April 21, 2020


Year 12 is hard! The class of 2020 has it extra hard. Not only are they faced with the usual pressures of looming exams and seemingly endless syllabus material – COVID-19 has introduced a whole new level of stress.

They’ve had to adjust to self-driven online learning and new assessment requirements. But, perhaps most difficult of all, there’s no reward at the end of the tunnel. The slog of Year 12 is made far easier with the knowledge that Formals, celebrations, Uni open days and Schoolies are just around the corner. These milestones are motivating. COVID-19 is likely to put a stop to many of these moments and goals.

So, how can we motivate our year 12 students to keep studying? 

Shift Perspective

The reality is, Schoolies celebrations fade and Formal is only one night. Your education will continue to impact your life forever. Yes, students deserve a party at the end and it’s disappointing when these things get cancelled. Even so, there are actually bigger and better things to look forward to, and it’s not going to be cancelled: the rest of your life! For students in Year 12 it’s important to recognise that the next stage of life is coming at you fast. Schoolies and celebrations can be rescheduled, your education can’t.

A Chance to Grow in Resilience

The reality is that we can be consumed by adversity or set-backs all the time. As a child, I was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), and struggled with it for years. I was constantly in trouble at school and home. Thankfully, I was fortunate enough to have great parents and mentors who never gave up on me.

Having gone through my own personal trials, I now stand here today with my collection of successes: an average of High Distinctions in a Science undergraduate degree, a multi-business owner and entrepreneur, and once, one of the fastest swimmers in the world for my age (2008). Throughout this long journey, I have had to work harder than my peers to make up for my inability to focus. However, in the end, I have produced nothing short of what myself or my parents have always expected of me.

I am living proof that it can be done; that against all odds, or anything people say, you can become successful if you are determined and strong willed. However, to all aspiring students and strong parents out there: you need to realise that you don’t just begin to get A’s in a day. You don’t just stumble across them. You lay foundations, one step at a time. But in the end, you will get there – if you are truly determined. Don’t let the thought of Schoolies being cancelled cloud your thoughts, you will get your time to celebrate.

Keep Your Eye On The Prize

Right now, it’s about attending every class, even online, paying 100% total attention for as long as you possibly can, and changing your mentality about school! Success is about studying week to week with no excuses, asking questions each day, and preparing mentally and physically for exams as if it was your last opportunity to produce greatness. It’s about handing in all assessment pieces on time, leaning on your teachers for support and pursuing the absolute best of your ability in every single thing you do – no matter how big or small.

It’s important to stay laser focused and keep your eyes on the prize. What COVID-19 will teach us is resilience and the ability to thrive in any situation.

Take a Break

It’s also important to continue to have a social life (even if it’s virtual). We all crave human interaction – especially in difficult times. This is no different for our Year 12 students. I’d encourage all kids in year 12 to stick to their friends and hobbies. Exercise, listen to music, read something inspiring. Take a break, make time to unwind, take care of yourself.

Stick To A Routine

Right now, more than ever, it’s more about consistency. Establish a routine and stick to it. Log your hours and days in a journal if that helps you. Make sure your study space is clean, uncluttered and inspiring to you – this will help your headspace.

That would be my advice to learners in Year 12. The Class of 2020 certainly has some challenges ahead, but with perseverance, they stand to learn a lot. If you’ve got a loved one in their final year of school, share this advice with them and keep them accountable. That’s how we’ll get to the finish line – together.

Hayden McEvoy is the founder of A Team Tuition, a tutoring company that believes in empowering every student to reach their full potential. They cover Primary School, High School as well as ATAR preparation.

What advice would you give to a Year 12 student now? Tell us in the comments below.

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  • Id love to know how the grades shapped up that year


  • As a Year 12 student myself, the advice I\\\’d give would be to keep with the grind now. The year after Year 12 should have less strain on your life, which is something to look forward to.


  • Hard time for kids especially year 12.


  • Terrible for those with senior children, so grateful I haven’t got to worry


  • Terrible time for them


  • Just do the best you can and be kind to yourself.


  • Just do your best and don’t put too much pressure on yourself. Make yourself a timetable like you’d have at school and stick with it.


  • Just do your best. You’re all in the same boat for Year 12 so an understanding that I think there will be some flexibility or leniency at the end for the situation you’re in. But just keep motivated and do your best.


  • Don’t over thinking.Just stick to the routine.


  • Great tips – thanks for the post. Feel sorry for these young students trying to cope with Year 12 and the Coronavirus. Hope they all manage to get through their studies.


  • All really great tips


  • Yes Year 12 is hard enough with added pressure on these Kids plus with this Coronaviris as well.
    But just remember kids that there is life after HSC


  • Definitely a tough time but agree with the resilience point, they’re at least all in the same boat. I also know teachers are doing their utmost to get all learning online in the best way that they can so that they’re able to best support their learning. Not the same as being in a classroom, obviously, but online platforms have come so far these days and the possibilities for collaboration and group learning is positive.


  • Feel for them at this time, it’s not something they would’ve wanted


  • I do feel for Year 12 students and if my child were in Year 12 this year, I would definitely position this strange time as an opportunity to study and prepare in peace. It is veru much like university so I’d sell it as a an ease in. I’d acknowledge their feelings of disappoint or unease – its definitely not ideal


  • All good suggestions! They just might go into uni and the real world better equipped than any other year before them! Anyone who can graduate year 12 during this pandemic, should be worthy of a job or entry into university, as it shows resilience and dedication to the task at hand!


  • It will all be ok. Keep up with your teachers online and ask any and every question you need too. So far in most states kids have only missed no more than a month and some of that is school holidays. It will be ok!


  • I’d say don’t get too stressed – if you don’t get the marks, there are other ways to get the job you want.


  • I thought of these poor kids when we went into lock down and there was so much going on about should schools remain open etc. I just hope they have access to support if needed.


  • I have heard that this year will be a write off for education. Doesn’t that mean those in year 12 this year won’t have to worry about it til next year? That will surely help some kids, giving them an extra year to study

    • That would be good and some space.


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