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Adam’s Hacks: How I Used Class Time to Become More Efficient And Score 96.60

There never seems to be enough time, especially in Year 12. That's why Adam has kindly revealed his hacks for making the most out of class time!

Class time can be hectic! You’ve got to balance it all: your friends, your teachers and a mountain of work to get through. Luckily for you, in this article, Adam shares how he used class time to become more efficient and achieve an ATAR of 96.60!


About Me

Name: Adam Dileo

School: De La Salle Catholic College Cronulla

ATAR: 96.60

University Course: Bachelor of Engineering Honours and Bachelor of Science (Medical Science) at the University of Sydney

Hi everyone, my name is Adam Dileo and I am currently studying civil engineering and medical science at the University of Sydney. During Year 12 I most enjoyed maths, physics and chemistry, whereas English was the subject I found the most challenging.

Throughout high school, I spent a lot of time trialling different techniques and methods to study. Whilst some methods worked and others did not, I eventually came up with a system that worked well for me in cutting down the number of hours studying while also helping me understand the content thoroughly.

While I mostly mention maths and science throughout this article, you can substitute this for English-based subjects by working on draft essays and sending them to your teacher/tutor for feedback, instead of completing practice problems and looking through worked solutions.


Using class time efficiently

Before even beginning to study effectively at home, I think it is important to understand how valuable your time at school can be.


Being efficient by picking up your teachers’ hints in class

What the teacher says, particularly during your internal school assessment periods, can give you major hints at how the exam is going to be structured or how to score a high mark in your assessments.

If you think about it, by paying close attention and participating in class discussions, you can confidently say that you have studied for 5 hours during the day!


Being efficient by making notes in class

For me, I find that class time is the perfect time to form neat and comprehensive notes on the syllabus. As the teacher is going through the content, have a copy of the syllabus out in front of you. This way you will know how to construct your notes.

Any time the teacher puts emphasis on a particular concept, equation, or question type, write it down in your notes. Use your syllabus dot points to ask any questions you may have during your class. By the time the teacher finishes the topic, I too have also completed a full set of neat notes.

Adam's HSC Physics class notes that he made in school to become more efficient

Additionally, you can also use your Matrix Theory Books as another full set of notes that you can annotate on to add any important information.


Adam's Matrix HSC Physics class notes

By writing your notes during school and at Matrix, you have already created two sets of notes to study from. So, you won’t have to spend time at home writing out these notes again on content you have already covered twice.


Being efficient by actively engaging in class

Class/Matrix time is also the perfect opportunity to engage in the class, participate in class discussion, ask any questions and to understand what you’re learning in a more fun and engaging way (shoutout to Matrix teachers DJ and Milan for always making Matrix lessons engaging and memorable).


Using your time efficiently, even outside of class

Ok, now it’s time to actually study at home. You should always make it a priority to do your homework as soon as you can. Especially, if you’ve done all your note-taking during class.

However, if I was given a textbook chapter to complete as homework I wouldn’t always do the whole chapter. Instead, I would only do enough of the textbook until I got to the point where I felt comfortable answering these types of questions.

Once I’ve done a small amount of the textbook chapter, I would immediately find Trial/HSC questions on that topic (which can also be found in the Matrix Workbooks). I would have a notebook where I would answer exam questions shortly after learning the topic at school. This way you are doing exam-style questions to formulate your understanding of the topic.

Adam's working out for maths

I should highlight the importance of checking the worked solutions while doing homework. I was also under the habit of just skimming over worked solutions during the early part of Year 12. That was until I understood how much value you get through understanding these worked solutions.

If you get a question wrong, really go through the worked solutions and attempt the question again. If you still don’t understand, talk to your school teacher or Matrix tutor to try and thoroughly understand the question.

Even if you get a question right and the solutions have a different method, try to understand and appreciate both methods of solving the question (the more the merrier). Alternate methods can save you time, and sometimes, they will be the only solution for another question.


Utilising the time you freed up from being efficient in class

When you’re not doing homework and want to study, you should do past papers. I know this sounds cliché, but by completing these papers thoroughly (as opposed to rushing through as many as possible), you can really make the most out of studying.

Earlier in Year 12, I would complete these past papers untimed and open-book so that I could get practice and understand the content. But a few weeks before the Trials is the perfect time to do these papers timed and closed-book.

I believe that the most important part of completing a past paper is reflecting on it. Not just looking at a mark and moving on. I found it helpful to thoroughly look through the worked solutions and compare them to my own. This is because you gain marks through clear and concise working out, not just the answer. Also, I would just write on a small Post-it note with the topics that were my strengths and my weaknesses, so that these weaknesses could be worked on further if needed.

Adam's reflections on sticky notes to become more efficient


Write Useful Notes

Sometimes, as you are doing your homework, you may notice a fact or concept that you haven’t exactly mastered yet. So it may be best to have a small notebook for each subject that contains all the important things to remember or the concepts you have the most difficulty with.

I had a notebook with all the concepts that I found difficult during the time I was doing homework and practice exams. I made sure to make these notes concise and effective by using tables, diagrams and flowcharts (DJ’s favourite).

Adam's HSC Physics summary notes


My Advice to future Year 12s

My regret is not committing to a study style sooner. My advice would be to find a study style that is not only to maximise efficiency but is also easy for you to get started studying.

It makes sense to me now to follow this logical way to study:

  1. Write your notes during class
  2. Do exam-style questions at home
  3. Complete past papers during your free time
  4. Only write notes at home on content you are finding difficult

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!


© Matrix Education and, 2018. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Matrix Education and with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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