Monday, 19 December 2011

VIDEO: the most common questions we get asked when ATAR results are released

Waiting for ATAR results and then actually finding out your ATAR score can be a pretty nerve racking time overall, but remember you are not alone!

No matter what your score, if you are feeling completely baffled about what you want to do, try not to FREAK OUT, you are still in the position of creating your own future path with endless possibilities.

If you find your ATAR score is not quite what you expected, it can mean having to re-think some things. This can be mind boggling we know, and really, lots of students find it becomes so much clearer when they come and see us. Our Student Advisors are staying in over the holiday period so you can come in for a chat now.

If your ATAR is a tad lower than you were hoping, don’t worry, doors are by no means closed for you, it just means you may have to go on a different path to get into your dream course – there are quite a few options and we can walk you through all of those too!

If you got a higher ATAR then you thought you would (go you!) you might just be sweet to leave your preferences as they are and sit back and wait to accept your offer. Or if you are rethinking your choices, take a look at our list of ATAR cut offs to get an idea of the courses you might be eligible for with your score.

So, just come in and see us in our Student Centre and ask us as many questions as you like. Chances are, we’ve heard them all before ;)

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Thursday, 15 December 2011

Breaking up with your ATAR and finding a new pathway into Uni

3 students, 3 different pathways; all have the same degree and have started on the same career path.

Finishing school, getting an ATAR score and jumping straight to uni is just one way of doing it and this way, well it might work for some, but not for others.

For whatever reason you may not have achieved the ATAR you needed to get into the course you really wanted to do. Or, let’s be frank, you may not have got the ATAR you needed because you really had no clue what you wanted to do and we all know that when you don’t have something to aim for, that you aspire to, it can be hard to stay motivated.

Whatever. That was then. This is now and maybe now you’ve decided that getting into uni and studying [insert name of course that takes your fancy] is exactly what you want to do.

So, if using your ATAR isn’t an option let’s forget about ATAR and focus on what your options as a school leaver are now:

Media portfolios

Some media and arts courses don’t need an ATAR score but instead you submit a portfolio of work. Check the Media portfolio entry pathway for more details and a list of courses.


Ahh, another acronym. MUPC stands for Murdoch University Preparation Course and if you didn’t love your ATAR you are going to love MUPC because it means you can study at the Murdoch Institute of Technology (MIT) and get a Diploma that can lead you straight into a course at Murdoch.

You get to study on the South Street campus which makes your transition to uni really easy once you have successfully completed the MIT course.   A diploma acts as credit to your uni degree as well, so if you take their Express Route, you can end up graduating with your degree at the same time as someone who went from school straight to uni.

Take a look at the MIT website for course details and options.

On Track and TOP

If major disruptions affected your studies in high school and your teachers can support your application you may be able to apply for On Track which is a free pre-uni 12 week program or the Tertiary Options Project (TOP) which can lead to direct admission into Murdoch.

Download the TOP brochure for more info or contact our Equity Office on 08 9360 6084 or

If you would like to apply for TOP, download the application form.

For more info on On Track  call (08) 9360 2609 or email

Entry Awards (formerly named Entry Scholarships)

Check out our different Entry Award options, we have a number of High School Entry Awards and Financial Awards on offer. Details about these are given to high schools each year and you will in most cases need to be nominated by your high school.

Indigenous programs

Murdoch’s Kulbardi Aboriginal Centre provides a number of educational pathways into both pre-tertiary and undergraduate studies.

For more information, visit the Kulbardi Aboriginal Centre website or call 08 9360 2128.

Access Southwest

If you’re in Year 12 and are studying in the Peel or Rockingham area you can apply for special consideration for admission directly to Murdoch.

Download the Access Southwest Brochure for more info or contact our Equity Office on 08 9360 6084 or
To apply, download the application form.

Tafe and Trade Certificates

Go out there, get some experience and then reapply to Uni. Tafe Diplomas, Certificate IV and Trade Certificates all count as experience that can get you into Murdoch Uni. Most Tafe certificates only require one semester to get and then you can enter uni at the start of the next year or even at the Mid Year entry time. 

Some courses such as Vet, Chiropractic and Law don’t count as they have different entry requirements but chat to our Student Advisors to check what Tafe courses will be good introductions into particular courses at Murdoch.

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Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Are you a visual, audio, physical or verbal learner?

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Everyone has different ways of learning and remembering things – some people find that they learn best by doing, where as others find success in re-reading information until it sticks in their brain.

Knowing and applying your study style can help you to remember information more effectively.

Here’s a look at some of the main learning styles and what study methods you can use to suit your style.

Use the diagram below to figure out your study style; you might find that you are a little of a few of these styles or that a different style works better for you in different subjects.


