When Senior High School Deals you a Bad Hand...

Updated: Feb 27

It’s been a bumpy start to the year. For any person taking on their senior years at high school, the stakes have never felt higher and it would be understandable for them to feel like the cosmic card dealer had tossed them a hand worth folding. But you only get one shot, right? Grade 11 and 12 happen once and we’re betting it all.

So how can we still win this hand?


Let’s roll with this card game analogy, shall we? I don’t know about you, but the first thing I do when I pick up my cards is that I put them in order so that I can get a good look at what I’m working with. When it comes to schooling, the very best thing you can do is develop an organisational strategy that allows you to have a clear sense of what may lie ahead. Some cards say ‘study’ or ‘homework’, others say ‘extra-curriculars’, ‘assignments’, or even ‘socialise’ and ‘going shopping’; organise these cards. In Senior High School, this ensuring that your schedule is detailed and flexible, you are aware of the tasks awaiting you in each subject and that communication with your teachers is open and productive should you need to ask for help.

This process may not look or feel nice at this point, but whether you’re looking at a straight-flush or a pair of twos, organised is organised. Having a clear view of what you’ve got to work with is going to make it easier for you to know what cards to play.


You may be looking at your hand and thinking, ‘Why bother? It’s organised, but I can’t win with this hand…’. And again, feeling a combination of frantic and defeated would be perfectly understandable. But the bets are down and High School is happening. So… what’s your best move?

This looks different for everyone, but here’s what we like to ask every one of our students:

Which assessment pieces am I facing (in each subject)?

What do each of these pieces require me to know?

What do each of these pieces require me to do?

What are my deadlines?

How can I best prepare for the requirements of each task?

With these questions answered, one of the most common challenges faced by our senior students is figuring out how to prioritise their time. The best formula for figuring out which direction to take is as follows:

stakes X proximity to deadline = priority

When you weigh up the importance of a task and hold it against the urgency of the task, a sense of sequence emerges out of our to-do lists.


As the author of this blog, I’ll be the first to admit that this card game analogy has been a bit clumsy. Kind of like the start to everyone’s school year! But that’s because I’ve not really made it clear what card game we’re playing. As such, let’s reinforce that if you’re going to succeed in a task, you have to know the rules.

In the game of High School, the rules are pretty simple. Life is going to deal your cards and you have to play them in front of you. The aim of the game is to play all the cards in front of you without discarding anything important.

Some days your are going to be able to play many cards at a time and other days you may not have it in you to play any cards at all. But just remember…

You CAN’T cheat, but you CAN ask for help.

The LAZY card and the REST card are DIFFERENT CARDS.

You will double the rate at which you play cards if you have deleted Tik Tok from your phone!


The school year is in full swing. Assignments have been distributed and deadlines are encroaching. For seniors, this means a lot of work and a quirky analogy about playing cards may feel like a vast oversimplification of the high school experience. We hope this framework helps students and parents to scaffold their approach to surviving senior and for everything else – Taggart Tutors is for you.

If you feel your Senior High School student is in need of extra support, get in touch with us via our website – or simply give us a call on (07) 3356 1177.

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