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Jacky’s Hacks: How I Scored An ATAR Of 99.70

Read this post and learn Jacky's success secrets for scoring an ATAR of 99.70.

Matrix Graduate Jacky He, achieved an ATAR of 99.70 and was dux at Marist Catholic College Penshurst in 2016. Jacky was heavily involved in his school community, where he was a prefect and student representative. He was also a two-time major prize winner at University of Wollongong Engineering Competition. In 2017, Jacky is looking to enter a dual degree of Civil Engineering and Commerce at either the University of Sydney or the University of New South Wales.


Jacky’s HSC Subjects 

HSC Subject Overall HSC Mark Performance Band
English Advanced 92 6
Mathematics Extension 1 97 E4
Mathematics Extension 2 93 E4
Physics  95 6
Chemistry  92 6
Studies of Religion I 98 6
Engineering Studies 90 6


HSC Experience

It is often hard to stay focused during the HSC. You might often wonder about the purpose of your nights of study. You might even feel like giving up the HSC entirely after not achieving a desired result in one or two assessments. But if you are looking to succeed, looking to do a course you want at university, then it is absolutely important to stay motivated. If you lose the impetus to study, you will never reach your ambitious goals.


Jacky’s Top Tips

Here are some things that I did during the HSC that really helped me to overcome the most difficult times.


1. Place your ATAR goal on your wall

The simple things are always the best things. Write your ATAR goal on a blank sheet of paper in big blocks of writing. Stick this onto a wall slightly above where you sit so that every time you raise your head up, you can see the wall. Whenever you feel like you don’t want to study or when you want to give up, look at the ATAR goal – you will remind yourself where you want to arrive at by the end of HSC and you will force yourself to study.  Another benefit is that your parents can be informed about your ATAR goal and if you are seen playing games instead of studying, they will surely remind you that wasting your time on games does not seem like a good way of achieving your dream ATAR.


2. Stay with motivated, like-minded people

Ok – this is a very important tip for me. The type of people you stay with often will largely determine the type of people you are. If you stay with people that have no real life goals and are not willing to try, then chances are you can get influenced by them and gradually you will lose your ambition. On the other hand, if you stay with those who always try their best in their studies and always maintain a positive attitude, you can similarly learn to self-motivate and develop an optimistic outlook on HSC. Whenever you feel like you are about to give up, these people will encourage you to persist in your studies. A lot of Matrix teachers and tutors are very inspirational people – talk to them or invite them to a lunch during lunch breaks – they will guide you and motivate you.


3. Use your holidays effectively to get prepared

As a student, I’ve had times where I was demotivated earlier on during HSC. I wasn’t performing up to my usual standard in my exams, not doing especially well in assessments – simply because I wasn’t prepared for year 12. I couldn’t see myself achieving my dream ATAR.

A very important thing I did that changed my entire HSC fate is that I used my Christmas holidays very effectively. Whilst everyone is out partying and playing video games in this “Last Holiday in the HSC Year”, I devoted 3 hours every day into revising the previous term’s contents and studying next term’s contents at Matrix Holiday Accelerated Course. This isn’t really a lot to ask for, but after Christmas holiday is over, you realise that you have done almost 100 hours more than everyone else. When you hit up your classes, you will feel a lot more comfortable learning the content a second time from your teachers. This allowed me to gradually build up my confidence and I was more prepared than anyone else during my half-yearlies. If you are a student who hasn’t earnt a satisfactory result in your first term, then this is the tip for you – take the one mile ahead during holidays and then you can rebuild your motivation.

4. Take advantage of Guided Exam Prep Courses

After the trial exams were over, I was exhausted mentally and physically. I didn’t feel like doing any more studies. I knew that the HSC exam marks were more important than the overall assessment marks. So I decided to enrol into the Matrix HSC Exam Prep Course for Chemistry and Physics.

It was the best thing that I had ever done. The course was intense, really intense but rewarding. It boosted my confidence as I felt all aspects of the syllabus were reviewed thoroughly with key emphasis on exam techniques in just 6 days. Never thought I could learn so much in one week.


5. Use quotes

A quote a day, keep bad days away. We use quotes because they often contain wisdom and inspirational elements in them. Quotes such as “Don’t worry about failures, worry about the chances you miss when you don’t try” are really motivations for students to try their best, regardless of the outcome. Find one or two quotes every day that you think best apply to your situation, and as you are reading them you will feel more empowered.


6. Make simple and aesthetically pleasing notes

This is what motivated me to revise during HSC. Having simple, clear, nice looking study notes would really encourage you to look through them. Here is an example of my physics notes:



Using diagrams, using tables, using colours, that’s what makes your notes nice and organised. That’s what makes you want to read these notes and you would feel that your efforts into making these notes are wasted if you don’t revise them. These sorts of study notes really motivate you to revise.

7. Speak to others about your problems

If you have something that has been troubling you or distracting you from studying, you must find someone to speak to about your issues. If you let these issues stay inside you, they will drive you nuts especially under the pressure from HSC. Talk to those friends that you trust, talk your mentors and teachers, they will give you advices on how to overcome your problems. Solving these problems will prevent you from being demotivated.


Final Tip

HSC days are not always sunny and smooth sailing, nor was it the case for me. In my first term I came 22nd in English and 11th in Physics – but in the end I was able to climb to 3rd place in English and 1st in Physics at school through having an optimistic attitude and sheer determination. If you stay motivated and confident, nothing can block your way towards success. Don’t let a bad mark or two strip your confidence away from you, be strong and move on – as long as you try you best you will always do well in the HSC, always.


Want to Ace your HSC Like Jacky?

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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!


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