Matrix Blog



How I Scored An ATAR of 98.75 – Donna Lai

In this post, Donna shares her tips for scoring an ATAR of 98.75.


Hey Year 12s! I know exactly how you are feeling. You’re nearing the end of your high school journey. Many of you undoubtedly feel anxious, stressed, and uncertain with the HSC before you. Well here are a few tips that I gained during my final year of high school. Hopefully they can help you as you progress. Good luck!

HSC Subjects

Subject Units
English Advanced 2 units
Maths Advanced 2 units
Maths Extension 1 1 unit
Maths Extension 2 1 unit
Physics 2 units
Chemistry 2 units
Ancient History 2 units

Choose Subjects That You Enjoy

Don’t choose subjects solely on the basis that they supposedly scaled well last year, because scaling changes every year. Also, try not to base your subject choices on what your parents want you to do. It is important to realise that it is YOU who will be sitting in the exam hall, and YOU who will be putting in the hard work for each assessment. Your genuine enjoyment of the subjects you’ve chosen to study will serve to make your HSC life more enjoyable. Rather than rote learning, you will be learning information that you find interesting and, in turn, be able to retain the information more easily.

Every Mark Counts So Stay On Top of Assignments and Homework

One thing I wish I had been more mindful of at the beginning of the year is that internal marks are equally as important as the HSC exams themselves. Even if one assessment is worth only 5% and another 40%, try not to disregard the one worth 5%. Every mark counts, and that’s why it is important to keep yourself organised. In Year 12, I used my school diary to mark down key dates, map out ideas and manage my time, and I found that I could better focus on each of my subjects.

Keep Yourself Emotionally Stable

It is normal to feel frustrated, anxious and stressed knowing that the HSC is less than a year away, but it is important not to let those feelings affect your performance. What I found to be particularly helpful before an exam was staying away from people who express negativity because they can make you more anxious. To help yourself relax before the exam, try deep breathing and focusing your attention on your breath. Also, plan to arrive with plenty of time to spare, and eat a decent meal beforehand so that your mind isn’t elsewhere whilst sitting the exam.

Be Optimistic

The HSC is, in fact, only the beginning. Don’t give up partway through Year 12 just because someone underestimates your ability to enter the university course you aspire to undertake, or your ATAR estimate isn’t what you hoped it would be. Always try your best. As people say, every cloud has a silver lining. Rather than admitting defeat because something has not gone the way you wanted, take it as a source of motivation to try harder next time.

Your ATAR does not define who you are. The most important thing, I believe, is simply to work hard in order to achieve your personal best.

Have an ATAR Goal but No Plan?

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!


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