How I Scored An ATAR Of 99.95 – Kim Zhang

Posted on January 14, 2014 by Kim Zhang

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Feel free to consider these tips to aid you along the arduous and pen-littered path of the quintessential HSC student.

1. Don’t be afraid to cram.

Yes, this is the one caveat cautioned by battle-weathered HSC students and teachers alike, but I’m taking the liberty in advising you to acknowledge (however painfully) YOUR study method. It’s much better to understand your strengths and weaknesses in the HSC arena, than to hopelessly adopt others’ and fail.

After numerous attempts to finish studying for assessments weeks in advance, I found that my strength lay in my short-term memory and I learnt to utilise that (and subsequent focus incurred by looming deadlines) to my advantage. Of course, this is not everyone, but it’s always best to approach each assessment with quiet confidence in familiar and sustainable study techniques catered to YOUR capabilities.

2. Just do it.

That is, tick the boxes (albeit capably and skilfully). I understand it’s easy for the avid Humanities student to spend hour upon hour in a nook of a dusty bookshop or obscure corner of the internet researching to their heart’s delight. However, as I learned the hard way, I could quote learned scholars in my essays but lost marks in the most basic 2-markers.

Over-thinking the requirements of a solid English essay or interesting content beyond the syllabus doesn’t equate to a tangible reflection on your results. There’s no need to adorn the box with intricate bows and flouncy ribbons, when all you need is to adhere to the famed Nike slogan: Just do it.

3. Don’t overlook your teacher’s doorstep.

The fact of the matter is: you just can’t do it all yourself. Or at least, without Herculean strength (of both body and mind). Your teachers have the experience in past students’ successes & failures, pattern of essay questions and general encouragement that would invariably help you along the track.

Remember: to you it may seem like a perilous journey through uncharted land (perhaps one of your hardest thus far); but from their perspective, it’s an oft-beaten track worn down by generations of stressed kids. Even when I went to Matrix in Years Ten & Eleven, my teachers gladly offered a bounty of advice after class. Talk to them, thank them. It’s very easy to skip off into the post-HSC sunset and forget that your teachers (and family) were right behind you the entire way.


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