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Do this to achieve ATAR success in December

Your big hairy audacious goal might be as vague as “To have an amazing life”.

No matter how big your dream goal, you will need a plan to succeed. If you are an ATAR student you will need a plan that leads to a great ATAR score.


SMART goals are different to big hairy audacious goals. SMART goals are not about dreams, they are about nailing down your dreams into specific, measurable goals.


Example: I will improve my English result by 10% next term by asking my teacher, each week, for feedback and advice about what to work on next.

SWOT Analysis

Once you have your SMART goals, do a SWOT analysis. The SWOT will help you to understand your capacity to improve your ATAR score.

Brainstorm your ideas. Have a friend help or just do it alone.

  • Do STRENGTHS first.
    • Do WEAKNESSES second.
  • Do THREATS last.

Don’t think about your ideas. Just write them down as dot points.

Do a USED Analysis to get your action keys to success

You create a list of actions by doing a USED Analysis on the list of ideas from your SWOT.

Take 10 minutes to go through the ideas in your SWOT.

See how you can Use your strengths. Stop your weaknesses. Exploit your opportunities and Deny any threats.

At the end of your USED analysis, your ideas are a list of actions. These actions are your key to success. By undertaking these actions, you will achieve your goal.

Success Planning

Your USED analysis has given you a list of tasks that will lead you to your goal. Work with your list:

  1. Choose the task that you want to do first. (Break it down into smaller tasks if necessary.)
  2. Figure out WHEN you are going to do the first task.
  3. When will it be finished?
  4. How will you know you have done it successfully?
  5. Create your plan for four actions that you want to do first.


    You are now well on the way to achieving your best possible ATAR score. You have your plan. You know what to do.

    Subscribe to In Focus Careers News to find opportunities that help you to find where you belong.

    Cover of July In Focus Careers Magazine
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    Give yourself every chance to succeed – ATAR Revision Programs for Senior Students

     Most senior students undertake some form of extra revision during the holidays to give themselves every chance to succeed.

    ATAR is still important

    Final ATAR results are still important as:

    • final offers are made on actual rather than estimated ATAR results. 

    • courses with lots of applicants for limited places will offer those places to the students with the highest ATAR scores. 

    • academic scholarships are usually based on ATAR results. 

    Many schools offer revision programs

    • Your school newsletter will identify revision programs or additional support that your school will be offering. 

    • You can often find semi retired teachers, who have been expert advisors on exam content and style, who are available as tutors. Ask at your front office if they have a list of available tutors. 

    • Some of the best programs are offered by subject specialists who advise on the style and subjects of the exams. Ask your specialist ATAR teachers if there will be an ATAR Exam Information session on their subject.

    Private Providers

    Several organisations specialise in tutoring students in preparation for ATAR, OLNA or NAPLAN exams.


    ECU has run ATAR revision programs in the past. You can find the 2023 program here. 

    Academic Task Force    Academic Group     Academic Associates

    Academic Task Force Holiday Revision Courses are designed specifically for students looking to revise ATAR course content and practice exam-style questions in preparation for exams.

    Students will increase their understanding, receive fresh insights and gain intensive revision of their subject during this short course. Each subject is taught by a  highly qualified and vaccinated ATAR teacher with a strong background in marking and writing exams to increase their performance.

    • Rossmoyne Senior High School 

    • Churchlands Senior High School 

    • Duncraig Senior High School 

    • Perth Modern School

    • Online 

    Enrol HERE.


    Master Classes are one hour sessions conducted once a week in term time. Each week they reteach, revise and reinforce the topics and areas of study that the students are dealing with in their classes at school.

    Masterclasses offer students

    •  Ongoing academic support

    • More confidence at school

    • A better chance of success in assessments

    • Individualised help solving specific problems

    • Small group classes

    Find programs for students from Years 7 – 12  HERE.


