20 December, 2018 Community

A student’s guide to tackling Year 12 and excelling at VCE: Hugo Taylor

St Michael’s students have a long history of continuing to tertiary study and into various post school pathways. Following the recent release of VCE results, many of our Class of 2018 have achieved an ATAR that will enable them to take the next step into their chosen field.

But what does the culmination of 13 years of schooling feel like, and how do you cope with the pressures leading up to VCE exams? To give us an insight into what it’s like, we asked some of our students to share their story and tips for future VCE students.

Hugo Taylor (12K)

This year, Hugo Taylor completed 15 years of schooling at St Michael’s, having commenced at the School in 3 Year Old Kindergarten. In Year 12, Hugo embraced the leadership role of Co-Captain of Kilburn House and took on the challenging subject mix of Specialist Mathematics, Chemistry, Product Design & Technology, English Language and Accounting, to achieve a remarkable ATAR that placed him in the top 2% of the state.

For Hugo, key to his VCE success was choosing subjects he loved in order to stay focused and enjoy the year.

“I think the most fundamental element of my subject mix in terms of juggling my commitments was that they were all subjects that I chose because I enjoyed doing them,” said Hugo. “This helped massively in managing extra-curricular commitments and assisted in retaining motivation at the tough points throughout the year.”

A student’s guide to tackling Year 12 and excelling at VCE: Hugo Taylor

In order to cope with the pressures of VCE, Hugo ensured he stayed balanced throughout the year, and reminded himself to be efficient in the work he was doing so as to not get overwhelmed.

“I constantly asked myself, ‘is what I’m doing right now helping me, and what will be my return on the amount of time I’m investing into this task?’ From this, I then tried to adjust what I was doing in an attempt to improve my efficiency. Or, I would give myself a break if I really needed a bit of ‘reset’,” said Hugo. “I also heavily relied on spending time with people outside of school to draw my attention away from school work, to regain motivation and find a balance.”

“Other than just learning to balance my commitments, my leadership role (as Co-Captain of Kilburn House) taught me a lot about long-term teamwork. The role gave me a much better understanding of the amount of work that goes on ‘in the background’ and how what everyone sees is often a very small proportion of the amount of time invested into the activity or task at hand. It was also a great opportunity to improve my public speaking skills.”

Having completed 15 years of schooling at St Michael’s, Hugo reflected on the opportunities provided to him during his time at the School.

“The thing I most enjoyed about St Michael’s was the huge breadth of opportunities we were given and that our teachers would back us to achieve the goals we wanted to achieve,” said Hugo. “In addition to this, the strong focus on learning to be independent and to find self-motivation in the areas of endeavour we chose to pursue – academic or otherwise – was something that I really valued about St Michael’s.”

Each student finds different tricks, tactics and study habits that work for them to get the best out of themselves in Year 12, and for Hugo, it was exercise.

“I found that I needed a regular exercise regime, as the quality of my sleep, and thus concentration, was heavily correlated to the amount of exercise I was doing,” reflected Hugo. “I even regularly napped after school a few times a week if I felt drained; this was largely because I was a late evening studier and was finding that I wasn’t getting enough sleep. This helped me a lot in improving my concentration while doing homework in the afternoon and evenings.”

A student’s guide to tackling Year 12 and excelling at VCE: Hugo Taylor Hugo competing at ACS Cross Country this year

“I think the best piece of advice you can give an incoming VCE student – I received this when I started VCE – is to choose subjects that you actually enjoy doing. It just makes VCE that much more approachable and enjoyable, and will help you a lot in working towards your personal academic goals.”

Next year Hugo plans to study commerce and civil engineering with a hope to “eventually work on the finance side of infrastructure projects with an investment bank or fund manager”.

We congratulate Hugo on 15 years at St Michael’s and all that he has achieved in 2018, and wish him well in 2019 and beyond.