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Ashish’s Hacks: How I Scored An ATAR of 98

In this post, Ashish shares his secrets for succeeding in the HSC.

2015 Matrix Graduate, Ashish Nagesh achieved an ATAR of 98 and graduated from Sydney Boys High School. Ashish was a Publicity Executive in the Community Service Committee at School, where he would promote the participation of charity events. He also participated in the Model United Nations Competition and volunteered in several charity collection days.

Ashish’s HSC Subjects

HSC Subject
English Advanced
English Extension 1
Mathematics Advanced
Modern History
Extension History

It is your HSC Year! It’s important to remember that everyone faces challenges along the way, but after 13 years of study, you’re not going to give up the marathon just a few meters before the finish line. Although the HSC year was a challenge, I still had a lot of fun and was able to cope with the stress of the year, by being involved in numerous enjoyable activities and choosing subjects that I loved!.

Ashish’s Top HSC Tips

Chemistry tips

To succeed in Chemistry, I completed numerous past papers available on the Matrix Learning Management System. I found it very useful to plan out how I would answer long essay responses (6+ mark questions), de-construct the question, and consider the mark allocation for each question before answering the question. Doing these things helped me feel confident when sitting the exams. I spent plenty of time making sure I understood the content.  I also did my Chemistry exam in a different order to how it is set out. My teacher at school advised me to complete the option topic first as it scales better and other students don’t focus on it as much, so it’s a good opportunity to set yourself apart.

Amidst the stress of the HSC, I completely stopped caring about my health. Though quick to prepare, eating frozen pizza every day doesn’t do much other than make you feel sluggish, and it definitely isn’t good brain food. I also skipped breakfast, which is a terrible idea, especially on exam days. Don’t forget to fuel your brain.

Design an organisational system that works for you

I would write a list of the goals I wanted to complete each day on a sticky note, and tick the items off as I completed them. I would then place the note in a bin after I completed the list. The notes would pile up and when I looked at the bin I felt I had accomplished my goals and this motivated me. Although I had set goals for the day, I think this system would work better if I had allocated time slots each day, as this would have helped to reduce procrastination. Find out if you study more effectively at night or in the morning and use that to your advantage. Not only can study be optimised based on time, it can also helps to use learning strategies compatible with your learning style. For example, I am a kinaesthetic learner so I’m able to learn by watching videos.

Making notes

For Maths, completing past papers is the best study technique. For Chemistry and Physics, making notes is crucial. I cannot emphasise enough how important it is to make sure you know the syllabus back to front and can answer every dot point in it. This will ensure you can tackle any exam question. Make notes for each syllabus dot point, making sure to include information from numerous sources. It’s also helpful to get your teacher to check over your notes.

Staying focused

It is important to have a stable state of mind – your health comes before anything else in your HSC, so look after yourself! Always make room to relax with your friends and family. Taking leisurely walks in nature, or kicking around a soccer ball helped me relax.  More importantly, don’t lose your cool after one unsatisfactory result, there is always room for improvement and there is certainly more to life than your ATAR and marks, no matter what happens.


Want to ace Chemistry like Ashish?


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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