    ReviseOnline offers specifically designed multiple choice, short answer and extended response questions in a range of Year 11 and 12 courses which match the format of ATAR exams.

    Once you submit a completed test or exam you’re provided with ATAR-standard sample responses and can evaluate your answers against a fully-worked marking key. All our courses are up to date and WACE specific, so each question you complete is improving your exam skills and ultimately boosting your ATAR!

    Check out the courses HERE.

    The Exam Experts

    Nailing the ATAR and getting the results you are hoping for isn’t necessarily about being the smartest kid in the class. It’s about being well-prepared, knowing what to focus on and understanding what questions are most likely to come up in the exams and how to answer them.

    With the help of T.E.E. Consultants’ July holiday intensive exam revision program, Year 12 students can access ten hours of additional teaching per subject, to truly understand the course curriculum and perform better in exam conditions.

    Students are invited to enrol in up to five subjects in Week One of the July holiday period. Country students can access heavily discounted, full board accommodation packages which offer safe, secure, supervised accommodation on-site for regional students who enrol in at least three subjects.

    Courses are run at UWA and at Murdoch.

    Check their programs HERE.


    At inTuition, each student undertakes an assessment and programs are customised to meet their needs. Tutors are qualified teachers or experts in their fields.

    The office is based in Osborne Park

    You can find their programs HERE.

    To keep up to date with news for West Australian school students, subscribe to In Focus Careers Monthly News

    Email for details.

    Save Time Get Better Results with Study Coach

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    Career Quizzes to help you to find where you belong

    Career Quizzes

    Career quizzes are a great ideas starter. 

    They do not tell you that you should take up tap dancing immediately but the ideas you get will lead you into conversations with your family and friends that could spark curiosity in some careers.

    These career quizzes are a sample of career quizzes that you can use as a starting point for your career conversations.

    Check some out HERE

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    Keep up to date with emerging career opportunities in Western Australia.

    Subscribe to In Focus Careers News and share the information across your school community. 

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    ATAR revision programs help you to get to where you belong

    If you want to do well in your ATAR to get to where you belong, these ATAR revision programs will support you to achieve your goal.

    Check them out. Some run during the term, and others only run during holidays. 

    Revise Online 

    Revise Online

    ReviseOnline specialises in providing online education. ReviseOnline offers specifically designed multiple-choice, short answer and extended response questions in a range of Year 11 and 12 courses which match the format of ATAR exams. 

    This was one of the first to offer online revision programs.

    Find information HERE


    ATAR Master Classes Revision Courses

    Master Mind Australia intensive revision of the syllabus and assessment preparation, including effectively modelling answers to ATAR-style exam questions.

    Master mind

    They run small-group tutorials for year 11 and 12 students throughout the term and holiday tutorials.

    Find details HERE.

    Academic Task Force /Academic Associates /Academic Group

    This group runs Holiday Revision Courses in April, July and October at:

    Find details HERE. 

    The Exam Experts

    Enrolments for the July Holiday Intensive Exam Revision Program are open. Classes run from July 4-8.

    Find details HERE.


    Intuition delivers small group classes in most WACE classes, exam preparation and study skills.



    Many semi-retired teachers continue to tutor in their specialized subjects.

    These teachers have a lifetime of knowledge of their subject, what examiners are looking for and tips for success.

    Some schools have started to run holiday ATAR revision programs that employ these experts. 

    Ask your school front office to see if they are running a program or know anyone you can contact.

    ECU ATAR Free Program

    ECU ATAR science-focused revision programs are run during the September holidays at the Joondalup and Bunbury campuses. 

    These are free services to Year 12 students. They are scheduled later in the year. 

    Subscribe by emailing:



    I have found your material invaluable.  The information you have put together is thorough – a one-stop-shop in a sea of information that is out there.  I have utilised this information on a regular basis with others throughout the school.

    (South Metropolitan Government High School.)

