Study Advice

Blocking Out the Noise: Helpful vs Harmful Advice

By Ellen O'Brien - 2 minute read

It is impossible to avoid all the unsolicited advice that people insist on bestowing upon you around exam time. Although they mean well, it can be overwhelming. So, who do you listen to and who do you (politely) ignore? 

Parents and Family Members

This is a tricky one. I am absolutely NOT telling you to ignore your parents or family members, but you may need to learn to filter some of what is being said to you. Realistically, it's been quite a while since they did their VCE and QCE exams and the education system has changed significantly since then. Obviously, there is no harm in keeping an open mind and hearing them out, but try to use your own judgement and knowledge of the exams and subjects to evaluate the advice and decide whether it is relevant to you or not.

On the other hand, if you have older siblings that have gone through the VCE and QCE, they should be able to advise you on what worked best for them or even let you use their old notes. Your family knows that you're stressed and overwhelmed, but at the end of the day, they want what's best for you so be kind to those trying to help. And take advantage of the sympathy while you can!


Peer assessment and friendly competition can be beneficial for many people but you must be realistic. You may believe that everyone else is studying for hours and hours every day, that you're so far behind, that you're not going to pass the exams, that you're going to fail the VCE and QCE, etc, etc! It's an unnecessary downward spiral that will only waste time and brainpower. Stop worrying about what other people are doing, it has no impact on you.

Similarly, if you're meeting friends outside of a school setting, try to avoid talking about studying and exams. Easier said than done, I know, but watching a movie or playing card games are great distractions.


Every year, teachers around the country and indeed the world, prepare students for exams. They have extensive knowledge and experience of how the system works. Teachers are a goldmine of exam-related information and they would be the ones I'd pay the closest attention to. Of course, there may always be some you don't get on with, but generally, they can be relied upon for accurate and honest information.

Pro Tip: Studyclix blogs are full of helpful advice and tips from past pupils!

Try to use your own judgment and knowledge of the exams and subjects to evaluate the advice and decide whether it is relevant to you or not

I hope this advice helps you to differentiate between advice that will help you vs advice that will hinder you. When someone decides to chime in with their opinion, remember to take a moment to evaluate whether that advice is worth taking on board!