Year 8 High School Survival Guide

In this article, we will explain what your child can expect in Year 8, discuss why it's important to help them consolidate their skills, and the importance of establishing good routines and study habits now.

year 8 survival guide

Your child may have completed Year 7, but do you understand what that means? Do you know what changes to expect for your child as they begin Year 8?

In this article we discuss:

An overview of Year 8

The end of Year 7 signals the completion of your child’s transition to High School. Year 7 has introduced them to:

  • A new scholastic system
  • The responsibility to take the initiative with their study habits and patterns

Year 8 students are now clearly high school students and are given the opportunity to develop the skills acquired in Year 7.

No NAPLAN in Year 8

There is no Year 8 NAPLAN assessment, and so students often neglect the immediacy of learning and improving their skills and knowledge. However, just because there are no significant assessments in Year 8 doesn’t mean that Year 8 is not important.

What’s expected of students in Year 8

Students must be prepared for the following when transitioning into Year 8:

  1. They must expect an increase in conceptual difficulty
  2. They need to consolidate their Stage 4 learning
  3. They must expect an increase in homework
  4. they need to take greater personal responsibility

Just because there is no urgency in the Year 8 assessment schedule doesn’t mean that Year 8 is not important.

Common issues among Year 8 students:

  • Students have trouble establishing routines – Students struggle with the sudden increase in workloads and school and extra-curricular commitments throughout high-school. Developing consistent routines early on will help students manage these things.
  • Students aren’t organised – Many Year 8, students have not become used to organising themselves. They often don’t know what they need to do ahead of time to get the best results and make their lives easier. They must learn to work smarter, and not just harder.
  • Students don’t polish their skills – Often Year 8 students don’t practice their skills and take their mastery for granted. It is important that students remember that they need to keep improving their abilities.
  • Students don’t develop their critical thinking skills – Often students don’t prioritise or plan things logically. This is an application of critical thinking skills. These are essential for your child’s scholastic success.

Year 8 is a crucial stage for students to develop their critical thinking skills.

Let’s have a look at the differences between Year 7 and 8 to see what is in store for your child.

Year 7 vs Year 8

Year 8 has new challenges for students but is still part of Stage 4. Many parents are unsure of exactly what this means for their child.

Here’s a table to help you understand the changes:

Year 7 Year 8
Table: Comparison of Years 7 and 8
Concepts Introduce new concepts Consolidate and master concepts before advancing to stage 5.
Subjects English

Mathematics

Science

Creative Arts

Human Society and its Environments

Languages

PDHPE

Technology and Applied Studies

English

Mathematics

Science

Creative Arts

Human Society and its Environments

Languages

PDHPE

Technology and Applied Studies

Homework 1 hour per day 1.5 hours per day
NAPLAN Year 7 Assessment No NAPLAN

In Year 8,

  • Students continue Stage 4 – This means that there are no new expectations placed on students.
  • Students consolidate their learning – While students learn new things in Year 8, the focus is on consolidating skills to ensure they have mastery of them.
  • Existing ideas become more complex – The existing knowledge that students have is applied in more complex ways.
  • Students rotate through a subject cycle – Many schools will rotate students through several elective subjects over year 7 and 8. For example, students might do French one year and Mandarin the next, or History one year and geography the next. This is to help students decide what subject they enjoy.
  • Receive more homework – The further a child progresses into high school, the more responsibility for they are given for their own learning. In English and History, students will be given more research projects that require them to find out information for themselves.

Year 8 is all about consolidating knowledge and skills.

As you can see, Year 8 is about developing skills and entrenching skills and routines. This is an important stage of development for your child.

What is Stage 4?

The NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) divides the learning outcomes for students 6 Stages for Kindergarten through to Year 12.

  • Each Stage is comprised of two grades, i.e Stage 4 is comprised of both Years 7 and 8.
  • Each Stage has a specific list of Outcomes. These are the levels of attainment that students should achieve for that Stage.
  • The syllabus is structured so that students consistently accrue and develop skills between Kindergarten and Year 12.
  • We will look at some specific stage 4 outcomes as we discuss the English and Mathematics syllabuses. More information about Stage 4 can be found on the NESA website.

Subjects in Year 8

Year 8 students will learn the following compulsory subjects:

  • English
  • Mathematics
  • Science
  • History
  • Geography

Your child’s school and teachers will also select elective subjects for them to study. These elective subjects will be drawn from these broad subject areas:

  • Creative Arts
  • Human Society and Its Environment
  • Languages
  • Personal Development, Health, and Physical Education (PDHPE)
  • Technological and Applied Studies

Students will need to follow a timetable to know which subject they have at what time on any given day. Sometimes they may even have the same subject in different classrooms on different days. For example:

Table: Sample Year 8 Timetable
  Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
Period 1 Italian