    M: 0434 056 412



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    Don’t get on the uni bus unless you know where it’s going

    At a recent university seminar for career practitioners, one speaker complained about West Australian school leavers not going to uni. 

    No wonder they aren’t going.

    • There is such a critical skills shortage happening that employers are ringing schools asking if there are any suitable students for great jobs with career prospects. Students can walk out of school and straight into a job with an okay salary.
    • The State Government has been pouring money into vocational education and training. There is a bigger variety of courses, they are cheap or free and many give credits to uni degrees.
    • Uni courses are expensive.

    Why would you go to uni?

    Those who are not sure what uni to go to, or what they want to study, still get onto the uni bus because:

    • Their friends are going to uni and they don’t want to be left behind.
    • The uni bus came for them while they were at school so they bought a ticket.
    • Their parents told them to get on the bus.
    • Teachers knew about the uni bus and talked about their experiences in a positive way.

    Just because the university bus is ready to pick you up from school, doesn’t mean that you have to get on.   Maybe you want to get on the backpacker bus. Or the Harvest Trail bus. Or the VET bus. Or the job bus. 

    Very few students are 100% sure of the university course that they want to take. About 30% realize that the course they are studying is not the right one for them, and they change direction. Others drop out altogether and end up feeling like they have failed. 

    Check out Leaving  Year 12? These gap year ideas may interest you

    If you are not sure what to do at uni, DON’T GET ON THE BUS.

    The uni bus fare is expensive

    Buying a uni course is not like buying a car. You can’t sell your used course to the next buyer who comes along.

    • If you get off the bus before you get to the destination YOU STILL HAVE TO PAY. 
    • If you fail, YOU STILL HAVE TO PAY.
    • If you change courses, YOU STILL HAVE TO PAY for the part of the course you used before you changed direction.

    You can estimate how much your degree is going to cost you by using the UWA fees calculator 

    Defer uni for a year

    If you are not sure what course you want to do, you can still apply for a place at uni and, once you get offered a place, defer taking it up for a year.  

    After working for a year you will have a clearer idea about which units to enrol in.

    Check out the ideas in Going to Uni in WA – Mind Map for Year 12

    Vocational Courses

    Vocational Education and Training has been the winner in the post-school revolution in Western Australia.  In an effort to support industry, the West Australian government has been introducing short courses, skills sets, and employer subsidies. Industry has been partnering with training providers to deliver skills on the worksite.  There are hundreds of courses available. If you are unsure what course you might like to do or how to enrol find a Jobs and Skills Centre  near you for careers guidance. It’s free. They can tell you what courses will give you credits at uni. 

    You HAVE to do post-school learning

    You can’t just leave school and never study again.  Okay, you can, but poverty could be your lifelong friend.

    • People who have post-school qualifications earn more money and have more life choices.
    • The world isn’t going to stop changing just because you aren’t learning new skills.

    You need to keep up with changes in the world of work either by learning on the job, or online or in a classroom. Getting tickets, qualifications, and recognition for your learning will help you to have choices and steer your career in different directions. The skills you gain may even get you credits in some units at uni. 

    Take Your Time

    More haste less speed is an old saying.

    It means, don’t rush into things. 

    If you are not sure what direction to take, slow down and look around. There are many directions to take as you leave school. Uni is just one of them. 

    To keep up to date with career news for West Australians, subscribe to In Focus Careers

    Bev Johnson Director, In Focus Careers
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    Year 9 Boredom Breakers

    Year 9 is always a tough year 

    Just as Year 9s were starting to grow out of the things they loved doing as little kids, COVID hit.  There is a fair chance Year 9s are bored but not aware of opportunities that are on the table. 

    We don’t know the impact of COVID Year 9s

    • Some may be bunkering down and need more encouragement to approach new ideas.
    • Some may be looking to take control and make choices about ideas to explore.

    If they don’t know it, they can’t do it

    Here is a range of opportunities that may spark an interest and which Year 9s can investigate. 

