Tash: The 5 stages of QCS emotion

Natasha Morton headshot
Tash graduated from USQ with a Bachelor of Creative Arts with a major in journalism. She enjoys traveling and experiencing the world, as well as eating ice cream!

You’re in year 12, and you know that, sooner or later, Queensland Core Skills (QCS) is going to roll around the corner.

You’re uncertain of how you feel about this particular situation, this mysterious QCS test that everyone talks about. It all seems a bit scary, but should you be afraid? It’s time to calm those nerves because here are the 5 stages you may (or may not) experience:

Stage 1: The calm of awareness

QCS has appeared on your year 12 radar, but it is too far away to be of any concern to you yet. You know there is a lot you can be doing before QCS, but the procrastination monkey in your head takes you to other places. Did someone say school formal?

Time to be productive!

Stage 2: Panic

You just received the practice exam and can’t work out which circle should be next in the sequence. On the surface, you’re as calm as a lake, but on the inside you can feel the panic rising. The left-hand side of your brain says you should have studied earlier, but the right-hand side asks how you ever could have studied for such a test.

Spongebob Squarepants and Patrick freaking out.

The best way to avoid this stage of pre-QCS panic is to practice! Keeping up to date with your general English, maths, and science skills throughout the year will help you prepare for the big day, and reduce the amount of anxiety you’ll feel in the lead up.

Stage 3: Confusion fusion

The first day of QCS has arrived and you open the exam. You don’t know whether to feel relieved or terrified. The perusal time flies by with some answers coming to mind, followed by the self-doubt of whether you’ll get it all done in time. It’s time to calm the nerves and tell yourself you’ll be okay. Staying calm is just one of the many helpful things you can do during QCS to achieve your best result.

'There is no secret ingredient!' (Kung Fu Panda movie reference).

Stage 4: The calm in the aftermath

You have successfully made it through the two days of QCS! There’s nothing you can do now to change the outcome, so don’t let yourself worry about the ‘what if’s. Just know that after year 12, there will still be ways for you to work towards achieving your goals, no matter what your QCS results are.

Baymax hugging Hiro from Big Hero 6 movie

Stage 5: Nervous excitement

QCS is over, and a mix of happiness and terror rumbles through your bones as you wait for your OP results to be released. Remember that the biggest thing is that you tried your hardest, and no matter the result, you still have tons of options to get into uni. Deep breath! It’s time to open that email!

Mariah Carey taking a deep breath

It’s important to remember that QCS is just a test, and you shouldn’t measure your level of success or how smart you are on your grades. Don’t forget to use your support system throughout these stages, your friends, family, and teachers are there to guide you through your year 12 experience. So whether you are reading this before, during, or after QCS, just remember that you’re a champion and have got this. Take a breath, stay calm, and remember that QCS is just one part of your journey into life after school. There is still so much more to come, and it’s going to be epic!

For more information on preparing for QCS and to learn more about your post-high school options, check out your free copy of HeyU: Year 12 and beyond.


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