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Aashish’s Hacks: How I Scored An ATAR Of 99.75

Ashish shares his hacks for acing the HSC.


Year 12 may be the most academically demanding year of high school, but it is also the most fun and important of your teenage years. How well you use your time and how much you get out the year (both academically and socially) will pave the way towards the person you want to be.

To ensure the road ahead is smooth, it is important to start preparing early. Take year 11 seriously and use it as preparation for year 12. You can afford to take risks in year 11 and try out different study techniques. For example, try walking into an English exam with topic sentences, quotes and techniques instead of memorising an essay and see how well you can do. By the end of year 11, you should have a general gist of what study habits work best for you.

If not, don’t worry! Here are some of my tips if you need to get started.

1. Listen to Your Teachers

Teachers are one of your best sources- they are experienced and knowledgeable. Do the homework they set you and mark it to see where you went wrong. It is a good idea to write down any important things that are said in class an highlight them. There is plenty of space to annotate the printed text in your Matrix theory books.

Seek teacher’s help for any homework questions that you did not understand or were not satisfied with. Go over comments you receive from Matrix exams and quizzes and implement them next time.

2. Plan, Learn, Practice, Revise

This is probably more relevant for weekends and holidays. Some people often find themselves with a whole lot of time and are not sure what to do and when to do things that need to be done. The solution for this is to plan ahead. Use your Fridays/ the last few days of the term/year to list out everything that you want to get done (be realistic with your goals and allow for some leisurely time). Try to include all of your subjects and attempt to stick to your schedule. Make a timetable and diversify it.

For example mine was something like this:

9:00 – 11:00 – English Mod A paragraph

11:30 – 1:00 – Chemistry Notes

2:30 – 4:00 – Maths Ext 1 Paper

5:00 – 6:30 – Physics Assignment

7:30 – 9:00 – Maths Ext 2 Textbook questions

9:30 – 10:30 – Read/Revise English text/s

This way, you will not be bored/overwhelmed by the workload and still be learning.

Close to exams, it is important to practice past papers. Do as many as you can. Try to stick to time limits and most importantly answer the question!! Pay attention to and underline keywords whilst doing past papers so you get into the habit for exams. Once you’ve done the paper, mark it. See how you can improve your response.

Use sample answers and compare your responses against them to see where your responses lack. Work out where you went wrong and how you can improve your responses. Sometimes it is helpful to remember key phrases for common questions.

For example, when we consider transformers in Physics, the words “principle of electromagnetic induction” are useful to include in your answer to how transformers work.

Go over Matrix theory and homework books before exams.

3. Ask Questions!! Lots of Questions

Never hesitate to ask questions if you are unsure-no matter how silly they may seem to you. Chances are others will probably have the same question. Ask again if you felt you didn’t understand it the first time.

4. Do What Works Best For You

Every individual is different and so it is important to note that your friends’ study techniques may not be as effective for you. For example, I never had notes for Chemistry and Physics- I just used the Matrix theory books and completed LOTS of past papers.

5. Some Final Advice…

Take some points away from this article that you feel you’ll be comfortable putting into practise and see if they work for you.

Try to enjoy the subject even if you find it hard
Put more time into areas/ subject where you are week
Practice an essay every day in your September/October holidays before HSC
As many teachers like to put it “Remember it’s a marathon, not a sprint!”

Good Luck!

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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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