    Go to the Mind Map to find links to information about all of these ideas. 

    Ask Career Advisors and Student Services at School

    If you want to know more about any of these opportunities, school based career advisors, student services officers and year coordinators will be able to help.

    Some highlights that you may not know about

    Duke of Edinburgh

    Duke of Edinburgh
    Duke of Edinburgh Awards

    Age: 14 – 24 There are 4 sections:

    1.      Adventurous Journey

    2.      Physical Recreation

    3.       SkillsVoluntary Service

    4.       Gold Residential Project



    Coding for Fun

    Ages 7 – 17

    Run by volunteers in libraries, unis and community centres. Young people and volunteers get together to learn to play with coding.

    WAAPA Short Courses


    Age 6 – 18

    Acting, music and dance short courses are run on weekends and holidays.  There are classes for young kids through to those who already have some experience.

    Local Government Youth Programs

    Government Youth Programs

    Every local government council has youth programs. Check out your local government to see what it has on offer.



    Age: 12 – 19

    Fun with Robots

    Teams make and program robots and compete in different challenges. 

    Find all the career information you need for West Australian school students





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    Do you want to study medicine in WA?

    Medicine student

    In Western Australia, three universities offer medical degrees.

    Post Graduate Medicine at UWA and Notre Dame

    The University of WA and University of Notre Dame offer postgraduate medicine. You have to do one degree and get outstanding results in order to qualify to apply.

    The advantage of postgraduate medicine is that you have two degrees, and these can enhance your career prospects. For example, if you studied pharmacy or physiotherapy before undertaking medicine, you would have additional skills and knowledge when both studying medicine, and later when practicing medicine. With the huge competition for places for medicine, it’s critical to think about your first degree being an area you would want to pursue. For example, if you were genuinely interested in pharmacy or physiotherapy, and did not gain entry to medicine, you’d have a career path that you were already qualified and interested in.

    To be competitive for postgraduate medicine, you need to choose an undergraduate degree where you can achieve top grades. Most postgraduate medical programs list the ‘grade point average’ (GPA) you need for entry. For example, UNDA requires an overall GPA of 5.4 or higher. Postgraduate entrants come from a broad range of discipline areas, not just science-based programs.Medicine studentUndergraduate Medicine at Curtin

    Curtin is the only uni in Western Australia to offer undergraduate medicine. You apply to go into Curtin medicine straight from school. 

    Both post graduate or undergraduate pathways have additional testing and interview processes to narrow down the field to those who are accepted as outstanding candidates. Getting into medicine is competitive, in 2022 Curtin had 2700 applicants for 100 places. 

    In Australia, most applicants for medicine apply across the country to attempt to gain a place, often relocating to undertake their studies.

    There are significant cost advantages to an undergraduate entry to medicine. You finish your degree in five years, and have a student debt for five years (not 7 or 8 years). Overall, that cost difference is in the vicinity of $20000 (5 years vs 7 years). You are also working two years earlier, so have an income sooner.

    Find out more about medicine at UWA HERE.

    Find out more about medicine at Notre Dame HERE. 

    Find out more about medicine at Curtin HERE

    Subscribe to In Focus Careers News

    Keep up to date with emerging career opportunities in Western Australia.

    Subscribe to In Focus Careers News and share the information across your school community. 

    Cover of February 2022


    The annual subscription rate for an organisation in 2022 is $299.

    Individual subscribers are welcomes at a significantly reduced rate. 

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    Prepare for Year 12 in 2022. Tips for Year 11s Part 1: Prepare for uni in 2023

    We have been so lucky in WA. People keep saying COVID is coming. Who knows? These tips are to help Year 11s to prepare for Year 12 now.

