Ultimate List of High School Student Maths Hacks | Success Secrets

Looking to see how past Maths students aced their HSC? In this Guide, we highlight the best of the best High School Maths Hacks and give you a handy index to our many Success Secret and High School Hacks articles from our stellar Matrix Alumni!


Each year, we ask our top students to share their best Maths study and exam tips to guide our current and future students! So, in this guide, we’ve put together the ultimate list of high school student maths that our exceptional guest authors have shared. To help you replicate their successes, we’ve also included some case studies of exceptional students!


Ultimate List of High School Student Maths Hacks

Without further ado, let’s see what this Guide will cover.


In this article, we’ll look at:


Why read our Maths Success Secret articles?

The Success Secrets and Hacks we’ve collected for top Maths students have helped many past cohorts of students excel in their exams and HSC. By reading these articles and employing their hacks, you can improve your results.

Because everyone is a different learner, there are a variety of different tips! You may be more visual, or hands-on in how you learn and develop new habits. We want to support all of your learning approaches.

You might learn better by jumping straight into complicated questions and figuring out the steps yourself, or you might prefer learning the steps to the solutions before answering it!

Well, no matter what kind of learner you are, there is advice from our current students and past graduates that will help you succeed at Maths!


Boost your Maths marks!

Expert teachers, weekly quizzes, one-to-one help! Ace your next Maths Adv assessment with Matrix+ Online.


Essential Student Maths Hacks

We’ve collated useful Maths tips that most of our High School Guest Authors shared!


1. Understand your content and revise

Many of our guest authors focus on the importance of understanding all your Maths content.

Ngan was a previous Accelerated Maths student. She realised that Maths a subject that “continuously builds on prior knowledge”, as her strong Accelerated Maths knowledge helped her easily grasp Maths Ext 1 content.

This means that if you aren’t confident in a particular topic, it can affect your performance in another topic!

In her hacks, Kim notes that it is crucial that you are “able to answer or explain every dot point in the syllabus before your exams”. Going through and understanding every Maths dot point helped her achieve a HSC Score of 98 for Maths Ext 1, and 99 for Maths Ext 2.

Tammy, who achieved a score of 96 for Maths Adv, also suggests that every time you finish a topic, you should write down all important formulas, tips and tricks, and methods to different questions that you are likely to forget. This means that you’ll have a set of notes to revise closer to exam periods!

When it gets closer to your exams, North Sydney Girls graduate, Sherryn, recommends revising and spending more time on weaker topics! This method helped  her boost her Maths marks.


Want to find out more, read our Matrix guest authors’ articles:


2. Complete past papers and mark them!

As all of our guest authors found, Maths is a practical subject. This means that you can only improve by doing more Maths problems!

Completing a variety of questions helped Year 10 student, Stephanie, be more confident in exams. This study habit helped boost her marks to switch to a selective school.

“Practice builds confidence” – Stephanie

While she was in Year 11, Sherryn was only averaging in the 70s for Maths. However, when she started dedicating 1.5 hours every day to complete textbook questions, her marks improved significantly!

In his hacks, Justin recommends going through HSC papers, past trial papers, and BoS papers in that order! This allowed him to progress in difficult and develop more experience in approaching questions creatively and efficiently… which helped him state rank (4th) Accelerated Maths Adv!

Similarly, James, who achieved a 99 for Maths Ext 1 and 95 for Maths Ext 2, swears by using THSC to find useful past papers.

Once you’ve found them, how should you complete past papers?

Well, our 2016 Matrix graduate who achieved 100/100 for Maths Ext 2 has a suggestion. Matthew advises you to complete 1 past paper every 2 days, and then complete papers under 80% of the given time.

This will not only ensure that you are exposed to a wide variety of questions but also helps you develop your exam technique.

And remember, mark your work!

As Sherryn says, “mindless practice is just as useless as no practice”. Completing practice questions without marking them is a waste of time because if you don’t know if the answers are correct you don’t know your strengths and weaknesses.

Want to find more tips about how to effectively do past papers? Read our guest author’s articles!



3. Practise completing challenging/complex questions

Only completing simple Maths questions because it’s easy will inadvertently negatively affect your results!

“By being exposed to challenging questions, it helped me tackle higher level questions in the exam” – Stephanie

Similarly, Sid, suggests that every time you come across a difficult question, you should write it in a notebook and revise it before the exam! Doing this helped him target his weaker topics to achieve a 99.85 ATAR!

