University Tips and Tricks: Don’t be one of those high heel wearing, blister getting girls.

May is here already. Sorry, what? I know, right. So that means that year-twelvers are starting to look at/apply for university or TAFE courses and some adults may be looking at mid-year university entry. This was me three years ago- oh lord, I am getting old- and all that hard work, late nights and binge-stress eating paid off because I was accepted into my (at the time) dream degree!

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As my first blog post on the Student Sharehouse I thought I would entertain you guys with tips and typically awkward scenarios I experienced in my first year of uni. My first year of uni was a struggle for me, unlike high-school. University is a completely different experience. Let’s get the ball rolling!

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The QCS Test, Oh No!

That’s right every body, it’s that magical time of year when the QCS test comes around to drain 2 days of your life. But that’s ok, because this is that step just before you reach the light at the end of the tunnel. Being a grade 12 student myself, my friends and I have been prepping for the 2 day marathon of tests so they’re slightly less painful. At our school a whole lesson is dedicated to learning how to answer various types of questions that could be on the test. I have compiled a list of tips I’ve learned through these lessons, and although I probably shouldn’t share them because the system says you need to do bad for me to do good (I know, I’m a pure genius), I will.


Austin's QCS Tips summarized!

Austin’s QCS Tips summarized!


The Writing Test

Personally this is my favorite part of the QCS, because it’s not all about abstract reasoning. For  the writing section of the QCS test, it’s important to remember the stimulus you chose, and always relate back to it through your story. To make this easy on yourself, when you first look at the different stimulus pieces you’re given choose the one that closely aligns with one of your passions. For example, if a piece of stimulus is heavily influenced by a subject you enjoy, use that to your advantage. Once you’ve chosen your stimulus piece, write up a draft. Sometimes it’s hard to begin, but just do it. This quote by Colleen Hoover  perfectly describes how you should write your draft. Plus, you have time and writing a draft will give you less time to sit there and do nothing. After your draft have a break, a drink, keep an eye on the time. After you’ve regathered your thoughts write your good copy. Writing test done!

The Short Response Test

This part of the QCS test is the most difficult, because it requires a lot more thinking than the others. I’ll use a simple process that I’ve been taught at school. The first step is read and highlight everything. The teachers at our school always drill this in when they are explaining the process we need to go through to answer a question on the QCS test. The very first step in this process is to actually understand what you are being asked. It helps if you highlight key words such as ‘contrast’ or ‘describe’, which will tell you how you should answer the question. The second step in this process is to write your answer. Yes, this is a very simple two step process and I promise it will serve you well, as long as you don’t miss step one.

The Multiple Choice

Of course the obvious technique for the two multiple choice questions you get after a writing test and a short response is the faithful  “A, B, A, B, wait, haven’t gone with C in a while”. Don’t do it. The multiple choice questions are not too challenging, and it should be an easy process of elimination. There’s always going to be two choices that seem obviously wrong, then there are the two that seem right. My strategy for making a choice is that if I can’t figure it out in a minute and a half, just circle the option that seems the most right. This will allow time for more questions to be completed and the possibility for more correct answers!

Now when September 1 and 2 come, we should all be set to go! It’s just 2 days that define your OP score, not your life. At the end of the day, it’s just a test, and you can always bounce back. Good luck to the class of 2015!

I’m starting university next year, how can I make it easier?

FiguresNow seems like a fantastic time to write to those of you in year 12 who are going to start university next year. I say “are” instead of “might” because the glass is always half full. You know you’re going to do well on the QCS test and you’re going to put the effort into your subjects to do the best you can. Why? Because you want to be successful in life. You have goals and dreams and only hard work and dedication are going to get you there.

Getting to university is only a small step in your bigger plan, however to set yourself up well for your first year and beyond, I have some tips to make life easier!

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Finding Work

It’s a little bit scary to think about it, but this year is my final year of university. I don’t know how I feel about this because while a part of me kind of wants to graduate, the other part of me kind of wants to stay for a while longer. One thing I do know is that with university getting closer and closer to the end, I’ve really needed to find casual work so that I can finish the year with some sense of support behind me. To be honest, I’ve been trying to find a job since I left high school in 2012, and it was no easy task. But now, I’ve finally been successful in this adventure and because these things helped me out a lot when it came to getting the position, I thought that I would share the advice with all of you. Read more

Two words: Get Involved.

As it’s my final year at university this year, I’m beginning to think about all the experiences I’ve had and things I regret not doing.  One of my regrets is not getting more involved in a club or group.  There are so many at QUT and it can be a bit overwhelming during Welcome Week with all the tents and groups vying for more members, offering pub crawls and shirts and other freebies.

To make things easier for you, I’ve made a small list outlining just some of the clubs at QUT.  It will be easier to join a club during Welcome Week if you actually know a bit about them!

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The Countdown

It’s after graduation, schoolies and general end of high school antics, and you’re awaiting that one or two digit number set to determine your near future. Thanks to your high school’s preachings, many of you still consider your OP to be the holy grail to success.

While it’s true that the right OP may perhaps get you into your desired area of study quicker and easier, it mustn’t be forgotten that countless other pathways exist in regards to getting to where you want to be – a topic that I’ve previously written about.

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My New Semester Resolutions

Although this is only my third semester at uni, I notice something of a trend emerging. At the beginning of each semester, I find myself reflecting on the previous one to prepare for the next. This is a somewhat depressing process, as it involves acknowledging the many shortcomings in my studying technique. I’ve found that it doesn’t matter how dedicatedly I attend to these flaws, there is always something to be improved upon. I guess “improvement” is a very optimistic term, of course assuming that I have stuck to the study regime I carefully plan for myself at the beginning of each semester. The painful reality is that once fully in the throes of the semester, by about week 3, I have almost completely lost my resolve to conform to anything beyond a free-style study plan. However, even though here I am readily acknowledging the futility of these resolutions, I simply cannot resist making them. I am hoping that my newfound emphasis on reasonable expectations will mean that maybe, just maybe, this time they might take! Read more