulsory repayment threshold is different each year. For the 2020-21 income year, the threshold is $46,620. The more you earn, the higher the repayments will be as well (but you will need to worry about this when you start working).
Make sure to contact your university or visit their website to get the exact details and HECS-HELP form.
*The last day you can withdraw from a subject without financial or academic penalties.