Matrix Blog



How I Scored An ATAR Of 99.90 – Margaret Zhou

In this post, Margaret shares the Must Dos that scored her an ATAR of 99.90.


The HSC year is full of ups and downs. Below is a list of a few tips and lessons I learnt along the way during my HSC year.

Be Organised

Year 12 is a stressful, difficult year for many. I found myself being overwhelmed by the sheer workload of many of my subjects and it seemed like there just was not enough time to complete everything. Hence, time management is crucial. Every week, plan out a study schedule and try to allocate times evenly across all your subjects.

For example:


  • 4:30-6:00pm Maths Ext 2 and 1 HW sheets,
  • 7:00-8:30pm Complete draft of Module A paragraph and email to teacher,
  • 9-10:30, Read ahead in textbook for Chemistry, etc.

Ensure that your plans are realistic and achievable; otherwise, it would only result in you feeling demotivated and stressed. Try to do around 3-4 hours of study a night and invest more time into subjects you feel need more time (subjects you are performing weaker or lower scaling subjects, requiring you to obtain a higher mark to do well – Read All About ATAR & Scaling for more information).

Stop Procrastination

Whilst it is easy to make study plans, it is extremely difficult sticking to them. I often found myself putting things off and in the end, sacrificing a lot of sleep in order to complete work by the deadline. If the internet is a distraction, move the computer out of your room and into an open space. If your phone is a distraction, give it to your parents and ask them to help you stop your procrastination. The key to beating procrastination is self-discipline and motivation.

Answering the Question

This applies to all subjects. Anyone can just memorise a whole heap of information and regurgitate it onto paper. What distinguishes the top students is how they are able to fully comprehend everything in the syllabus and mould the information into a response which fully answers the question. This is a skill which comes with practice. Looking at the marking guidelines is a good place to start when practicing this skill.

Stay Positive

Everyone suffers setbacks during their HSC year. However, it is important not to be disheartened and demotivated by these setbacks. After doing poorly in an exam, rather than moping, it is better to move on from it, concentrate on the next exam and try to do better in that one to make up for it. As well as this, remember that the HSC is worth 50% of your marks, so there is always a chance to boost your final results.

Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle

You may find that pulling an all nighter cramming for an exam may work but what about the next exam? What if that’s the very next day? Are you going to have enough energy to study for that? Whilst the HSC seems to be of utmost priority, it is extremely important that you still remain healthy. Eating well and getting an adequate amount of sleep is crucial. Exercise can also help relieve stress.

Have an ATAR Goal but No Plan?

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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