What you are like:

You prefer to learn by doing. You like to use your body and hands and might find yourself moving around a lot while studying. You are possibly the type who can listen to music while working, you like making things like building models and you may prefer hands on subjects such as drama, sports, art, construction and engineering.

Study tips for you:
  • Combine your learning with physical activities; for example while you go for a run, swim laps or do karate chops revise information in your head.
  • Take frequent breaks to move around (see our post about desk stretches and desk yoga).
  • Move around while you study, make flash cards and flip through them while walking.
  • Study with other people.
  • Use big sheets of card or paper to write your notes on and use lots of colour.

What are you like:
You find it easy to express yourself through writing and verbal communication. You like reading and writing and are good at remembering rhymes. You may find that you are attracted to public speaking and the debate team, English and journalism.
Study tips for you:
  • Copy out all your notes and then read and re-read your notes silently. Keep your notes handy and read them whilst doing an idle activity such as sitting on the bus.
  • Try and write down key points based on your memory and then check back to see if you got them right. When making notes of key information, use different words. 
  • Speak your notes aloud (be dramatic and make it a speech or performance worthy of an Oscar) and incorporate rhymes or make up jingles.

What are you like:

You like to learn by listening and hearing information. You might find that you like being on stage, speaking in class and are good at explaining things and remembering people’s names. Let’s say you got lost on your way down to Southbound and needed to stop for directions,  you would find it easier asking someone to verbally explain the way to you, rather than reading a map. You possibly prefer to study with other people instead of alone and you may play an instrument (FYI this does not include guitar hero).

Study Tips for you:
  • Revise with other people – have conversations about the information.
  • Role play or turn main points into a song and use the tune to help you remember.
  • Speak your notes aloud, record it and then play it back to yourself repeatedly.  This is a great way to sneak it into other activities, for example: headphones on while jogging, travelling in the car or doing the dishes etc...

What are you like?

You like colour and you understand information better when it’s presented in charts. You like to study in a quiet place and you like time to think about things.
You like things better when they have images and diagrams. You are good at visualising plans and have good spatial awareness. You may find that you have an interest in photography, art, design, film and architecture.

Study Tips for you:

  • Use colour to separate out your notes e.g. use different coloured pens or highlighters for different subjects or topics or write on different coloured paper.
  • Draw out information and use diagrams like our ‘know your heart’ poster
  • Instead of writing all your notes in paragraphs try using a mind mapping technique – this could be as simple as getting A3 paper or card  and writing everything out in a ‘brainstorming’ fashion or you could get all specky and try this free mind mapping software. It’s super quick to download onto your computer and very easy (and fun!) to use.
  • If remembering a process or sequence of events draw it out on a map or timeline.
What study style are you? Comment below.

For further reading on study styles visit Learning Styles Online .

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Thursday, 10 November 2011

Studying can be a pain in the neck; try these simple stretches to improve your concentration

Sometimes when we have been sitting down for a lengthy period of time concentrating super hard on something, we forget how long it has been since we got up and had a move around. That’s when we start to get cricks in our necks, back pain, sore eyes and even headaches.

Ideally you will have put some time aside in your day to get some exercise – walking the dog, a game of soccer in the park with friends, karate chops, lawn bowls – whatever it is that gets you active and that will give you some personal time to rejuvenate, clear your mind and stay healthy, which all helps you study stronger when you sit back down to work.

Murdoch School of Chiropractic and Sports Science Dean and Associate Professor Brian Nook advises that you can "minimise your muscle fatigue and improve your level of concentration during your studies by maintaining good posture and regular stretching.”

We pulled together some handy guides below to help you to do this. Perhaps set intervals so you remember to move, for example every hour or at the end of a chapter, put down your pen and spend a few minutes stretching at your desk. It’s pretty simple and you will notice a world of difference!

Simple desk stretches for your back, neck, shoulders and eyes (yes! your eyes need exercising too!)
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From The Kikutown AV Club

Desk Yoga

Oh wouldn't it be nice if you could study in this environment? Maybe slightly destracting... but some really good strectches in this short video from yoga instructor Rodney Yee that will make your shoulders feel sooooooo much better! Namaste.

Desk excercises in under 5 minutes

These excerises from Woman's Day Health Editor are a bit more about building strength but this is important too and in the video she makes it really clear how to do the exercises and they are so simple!

 Let us know how these work for you and if you have any other great desk workout/stretch tips do share!

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Sunday, 6 November 2011

Preparing for WACE exams: tips for using old exam papers

It might seem like a pretty straightforward task, but there are some tricks to using old WACE exam papers. One of the biggest traps is using the old exam paper as the ultimate guide to what you should be studying, but really, the WACE syllabus is your best bet because it includes ALL the possible content you may have to answer questions about. If you haven't already got a syllabus, ask your teacher or download them here.

