Your 28 Day HSC Maths Study Plan | Free Personal HSC Bootcamp Kit

You've made it to the last 28 days! The HSC Exams are your last chance to pull up your Maths marks, so find out how you can make sure all your hard work pays off with a solid study plan for the final stretch.

mobile Your 28 Day HSC maths Study Plan

The final countdown to the HSC is a stressful situation under the best of conditions. What’s important in the final month is making the most of the study time you have available and not wasting it with indecision, anxiety, or procrastination. To help you stay focused and on track we’ve put together this 28 day HSC Maths study plan and downloadable study planning kit. Read this and the other Guides in the series and use the planner to get your study on track to Ace your HSC.


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Here’s a quick breakdown of your 28 Day HSC Maths Study Plan:


Here is a sample calendar that you can base your studies on.

Remember, it is up to you to allocate the necessary time to study for your Maths subject(s). You can choose to spend or less time than what we’ve suggested, or move some activities around.

Also, if you are doing 2 Maths subjects (eg. Maths Adv and Ext 1, or Maths Ext 1 and Ext 2), then you need to figure out how much time you need to spend on each of them. We go through how to rate your subjects based on your confidence level and your internal ranking in our Overview: Get HSC Ready in 28 Days.

Note: Bolded activities will take approximately 5-7 hours, whereas unbolded activities should take approximately 30 minutes. These unbolded activities are supposed to be small additional activities that will help you further develop your Maths skills.

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
Week 1 Maths preparation

Review notes 

Write exam notes

Memorise formulas Memorise formulas Rest and Relaxation
Week 2 Revise and memorise formulas

Review challenging questions from class and exercises

Work through past papers

Seek help on challenging questions

Study with friends

Week 3 1-2x past paper (exam conditions)

2-3x past papers (untimed, open-book)

Review challenging questions

Mark answers

Practise challenging questions and mark


0.5x past paper for additional maths subject (optional)

Practise challenging questions and mark

0.5x past paper for additional maths subject (optional)

Week 4 2-4x past papers (exam conditions)

Review challenging questions

Mark answers 

Review notes

Practise challenging questions and mark

Seek help

Review challenging questions

1x past paper for additional maths subject (exam conditions)

Review notes R&R 



Before Week 1: Housekeeping

Before we go into your 28 Day HSC Maths study plans, we need to do some housekeeping!

  1. Figure out your goals. University. Degree. ATAR.
  2. Rate your subjects based on your ranks, confidence, and urgency (The reverse ATAR calculator will help you figure this out)
  3. Allocate your time
  4. Set your study subject goals
  5. Write your 28 day study timetable

We go through these steps in detail in our Overview of the 28 Day HSC Study Planner Guide.


Download your 28-day study planning kit, here!


Week 1: Preparation and notes

This week is all about preparing your notes and refamiliarising yourself with HSC Maths content.

It is crucial that you do this because it ensures that you don’t have any missing gaps of knowledge and that you know exactly what to expect when you enter the exam.

  1. Refamiliarise yourself with the syllabus (15-30 minutes)
  2. Organise and review notes (15-30 minutes)
  3. Familiarise yourself with the exam (15-30 minutes)
  4. Revise the reference sheet (10-15 minutes)
  5. Write exam notes (60-120 minutes)
  6. Target weaknesses (60-120 minutes)
  7. Additional: Memorise formulas

Back to top

Next section: Revision and Quiz


1. Refamiliarise yourself with the syllabus (15-30 minutes)

NESA’s Maths syllabus clearly identifies which topics, sub-topics, content and formulas that you will be assessed in your HSC exams.

Take a look for yourself:


Screenshot of NESA’s Math Adv Syllabus: Calculus

This means that identifying missing gaps of knowledge and your strengths and weaknesses will be much easier.

So, you need to:

  1. Read through the syllabus
  2. Rate your confidence level for each dot point out of 5 (for Step 6)
  3. Cross-check your study notes and/or exam notes to ensure that you have all the relevant formulas (Step 2 and Step 5)

You can find the syllabus here:


2. Organise and review notes (15 – 30 minutes)

You should already be writing a set of Maths notes throughout the year.

This should include your important formulas and rules, and any other important notes.

Some examples of important notes include maths tricks, easily forgettable information (eg. ‘+C’ in integration solutions, or units like ‘cm’ or ‘mm’) and solutions to challenging questions.

