Practice makes perfect - VCE Business Management study tips from Alan Wharton

Inge Marais, Marketing Coordinator - Edrolo

Where better to get Business Management teaching and studying tips than from the subject guru himself, Alan Wharton. Alan knows a thing or 2 about getting students exam-ready! He has worked closely with the VCAA, both as Deputy Chief Assessor of Business Management and helping to write the subject study designs from 2004 through to the new 2023 - 2027 Study Design. Part of the Edrolo teacher-presenter team since 2010, Alan’s thorough and careful teaching of Business Management concepts has helped countless students learn and succeed in the subject. He is currently the Commerce and Enterprise faculty leader at Balcombe Grammar School and here shares some of his expertise. 

Alan will be presenting a VCE Business Management student study session on Saturday 7 October as part of Edrolo Study Fest ‘23. Students can find out more, and book their spot here

What do you love about teaching Business Management?

I love the practical, dynamic and highly relevant nature of our subject. Everything that we teach in the subject is relevant to students one day, either as a future employee or employer. For many students who have part-time jobs or parents who work in business, they will have directly seen or heard about many of the topics that we cover. Coupled with the fact that all case studies must come from the last 4 years, makes Business Management a fascinating, contemporary and very dynamic subject to teach.

What is a concept students most often struggle with?

Traditionally I find students struggle with the technical parts of operations management as well as human resource management (such as terms and conditions, awards, agreements and entitlement issues etc).

What are you going to cover in the study session?

I’m going to focus on the topics that students find most challenging, as well as the common errors students make in the final Business Management exam, and how to avoid them. 

I’ll be teaching students how to fine-tune their responses to get the very most out of them, and maximise their marks. Just like the subject of Business Management, it will be a very practical afternoon, where students will get the opportunity to learn and apply, boosting their marks in both short answer responses and the (sometimes dreaded!) 10-mark extended response question. 

There will also be the opportunity for students to submit any questions they may have and upvote the questions of others. Then I’ll answer the questions that will be most helpful to most students. It will be fun and useful!

What’s a taster of study tip that students might expect from the session?

Tips and tricks on how to manage time in the exam so that students get to complete every question. There’s nearly nothing worse than not attempting a question they had revised and knew the answer to, but didn’t get the time to complete!

What will students take away from the session?

Tips and techniques from my experience as a past VCAA Assessor to be able to maximise their marks and avoid the common errors students make in the examination. So that they can finish the year really proud of what they have achieved.

What can students be doing now to set themselves up to be ready for exam prep next term?

Start having an initial look or attempt at last year’s VCAA Business Management 2022 examination as well as the Edrolo progress checks and topic tests to see the typical style of questions. By now they’ve covered over half the content, and students will be amazed at how many of these questions they can already attempt, and it will give them the confidence in how the paper is commonly constructed. 

It will also be valuable to have a look at the corresponding VCAA Examiners’ Report for the 2022 exam, which shows what they were looking for from students’ responses to each question and common errors they may have made.

How can students use your Edrolo Business Management resources to learn and study? Any tips you’d give students who might be struggling right now, to stay across their studies, remember content across classes etc?

Students can use Edrolo’s study planner and self-rating function to identify their strengths and weaknesses in all of the outcomes you have covered with them so far. They can create a hit-list of areas to target and review the content videos for each area, as many times as they like, and then have a go at the quiz questions, progress checks and topic tests until they can confidently turn each area of weakness into a strength.

What’s the one thing you always tell your students for success in Business Management?

Practice makes perfect - if they give this subject their very best shot, they will be proud of what they’ve achieved with no regrets at the end of the year.

Why should students come see you in person?

Learning online is great – you can pause, rewind, re-watch, change playback speed – it’s so convenient! But there’s nothing like face-to-face and getting to have your specific questions answered. I love explaining Business Management in the Edrolo videos – but I’m really looking forward to meeting the students I’ve been talking to all year! 

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