There’s never a middle ground with major works. It’s either a walk in the park, or a long and lengthy struggle through hell.
Whatever your feeling is, a great deal of this divide in opinion boils down to is how students manage themselves, their time and most importantly their expectations while completing their major works.
Being able to work sustainably on something that you can be proud of is the key to producing an absolutely kickass and successful major work.
It seems pretty obvious, but planning your work in advance is one of the easiest ways to set a course for success in the long run. Start with these two actions:
Map out the exact amount of time you have to complete the work.
Protip: This should include various submission dates and in-class reviews with your teacher.
Block out any times you won’t be able to work on it – exam blocks, family holidays, even birthdays or parties. This way you create a clear outline of exactly when you can work on your major and how much time you have overall.
Doing this will help you to avoid some of the panic that comes with realising that an upcoming weekend or holiday will be too busy to work.
Don’t Bite Off More Than You Can Chew
So you want your major work to be not only deep and meaningful, but also have lots of showy and flowery skills to show what thirteen years of schooling has really done for you, right? Right? Wrong. It won’t get you the marks, but it will burn you out.
Remember that your major work is something that you’re going to be developing over a long, but finite, amount of time. If you try to do too much, you may end up sacrificing the overall quality of your work.
Start with a simple idea and build on it as you go.
It’s much easier to add more elements to a high quality work than cut ideas out at the last minute.
When the purpose of your piece starts to lose focus, that’s when you need to take a step back and cut these ideas out.
Play To Your Strengths
While your major work is definitely a chance to try new things and really push your skills in a subject, always remember where your strengths lie and what skills you’ve already mastered.
PROTIP: If you’ve decided to make a film for multimedia and have great audio editing skills you can consider making your own soundtrack.
If you’re a kickass illustrator and you’re doing a mixed-media element, maybe try doing illustration-based work.
This not only shows off a range of skills to markers, it also gives you a level of security when trying out new techniques or ideas, as you know that there’s at least one element of the work that you can definitely nail.
Manage Your Time
Due dates for major works can seem super far away, leaving students to prioritise more immediate deadlines for other assignments and class tasks. While it’s important to manage your priorities based on urgency, make sure that you don’t push your major work to the side in favour of other tasks.
How can you combat this?
Split your major work into smaller tasks and give yourself due dates for each one.
Here’s an example for a Multimedia portfolio:
This way, you don’t forget about your major work, and you can prevent procrastination! Even better, it gets you into a good habit of working on something with consistency.
Make It Your Own
You’re going to spend up to or over 6 months developing your major work, so for your own sake, make it something you care about!
Your major work must be something you can stay motivated for and interested in over a long period of time.
This applies to not only the subject matter, but also the techniques and tools you plan to use and what you want to achieve in the end.
If you want to create grand scale drawings or develop your own website, go for it – dedicate yourself to it and the outcome will be what you want!
Remember that this is your major work, and as much as you want to impress the markers, the best way to create a great major work is to make something that you can be proud of.
Maddison Leach completed her HSC in 2014, achieving an ATAR of 98.00 and Band 6 in all her subjects. Having tutored privately for two years before joining Art of Smart, she enjoys helping students through the academic and other aspects of school life, even though it sometimes makes her feel old. Maddison has had a passion for writing since her early teens, having had several short stories published before joining the world of blogging. She’s currently studying a Bachelor of Design at the University of Technology Sydney and spends most of her time trying not to get caught sketching people on trains.