If you haven’t been writing these notes throughout the year, don’t fear! We’ll simply review your class notes and write exam notes (in Step 5)

So, let’s see how we can organise and review our Maths notes and/or class notes:

  1. Categorise your notes and worksheets based on the topics
  2. Carefully go through the syllabus and add missing formulas and important notes
  3. Highlight important formulas and notes (for class notes)
  4. Read and understand examples for different question types for each topic
  5. Carefully review challenging questions (and work through them on a separate piece of paper if you have time)

Example of a Matrix student’s class notes.

Notice how it includes important formulas (in pink), a detailed explanation of the formula (in black), examples and their solutions (in blue and black), and additional important notes (in purple).


3. Familiarise yourself with the exam (15-30 minutes)

It is important that you know what the Maths exam papers expect you to do.

Pay attention to the:

  • Time limit (eg. Maths Adv and Ext 2 papers are 3 hours long, whereas, Maths Ext 1 is 2 hours long)
  • Structure of the exam (eg. Multiple choice and long response)
  • Types of questions

Here is a list of Maths papers that you should take a look at:

Maths Adv Maths Ext 1 Maths Ext 2

Papers from 2018 and earlier are based on the 2009 syllabus, not the newest 2019 syllabus.

However, Maths doesn’t change. So, this is not an excuse to neglect these older papers.

Instead, just skip over questions that aren’t being tested in the new syllabus.

If you have trouble identifying the topic of the question, take a look at the solutions. You may need to scroll a bit until you see a table that looks like this:


NESA 2001 HSC Mathematics Extension 1 Mapping Grid

This mapping grid identifies the topic that the question is testing. You will need your syllabus to identify topics that are included in your HSC exams.

So, before you begin working through past papers, simply highlight all the relevant questions based on this table and your syllabus. This way, you’re not switching back and forth between your paper, the solutions and your syllabus.

Note: You will find that more recent Maths exams only includes the syllabus dot point, not the topic. If you have the extra cash to splurge, you can buy an Excel Success One HSC’s textbook. It is a collection of past HSC past papers, solutions and mapping grid with the topic name for every question. If you don’t want to spend that money, you can use your own Maths knowledge to determine the topic that each question is assessing.


4. Familiarise yourself with the reference sheet (10-15 minutes)

For Maths Adv, Ext 1 and Ext 2, students are given a reference sheet to use during the exams. Here is a link to the exact formula sheet that you will be given in your HSC exams: NESA’s Maths reference sheet.

You should always take advantage of this reference sheet and use it during the exam.

It is important that you know exactly what’s included in the reference sheet so you don’t waste your brainpower trying to memorise these. You should also know where everything is placed so you don’t waste precious exam-time flipping through the pages of your reference sheet.


  1. Print out the reference sheet
  2. Remember which formulas are included and not included
  3. Know where different formulas are placed on the page
  4. Use the reference sheet as you work through past-papers.

However, this only includes some important formulas, not all.

So, you still need to write your exam notes and memorise the other formulas.



Here are a few pages from NESA’s Maths Reference Sheet that will be provided for you in your Maths exams.


5. Write exam notes (60-120 minutes)

Exam notes are concise notes with all the important information (and no fluff).

You can use your exam notes to memorise key information and rely on them when you are working through open book past papers.

If you’ve been writing simple and concise Maths notes throughout the year, then these will work as exam notes!

Below is an example of a Matrix student’s Maths notes that they’ve been writing throughout the year. See how they are concise, simple and only contain the most important information?

These can be used as exam notes too!

Simple and concise Maths exam notes

They’ve included:

  • Math formulas 
  • Math rules 
  • Important notes (in pencil, in brackets or in the margin)
  • Important and relevant diagrams and graphs
  • Method to solve challenging questions (egi.e. how to solve auxiliary angles)

These are the information you should be including in your Maths exam notes!





Now, let’s compare these with a Matrix student’s class notes that they’ve been writing throughout the year.


Matrix student’s detailed Maths class notes.

These notes are much more detailed and the important information are spread across a large chunk of pages.

Using these notes as your exam notes is inefficient because you will waste more time looking for the right formula rather than studying.


6. Target weaknesses (60-120 minutes)

By now, you would have identified your weaknesses and confusing areas as you went through the syllabus and your notes.

It’s crucial that you deal with these issues immediately so you have time to practice them!

Also, many Maths questions require you to apply different concepts to solve them. So, if you are lacking in one area, this may jeopardise your ability to fully answer the question.

So, how do you identify your weaknesses:

  1. Rate your confidence level for each syllabus dot point (should already be completed in Step 1)
  2. Identify common errors in past assessment and exam papers
  3. Identify confusing or unclear areas from your notes

Once you’ve figured these weaknesses, you need to:

  1. Seek help from your teachers! Send them an email or meet them at school!
  2. Read through sample solutions from past papers or class examples
  3. Review your textbook’s explanation and sample examples
  4. Seek help from friends who are confident in that topic
  5. Practise what you’ve learned with past papers!


