In this post, Claudia explains how she scored an ATAR of 98.20.
I know exactly how you are feeling. You’re about to complete your final year of school and the dreaded HSC is on your doorstep.
But don’t stress! Here are some tips I have learnt that helped me gain the most out of my study time and allowed me to finally reach my ATAR goal.
Making notes are one of the most helpful and essential forms of study (for all subjects) and, when you keep on top of your notes and put some real effort into them, they make your whole year so much easier! I found for me it was best to handwrite my notes in a study book, dedicating half a page for each dot point and including things such as theory, diagrams and even some past HSC questions. When writing your notes, make sure you gather information from a variety of sources such as your Matrix book, school notes, your textbook and internet sites. However, once your notes have been made don’t forget about them, keep revising and adding information.
Test out a variety of different strategies for memorising your notes. I’m more of a visual learner so I found it helpful to make flash cards, draw diagrams and re-summarise my notes. If this kind of study doesn’t work for you, try other methods like reading your notes out loud or recording yourself saying your notes and listening to it. Just skimming over your notes isn’t enough to remember the large bulk of information you need to get top marks in the exam.
Once you have made your notes, completing and marking past HSC and trial papers provides the best practice of your actual exam. Start with the oldest paper and work your way to the newest, timing yourself and making sure you use the marking criteria and sample responses to check your answers and add more to them. I found all of the Matrix tutors were more than willing to mark my responses and essays and give me feedback, which gave me confidence knowing I was on the right track. If you come across a question you are unsure about, go back to your notes and try to come up with an answer before you check the back of the book for sample answers and make sure to mark the question and do it again at least twice before the exam.
The HSC is a chaotic time and it’s really easy to fall behind. Make a rough timetable of when you are going to study, making sure you give yourself regular breaks and spend an equal amount of time on each subject. 4 hours of study a day (including short breaks) was the goal I gave myself, completing homework and notes during the week and past papers on the weekend.
For most, the HSC is an extremely stressful period so its important to save some time for yourself to relax and do things with your family and friends, in turn helping you focus.
Its great to take the time to play sports or volunteer, as this can help you to de-stress as well as look good on scholarship and early entry forms.