What is the best Year 12 Study Guide?

A comparison

Whether you’re an astute student and you want to smash your Year 12 with a 95 ATAR, or a student who simply wants to complete Year 12 and get your VCE, study guides are an awesome way to help.

The only problem is, which one should you get? Or should you get all you possibly can? Below you’ll find a comparison of which guides we believe are the best for each different purpose.

Here’s a quick comparison, and you’ll find a detailed breakdown lower down the page.

Study Guide BrandOriginal questionsWritten worked solutionsOnline video solutionsDifficulty levelRelevance to VCAA styleWorking space includedFree sample available
Cambridge CheckpointsNoYesNo2/33/3NoNo
NeapYesYesNo3/32/3YesNo
HeffernanYesYesNo3/32/3YesNo
InsightYesYesNo1/33/3YesNo
Triumph Tutoring (Fortify)YesYesYes2/33/3YesYes

A Breakdown

 

Original Questions

Cambridge Checkpoints is currently the go-to study guide. However, it lacks in original questions. Most of the questions in Checkpoints are taken directly from past VCAA exams, and not custom-created. This makes for a good study guide throughout the year, but when you get to the end you should be using practice exams from Neap, Insight, Heffernan or Triumph Tutoring. These all have original hand-written questions.

 

Written Worked Solutions

Any good study guide will have written worked solutions provided, so all the ones we’ve compared here include these at the back of the book or online etc.

 

Online Video Solutions

Every student learns and picks up information differently. If you’re the kind of student who likes watching videos with voice explanations and real-time working out, Triumph Tutoring’s study guide Fortify is the one for you. I believe that Fortify is the only Year 12 study guide on the market with accompanying video solutions.

If you’ve had times where you’ve struggled to understand the written solutions and wanted video solutions, this is the most easily accessible resource out there. Check out the video solutions that we’ve created here – they are all available for free online on our YouTube channel here.

 

Difficulty Level

Neap is generally regarded as having the most difficult practice exams and study guides. Therefore, I would usually recommend Neap to be the final exams you do before your actual end-of-year exams. You’ll need to get up to scratch before you can attempt them. Heffernan usually provides difficult exams too, so that’s a good last step.

Checkpoints and Fortify provide a mid-range difficulty, which we believe bonds well to the difficulty that VCAA exams actually are. It’s important to attempt Neap and Heffernan (you might as well, you’ll have free access through your school) because increasing your ability with these will mean you smash your VCAA exams.

We’ve found that Insight doesn’t have a huge difficulty curve, so these exams and study guides are probably the best place to start when you first start doing practice exams.

 

Relevance to VCAA Exam Style Questions

We’ve found that Neap/Heffernan are not as relevant to the VCAA style of questions, simply because of their difficulty. They are usually written in a slightly different style to VCAA, whereas Checkpoints, Insight and Fortify are specifically written to match the VCAA style and difficulty.

 

Working Space Available

Checkpoints does not have working space in the book, which can get quite frustrating. It’s especially irritating when you’ve gone through your whole year doing Checkpoints questions in random books and pieces of paper and can’t find specific questions to revise. All other guides and exams have working space, but if you’re going to use Checkpoints I would advise having a specific exercise book just used for Checkpoints questions.

 

Free Sample Available?

Our Fortify series is the only study guide on the market which gives such a comprehensive free sample. Our free ‘sample’ consists of 4 sample exams with all questions taken from the Fortify books.

Check out our free sample exams here.

 

So, which one should you get?

If you’re the kind of student who wants to smash your exams and you’re willing to put in the work, I would get as many of the above guides and practice exams as possible. In regards to Neap/Heffernan/Insight, your school should stock practice exams from those companies for you to use for free.

In terms of Checkpoints, this is a must-have. I used Checkpoints all through my Year 12 for every subject because it compiled all the relevant questions from past VCAA exams into their specific topics, which made it super-easy to study for each SAC. Until we created Fortify, I would have considered Checkpoints the best Year 12 study guide out there.

The issue I’ve found with this, however, as I’ve mentioned above, is that many of the questions contained in Checkpoints are actually taken directly from past exams and not edited or custom-created in any way. This means that you’ll see double-up questions if you use Checkpoints throughout the whole year, and start doing past VCAA exams to practice for your real exams.

Although this is not necessarily a bad thing, it’s still good to have questions that are fresh and new. I would definitely still recommend getting Checkpoints for every subject (except maybe English) and using them as much as possible.

We’ve created our Fortify Study Guide series for precisely this reason. There is no other study guide on the market with so many custom-written, exam-style questions that are so closely related to the VCAA Study Design with written worked solutions and online video solutions. We know it sounds biased, but we genuinely believe that the Fortify series is the best Year 12 study guide out there.

 

To get access to any of these study guides:

Checkpoints – Purchase online

Neap – Ask your school for access to practice exams

Heffernan – Ask your school for access

Insight – Ask your school for access

FortifyPurchase here

 

That’s the comparison

If you’ve enjoyed this comparison in search of the best Year 12 study guide, please share with your study buddies! Comment below letting us know if you found this valuable.

Good luck!