You can also screenshot them and rename the photos, like Angela did! This was one of Angela’s secrets to acing Accelerated Maths Adv.


Image: A screenshot of Angela’s folder on her laptop containing screenshots of the difficult past paper questions


Justin also followed a similar method to Sid and Angela. He made compilations of hard questions and wrote the solutions out clearly to send to his friends!

He also explains that Matrix workbooks provide “conceptually challenging questions which hone down the skills for harder questions such as the 7+ markers”

Keeping track of difficult questions is very useful for exam revision.

In her Year 11 Maths hacks, St Ursula’s student, Nia, writes a step-by-step approach for different questions and apply those steps for relevant questions.

However, she also notes that this process is not applicable to all questions; Maths can only be mastered with practice.



Justin’s solution for difficult Maths questions


Find out how our guest author aced Maths:


Case studies

Now that we know some useful Maths tips, let’s take a look at some more specific advice! Let’s see what three of our high scoring Matrix guest authors did to ace Maths:


Matthew’s Hacks: Scoring 100/100 in Mathematics Extension 2



Matthew scored 100/100 in Maths Ext 2 and Maths Ext 1! He also came 1st in the state for Maths Advanced Accelerated course in Year 11.

In his article, he discusses the 4 main hacks he used to score a perfect score in Maths and discussed his assessment and exam preparation process.


1. Stay consistent when studying for Maths

Matthew found that staying consistent with assessment preparation ensured that he “retained the knowledge over the long term.”

He did this by organising his time to focus on concepts that were being tested:

1. Revise notes 

He revised notes that he created throughout the term for topics that will be in your tests.

Matthew also read over his Matrix Workbook solutions and other textbooks to help him prepare for a wide range of questions.


2. Revise fundamentals 

Matthew also spent some time revising fundamentals of each concept.

He stresses the importance of using your teachers and resources to identify your missing gaps of in understanding!


3. Collect relevant resources for different concepts 

Matthew collected as many relevant resources as he could. This includes HSC past papers, Bored of Studies Community Trial HSC Papers, and school past papers!


2. Be curious when learning concepts!

Matthew found it extremely important to not only memorise the formulas, but to also understand how they are derived and applied!

He would ask questions to his teachers during class to consolidate his understanding.

The curiosity to learn more about concepts beyond the syllabus is essential for long-lasting learning.

So, he suggests that you ask “why?” whenever you learn something new and document everything!


Read Matthew’s article to learn more useful Maths study tips and perfect your Maths score as he did: Matthew’s Hacks: Scoring 100/100 in Mathematics Extension 2.



Angela’s Hacks: Get a Head Start on Year 12 by Accelerating Maths



Angela is a Sydney Girls graduate who got a head start by accelerating Maths. In her article, she shares her experience and advice for those taking Accelerated Maths in Year 11.


1. Know yourself as a learner

Before you go off doing hundreds of Maths questions, Angela recommends that you should know yourself as a learner first!

You need to figure out which study strategies work and which ones don’t, and you need to figure out your strengths and weaknesses!

To do this, you need to ask yourself what you are struggling with most. This includes making silly errors, inability to complete an exam under timed conditions, not understanding the core Maths concepts.

She recommends you reflect on your performance and plan your preparation according to your strengths and weaknesses.

Her Angela, her weakness was applying the right concepts to questions that are formatted foreignly.

So, she dedicated a lot of her time completing a wide range of past papers to accommodate herself to a broad scope of questions!


2. Use your teacher

Angela found that she was able to retain the concepts better when she engaged with what the teacher was saying in class and writing it down!

She recommends writing everything your teacher says:

  • Seemingly insignificant tips
  • Common mistakes made by past students
  • Alternative methods

These prepared her for obscure Maths questions!

She also asked her teacher questions whenever she doesn’t understand something.

Remember, they are there to help.


Read Angela’s other Maths tips to see how she handled accelerated Maths: Angela’s Hacks: Get a Head Start on Year 12 by Accelerating Maths.


Justin’s Hacks: How to Stay Committed to your Studies to State Rank Accelerated Maths Adv



Justin is a Knox and Matrix graduate who State ranked Accelerated Maths Adv in Year 11! He considers himself a forever-student: a student who is always learning and growing.

In his article, he shares insightful general study tips and subject-specific advice for Maths.


1. Maths is all about shortcuts

Justin found that everything in Maths is related to each other. All the topics and concepts intertwine together!