    It is a 4 part series designed to help Year 11s who want to prepare for Year 12. The 4 parts are:

    1. prepare for uni in 2023
    2. prepare for TAFE
    3. Gap Year
    4. engage with the world beyond school now

    Part 1: Prepare for uni in 2023

    To prepare for life as a university student in 2023:

    • Get uni credits while still at school
    • Use these study tips to get great marks
    • Check out unis at open days
    • Check out courses
    • Check out alternative pathways

    Start Uni Now

    You can Start Uni Now through CQU or enrol in the Murdoch Horizon Summer School. Both give low cost credits towards your degree.

    Improve your chances of getting into the WA Academy of Performing Arts by doing a holiday program.

    Get Great Marks

    I wrote the Study Coach to help you to save time and get better marks.

    You need great marks to:

    • get the most out of scholarships on offer and
    • get into competitive courses.

    Each ATAR subject area delivers ATAR success workshops throughout the year. Your teachers will tell you about them and I will put them into the Infocus Careers News as they are scheduled.

    Check out study coaches and ATAR revision programs HERE.

    Check out ATAR Revision Programs

    Check out universities

    There are five big universities in Western Australia. Check out which one is best for you.

    West Australian Universities

    Get course information

    You get the most information about courses by visiting the universities. Go to university open days. This Cheat Sheet will help you to get the most out of your day.

    There are information evenings throughout the year. Keep up with the Infocus Careers News to find what is coming up.

    There are career advisors employed by every university. Think of some questions to ask. Make an appointment and visit them.

    Alternative Entry Pathways

    Creating a portfolio of your work is just one alternative pathway to university. If you want to try for portfolio entry you will need to start putting your portfolio together.

    Check out the alternative pathways to university in Western Australia HERE.


    These tips help you to create a smooth pathway from school to uni:

    • Get uni credits while still at school
    • Get Great marks
    • Check out unis
    • Check out courses
    • Check out alternative pathways

    Get career news for Western Australians

    Get career information curated for West Australians. Subscribe to Infocus Careers News.

    Bev Johnson

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    Year 12. Thinking of a law degree next year? Think again.

    judges desk with gavel and scales

    There are more law graduates in Australia each year than the total number of lawyers in Australia.

    It may take you years after you graduate to find a job where you practise law.

    DIY Law

    Not only are there too many law graduates for the job vacancies that are available, you can get advice on how to write your will online. You can file for divorce online. Artificial intelligence delivers instant information that law degrees take years to deliver.

    People don’t go to lawyers if they can save themselves money by doing law themselves.

    person holding black ceramic pig coin bank
    Photo by cottonbro on

    The cost of a law degree is now over $70,000.

    The demand is down. The price is up. There is a glut of law graduates looking for work.

    You might think again about doing a law degree.

    Law degrees deliver great thinking and analytical skills

    If someone with a law degree applied for a job I advertised, chances are they would get an interview. The job probably wouldn’t demand law work but I would presume the applicant could problem solve, think of good wording for contracts and warn me of any dodgy stuff that was in paper work. Someone with a law degree would probably be a good employee.

    On the other hand, someone with a business or commerce degree may be better for my business, AND their degree would have cost them half as much.

    Make Smart Decisions

    If you bought a car for $70,000 you would check out a few car sales places before you made your decision to buy.

    five assorted color cars parked inside room
    Photo by Sourav Mishra on

    All universities in Western Australia deliver law degrees. Pick two or three universities and make an appointment with career advisors. Check out what law degrees you can specialise in. Compare the different courses and support that the different unis deliver…. there is a big difference between the support provided by unis in WA.

    Ask current students questions about the courses on Whirlpool.

    Compare employment statistics for graduates.

    Law degrees are great, but they are expensive and chances are you will never work as a lawyer.

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    Year 10 Subject Selections for Year 11

    Parents and students get REALLY STRESSED about subject selections for Year 11.Cat

    Time to RELAX.

    Help is at hand.

    Before you start, know that only one in four university students get a place through the ATAR pathway.

