Surviving Grade 12 – For Parents & Teenagers

Teenager StudyingSurviving Grade 12 is a feat and an achievement in itself – for both the students & their parents. At the moment Grade 12 students are facing QTAC applications, the ever-feared QCS Test and the home-stretch of exams towards formals, graduation and Schoolies. It is about this time every year when Grade 12 students begins to feel the pressure of pending exams and stress around making decisions for life after school. QTAC applications arrive at the busiest time of Grade 12 – in between the manic assessment items and QCS test preparation, there looms the big question: which university do I want to go to and what do I want to study? However, for some the big question is whether you want to attend university at all. For many more, you have yet to decide what it is you eventually want to study. The good news for these questions is that even a vague idea is enough to have you set for a successful application. There is ample room to change your mind between now and when OPs and ranks are released. This means that there is lots of free time between now and when you make your final decision as to where your path after school will take you.

Grade 12 students in Queensland are preparing to sit the QCS Test tomorrow which is considered the culmination assessment piece of their schooling years which adds weight to their final OP or rank scores. With the QCS Test comes much media hype, horror stories from past students which for those 2 days can create considerable anxiety and stress in students across the state. This pressure can come from schools, parents, teachers and students themselves.

So what should our students be doing (and not doing) to prepare and how can parents assist and support their teenagers through the final stretch of Grade 12?

Helpful tips for Grade 12 Students:

The most important thing all Grade 12 students need to remember is despite it feeling like the biggest year of your life – it won’t be. Remember you are not your OP or Rank score and your success in Grade 12 does not define you, or your future success.

Tip 1. Look after yourself

It’s important to remember that your brain is fueled by your body and you can’t look after one without looking after the other. Things like exercise can actually increase your performance by increasing oxygen flow into the brain – making it an essential study tool. It is also great at reducing muscle tension, which can result from stress and school pressure.

One other really important part of looking after yourself is making sure you are getting enough sleep. Sleep is considered a key study strategy and adequate sleep is a must for optimal exam performance.

Moderate levels of stress can be useful in keeping us motivated – without it we would find it hard to stay awake! However, during Grade 12 you may find your stress levels rising high into the ‘extreme zone’, causing a dramatic decline in performance. Proven strategies for beating stress include:

  • Relaxation
  • Staying connected with peers – talk about your concerns, laugh, support one another
  • Make time for a social life – try and maintain some balance between school, work & study

Tip 2. Optimise your study time

Research shows students who use social media sites while studying (even if only in the background) get 20 per cent lower marks than students who don’t. Non-users of Facebook were also found to study a whopping 88 per cent longer outside class. (

  • Create a quiet and calm study space free from electronic devices
  • Reward yourself after completing certain tasks
  • Break-down assignments or subjects into smaller, achievable tasks
  • Study with friends

Tip 3. Seek Support

Sometimes life does get in the way of study. Things such as depression, problems at school or home and binge drinking and drugs are all things that can stop you from being able to focus on the task at hand. Utilise your teachers for extra advice or assistance, speak to a Guidance Counsellor around your plans for 2016, talk to your parents around how things are going.

Helpful tips for Parents:

Tip 1. Balance

  • Ensure that your teenager has some study-life balance even during exam periods. Encourage them to have some ‘chill-out’ time, to not stop watching their favourite TV shows, continue with extra-curricular activities and to keep socialising and seeing friends.

Tip 2. Create a calm and study-friendly home environment

  • Assist your teenager to create a quiet, calm study area free from noise and distraction from other family members and give them privacy and time to study. Maintain normal household routine including promoting a normal and healthy bed-time so even if your teenager is feeling stressed they can count on some things staying the same!

Tip 3. Motivate & Support

  • Parents can often feel helpless as they watch their Grade 12 student study and stress for weeks at a time. Parents can’t sit exams for their child or write their assignments but they do have an important role to play. Talk to your teenager about their goals, their dreams for 2016. Encourage your teenager to do their best, give them perspective when they can’t see past the QCS test, ensure they have healthy food to eat and adequate rest. Be there to celebrate their victories and share in their disappointments. These things sound small but can make a big difference to your Grade 12 student and their emotional well-being.

Our clinic address is: Shop 5, 2770 Logan Road, Underwood, 4119.

Our clinic is located in Underwood Village, on the corner of Logan Road & Underwood Road.

There is free parking and close public transport to ensure easy access by our clients.

Our clinic provides a child and adolescent friendly environment that supports differing modalities of intervention. The clinic provides for wheelchair access.