Maximising Your HSC Results – Steven Paredes

Posted on April 15, 2013 by Steven Paredes


Collecting Study Resources

Many students fall into the trap of thinking that purely studying as much as possible will guarantee exceptional results. Although this may be true to some extent, your marks can be maximised by adopting effective study habits and exam preparation. Here are some examples in maximising your HSC results.

Ensure that you collate as many resources as possible before the start of each school term. This includes downloading and printing copies of the syllabus for each subject so that you have an overview of what you’ll be learning during that term. Getting to know the syllabus well is highly important as most exam questions will be derived from syllabus dot points. Don’t forget to obtain past exam papers for your upcoming assessments so that you don’t have to waste time right before exam time downloading and printing them off – these can be acquired from your school intranet or a variety of internet sites with HSC resources.

Individual and Group Study

After first learning new theory, the most effective way of studying is to try to thoroughly understand it by yourself. Focus on identifying the key concepts, how they relate to each other and what their implications are. Avoid unnecessary rote learning of information because some exam questions test your understanding by applying your knowledge to new situations.

Studying with a small, select group of people is an effective way of consolidating your knowledge. I studied with a group of friends once a week after school and found it very beneficial for not only myself, but also my peers. You can test each other’s knowledge by asking questions, analysing your explanations and correcting mistakes. You can also go through exam style questions to expose yourself to different ways of approaching and answering questions. Remember to maintain focus and avoid distracting each other!

Proper Exam Preparation

Early preparation (2 – 3 weeks before assessments) is important in reducing procrastination and exam-time stress. This not only involves revising theory and completing past papers, but also remembering to read marking criteria and guidelines and marking your own responses. Don’t be discouraged if you didn’t answer the question correctly – instead, see this as an opportunity for self-improvement and write down your mistakes for future reference.

When attempting past papers, simulate strict exam conditions and complete the exam within the specified time limit. Familiarise yourself with the overall format and time required for each question. Don’t forget to give yourself 5 minutes reading time where you should practise reading through the whole paper, identifying the location of difficult questions and planning out your exam strategy during writing time.

Sample “Band 6” responses are also a vital learning tool. Pay close attention to the level of detail and key phrases used and if multiple responses are available, examine the different methods used to arrive at the solution. Use these as a model, in conjunction with marking criteria, to increase the quality of your own responses and maximise your marks.


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