Year 12: survival plan

16 - 18 years
Hand holding a compass, with a path leading into a forest in the background

Year 12 is often seen as a year of stress for teens (and their families). These tips will help you all not just survive, but thrive!

Take a bearing

At the beginning of Year 12, it’s important for your teen to consider their Year 11 results and whether they are on track for the final results they need. If there are any doubts, they need to talk to their course adviser or teachers about whether they should make any adjustments. It’s a good idea for you to go to this meeting so that you can support your teen, while letting them lead the conversation.

Learn from the past

Successful people spend time reflecting on their past performance in order to find ways to improve. Before Year 12 gets into full swing, encourage your teen to do this, using these questions as a guide:

  • How well did I work in Year 11?
  • How do I think Year 12 will differ from earlier years?
  • What things helped me do well? How can I keep doing those?
  • What things didn’t help me? Are there things I could do differently this year?

Keep things in balance

If your teen spends too much time studying, socialising or working and not enough sleeping, exercising or eating healthily, their learning and health are likely to suffer. Help your teen to work out how they will maintain a balance in their life, starting with a realistic schedule. Encourage them to stay connected with friends and family, and maintain interests outside school.

Encourage help seeking

The most successful people recognise when they need help and go find it, so encourage your teen to see asking for help as a sign of strength, not weakness. Many schools offer weekly study sessions where tutors and teachers can provide one-on-one assistance, and most will have school counsellors your teen can talk to about broader issues. Make sure your teen knows what support is available at their school, and uses it if they need to.

There are also free and confidential telephone and web services for young people, such as eheadspace (1800 650 890). You can also contact eheadspace as a parent if you are ever concerned about the mental health of your teen (or any young person aged 12-25).

Stay involved

While your teen is transitioning into adulthood, they still need you to stay actively involved in their education. Ideally your teen will see you as a coach or mentor, and be comfortable testing ideas with you, talking honestly about how they are going, and coming to you for advice. To be effective you’ll need to stay across what is required at school, so make sure you go to parent/teacher interviews and other key meetings with the school.

Become a time lord

An important part of this role is keeping track of all the dates that form part of the Year 12 calendar, including assignment due dates, exams, career days, university application deadlines, graduations and formals. Your teen’s school will do their best to keep you informed, so check that they have your current contact details. Read all the notes, emails and newsletters they send, and make sure your teen does the same.

Keep it in perspective

Year 12 is not an end in itself, but a step towards what your teen wants to do after school. There are many different ways to reach a particular career goal, so don’t treat Year 12 as a ‘make or break’ year. Support your teen to do their best, with the confidence of knowing what the other options are if they don’t do as well as they hope.


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Last modified
22 October 2020