Year 12 exams are not the only door to a great future - Education Matters Magazine

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Year 12 exams are not the only door to a great future


More than 220,000 students go through their year 12 exams each year, in what can be the most stressful time of their schooling years. Many feel like there is only one path to their future; when in reality there are many different options, opportunities and career paths.

To bring this message to life, prominent Australians have joined a national campaign from showing Year 12 students that There’s Life After Year 12 Exams. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Opposition Leader Bill Shorten, Minister for Small Business Kelly O’Dwyer and Australia’s first Indigenous Minister Ken Wyatt have added their voices to a chorus of support for Year 12 students; joining other MPs and Australians such as Melissa Doyle, Osher Günsberg, Conrad Sewell, Jeremy Fernandez and many more.

When it comes to exam time, it’s important for Year 12 students to understand that stress is a natural response – it’s our body’s way of rising to a challenge and preparing to meet a tough situation with focus, stamina, and heightened alertness. However, it becomes an issue when this tips over into unproductive stress and affects students’ ability to cope, sleep or concentrate.

There’s Life After Year 12 Exams is designed to raise awareness of Year 12 students’ wellbeing and help them manage stress and anxiety at exam time, and includes helpful messages of support like these:

• ‘There’s no point being anything other than chilled when you do an exam.’
– Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull

• ‘With the exams, take a deep breath and read the questions carefully: you’re ready for them, enjoy them. The rest of your life is in front of you straight after those exams.’
– Opposition Leader Bill Shorten

• ‘It feels like there is only one door to your future and you’re all being funnelled through it, but there are actually hundreds of doors, and tunnels, and basements, and different ways to get to your future.’
– Mia Freedman Founder of the Mamamia Women’s Network

• ‘Put your head down, have a crack, and hope it goes well. But realise that if it doesn’t work out the way you want, there’s every chance, 20 to 25 years from now, you won’t be where you think you’re going to be.’
– Adam Spencer Radio presenter, comedian and media personality

At the core of the campaign are’s practical information and support, designed to help young people throughout the year, but especially during the stress of exam time.’s tips include:

• Exam time can be really tough on your body. But taking care of yourself is actually as simple as everyone says: sleep lots, eat good food and keep moving.

• It’s normal to feel a whole range of things before or after you get your exam results. There are ways you can deal with the pressure of expectations. No exam result is so important that it will stop you achieving your goals in the long term.

• Making efforts to balance study and relaxation is not only important for your state of mind, but for the quality of your study as well.

• Substances like coffee and No Doz are only a short-term fix – a healthy body is more valuable at exam time.

Resources for educators

ReachOut Schools has a resource package for educators, designed to help them support students (and their parents and carers) through the exam period. The package includes a webinar and classroom resources and is available free of charge on the ReachOut Professionals website:

Get involved

ReachOut invites all Australians to share their message of support for Year 12 students this October and November. Reach out to a student this month to let them know there’s life after Year 12 exams by sharing a video from




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