Wonder how Baulkham Hills High School are consistently ranked in the top 10 schools in NSW? Well, you're in for a treat as we share tips form their past graduates.
What do Baulkham Hills High School students do differently? Over the years, our Baulkham Hills graduates have shared their top study tips for our Matrix Blog readers. In this article, we these Baulkham Hills High School Success Secrets to help you ace your HSC too!
Here, we share some study hacks from our former Baulko students:
2019 Baulkham Hills and Matrix graduate, Jonathan Teng, shares his top tips to turn his ‘terrible’ English marks around!
In Year 11, Jonathan was averaging a ~62%. However, after the Trials in Year 12, he achieved:
|Common Module Reading Task||15/20|
|Common Module Essay||17/20|
|Module C was not assessable for the Trial||–|
Here are some general English tips that Jonathan shares in his article:
When preparing for an in-class essay, practise adapting each paragraph to a wide variety of questions for that particular module.
Give yourself a time limit for each i.e. 5 min for introduction and conclusion and 8 min for body paragraphs
Never be shy to give your essays to your teachers to mark! (both at Matrix and at school)
Feedback from your teachers will be especially valuable as they mark your school assessments!
Ask the students in grades above you for help and tips, especially those who did very well!
I did this the night before the actual HSC and it really helped (though, you should probably do it earlier than when I did it!)
In the rest of his article (Jonathan’s Hacks: How to Save Your HSC English Mark), Jonathan shares more general English study tips and also goes through some specific English Module tips to help you target your English weaknesses. To read it, click here.
Kenvin scored an ATAR of 99.75 in 2017 and intends to pursue Software Engineering.
In his article, he goes through a 3-step process to vanquish procrastination
Here are Kenvin’s hacks to smash procrastination:
Your parents. Your dream job. It could be something as simple as watching people study.
On slow days, I found that going to a library and seeing people study was enough to prompt me to study myself.
Work backwards when making your timetable. E.g. it is unlikely for you to study chemistry the night before an English exam and continue working backwards up to the present.
This will give you a good idea of how much time you have left for each subject.
If you’re anything like me and fall behind in studying by 3 days in the first week, be sure to consider making room in the timetable to catch-up.
Starting and maintaining a study routine was the most difficult part of the HSC for me.
The best countermeasure against procrastination is to just start.
It doesn’t matter what you do, you just need to start doing something to overcome your inertial resistance, then it becomes easier to continue.
Kenvin also goes through his study and exam strategies including cram sheets and syllabus rundowns, and shares detailed tips to ace Science exams, Maths exams, and multiple choice questions.
Read the rest of his article (Kenvin’s Hacks: Overcoming Procrastination and Scoring 99.75), here.
Muskaan, a Baulkham Hills and Matrix graduate, achieved an ATAR of 99.60 in 2020.
She wrote 3 articles going through different study tips, including:
Here’s a piece of advice from each of Muskaan’s articles!
Every Sunday, I create a master list of tasks I want to complete over the week and the days I expect to complete each task.
Breaking down tasks into smaller tasks (especially for assessments), makes the workload a lot more manageable.
Usually, I break down tasks depending on their length and difficulty.
I like to place sticky notes with the dates of my exams on the wall above my desk.
This way I always know what my timeline is and what I am working towards (it’s also extremely satisfying to tear them off the wall once you’ve done the exam!)
Since these are the only two units that will definitely count towards my ATAR, I wish I had prioritised English over some of my other subjects.
If I could redo 2020, I would have spent more time preparing for Module C, since this was what really affected my marks at school.
If you want to read more of Muskaan’s hacks, take a look at her articles:
Rosanna achieved a 99.70 ATAR and state-ranked ALL of her accelerated courses.
She came 2nd in her accelerated HSC Japanese Continuers, and 5th in Japanese Extension in 2018. In 2019, she ranked 3rd internally for Physics.
In her article, Rosanna goes through the perks and challenges of accelerating your subjects, and shares some hacks she used to practise her exam-taking skills.
Here are some of the study hacks she used to state rank her accelerated subjects!