Ms Coppi Rm:C23

PDHPE

Mr Tucky Rm:Gym

History

Mrs Kaiser Rm:H5

Italian

Ms Coppi Rm:C23

English

Dr Grunfelt Rm:C23

Period 2 English

Dr Grunfelt Rm:H4

Maths

Mr Fermat Rm:A2

Geography

Mrs Capricorn Rm:H5

Science

Dr White Rm:S54

Maths

Mr Fermat Rm:A1

Period 3 Science

Dr White Rm:S54

Italian

Ms Coppi Rm:C23

Music

Mr Gliss Rm:Music Room

English

Dr Grunfelt Rm:H4

Maths

Mr Fermat Rm:A1

Period 4 Science

Dr White Rm:S54

History

Mrs Kaiser Rm:H5

Art

Mr Nalon Rm:Art Studio

English

Dr Grunfelt Rm:H4

Art

Mr Nalon Rm:Art studio

Period 5 Maths

Mr Fermat Rm:A2

Geography

Mrs Capricorn Rm:H5

Design and Technology

Ms Fard Rm:Workshop

Sport

Mr Tucky

Pastoral Care

Rm: Homeroom

Year 8 English

The texts year 8 students study become increasingly complex compared to year 7. However, as Year 8 is part of Stage 4 students work towards the same outcomes.

NESA has provided a set of specific outcomes for Stage 4 English. Matrix Theory Books are designed to help students achieve the complete list of Stage 4 Outcomes:

  1. Responds to and composes texts for understanding, interpretation, critical analysis, imaginative expression and pleasure
  2. Effectively uses a widening range of processes, skills, strategies and knowledge for responding to and composing texts in different media and technologies
  3. Uses and describes language forms, features and structures of texts appropriate to a range of purposes, audiences and contexts
  4. Makes effective language choices to creatively shape meaning with accuracy, clarity and coherence
  5. Thinks imaginatively, creatively, interpretively and critically about information, ideas and arguments to respond to and compose texts
  6. Identifies and explains connections between and among texts
  7. Demonstrates understanding of how texts can express aspects of their broadening world and their relationships within it
  8. Identifies, considers and appreciates cultural expression in texts
  9. Uses, reflects on and assesses their individual and collaborative skills for learning

It is important for students to read continually throughout Year 8. This means reading texts that are not studied at school this will continue to hone students’ skills for reading, comprehension, and analysis. At Matrix, students study a variety of text types to specifically address the Stage 4 outcomes.

Students must master writing in PEEL paragraphs to communicate their increasingly complex ideas.

The table below outlines the Year 7 and 8 English programs at Matrix;

Table: Matrix Year 7 and 8 English Program
Year 7 Year 8
Oct – Dec  Introduction to Reading Texts  Journalism and Poetry
Feb – Apr Introduction to Analysing Texts Texts Through Time
Apr – Jun Introduction to Persuasive texts Representation and Perspective
Jul – Sep Introduction to Shakespeare Shakespeare – Romeo and Juliet

For many students, Year 8 will be the first time they encounter Shakespeare. Shakespeare is an important figure in English literature. Students undertaking English Advanced in Year 12 must study a Shakespearean play. In addition, students will keep developing their communication skills. Key amongst these is the ability to write complex analytical paragraphs.

Year 8 students can expect to face questions like this for English at school,

Image: Year 8 Sample English Question

Year 8 Mathematics

Year 8 Mathematics further develops students skills and consolidates their existing knowledge. The mathematics topics that students learn in Stage 4 (year 7 and 8) are outlined below:

  • Computation with Integers
  • Fractions, Decimals and Percentages
  • Financial Mathematics
  • Ratios and Rates
  • Algebraic Techniques
  • Indices
  • Equations
  • Linear Relationships
  • Length
  • Area
  • Volume
  • Time
  • Right-Angled Triangles
  • Properties of Geometrical Figures
  • Angle Relationships
  • Data Collection and Representation
  • Single Variable Data Analysis
  • Probability

More detailed information about Stage 4 Mathematics can be found on the NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) website. At Matrix, students address all of the topics set by NESA in their Year 8 Mathematics Theory Books. Each lesson is designed to ensure students meet the Stage 4 outcomes.

Year 8 students will learn how to solve more difficult equations. These will have real-world applications and feature one and two variables or unknowns. Students will be introduced to statistics. They will study introductory probability, single variable data analysis and their practical applications.

Year 8 Mathematics teaches students practical skills that have important applications in the real world.

The table below outlines the Year 7 and 8 Mathematics program at Matrix:

Table: Matrix Year 7 and 8 Mathematics Program
Year 7 Year 8
Oct – Dec Directed Numbers
Fractions
Decimals & Percentages
Indices
Algebraic Techniques
Linear Relationships
Feb – Apr Algebraic Techniques
Financial mathematics
Ratio
Time
Equations
Rates
Length
Area
Apr – Jun Algebraic Equations
Angle Relationships
Properties of Geometrical Figures
Length & Area
Algebraic Techniques
Equations
Properties of geometrical figures
Volume and Capacity
Jul – Sep Pythagoras’ Theorem
Area
Linear relationships
Data Collection & Representation
Probability
Similarity
Financial Mathematics

A year 8 student needs to be confident answering questions like this:

Image: Sample Mathematics Problem

We hope this survival guide and the links provided are a useful resource in preparing you for what’s to come in Year 8, and in achieving your academic ambitions.

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