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Surviving the HSC

Surviving the HSC

Surviving the HSC

The HSC is a great source of stress for most students, but it doesn’t need to be this way! With the right information and a solid study plan, you can greatly reduce stress, cut down on the time you spend studying and markedly improve your HSC scores!

It’s been shown that the most successful students have a few characteristics in common:

  • They get ahead of their peers and maintain this advantage across the year.
  • They study consistently.
  • They study smartly.

Here are some fail-proof suggestions that past students have used to excel in their studies.

Apply these suggestions as often as you can, and you’ll be well on your way to achieving the higher ATAR results!

Strategy 1: Get Ahead & Stay Ahead

Students who work through course materials ahead of school spend less time on their studies, and achieve higher SAC and examination marks.

Why is this the case?

Students who work ahead of class will often find that even if they didn’t understand half of what they covered on their own, everything falls into place when they hear the information for the second time at school. As a result:

  • They write fewer notes in class and can focus more on what the teacher is saying.
  • Their understanding of examinable materials greatly improves.
  • They don’t need to spend as much time on their studies.
  • Their stress levels decrease.
  • Their confidence in their abilities increases.
  • They become more motivated.
  • They achieve much higher HSC marks.

You should therefore be taking advantage of any opportunity that will help you get ahead. The sooner you get ahead, the harder it becomes for your peers to catch up – maximising your ranking and ATAR result.

How We Can Help:

You can save a huge amount of time by attending a quality head-start program like our Summer School, which is held during the January school holidays. Not only will you cover five times more than if you worked through the same materials on your own, you’ll also receive a detailed set of A+ notes, saving you even more study time!

Strategy 2: Manage Procrastination

Students regularly make up clever excuses to justify putting off their studies, which often results in feelings of guilt, despair or regret when they don’t get the marks they wanted or needed.

The costs of procrastination can be enormous. Not only will it take you longer to complete the tasks you’re avoiding, you’ll also be adding more stress and work to your already demanding study schedule.

Why is this the case?

The longer you put off your studies, the more information you forget, which means that it will take you longer to complete that task. So, unless you really love to study, learn to manage procrastination!

How We Can Help:

  • If you do procrastinate your studies, you should commit to a firm study arrangement – one that you can’t work your way out of, and that provides the tools and information you’ll need to achieve the highest possible ATAR. A learning environment like our lecture programs.
  • To help you succeed in your battles with procrastination, we’ll send you numerous study tips throughout the year that cover great strategies to keep you motivated and on track with your studies.

Strategy 3: Study Smarter, Not Harder

A Stitch in Time Saves Nine

Work consistently rather than letting tasks pile up. Not only will you reduce stress levels and improve marks, you’ll also save huge amounts of time!

Keep Learned Materials in Long-Term Memory

Students spend so much time learning materials and preparing for their school assessments – so why would you want to go through the same painful process before your end-of-year exams?

If you don’t revise learned materials on a regular basis, you will forget most of what you had committed to memory, and will need to waste time re-learning the same materials before your exams. It takes much less time to regularly revise materials while they’re fresh in mind, rather than re-learning these same materials “from scratch” before your exams. Furthermore, regular revision has the added benefit of engraining information within the deeper levels of long-term memory. This will improve the quality of your exam responses, and how well you can apply information to unfamiliar applications in tests and exams.

Start Working Through Past Examination Questions from the Beginning of the Year

Studies have shown that the more exam papers a student works through, the higher their internal and external assessment marks.

Learning course materials will only go so far in tests and exams. Students aiming for the higher marks need to spend time applying their learnings to questions they haven’t seen before, as it is these types of applications that are used to determine which students get the A and A+ marks. If you’re studying a HSC subject and you’re aiming for a Band 5 or 6, you should work through at least 15 exam papers in each subject, with half of these papers being completed before the Term 3 school holidays. This is really important in those subjects where text-book questions are not presented in the same way as in the actual HSC exams.

How We Can Help:

  • Most students will run out of time to work through the recommended number of papers, compromising their HSC results. Not only will an exam revision lecture ensure that you revise course materials in the most effective way, experienced lecturers can cover the course and work through key examination questions far more quickly than you can on your own.

Time Saving & Mark Boosting Suggestion(s):

  • Start working through exam-style questions from the beginning of the year, as each topic is covered at school.
  • Regularly revise course materials so you can cement the knowledge and skills that are needed in order to get the greatest benefits from practise exam papers.

Don’t Waste Time Writing Notes & Summaries

Your text book contains most of the information you need to learn, so why waste time writing notes?

Not only is the notes-writing process the most ineffective way to learn, it leaves you with less time to learn course materials and to work through past exam papers. It is the actual learning and working through exam-style questions that has the biggest impact on your examination marks – not writing and re-writing notes or summaries.

How We Can Help:

  • Every student who attends our lectures receives a detailed set of A+ notes that cover all relevant theory in easy to follow, student friendly language. Our notes also include worked examples with step-by-step instructions, as well as a huge selection of exam-style questions – everything you need to prepare for your exams!
  • Our notes also remove the need for students to waste valuable time preparing their own summaries, creating additional opportunities to commit course materials to memory, and to work through as many examination-style questions as possible.

Time Saving & Mark Boosting Suggestion(s):

Use your text books or TSFX lecture notes when preparing for your exams.

Look For Other Ways to Save Time

There is no doubt that quality revision programs (such as those delivered by TSFX) give students the opportunity to revise large amounts of information in a time-efficient and cost-effective manner.

Not only is it faster to have an experienced teacher take you through the revision process, you’ll also gain valuable information regarding HSC exam marking schemes, and how answers must be presented if they are to be awarded full marks. So attend as many lectures you can, particularly if you’re studying HSC subjects this year.

Strategy 4: Other Suggestions

Avoid Stress

When we’re under high levels of stress, our cortisol levels increase, resulting in the production of ‘mind-blocking agents’ in the brain. These ‘mind-blocking agents’ affect our ability to remember and apply information, reducing test and examination marks. To make matters worse, the amount of information that the brain can process drops significantly, increasing the time it takes to prepare for tests and exams. Therefore, start your exam preparations early so you can avoid the detrimental effects of stress.

Commit

Commit as much information to memory before the end of Term 3. Most students leave their exam preparations to the last minute – periods where performance is greatly reduced by anxiety and stress. If you start exam preparations earlier, you will receive a higher ATAR result.

Chip Away at Your Studies

Take advantage of every opportunity to prepare for your exams. A little study “here and there” can add up to significant amounts of time. As an example, if you put aside just 15 minutes each day for learning across 3 months, you would reduce your exam preparations by about 23 hours!

Writing Notes in Class

Minimise the amount of notes you write while a teacher is delivering their class. Students who divide their attention between listening, watching, comprehending and writing notes will only remember about 5% of what was presented 72 hours later – as opposed to 50% if they didn’t write at the same time. You’re also likely to miss vital concepts, resulting in additional study requirements outside school hours.

Sleep, Memory & Learning

During REM sleep, your brain consolidates and processes the information you’ve learned during the day, forms neural connections that strengthen memory, and replenishes its supply of neurotransmitters. The more REM stages per night, the greater the amount of information that is stored in long-term memory. Therefore, aim for at least 7.5 hours of sleep on regular nights (> 9 hours on days spent preparing for tests and exams).

Extend Beyond What You Learn at School

Extend your knowledge beyond what you learn at school, and read the most popular text books being used across the state. This will expose you to the same information and applications being delivered to other HSC students, giving you a better chance of outperforming a greater number of your subject peers.