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Ngan’s Hacks: Accelerating Maths to Accelerate Your ATAR

Thinking of accelerating Maths in Year 11, but aren't sure if it's worth it? Read this article to learn about Ngan's experience.

In this post, current Matrix Year 12 student Ngan Nguyen shares her advice about accelerating Maths to Accelerate your ATAR. This is a must-read for Year 11 students embarking on accelerating Extension 1 maths.


Why I chose to accelerate in Maths ADV and Ext 1

Having the opportunity to accelerate both Mathematics 2 Unit and Extension 1 has been a highly rewarding experience.

My decision to do this was fuelled by my enjoyment and admiration for Mathematics as well as the advantages of completing these courses prior to Year 12.

Having already completed these courses will make my HSC year in 2019 far easier as I will now have more time more time to focus on my other subjects.

Now that I have started Year 12, looking back, I would have regretted not taking the chance to challenge myself because while choosing to accelerate is demanding, it is ultimately worthwhile.


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Advantages and disadvantages of accelerating subjects in Year 11

You’re probably wondering why I took on this additional workload. Undertaking three HSC mathematics units in year 11 has many benefits but it can also come with challenges.

Before I agreed to this, I had to weigh up the advantages and disadvantages. These are the things you need to think about if you’re going to do the same.



There are a lot of positive aspects to accelerating Maths.


Mathematics is a subject that continuously builds on prior knowledge

By doing accelerated mathematics and learning content at a faster pace, there are many links to the accelerated and normal content, supplementing my understanding of mathematics in a much more holistic way.

Additionally, “new” content topics mostly deal with your previous understanding of certain concepts with the addition of a few concepts. Because you are building on knowledge and concepts you’re familiar with, it’s not as daunting as it seems.

If you have a thorough understanding to begin with, you’re going to have an easier time mastering the new concepts.

Because of this, it’s essential that you master the fundamentals before moving forward.



Investing more time into accelerated courses also pays off in the year 12.

Getting a few units done before such a stressful time period clears up the time to focus on other subjects which can help improve your overall performance as well as reducing stress.

Now that I’m in Year 12, I will have more time for other units because I’ve already sat my 2 unit and Extension 1 Maths exams.

To give you a sense of how I balance my time, here is my weekly study timetable:


Ngan’s weekly study timetable


Concepts translate to other subjects

Learning content earlier in the Mathematics course is also very beneficial for other subjects like Physics.

The concepts explored in Extension 1 Mathematics, like Projectile motion, exposed me to concepts that are central to other courses!

The greater understanding I’ve gained from this has been highly beneficial. Not only has the accelerated course given me a more holistic comprehension of that subject but it has prepared me for my other courses.



Taking on Accelerated Maths wasn’t going to come without cons, however. These were the things I had to consider and needed to overcome.


Balancing the Preliminary and HSC Course

You need to juggle things when you accelerate a subject.

I often found myself in conflict with what I should be focusing on; my preliminary or HSC courses.

Both are important:

  • Preliminary content is assumed knowledge for the HSC course
  • My accelerated HSC courses would contribute to my ATAR.

However, to avoid this dilemma I would recommend having a timetable to follow to focus on each subject as all these courses are important.

For example, this is what my study timetable was like in the lead up to my HSC exams:


My HSC Trial exam study timetable

I also made sure to constantly check whether I was learning content for Mathematics (unbolded) or Extension 1 Mathematics (bolded topics).

By having my scope and sequence when I studied for accelerated mathematics, it was reassuring to know what could be examined for each subject.



The amount of work that comes with accelerating a subject will, occasionally, be overwhelming and stressful. You need to plan ahead how you will manage stress when it occurs.

By finding outlets, like physical exercise, socialising and hobbies, your performance can thrive even with the copious amounts of work.

Despite this, I still suggest undertaking accelerated subjects because managing stress is possible.


My advice for students considering accelerating subjects in Year 11

So, you’re thinking of accelerating a subject, here’s what you need to think about:

  • Choose to accelerate in subjects which interest and challenge you.
  • Evaluate the amount of time available to be dedicated towards the accelerated course as the workload can become quite heavy.
  • Time management is crucial.


My final advice for year 11 students who are currently accelerating subjects in Year 11

If there’s one thing I can say to students accelerating this year it is,

Do not be intimidated!

It is easy to fall for the nonsense that being younger places you in a position of disadvantage. This is simply not true. It is important to remember that the non-accelerated students you are competing with are learning the same content.

In fact, as an accelerated student, I only had 3 HSC units to prepare for. Whereas the Year 12 students had to undertake a minimum of 10 units. It is a more than equal playing field.

However, there will be a lot of work and, so, it is important to consistently revise concepts throughout the year. You must also do plenty of questions from HSC past papers under timed conditions.


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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