Additional: Memorise formulas

Throughout the week, attempt to spend 10-15 minutes here and there to memorise your Maths formulas and rules.

When you do this early, you are able to memorise them off by heart because you’ll continually recall them as you work through past papers.

Here are some tips to help you remember them:

  • Do the ‘look, cover, test’. That is read the formula, then try to recall it without looking at the formula.
  • Read them out loud
  • Write them onto a piece of paper
  • Use mnemonics
  • Practice with example questions
  • Teach someone else



Week 2: Revision and quiz

This week is all about consolidating your understanding and dipping your feet to test the waters!

You should have already begun memorising formulas and reviewing examples last week. Now, we are finalising this and beginning to work through part papers

  1. Memorise and review formulas (15-30 minutes)
  2. Review challenging questions from class and previous assessments
  3. Quiz yourself by going through past papers
  4. Continue to target your weak areas
  5. Additional: Study with friends


Back to top

Next section: Past Papers


1. Memorise and review formulas (continue – 15-30 minutes)

It’s okay if you haven’t finished memorising all of your formulas yet. Spend some time to get it done today.

Once you are confident that you memorised all of the formulas, you should quickly scan through:

  1. Formulas to refresh your memory
  2. Class/textbook examples to refresh your memory on its application


2. Review challenging questions

Last week, you reviewed challenging questions by reading and understanding their solutions. This week, we will take this a step further.

You should:

  1. Identify challenging questions (these can be the same ones you reviewed last week or new ones you recently found)
  2. Attempt to answer these questions without looking at the solutions (It’s okay if you can’t. Just jump to Step 3)
  3. Carefully review the solution and understand it
  4. If you got it incorrect or you feel unconfident, then try answering it again


3. Quiz yourself

This step is a quick test to see how well you remember the formulas and your ability to apply them.

Don’t start stressing! We aren’t doing this under exam conditions.

So, to do this, you need to:

  1. Complete all questions in the past paper without referring to your notes (you can select your past assessments or a previous HSC exam)
  2. Mark your work
  3. Carefully read the solutions to see what the markers are expecting
  4. Keep track of your errors

Ensure that you are always tracking your common mistakes so you can work on them!


4. Continue to target weak areas

When you continue to expose yourself to a wide variety of questions, you will find more weak areas.

Don’t neglect them. Work on them straight away!

So, continue to target these weak areas by using the methods we aforementioned:

  1. Ask your teachers
  2. Read through solutions
  3. Review textbook and notes
  4. Seek help from friends
  5. Continue practising


Additional: Study with friends

Remember, your HSC journey is not supposed to be a lonely one! You have your friends who are on the same journey as you!

Take advantage of this and work together with your friends to improve in Maths.

You can call or meet up with your friends and:

  • Teach each other complex Maths concepts
  • Seek help for your weaker areas
  • Help your friend with their weaker areas
  • Work through challenging questions together

Teaching others is one of the best ways to learn. Why?

Well, when you teach people, you are testing your understanding of the concept. If you are struggling to explain a concept, then that means that you don’t have a strong enough understanding of it.

Teaching people also helps you consolidate and better memorise Maths concepts as you are expected to verbalise it.

You can extend your understanding of your content, especially when your friend asks you challenging questions.



Week 3: Past papers, past papers, past papers

Now that we’ve revised and targeted our weaknesses, it is time to complete some past papers!

  1. Past papers under exam conditions
  2. Past paper open book
  3. Work on challenging questions
  4. Seek help

Back to top

Next section: Revision and Past Papers

This is a rough guide of what you should aim to complete:

Maths Paper
  • 1-2x Past paper under exam condition
  • 2-3x Past papers in your own time, open-book
  • Additional Maths past paper (for the second subject)

Obviously, if you are doing more than 1 Maths subject (eg. Maths Adv and Ext 1, or Ext 1 and Ext 2) then you need to allocate your time according to your study needs.

Increase or decrease the number of past papers you do for your Maths subject(s), and/or move your studies around to make time for your needs.

For example, if you feel like your Monday studies weren’t enough for both of your Maths subjects, then you can do an additional Maths paper over the whole week.


1. Past papers under exam conditions

Does the sound of doing past papers under exam conditions stress you out a little? Well, this is why we need to do them!

Completing past papers under exam condition will help you deal with exam stress and develop your exam-taking skills.

