How to maximise the school holidays

4 January 2016
4 January 2016 The Alchemy Team

How good are school holidays? 6 weeks of sleep-ins, video games and Netflix.

But if you are in year 12, you might have noticed an annoying little someone nagging at your conscience. This guy sits on your shoulder each day and whispers sweet nothings to you that go a little something like this:

“You shouldn’t be playing FIFA – you should be studying”

“You don’t need to go out tonight – you need to revise legal studies”

“That major work might be due in 6 months, but you should really get started on it now”

And you laugh and you brush that little guy away. You tell yourself that it is your holidays – that you deserve your time off. ‘Next week’ you say, ‘It’s Netflix and Chill time’. And you repeat it each week until it is mid-January and you haven’t touched a pen in 5 weeks.

I want to be real with you. I’ve been in this game for over a decade, and time and time again I see that the best performers in the HSC are those that maximise every opportunity they have – those that make the most of the school holidays.

Yes you deserve a break. Yes this will probably be the last break you will get. But there is no reason you can’t spend a few hours a day getting your affairs in order. Or if you haven’t read anything more than status updates and Reddit since you finished in December, there is still time to make these holidays count.

Here are the 5 biggest mistakes I see HSC students make in the Christmas holidays and how to avoid them:

Failure to read/watch/explore their English texts.


Do you know how much you can achieve in 6 weeks? Put aside an hour a day to watch/read/explore your upcoming English texts. You might have smashed your discovery text already, and if your teacher is on the ball, maybe even your next module, but it still leaves a handful of texts you need to cover. Don’t waste this time! Read your books, study your poems and speeches and watch your movies. You don’t have to know them well, but if you have at least covered them once you will be in a much stronger place when you cover them in school.

Also, choose your related texts! (if you need ideas, just ask me!)

Neglecting your major work.

I was guilty of this in my own HSC (who knew you had to do a major work in History Extension?). I know how easy it is to think you’ve got more than enough time to nail those major works but trust me – you don’t. The HSC comes in waves – you will go from feeling free to feeling like the busiest person on earth.

In a space of weeks. Seriously.

Understand that the HSC is a marathon and not a sprint – you need to sustain yourself through the year, and if you don’t get started soon it will hit you like a ton of bricks.

Please, if not for yourself, for me, get started on your major works now.

Forgetting year 11 content

This is especially relevant for subjects like maths that include prelim content in the exam. Use this time to go back over the year 11 stuff that you have already covered and cement it. Get it locked in. That way you don’t have to worry about it later.

Lack of practice

Learning is 100% a muscle. If you stop, the muscle shrinks. And you want dem gainz right? Don’t let this 6 week block mess you up. Do essays and exercises. See your tutor. Go to seminars. This is the best time for you to get the edge on everyone else.

Embracing opportunities

This is a great time to do things like smashing your AOS creative writing. It is an often neglected section in class, so use this time to come up with 2 or 3 stories that you are really happy with and get someone to read them. Someone good. Not your mum. Unless your mum is an HSC marker.

Make the most of this time by doing everything you will wish you had done in 3 months.Considering a tutor for your child? We can help! We have amazing tutors ready to go that will help your child grow in confidence, love the learning experience and ultimately realise what they are capable of. Learn more here and book their first lesson online today!

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