SOUTH-WEST VCE students are preparing to sit a general knowledge exam, but some teachers question whether the standardised test adds unnecessary stress to students' senior years.
Nearly 840,000 students will sit the three-hour General Achievement Test on Wednesday, including 650 students in Warrnambool.
The test assesses students' general knowledge in humanities and sciences through two writing tasks and a multiple-choice section, and could provide a derived final ATAR score if a student was unable to complete their final exams for reasons such as illness.
Once known as a generalist test students didn't study for, about 270 year 11 and 12 students at Warrnambool's Emmanuel College, including school captain Zara Lukeis, have prepared by sitting past exams.
"Even though you can't really prepare for it, like with the whole VCE process, you just have to try your best," Zara said.
"As long as you do the best you can and expose yourself to the different types of questions, it will pay off."
The senior school's head Shane Smith said while the test was a necessary backup for students, many teachers believed it was antiquated and should be reviewed.
"I don't think it matches where the kids need to go in the future. It's well and truly old fashioned," Mr Smith said.
"We are still going back to that same system that is not matching with the pathways we are asking kids to go on like being adaptable and flexible."
The Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority also uses GAT results to compare and adjust coursework assessments made throughout the year by individual schools, meaning a school's results could impact on its students' final scores.
"The concern is we are still putting a lot of emphasis on a test in the middle of the year which kids haven't necessarily had a lot of background or preparation in," Mr Smith said.
Warrnambool College senior school co-ordinator Brad Henricksen said the 210 students who would sit the test had also sat practice exams in recent weeks.
"You've got to sell it as a test that you have to try your best at," Mr Henricksen said. "You will never get 100 per cent on the GAT, it's about demonstrating what you do know."
He said about five per cent of students at the school needed a derived score from the test each year.
The state government announced last year that the GAT would be modified in 2021 to show whether a student had met literacy and numeracy standards expected for workforce entry from school.
Mr Henricksen said the increased significance of the test could mean a doubling up of assessments for students who were already doing maths and english.
"Getting a one day snap shot of their english and maths ability, is that a good snap shot? We always say how testing only tests one day, whereas a teacher sees you for a whole year and knows what your ability is," he said.
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