“Realistically, around 60% of a Math paper are questions that either you have seen before or can predict.”

So, Justin guarantees that you can achieve high marks through practice!

He uses a variety of resources to ensure this:

  • HSC past papers – Top priority
  • School trial papers
  • Matrix workbook questions – Good 7+ marker questions
  • Bored of Studies (BoS) papers
  • Cambridge textbooks

Justin begins a topic by going through the Cambridge textbook to learn the proofs and reasonings.

He then completes the HSC, Trials, and BoS papers in that order to progress in difficulty.


2. Hone on your skills during the holidays

Justin found that the best way to beat the HSC game is to be consistent and work on good preparation.

He suggests starting easy in the holidays and aiming to review and focus on the topic that you struggled with during the term.

Justin found that the Matrix workbook questions are a useful source of revision for Maths!

He also recommends studying ahead for subjects that you are comfortable with.

For instance, he took the Maths Ext 2 Matrix Holiday Course to learn the next’s term content early!


Read the rest of Justin’s article to learn his general study hacks, and subject-specific advice for English, Maths and Science: Justin’s Hacks: How to Stay Committed to your Studies to State Rank Accelerated Maths Adv


What are the other Maths Success Secret Articles

Want to learn more useful Maths tips? Here are the links to our other excellent Maths articles!


Maths Success Secret articles:

Maths Success Secret Articles What is it about?
Angela’s Hacks: Get a Head Start on Year 12 by Accelerating Maths Angela shares her experience of doing Accelerated Maths, including the disadvantages and advantages.
Justin’s Hacks: How to Stay Committed to your Studies to State Rank Accelerated Maths Adv Justin goes through the top tips he used to stay committed to his studies, including general HSC tips; subject specific advice for English, Maths and Science; and his secrets to exam preparation.
Mary’s Hacks: How I Topped the State in HSC Mathematics Mary shares 6 useful tips she used to State rank in Maths!
Matthew’s Hacks: Scoring 100/100 in Mathematics Extension 2 Matthew details his 4 hacks for study Maths Ext 2, advice to prepare for assessments and exams, and lists 6 must-do’s and must don’ts.
Ngan’s Hacks: Accelerating Maths to Accelerate Your ATAR Ngan goes through the advantages and disadvantages of accelerating Maths and provides some advice for students who are planning to do Accelerated Maths.


Success Secret articles that have some Maths gems:

Articles that discuss some Maths tips What is it about?
James’ Hacks: How I Used Flowcharts to score a 99.75 ATAR James goes through his process of using flowcharts to maximise his studies. He then shares some subject-specific advice for Chemistry, Maths and Physics.
Karen’s Hacks: How I Scored An ATAR of 99.95 Karen shares the top study tips she used to achieve a 99.95 ATAR. She also goes through some tips to effectively study Chemistry, Maths, and English.
Kim’s Hacks: How I Scored An ATAR of 99.35 Kim details useful HSC advice, including English, and Maths and Science tips!
Nia’s Hacks: How I Plan for Success From Day 1! Nia shares insightful subject-specific advice for Maths and English and some useful general study advice!
Sherryn’s Hacks: How To Use Self-Reflection and Planning To Study Effectively Sherryn goes through a step-by-step process of using self-reflection and planning to study effectively. She then provides some study  advice for English, Maths, and the Sciences
Sid’s Hacks: How I Scored An ATAR of 99.85 Sid shares some hot study tips that helped him achieve a 99.85 ATAR! He also goes through some Science, English and Maths tips!
Sophie’s Hacks: How I Scored a 99.70 ATAR at a Non-Selective Co-Ed Public High School Sophie goes through her best exam and study strategies for English, Maths and Physics/Chem.
Stephanie’s Journey: How I Switched to a Selective School in Year 10 Stephanie reflects on her not-so-effective study habits, and goes through the changes she made to make it into a selective school!
Syed’s Hacks: How I Scored An ATAR of 98.80 Syed shares some subject-specific advice for Maths, and Science, and general HSC tips.
Tammy’s English Hacks: How I Went From Average to Acing English and Scoring a 97.25 ATAR Tammy shares some useful English advice. She also provides subject-specific advice with examples of her notes for Maths.



Get great Maths scores just like our guest authors did!

Boost your Maths marks!

Expert teachers, weekly quizzes, one-to-one help! Ace your next Maths Adv assessment with Matrix+ Online.


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