Everything you need to know about the new VCE Methods / Specialist 2023 Study Designs

Interested in how your preparation for Methods and Specialist Maths will be affected by the change in study designs? This blog goes deep into what the changes are, and how that will have an impact on you - keep reading to find out!

9 months ago   •   4 min read

By KIS Academics
Photo by Dan Cristian Pădureț / Unsplash

The new study design (2023-2027)

The new study design will be implemented from 2023 until 2027 so I am sure that it will affect you and every other VCE Methods and Specialist student looking at this blog. Many of you are worried about the new design as some material introduced was not covered in the previous curriculum. In this report, we will dive deep into all the changes in the study designs of Methods and Specialist, and what you should be doing to ‘combat’ these new changes.

Maths Methods


While it may be one of my favourite topics, it may not be your best mate. So, let us start with some good news for you. Yes, matrices are out for transformations. To make it a bit more straightforward, you no longer have to do preparation and sweat on matrix transformations!


Coordinate geometry is no longer listed in the new study design. However, it does not mean that VCE cannot sneak some sneaky questions in there as ‘presumed’ knowledge. Despite saying that there are no prerequisites to do Methods Unit 1 & 2, VCE assumed that students will have a background in numbers, algebra, function, geometry, probability, and statistics. In years 9 & 10, VCE students have covered coordinate geometry, making it a piece of ‘presumed’ knowledge. To make a long story short, if you were planning to do some prep work on coordinate geometry, go on!

Investigation topics (Units 1&2)

Sounds stressful, but it is not. This is not a type of new math concept that you need to spend ten hours on. Turning real-life or theoretical scenarios into more math questions, that’s it. This change allows extended application of key knowledge and skills that you learnt in lessons. Depending on your school, these new topics can be a part of the study outcome assessment.

That’s it. No stress for methods students.

Specialist Maths


A lot of new stuff is being introduced, but your teachers and KIS academics will get it covered. The biggest thing is vector equations. You could be given the position of two points (or information to find that), in both two and three dimensions. Introducing vector equations in the study design allows VCE to implement cross-product, normal or vectors and planes, and the parametric and cartesian equations of the planes. You will also be expected to apply this knowledge e.g., finding the distance between two parallel vector equations. While this may sound a lot, it is not new to students in Queensland as this is in their specialist syllabus since 2020. Hard? Maybe. Doable? Definitely.


Something that you have done in Unit 2, and is now being re-introduced as a part of Unit 4. No big deal.


Integration by parts. Just a new formula, some new questions that you get to familiarize yourself with, and you will get it all covered. Some applications will also be introduced. E.g. Finding the surface area of solids and finding the surfaces of revolutions.

What should I do?

I am sure that you know that ‘practice makes perfect’. So practice, practice, and practice. For you who want to do more questions on these new topics, I suggest you go to the QCAA website and have a look at the Queensland past papers, as all of the new information introduced in the 2023 study design for both methods and specialist is previously in the Queensland syllabus for Methods and Specialist respectively. You are also more than welcome to reach out to any KIS academic tutors, as we have extensive resources and questions that you can practice on these new topics.

Frequently Asked Questions Section (FAQs)

Q: Would this affect my choice in choosing Methods/Specialist as one of my subjects?

A: Not! Some new content is indeed introduced in both Methods and Specialist, and some of them could be hard, but they should not stop you from choosing the subject if Maths is a subject that you truly enjoy. (Plenty of research showing that people perform much better when doing things that they enjoy)

Q: How would this affect my exam preparations?

A: For methods students, you should keep on or revisit your coordinate geometry concepts and forget about the transformation of matrices. For Specialist students, you now have more work to put on in calculus, especially in vectors with vector equations being introduced in this new study design. However, keep in your mind that you are not the only one doing this ‘extra work’. Other VCE students and QCE students are doing the same thing as you are! Keep working and striving for your goals!

Q: I do not understand any of the new concepts introduced in the study design, what should I do?

A: ‘Get help’ (Loki disapproves). Find a friend, or a teacher, or come forward to KIS Academics. We are here if you need any help on any of the new concepts in Methods and Specialists. (or even other subjects!)

Written by KIS Academics Private Tutor Thomas Chan for QCE Mathematical Methods, Specialist Mathematics, Chemistry, Biology, and Economics. Thomas has got a provisional entry into the Doctor of Medicine program at the University of Queensland and achieved stellar ATAR and Math scores. You can view Thomas’ profile here at KIS Academics and request him as your tutor

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