Past exam papers for all written exams are available from the School Curriculum and Standards Authority website.

Answers are not provided because it is recommended that once you have practiced the exam you go through it with your teacher. If you are studying with friends you could also compare how you answered questions and go through them together.

Below are some pointers for using old exam papers from year 12 teacher and WACE marker Graham Braid. You may remember Graham’s tips and reminders in this top tips for maths post.

Next steps:

Monday, 24 October 2011

How to maximise productivity in your study space

When it’s time to put your thinking caps on, choose a study spot where you are inspired to get work done.
 We wanted to share this great article with you all from the 99 percent website on increasing productivity as it can also apply to studying for WACE exams. It’s good to consider the environment where you choose to study and what distractions are nearby.

The article isn’t crazy long so if you can have a quick read do, but for the seriously time deprived amongst you, here are the key take-outs:

1. The places where you do study (or attempt to study) will naturally draw you into that ‘study’ state because your brain has learned that when you sit in that place you are in ‘study’ mode. For example a desk in your bedroom.

2. Associate places with activities and keep a consistent link between place and behaviour e.g. study at your desk but move to the lounge room to enjoy free time such as checking Facebook, talking on the phone or watching a movie.

3. Keep all the tools you need organised together and within arm’s reach - this means you won’t need to keep getting up to get something which distracts you from your task. For example if you are studying for Maths, have all your calculators, rulers, pencils, erasers and pens nearby and ready to go.

4. Be aware of what motivates you and what distracts you, for example do you work better with or without music playing? Are you less likely to distract yourself if you turn off your phone and disconnect from the internet?

5. Make the space you study in a place that you don’t mind being in and make sure you can be comfortable there. Keep the area free from clutter and perhaps add inspiring pictures or quotes on the wall nearby – these can help to motivate, but also add a sense of place to the area that you choose to study – which leads back to the first take-out above.

Where do you like to study? Share with your fellow students on our facebook page or in the comments below.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Top tips for your WACE Economics exam

“You can only achieve 10% in the exam with the text book”

Looking for more general advice on using past exam papers? Read our post on how you can use them to study effectively!

This is true for most subjects as expanding your general knowledge on the area will help you to provide real life examples and case studies in your essays. 

So for all you future economists out there you may find these online resources useful in broadening your understanding of economies and current market situations:
The Financial Review – we suspect you already are onto this one but here’s the link anyway. You could even get all old school about it and buy the paper version (yes it exists!) and read it over breakfast, it will make you appear super smart as you sip your morning OJ.

The Economist – to expand your general knowledge of the world and all its economical situations. Good for compiling some current case studies to use in your essays.

Greg Mankiw Blog – Although targeted toward students studying Economics at uni, this blog presents information often in a light hearted way. Greg describes his blog as “random observations for students of economics” and you might enjoy the various videos and cartoons that he uses to dissect information.

Try this video on the 10 principles of economics. It made us chuckle. Who knew economics could be such fun?

Have more fun practicing with the 2012 WACE Economics exam paper.

Next steps:

Monday, 17 October 2011

Top tips for your WACE Media and Production exam

Here are  the top tips that came out of our previous WACE seminars for Media and Production:

Let’s do a quick recap of Top tip #3 - what is narrative structure?

Narrative structure is the ordering of a story into a meaningful pattern and acts as the framework for the plot. A typical structure is divided into 3 stages:

1. Beginning – the Exposition or setup of characters, scene and situation
2. Middle – introduction of conflict and rising action to set the story in motion
3. End – the final act where the problems in the story erupt and characters are usually forced to confront issues so that all elements of the story come together resulting in a resolution.

For all you media students looking for some inspiration and additional film text examples (may help you with top tip #6) check out the Australian Centre for Moving Images (ACMI ) website for some handy education resources and study guides.

Some are free to download directly (an Education Kit on The Gothic Imagination of Tim Burton piqued our interests) or there are some study guides focusing on particular texts such as Lantana, Gattaca and Buffy the Vampire Slayer for purchase at the not so unfriendly price of $20.

For further practice download the 2012 WACE examination for Media Production and Analysis.

Looking for more general advice on using past exam papers? Read our post on how you can use them to study effectively!

Next steps:

Monday, 26 September 2011

Top tips for your WACE History exam

Looking for more general information on using past WACE exam papers to get the ATAR score you want? Read our top tips to really be able to use them effectively.

In previous study seminars students have come away saying, that as far as studying for the history exam goes, these are the top 10 tips:

We really do hope that you have all been to the Alexander Library before now but if you haven’t (shame on you!) it is a pretty cool place even if you’re not studying for History. There are plenty of nooks and quiet seats to settle in and do some learning, gets you out of the house and makes an ideal alternative study spot if there are too many distractions at home (like ice cream in the freezer or noisy brothers and sisters). Additional bonuses: the library provide past papers and study guides in the Group Study Area on the first floor and you can access FREE wireless courtesy of the Perth Cultural Centre.