Some benefits of this include:

  • Developing time management strategies
  • Testing your memory of important formulas and rules
  • Practising how to use the Maths reference sheet effectively
  • Improve ability to deal with stress
  • Improve ability to apply knowledge and think on the spot
  • Developing exam-taking tricks (eg. Skipping and flagging challenging questions to return to later)

So, let’s see what ‘exam-conditions’ mean:

  • Closed book (i.e. no notes or formulas, except the formula sheet)
  • Timed conditions (2 hours for Maths Ext 1 and 3 hours for Maths Adv and Ext 2)
  • No phones, electronics of any other distractions
  • Quiet and work-friendly environment
  • Tell your family and friends to not disturb you for the duration of the ‘exam’
  • Treat it like an HSC exam

Aim to complete at least one past paper for each of your Maths subjects throughout the week.

If you are low on time, then you can break the exam up in 1 hour or 1.5 hour sessions. Remember to complete them under exam conditions!


2. Past paper open book

Open book past papers are, similarly, highly beneficial to do too! Each has their own different advantages, so aim to complete a variety of the two.

Let’s see the benefits of open-book exams:

  • Practice answering every question in an exam (instead of skipping questions because you ran out of time)
  • Learn how to properly and fully answer a question without rushing
  • Learn how to answer challenging questions by referring to notes or solutions (instead of skipping)
  • Spend more time working on challenging questions
  • Expose yourself to a wide variety of questions

So, how do we complete an open book exam?

  • No time limit or other restrictions (However, still try to keep distractions to a minimum and study in a work-friendly environment)
  • Refer to your notes if you forget any formulas (However, try to do this as minimal as possible to train your memory!)
  • Refer to the solutions or notes if you need help solving challenging questions
  • Seek help from friends or teachers if you still don’t understand the solution

Try to complete all the questions in your past papers. Treat this step as a learning opportunity to fine-tune and develop your Maths skills.

Once you’ve completed a significant amount of open book past-papers, then you can start skipping easy questions and focus on the intermediate and challenging questions.


3. Work on challenging questions

After working through a good amount of past papers, – both under exam conditions and open book – you should start to solely focus on challenging questions.

These are usually question types that you tend to answer incorrectly or questions that test your subject weaknesses.

To do this, you should:

  1. Scan through past papers to find challenging questions
  2. Work through questions that you previously answered incorrectly
  3. Go through challenging class or textbook examples

Remember, if you need help identifying challenging questions from the textbook, just go to the solutions to find the mapping guide (for older past papers). Select the questions from your weaker topics and work on them.

Always remember to mark your work and seek help if you need it!


4. Seek help

It is very important that you are continually targetting your issues and weaknesses.

If you are unable to understand the provided solution and explanation, then seek help!

Ask your friends who are confident in the topic, your school teachers and your Matrix teachers. Remember to be polite when asking.



Week 4: Past papers and revision

There’s one week left before your HSC exams! We will be doing more past papers to acquaint you with a wide variety of questions and quickly revising over all your formulas, so they are all fresh in your mind!

  1. Past papers under exam conditions
  2. Work on challenging questions
  3. Review and memorise formulas
  4. Chill out

Back to top


1. Past papers under exam conditions

Even if you don’t feel 100% ready to do a practice paper under exam conditions, it’s important that you push yourself to do it! It’s all for practice after all, so don’t be stressed out by what you might score, but rather, appreciate what you might learn from this. You will be surprised how much you actually remember!


2. Work on challenging questions

Doing past papers is great practice, but it can be very time-consuming — Maths Ext 1 HSC exams are 2 hours long, while Maths Adv and Math Ext 2 are 3 hours!

At the pointy end of your exam preparation, you may find that there’s not enough time to do all practice papers. So, it can be particularly time-saving to pick out challenging questions from practice papers to save you from spending hours doing the whole thing, while still ensuring that you continue to learn.

In saying that, it’s important to also develop your exam technique by doing some full practice papers. Long story short, do some full practice papers under exam conditions and pick out challenging questions from the rest!


3. Review and memorise formulas

Maths is all about understanding formulas, theorems and their applications. If you can’t even remember a formula, it’s unlikely that you will be able to use it to solve problems where their application may not be entirely obvious from the start.

That’s why you must allocate time to review your notes of these formulas and their possible applications. However, keep in mind that many formulas are included on the Maths reference sheet, which will be available to you during all your HSC exams.

If you completely rely on using this reference sheet and constantly refer to it during your HSC exam, you will likely run out of time. But, it is a great backup if you happen to forget something or one formula just won’t stick in your memory.



4. Chill out!

You are working super hard, so it’s important to take a break sometimes! Chill out, chat with friends and family, and get out for some fresh air. Trust us, it will maximise your productivity and help you procrastinate less!




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