November 26, 2019 Awanti Dahal

Study tips to help you smash the HSC

No doubt, the HSC year is a stressful and overwhelming year for all – whether it be the student, the parents or a tutor. It’s a testing time for all as parents aim to support their child through this challenging ride and most of all, the students as they aim to implement positive study habits and work ethic to carry them through the year. Here are some study tips to guide us – parent or student – all through this daunting journey:

  1. Don’t underestimate the power of the syllabus – even though the phrase, “The syllabus is your best friend!” is overused and highly emphasised by teachers, the true power of the syllabus is undeniable. The English syllabus, for example, is designed such that the rubric allows you to gauge the different possibilities for an essay question. Or the Biology syllabus which lists dot point by dot point each aspect of the content which needs to be covered in time for the HSC. Knowing the syllabus well is absolutely imperative to HSC success – seems obvious, but also often forgotten by students. The syllabus is designed to tell you exactly what you are expected to know. Don’t neglect it.
  2. Use your free periods wisely – although teachers emphasise to students the value of free periods as they permit the student to conduct self-study, students often fail to use their study periods effectively. It can be very easy to tell yourself, “I’ll do this when I get home” and to put off your work for later but when you have the privilege of free time during school hours, it’s essential that you don’t waste it. Of course, there’s a lot of distractions during school (whether it be friends or the temptation to ‘quickly’ check Instagram) but don’t fall for it! If your friends are extremely distracting, sit away from them during your free periods if need be. Or switch your phone off if the temptation for social media is too much.
  3. How handy acronyms can be – no matter which combination of HSC subjects you’re undertaking, it’s likely that you’ll find equipping some acronyms helpful in your study. Some examples – the PEEL structure to help you ace your essay structure, PMAT to help you remember the four phases of mitosis and All Stations to Central (ASTC) to help you remember the signs of the trigonometric functions.
  4. The value of practice papers – as important as writing notes or memorising content is, it has no value if you are not regularly doing practice papers. Testing yourself with past papers allows you to test how much you really know, what areas you need improvement in and teaches you how to manage your time in a timed exam.
  5. The importance of NESA’s Glossary of Key Terms – there are varying expectations for the different key terms used in HSC exam questions. For example, answering a “compare” question is different to answering an “evaluate” question. Thus, it is imperative that students are aware of the different key terms that can be used within HSC questions and how to answer them.

The HSC year is a stressful journey for all. But it’s also a rewarding year. A year where all your hard work comes to fruition, a year of many lasts and many achievements – make sure to enjoy it! Make the most of it.

About the Author

Awanti Dahal
Awanti Dahal Awanti is an Alchemy tutor and writer.