Solutions When Disappointed With Your Exam Performance

Dear Year 12 students…

I am writing to tell you that the HSC/WACE/VCE/SACE/QCS is just one way of getting into university.

So, what exactly am I saying? I am telling you that your life does not start and end with your exam results—no matter what everybody else tells you.

Exams are always going to be stressful; just do your best and nobody can ask any better of you. You tried and that’s what matters.

You made it all the way through Year 12 and you’re planning to take the next step towards your career. De-stress, study and remember – your end-of-school exams are not the defining moment of your life that determines whether you succeed or fail. It’s merely another step in your journey towards a career that you are passionate about.

Take me for example. I graduated from high school in 2013. I freaked out about the HSC like every other student. I also procrastinated as much as possible like every other student.

However, when it came to the exams, I took a deep breath and knew that it would be okay. I knew this because I had about three or four back-up plans—all of which led to university in one form or another.

Why does this matter? It’s an example of what I’m trying to tell you. A disappointing HSC score is not necessarily the end of your aspirations to become a lawyer, doctor, nurse or whatever else you want to be. It’s just a starting point.

I didn’t even need to use my ATAR. I was given direct entry to my course after I completed a special university program during Year 11. All the university wanted to know after my HSC exams was that I got an ATAR.

How does this apply to you? Early entry is just one pathway. I know that it’s a bit late to be mentioning it, but it’s an example of the many ways to get into university. There are so many other ways to get into uni. Take a year off and come back as a ‘mature age student’. Enrol in a course similar to the one you would like to do and transfer over when the university allows you to. Undertake a TAFE course instead, and if TAFE offers entry into the career you want, use it as credit for your eventual university degree. The HSC is not your only pathway into university.

When you finish high school, the world is your oyster. Travel, gain experience and work in as many occupations and as many places as you can. Enjoy your youth.

University has been around for a long time and it’s not about to disappear. Take a gap year (or two) and take your time to decide on exactly what you want your future to look like. Remember that this is only the beginning of a very long and very exciting journey