    A report from the Mitchell Institute identified that 26% of university students got their place via an ATAR pathway. Mitchell Report

    STEP 1 Get SCASA

    The School Curriculum and Standards Authority (SCASA) is THE mob that makes up the rules about WACE.  The first place to find information about Year 11 and 12 is in the official Year 10 Information Handbook which SCASA puts out.

    Handbook 2019

    If you can’t find the information you need or if you are unclear on anything contact them at

    STEP 2 Hear Your Dream

    You need to have some idea about what career direction you would like to take.

    Career VoyageMany schools have the Career Voyage program that will help you to nail down a career direction for the near future. If you don’t have access to Career Voyage at school you can do the quiz at a Jobs and Skills Centre.

    I have done this Coggle brain storm of a bunch of places you can check out to narrow down what you like.

    Coggle - Hear Your Dream

    Email me if you would like access to the Coggle map so that you can just click on the links.

    STEP 3 Do You Want to do ATAR??Lockers

    For years ATAR results were the short cut that universities used to choose their students. Things are changing. Competition between universities has heated up and they are looking at many alternative pathways that:

    • enable more students to go to university
    • ensure students don’t fail when they get there.

    Universities are looking for alternative pathways more than schools and parents.


    TAFE has always been flexible with its pathways to learning than universities and there is a huge range of possible pathways offered.

    Job Prospects for Young Job Seekers

    Last year the Career Development Association put on a webinar delivered by Ivan Neville, from the Commonwealth Department of Employment. He said….you really need to get a year 12 qualification, or equivalent, to get a job…..

    Statistics 1

    But there isn’t much difference in employment outcomes between a degree (3.6%) and a Cert III (4.1%).

    The opening of university entry to a wider audience had resulted in a shift towards degrees and away from vocational education since 2008.

    Statistics 3

    There are now stronger job outcomes for apprentices and trainees than people with degrees.

    statistics 2

    Statistics 4

    Step 4 Check Course PRE-REQUISITES

    There are lots of courses that have RECOMMENDED subjects, but not so many have definite PRE-REQUISITES that MUST be done as a WACE subject in order to get into a course. University 2022

    There are lots of pathways into further study and your WACE pathway is just one of them.

    The most direct pathway is however, to take subjects that the universities are looking for. So, once you have narrowed down a career direction to take, check out the TISC University Admissions Handbook. It identifies what WACE subjects you should take to keep your options open.


    The Online Literacy and Numeracy Assessment (OLNA) is the minimum WACE requirement reading, writing and numeracy. It is usually done in 10 but there are more opportunities to sit the Assessment in Year 11 and 12 and even AFTER Year 12.

    Prospective TAFE students who do not meet these standards can:

    1. sit a TAFE Admissions literacy and/or numeracy test administered by Training Sector Services;
    2. be referred to a TAFE college for a Learning Area Assessment; or
    3. enrol in a course that does not have literacy or numeracy requirements, including foundation skills, equity courses and Certificate I


    Step 5 Contact Your Career Advisor

    Tap into the knowledge and experience of your career advisor.

    If you don’t have access to a specialist career advisor at your school, go to a TAFE college Jobs and Skills Centre or private careers consultant to be sure your next step is the right one.

    For your monthly dose of inspiration and insanely great career information subscribe to my newsletter:



    I have found your material invaluable.  The information you have put together is thorough – a one-stop-shop in a sea of information that is out there.  I have utilised this information on a regular basis with others throughout the school.

    (South Metropolitan Government High School.)

    My Commitment to West Australian Careers Education

    For In Focus Careers to be the conduit to Insanely Great Careers Information for West Australian students I undertake to:

    • Write 10 insanely great issues of In Focus Careers newsletter each year that focus on the needs of West Australian students and careers teachers.
    • Search for local, national and international information that could impact on the careers of West Australian students.
    • Connect you with insanely great careers teachers across the In Focus Careers network.
    • Listen to and support West Australian careers teachers.