How I scored an ATAR of 99.25 – Matrix Graduate

Posted on September 9, 2013 by Matrix Education

These top tips have been provided by a Matrix Graduate who wishes to remain anonymous.

1. Time management

It might seem obvious, but it’s easier said than done. Nobody wants to be the student who can barely keep their eyes open during an exam because they tried to cram the night before. This often leads to misunderstanding questions and poorly structured answers, ending in a disappointing mark.

At the beginning of Year 12, I told myself that on school days I’d study 5 hours a day. It worked for about a week before a new pattern emerged, where I’d study about 2 hours worth of work for 5 hours. Quality is more important than quantity. It’s more effective to write a realistic list of what you want to finish in one day, break it into manageable chunks, and work through it as efficiently as possible so you have more free time to relax.

2. Learn from your mistakes

One of the advantages of the HSC lasting a full year is that you have the opportunity to make up for any school assessments where your results weren’t as strong as you hoped. Evaluate what you did and didn’t do well in preparation for the assessment, and if you don’t know, ask your teacher. Most importantly, apply these ideas when you’re preparing for your next assessment. Making a mistake is okay, but it’s embarrassing to make the same mistake twice.

3. Practice makes perfect

This applies to every subject- the more you practice, the better prepared you’ll be. For Maths, once you understand the theory, attempt as many textbook and past examination questions as you can. This will build your confidence and introduce you to a variety of question types. So, by the time you’re sitting your exam, you should recognise how to approach the question immediately. For English, write as many practice essays as you can and ask your teacher for feedback.

4. Discipline

I had really low self-discipline, which led to a lot of procrastination at the start of Year 12. Although many students have enough self-control to stay focused while they’re studying, for those who can’t, remove EVERY distraction from around you. If you can’t stop yourself from browsing the Internet or playing on your phone, turn them off! Study in an environment where you know you won’t get off-track, like going to the library alone.

Finally, want to succeed for yourself, rather than, say, your parents. If you tell yourself “I have to do well otherwise I’ll dishonour my family name” or whatever, you’re motivated for the wrong reasons. But, if you tell yourself “I want achieve an ATAR of X because then I’ll be able to study Course A and pursue something I’m passionate about”, you’re on the right track.


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