SACE 2019: Looking back at the last year of school

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SACE result 2019
SACE 2019

Maya Murali 99.10

St Aloysius College 

Khevalin Parekh 95.80

Aberfoyle Park High School

Reema Madike 99.85

Wilderness School

Ayush Lohana 99.15

Saint Ignatius College 

Jude Varghese 99.25

Glenunga International High School

Swanika Ramkumar 98.5

Adelaide High School

Aditi Tamhankar 98.35

With your SACE now done and dusted, you’ve probably had much opportunity to look back at it all with some wisdom. What did you learn about yourself in the SACE year?

Maya SACE 2019

Maya: I have learnt that my success is correlated with my mindset. If I maintain positivity and stay organised, it becomes a lot easier to accomplish my goals. I have also learnt that the additional time and energy that goes into perfecting a task is always worth it. The result always displays the effort that is put into the work.

Khevalin: I discovered a newfound sense of discipline and resilience as I learnt coping strategies such as exercise to deal with the stress. 

Reema: I learnt that support from friends, family and teachers (is invaluable). I learnt a lot about being able to persevere – through perseverance and determination, I was able to achieve the grade I was hoping for. Having always played safe all through my younger years, I learnt that it is important to try new challenges and take responsible risks.

Jude: Life isn’t that hard when you learn to prioritise. The hardest periods of the year were when there was overlapping deadlines from different subjects. However, I learnt to analyse my own progress and use that to prioritise where to put my energy. This also includes the ability to let yourself relax at some points and knowing when and how to do this.

Swanika: I learnt how to set a goal and work towards it. I made an array of goals – big and small.

Aditi SACE 2019

Aditi: I learnt that I enjoy the thrill of being busy and working towards a goal. At the beginning of the year, I was overwhelmed with all the things I had ‘signed up’ for, but honestly, as my time-management skills improved, I realised that these activities made my final year so special and well-rounded. 

What were your expectations going into the SACE year? How did reality compare?

Maya: Like many others, I began Year 12 thinking that the quantum and difficulty of the workload would be a significant step up from previous years of high school. There were weeks that were undeniably stressful. However, by ensuring that my time was used as productively as possible, I kept my motivation high. I also found that consistently putting in effort throughout the school year (was a good strategy). Preparation is key. I believe that being surrounded by a supportive network is also imperative to ensuring success.

Khevalin SACE 2019

Khevalin: Honestly, I was a little scared since there’s so much expectation around Year 12 and the difficulty of my subjects. However, my family, friends and in particular, my amazing teachers got me through the year. In reality, I found the year manageable by organising my time and allocating specific times for my different subjects.

Reema: I was expecting a tough year filled with work, especially due to my high aims, and balancing SACE and UCAT preparation. However, I realised that although Year 12 was a demanding year, it was a continuation of the base I had already built in my previous years of schooling. Also, I realised that there was still plenty of time for extracurricular and social activities, which created a good balance and has helped me to develop a stronger bond with my friends.

Jude: Before commencing the year, I had a general mindset that the year was going to be full of stress and that I would have to sacrifice some aspects of my wellbeing. Although it was stressful to a certain degree, in reality, it was one of the most enjoyable years of my life so far. The stressful periods actually helped in forming deeper connections with friends and teachers

Swanika SACE 2019

Swanika: I expected the best from myself. I expected to complete every assignment and test to the best of my ability. For the most part, I am assertive that I was able to achieve this goal.

Aditi: To be honest, I felt quite well-prepared heading into Year 12 as our teachers had already emphasised the hard work and perseverance required in our penultimate year of school. However, I did find that rather than individual subjects being too ‘challenging’ as I had assumed, it was more a case of all five subjects combining to create a somewhat intimidating workload. 

What was your studying technique? 

Maya: Staying attentive and focussing during class periods, paying attention to detail and ensuring that all content was covered. Using multiple study techniques also helped – watching videos, drawing diagrams and mind maps, as well as writing notes and reading them aloud. The most vital though was completing past tests and exams papers. 

Khevalin: My favourite study technique was my use of notes. I would re-write my notes over and over again, getting more concise every time I did so. This allowed me to understand the subject content to its very core.

Reema SACE 2019

Reema: I have always believed that organisation is important. I had a schedule that I followed, especially during exam time to devote enough time for each subject. For each of my subjects, I made sure to write notes after class to process the information learnt. I also tried to complete as many practise questions as I could leading to the tests and completed multiple past exams before my final exams. I also found it beneficial to discuss questions and different concepts with my friends outside of the class to confirm the information learnt.

Swanika: I found myself creating an array of flashcards and using the app “quizlet” in order to study on my commute to and from school. I also made sure I had a strong work/life balance by taking regular study breaks.

Aditi: I’d start by finding a quiet study space, putting on some instrumental music and creating a checklist of goals I needed to tick off. Then, I’d set an alarm for the next hour and work as hard as I could! I found this computable way to track my productivity and tackle what could have been an overwhelming to-do list. I also remember I would write down any questions on a sticky note at home, and take them to my Biology or Maths teachers at the end of class – I highly recommend doing this.

Social media now plays a big part in the lives of many SACE students. Did you find Facebook groups such as the SACE Discussion Space helpful?

Maya: No, although I am a member, I personally do not find the SACE discussion page helpful. It was honestly more of a distraction. More reliable and direct help can be sort from teachers and qualified staff members within your own school community. 