And, since analysing cartoons was a popular topic here is a quick de-brief on what to look for in political cartoons of the past:

Caricature – exaggerations and distortions of people and objects that aim to provide humour. For example Tony Abbot is always depicted in cartoons with extremely large ears.

Stereotypes – an oversimplified view of something which is often insulting but provides a way of quickly communicating a point. For example “cashed up bogans” was a term introduced into Australian dialect to describe people from blue collar backgrounds who now earn a rather generous salary and noticeably spend their earnings on expensive consumer items.

Determine the audience for whom the cartoon was intended – where and when was it published and what portion of the population was it aimed at (hint: the publication it appears in will help you determine this).

Symbols and metaphors – symbols stand for another thing (people, place, event) and are often easily recognisable. For example, the Kangaroo is often used to symbolise Australia, how the Kangaroo is portrayed will indicate how the cartoonist is representing Australia. A tired and hungry looking kangaroo may indicate a slumped and weak Australian economy.

Get practicing your Modern History and download the 2012 WACE exam papers. Or if Ancient History is more your thing the 2012 WACE examinations are also available.

Next steps:

Top tips for your WACE Human Biology exam

Here are some top tips that students have suggested in past years for how to effectively study for the Human Biology exam:

To help you with top tip #3, download the 2012 WACE Examinations for Human Biological Science.

Remember that information like the WACE syllabus and past exam papers can be useful tools to help you get the ATAR score you want. Check out our blog post on using past exam papers!

Next steps:

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Top Tips Roundup: a summary of key advice from the WACE preparation seminars

To help year 12s prepare for Maths exams we asked expert Graham Braid to share his top study tips with you. Graham is a year 12 maths teacher at Canning College and has marked Year 12 WACE Mathematics Exams for 6 years. Through his time he’s seen some fantastic exam results, which he thinks is a result of students  doing as many practice questions as they can, and starting a solid study program at least 4 weeks before the exam.
Here are Graham’s 9 Top Tips to a great study plan for Mathematics :
  1. Download the Mathematics Syllabus from the School Curriculum and Standards Authority and check-off every thing (check for any changes made to the syllabus).
  2. Build up your confidence by doing problems you’re good at – gradually get better by tackling harder ones.
  3. Do everything from your textbook – and only check the answers when you get stuck.
  4. Use your teacher!  If you don’t understand something – make sure they explain it to you.
  5. Use the Academic Associates Study Guides, or free online tutoring programs such as Maths Online.
  6. Put together exam notes as you study.  Piece together your 2x A4 written exam notes as you go - include worked examples you know are right.
  7. Practice in exam conditions – no music, internet, or TV - use only what you’re allowed in a exam. Give yourself a time limit and stick to it!
  8. Test yourself.  In the week or two before your exam, complete a 2012 WACE Mathematics exam paper  under exam conditions.  Check any areas you need to work at.
  9. Do lots and lots (and lots) of questions! 

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Top tips for your WACE English exam

Contrary to popular belief, English is a subject you can study for!

Here are some top tips that students from previous years have suggested to prepare for the WACE English exams:

Remember that information like the WACE syllabus and past exam papers can be useful tools to help you get the ATAR score you want. Check out our blog post on using past exam papers!

Next steps:

How to study smarter (not harder) from now until WACE

We regularly hold study sessions for year 12s at Murdoch and we know how stressful this time can be - so we like to help you make the most of the time you spend studying in the lead-up to exams.

Here are the top 10 tips from that have come from students attending previous study sessios. Introduce some of these into your study routine and see what works for you!

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Ever scribble down some notes and then have trouble making sense of them later? We sent our designer along to take notes at some of the sessions - so here are the results for you to print/save/stick on your wall for inspiration.

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Free Murdoch library membership and Open Your Mind Day

Thank you for attending the WACE Preparation Days last week. I hope you enjoyed the program and took away valuable study tips and material to help you prepare for your exams.

Next week, Murdoch University is holding Open Your Mind Day on Sunday 18 August, which I encourage all of you to come along and experience more of the campus, find out about courses you are interested in studying or just get some inspiration for the future and enjoy the entertainment!

It would also be a good opportunity to visit the university's library, which has a wealth of resources and an ideal space for studying for exams. As you may already know, membership to the library is free for Year 12 students. To join, just fill in a membership form at the library (and ask your parent or guardian to sign if you are under the age of 18).

Good luck with your studying and the exams and remember: Murdoch offers lots of opportunities, so make the most of it!

Janina von der Weppen