Mildura Senior College students Aula Al Salman, 17, Rowan Moore, 17, and Peri Saunders, 18, will put their studies to the test this month as they undertake VCE exams. Photo: PAUL MENSCH


YEAR 12 students across the region braved their English exam on Wednesday, officially marking the start of the VCE exam season. 

The VCE exams, notoriously known for their stress and pressure, are being undertaken by 297 Mildura Senior College students alone this month, all competing for the top score. 

Year 12 students from St Joseph’s College, Red Cliffs Secondary College and Robinvale P-12 College are also in the midst of the exam season.

“Students have been preparing for their exams throughout their Year 11 and Year 12 studies, and this will be a very significant ending to their 13 years of schooling,” Mildura Senior College assistant principal, Tracy Marr, said.

“They have been working really hard with scored assessments throughout the year, and these exams will finalise these study scores for each subject, making up their ATAR.

“The ATAR does bring a lot of pressure, but there are so many different ways to get into the course you’re after.

“We strongly encourage any student who doesn’t get the ATAR they were aiming for to come and speak with our Career Adviser.

“We just encourage all our students to go into the exams and try their very best, they have the knowledge behind them at this point.

“We are so proud of our students, and my advice is to just try your best and don’t stop writing!”

Aula Al Salman, 17, Peri Saunders, 18, and Rowan Moore, 17, are just three of those 297 Mildura Senior College students who will put their studies to the test this month, and each have big goals in mind. 

“I’m aiming to get into pharmacy, but it depends on how the exams go at this stage,” Rowan said. “Although it’s hard to find a balance, this year has really showed me how capable and resilient I am – Year 12 really pushes you to the limit, so that has been something I have taken away from this experience.

“Now I’ll just be happy when it’s all over!”

Aula, who is striving to complete a medical degree, said that “every day counts.” 

“And every new day is like a second chance!” she added.

Peri, meanwhile, is hoping to get into an International Relations Course.

“This year I have really enjoyed English and Global Politics, and all my teachers have been amazing,” she said. “I’ve really learned how to stay organised, and it’s made me really resilient. However, I stress a lot, so I think that was the most difficult for me.”

headspace Mildura Youth and Family Clinician Clinical Lead, Hannah Cairns, meanwhile, said that the exam season can be a really stressful time for students, parents and teachers.

“There are many ways parents can support their young person during exam time, the first is to open up lines of communication,” she said.

“It can help to be aware that when young people are stressed, they might have a hard time receiving support, parents should consider the way that support is offered, and to try to do this at a time when young people are feeling a little more calm. 

“Although not intended, young people may become defensive about offers for support, even when it comes from a place of care and support – knowing this can help prepare parents to remain calm and in control during times of stress.”

For students, Hannah said that one of the first things she suggests is to prepare a study plan, and set goals for each day or week.

“Also make sure it’s balanced with other important things in your life, that way it will be easier to stick to,” she said. “I also recommend students create a study space that is comfortable, quiet and has no distractions that may impact on productivity. 

“Look after yourself, self-care is especially important when you have a big demand in your life, this might involve incorporating activities you enjoy and that bring your stress levels down into your study plan, including sport, spending time with your friends, internet – the key is balance. 

“And finally, don’t be afraid to ask for help! Ask teachers the best way to study for each subject, they have years of experience they can share with you.”

For more information or assistance contact headspace Mildura on 5021 2400.

The opening hours for headspace Mildura are 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday, and emails are unattended outside of this time.  

For urgent physical or mental health matters, please phone Emergency Services on 000 or Mildura Base Hospital on 5022 3333.

“Anyone can make a referral for a young person with the young person’s consent, including the young person themselves – all you have to do is give the centre a call or fill out the referral form located on our website,” Hannah said.