In this post, George Ge explains his hacks for nailing an ATAR of 98.55.
Name: George Ge
School: Sydney Boys High School
Grade: Year 12 (2017)
A Little About Me:
My name is George Ge and I go to Sydney Boys High School. I’m an avid sportsperson, having participated in swimming, table tennis, badminton, tennis, and fencing for extended periods of time.
Ever since I was young, I’ve also had a strong interest in aeronautics, and I was often glued to the television screen watching documentaries about famous aircraft designers such as Kurt Tank. As a result, I was fortunate enough to have a set goal to work towards throughout my schooling period.
To achieve my ATAR goal, I decided to do English Advanced, Maths Extension 1 and 2, Physics, and Economics. In Year 11, I also did German, although I dropped the subject once I entered Year 12.
Currently, I’m performing the best in Physics, because of my strong interest in the subject stemming from my childhood fascination with planes. The maths is not as complicated as Extension 2 Mathematics, and the subject area itself is very interesting to me. As a result, I’ve always had a strong motivation to do well and thus applied myself extensively to the area.
My worst subject is English, although recently I’ve managed to improve and develop a more cohesive understanding of the topic. My poor grades in the area originate from a distaste for reading traditional literature such as Shakespeare – causing me to feel unmotivated. Fortunately, overcoming this has improved my work ethic in the subject and it is probably the subject I spend my most time on now. The Beginner’s Guide to Acing HSC English is a good online resource to help you get started.
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My school holidays are usually spent attending the Matrix Holiday Accelerated Courses, although when I don’t attend them, I self-study. For example, during the Christmas long break I managed to complete at least 3-4 hours of work to read material that I knew I would learn in the new term. This would generally be split into two sessions, one before and then after lunch. That allowed me time in the evening to still relax and enjoy my holidays while still working ahead and giving myself an advantage when term started.
During the holidays I attended the Matrix Mathematics Extension 1 and Matrix Physics courses. This meant that I was undertaking the courses from 9:30am – 12:20pm and 1:30pm – 4:30pm. Once I returned home, I would then complete the homework from each subject which would usually take around three hours in total.
This was my approach to keeping myself productive during the school holidays with very little time wasted.
Here is my routine:
Of course, this rhythm only works when I am not distracted or procrastinating. Once I get distracted, this timeline pretty much falls apart. In order to prevent this, I allow myself to do whatever I want in my breaks to act as motivation (I usually read a novel or surf Facebook). But I consistently remind myself that when I study, I must focus. If things get too out of hand, I resort to just studying using pen and paper and switching off the computer and my phone.
Play sport, a lot. Most of my training sessions for sport are in the morning, as I mentioned previously. The competition matches are also held on the weekends, keeping my afternoons during the weekend mostly free. As a result, I’ve been able to balance my commitments, and I have also noticed that sport has allowed me to focus more greatly on my studies.
During the school term:
My proudest achievement so far this year is winning the GPS Tennis 2nd Grade Premiership for the first time in my school’s history. Not only was it an amazing sporting achievement for me, it also demonstrated the perfect balance between academic and co-curricular excellence that I had managed to find at the time.
I wish someone told me earlier and more more forcefully the great importance of English. If I had put in half the effort I put in now at the beginning of my high school life, I am almost certain that my grades in the subject would be excellent. Being more focused on actual practice questions rather than opting to try and memorise theory for all my subjects is another aspect of study that I wish I did differently.
If I could start the year again, I would have continued continuing my sporting commitments throughout the entirety of year 12. Moving from a high intensity training regime to almost no exercise at all was a huge shock for my system, and I paid for it with deteriorating health. I also noticed an increasing lack of focus. These observations only served to reinforce the importance that having a healthy body is for the mind.
My advice would be to live a balanced life in your senior years of high school and not allow study to devour every aspect of your life.