Don’t let QCS be the death of you

The exam which the majority of high school students dread is finally upon us year 12s. That’s right, QCS kicks off next week, with two full days of exams that will undoubtedly provoke a series of questions. When will I ever need to do this in my job? Why does it matter what emotions the painter wanted to convey? What on earth does this graph even mean?

By this point, your school has probably been preparing for QCS for months, or maybe even since grade 10 or 11. If I had a dollar for every time someone told me that they’re ‘over it’ and ‘just want to have a nap’ instead, then I would be able to retire now and not even worry about uni.

However, don’t fear! All of the preparation that you’ve put in will definitely help you during the test. As they say, practice makes perfect! I thought it would be beneficial to share with you some of the strategies which I think have helped me throughout my QCS preparation, which will hopefully help you too.

One piece of advice that I have found very helpful is to consider how the exam-makers want you to read the questions. You’ve probably heard it millions of times, but it’s not just about reading the question, it’s about reading the question and answering in the way they want you to answer. Lots of students tend to respond to a question in the way they have interpreted it, and while their answer might still be valid, it may deviate from what the QCS marking criteria states as a suitable response. So if they ask you for three examples in the A level short response questions, make sure you give three responses! If they ask about what the painter would name his painting, tell them what the painter thinks is an appropriate name, not what you think it should be called.

Following on from this, another thing that I found helpful in the multiple choice papers, was not necessarily choosing the correct answer, but providing the answer which best suited the question. Sometimes the four options they give you are all equally valid responses (any UMAT exam sitters, I feel your pain). It is up to you to interpret the stimulus in order to figure out which one of the responses is best suited to the question. There’s usually two distractor answers which can be eliminated relatively quickly, and then at worst, it’s down to a 50-50 guess.

QCS is a really important year 12 exams, but it’s not the be-all and end-all. Your individual scores don’t have a direct impact on your final OP. Your grade at school just needs to hit state average and everything will be okay. Whilst everyone should definitely try their best in the exam, try not to stress over the results of the whole grade, which ultimately, you can’t control.

Good luck to all seniors taking the exam on Tuesday and Wednesday. Remember that we’re all in the same boat together and it’s going to be one wild ride!

Meet the author...

I am a current high school student (year 12), weighing up my options for tertiary study in 2017. I am hoping to study a Bachelor of Physiotherapy and go on to complete a Doctor in Medicine, specialising in neurological rehabilitation. I have many interests and hobbies outside of school, including, being a part of the Queensland Youth Orchestra’s Wind Ensemble.


Last updated:
26 August 2016