‘Compound activities’ are practices that achieve multiple objectives at the same time, and are especially useful when you’re short on time – like accelerated students are.
For example, I listened to Japanese music, wrote diary entries in Japanese, etc. to almost imperceptibly consolidate my understanding of Japanese (see images below).
Here’s my hidden hack, chew gum! Research has shown that chewing gum can relieve anxiety, reduce stress, and improve mental concentration.
My favourite flavours are Extra’s Peppermint and Lemon-lime sugar-free chewing gum.
The NESA guidelines are a good place to start with forming your exam time management plan.
Break down the ‘assumed time’ into smaller chunks to help you manage your time better.
Also, when you’re checking over your work, go in with the mindset that you HAVE made silly mistakes and are trying to find them, instead of the mindset that assumes you’ve already gotten everything right and are just “double-checking” out of obligation.
If you want to find more study hacks and practices, read the rest of Rosanna’s article to ace your subjects like she did!
Click here to read her article: Rosanna’s Hacks: How to State Rank ALL Your Accelerated Courses.
Saleha achieved 3 state ranks and an ATAR of 99.85 in 2019. She came 2nd in NSW for English Extension, 6th in Legal Studies, and 13th for English Advanced.
In her article, she discusses some of her best study tips that helped her ace the HSC game.
Here, Saleha shares some useful study tips and English specific advice too!
When it comes to selecting subjects, I’m a big believer in going for subjects which you not only excel in, but also those which you enjoy.
This will make you be more inclined to go the extra mile.
After shortlisting the subjects I was going to choose from for the HSC, I found that I was stuck between opting for Legal Studies and other subjects.
Once you have a foundational grasp of the text and rubric, start developing body paragraphs and essays for your text(s) using practice essay questions.
I personally focused on constructing arguments that were strong and complex, yet simplistic in language.
This helped me ensure that I didn’t sacrifice clarity for sophistication.
After the foundations were set, I would then polish up my terminology and cohesion. This stage would take me a week or two, so it was vital I started early!
Firstly, ensure that you deeply understand the rubric for each Module.
Decipher what world-views and skills the rubric for each Module is focusing on.
Try to understand the key terms and ensure that you have a solid grasp of their implications, taking care to clarify any terms you’re not familiar with with your teacher/mentor.
Read more the rest of Saleha’s article, Saleha’s Hacks: How I achieved 3 State Ranks and an ATAR of 99.85, to learn more about acing English and the HSC!
Sid graduated in 2015 with an ATAR of 99.85. He achieved a State Rank for Chemistry (16th in NSW), and was a recipient of the UNSW Malcolm Chaikin Foundation Scholarship. He is studying a Bachelor of Electrical Engineering at UNSW.
In his article, he goes through some Science, English, Maths, and Pre-exam tips to help you ace your exams.
Here are some of Sid’s top tips:
To overcome my lulls, I started studying with a group of friends. By doing this, we motivated each other and ensured that none of us got too distracted by other things.
In order to manage my time between studying, volunteering at Amnesty International and sport, I would plan out my week in detail, so that I knew exactly what I wanted to achieve.
Closer to exams, I would make a comprehensive list of all the tasks I believed I needed to complete in order to feel prepared for an exam.
In Year 11, I got involved with the Yale Young Global Scholars program, which I would highly recommend to interested students.
This is a program that allows you to spend 2 weeks at Yale. Students will have the opportunity to study on the campuses, live in Yale’s colleges and interact with world-renowned professors and other like-minded students.
Make notes that reference the marking criteria from the Board of Studies. This ensures that your responses address the marking guidelines.
Often in Year 11, I would lose marks due to the selective marking criteria.
By tailoring my responses to what the teachers were looking for, I saw my marks improve greatly.
I found Matrix great in this regard since the notes and solutions they provided often referenced previous HSC exam solutions.
In Sid’s article, Sid’s Hacks: How I Scored An ATAR of 99.85, he also goes through other study tips, Maths and Science tips, and his pre-exam routine to show you how to ace your HSC. Read his article here.