Khevalin: It was personally comforting for me as students collectively struggled through exams by sharing hilarious memes and helping each other in times of need.

Reema: Although social media can be distracting, it was also beneficial at times. For example, the SACE Discussion Space provided helpful tips leading up to the exams.  This group was also helpful for my Research Project. I posted a link and gained many responses from people.

Jude SACE 2019

Jude: The communal aspect of it helped me understand that everyone is in the same boat. There were also many people sharing resources on social media which was extremely helpful. 

Swanika: It was not helpful in the conventional sense – it did not help me get better grades or improve academically. However, it was great to know that other people were in the same boat as me and making jokes about SACE made the exams seem slightly less terrible.

Aditi: I love how everyone supports each other; from sharing memes to lighten the mood after difficult exams to sharing information about university applications. I will admit that the week in which I had 4 exams in 4 days, I decided to delete Facebook as I thought it wasn’t the best use of my time. Apart from that, I do love a good scroll through the page from time to time!

What extra-curricular activities or hobbies helped you maintain a balance between work and play?

Maya: During my final year at school, I was fortunate enough to be School Captain (SRC President). I am heavily involved in social justice and was a committed member of the school’s Justice and Mercy group. We fundraised for St Vincent De Paul, the Girl Up program founded by the United Nations, and for a young girl to go to school in Tanzania.

I was also heavily involved in the Performing Arts. I played the lead role Fiyero, in the Whole School Musical Production of Wicked. As a member of the Australian Girls’ Choir, I was fortunate enough to be South Australia’s dance leader. This required the commitment of a four-hour rehearsal every week in addition to three major concerts during the year and a week spent in Sydney for a national Music School. I was selected to perform alongside Hugh Jackman in five shows during his world tour, ‘The Man. The Music. The Show.’

I was also able to complete my Gold level of the Duke of Edinburgh Award and attended a conference in Sydney where I received the Gold Award from HRH Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex. 

Khevalin: By being an active member of the Secondary Schools String Symphony and my school string ensemble, I found playing violin to be my personal escape from homework and allowed me to meet amazing new people.

Reema: I enjoy playing sports, like badminton and tennis, which helped me to relax and take my mind away from studying. I also enjoy watching movies and went to the movies with my friends occasionally. Additionally, being a prefect in my school allowed me to stay organised and helped with my time management skills. I believe that it is crucial to maintain a balance as this reduces stress and makes the year much more enjoyable.

Ayush SACE 2019

Ayush: Table tennis and badminton 

Jude: I enjoy photography and so, this year, it was an escape route for me to just unwind and relax. Also, just general exercise helped me reset between study sessions and destress.

Swanika: I went to the gym 3 times a week, had a part time job, played the piano and was house leader for my school.

What would your advice to future final year students be?

Maya: It is futile spending time and energy fretting about the things that you cannot control. For example, there is no use using softwares to calculate a predicted ATAR or stressing about a past test score. Things will not always go to plan and all that we are in control of is ensuring that we are using our time productively, working hard and prioritising well – doing things that will achieve an outcome. Set up your study space, avoid distraction and seek the correct support when you need it. 

Khevalin: Do subjects you enjoy because you will do better when you enjoy what you learn. 

Reema: Choose subjects that you find most interesting rather than what other people might suggest as this will make the year more enjoyable. Be open to asking for help from teachers and friends. Stay organised by creating a timetable to ensure that you can complete all your schoolwork but also have time for a personal and social life. Year 12 is quite challenging, so a balance is the key to success!

Ayush: Try and keep on top of your work; if you start falling behind, things start stacking up quickly 

Jude: Don’t sacrifice your social life. Don’t sacrifice your sleep. Don’t sacrifice your leisure time. Find your priorities and stick to them. 

Swanika: Don’t stress out. It’s not as difficult as everyone says it is. Take it one day at a time. Make sure to have a good work/life balance. Year 12 will be the best year of your life if you don’t take it too seriously.

 Aditi: You’ve been given this workload because you CAN handle it, and you will. Don’t blindly accept that some people are just ‘naturally better at academics’, but rather, recognise that you have it in you to succeed if you want it badly enough. Another point – exams are not as scary as they sound! 

Favourite quote from a teacher?

Maya: Year 12 is like a big iceberg and at the end of the year the iceberg will be gone. You must keep chipping away at the ice berg one day at a time, accomplishing small goals everyday. 

Khevalin: If you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing it is stupid.

Reema: Year 12 is like climbing Mount Everest – it’s slow to begin, with plenty of obstacles but you will reach the summit by putting in effort and it will be rewarding. 

Jude: Tell your parents to take a chill pill.

Swanika: Don’t expect results unless you put in the effort.  

Aditi: Prioritise later success over instant gratification.

Describe your SACE in three words.

Maya: Rewarding. Community. Supportive. 

Khevalin: Chaotic. Memorable. Inspiring. 

Reema: Challenging. Stimulating. Rewarding.

Jude: Couldn’t be better.

Ayush: Busy. Fair. Stressful. 

Swanika: Strenuous. Arduous. Rewarding.

Aditi: Exhausting. Gratifying. Incredible.

Manan Luthra
Manan Luthra
Writer, cricket fan, gin and tonic enthusiast. Emerging journalist passionate about art, sport, and education

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