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Alpha’s Hacks: How I Managed My Time Effectively And Scored 99.75

In this post, Alpha explains how she hacked her schedule to score an ATAR of 99.75 and achieve 99th percentile in UMAT.

2016 Matrix Scholarship student, Alpha Bi, achieved an ATAR of 99.75, and graduated from James Ruse Agricultural High School. She achieved a 99th percentile in the UMAT exam. Alpha hopes to study Medicine at the University of New South Wales.

Alpha’s HSC Subjects

HSC SubjectOverall HSC MarkPerformance Band
English Advanced 93B6
Maths Extension 1 100E4
Maths Extension 294E4

HSC Experience

Surprisingly, I found Year 12 to be generally an enjoyable experience – except the times of immense stress during the exam blocks. Although it feels like exams just keep coming, you actually have ample time if you remain composed and persistent, and the exams are over before you know it.


However, like many others, I found difficulty in maintaining motivation throughout the year, and thus sticking to a study schedule was hard. This lead to a build up of stress in the period just before exams, which, depending on the person, either drives them to study more effectively, or causes one to crash and burn. I managed to cope with this by setting a study timetable early on in the year, which I followed as best I could. When I found myself slipping, I would make up for it on the weekend. Closer to exams however, instead of sticking to such a schedule, I made a checklist of the past exam papers I needed to complete. Ticking off my completed tests gave me a sense of accomplishment, and hence a little push in the right direction. Right before the exam – the most important thing is to be in a calm mindset – reassuring yourself that you have done enough (even if you think you haven’t), as nothing can be done now, apart from setting yourself in a good mood, free from unnecessary worry that would do more harm than good.  A calm mind allows you to perform better in exams.


As exams are stressful, it is important to have a strong support network around you. Make sure you are checking up on your friends, and that you are communicating your worries to alleviate the weight off your chest. Your friends are in the exact same boat as you, so they will be understanding of your concerns, and may have solid advice for you. At the end of the day, your friends will always show you the rainbow that comes after the rain.


Another way to ensure you maintain your sanity is to keep your extracurricular activities! For me, sport is the best stress reliever, so I maintained school sports and sports outside of school. Not only are you maintaining your health, but if you are involved in a group sport, this other form of socialisation is great for your mental health.


Obviously, participating in extracurricular activities whilst studying for the HSC is a balancing act. I was able to manage my time between studying and other commitments by fitting it all in my study timetable as it allowed me to visualise my time ahead and what had to be done – pushing me to be as productive as possible.


Alpha’s Top Tips

1. Make a study timetable and stick to it! 

2. Do not beat yourself up over a not-so-decent mark. Let it drive you! 

3. Past papers are your best friend 

4. Online resources are great. Use them to make your OWN notes!

5. Aim high! But be resilient. 

Alpha’s Final Tips

This year will fly past so quickly, so make sure you put time aside to just pause and ensure your mental and physical health is in balance. Keep a tab on your friends, push through together, and you will find this year to be a challenging year that brings people together through mutual support.



Want to Achieve Your ATAR Goal like Alpha? 

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Written by Guest Author

We have regular contributions to our blog from our Tutor Team and high performing Matrix Students. Come back regularly for these guest posts to learn their study hacks and insights!


© Matrix Education and, 2018. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Matrix Education and with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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