Matrix alumnus and Sydney Girls graduate, Angela, achieved a 99.40 ATAR in 2019.
She shares her experience of taking an accelerated Maths class and provides her best study tips that helped her succeed in Maths.
Angela made a detailed pros and cons list of doing her HSC Maths in her preliminary year.
Closely develop skills in the subject
Get a head start over peers
Optimise HSC performance
May be stressful due to the competitiveness of the class
She also shares some Maths tips that helped over overcome the disadvantage of doing Accelerated Maths:
1. Know yourself as a learner
Identify your strengths and weaknesses to figure out which strategies work and don’t work.
Different people will require different amounts of time and different ways to prepare for an exam.
2. Use your teacher
I found that by absorbing what my teacher was saying in class and writing it down, I was able to retain the key ideas and concepts.
I wrote a lot; seemingly insignificant tips, common mistakes by past students, alternative methods, and so on. It might seem overly pedantic but you can’t predict what the obscure questions that might unexpectedly show up in a test!
3. Practise past papers
Past papers help maximise accuracy, time-efficiency, and self-confidence.
However, simply dawdling through a paper without checking the solutions will NOT help you.
From experience, I’ve found that practice papers are most helpful when completed with the following essentials:
Anna Cheng, a Sydney Girls and Matrix graduate, achieved an ATAR of 99.45 in 2013.
Here are some of Anna’s hot tips that helped her achieve a 99.45 ATAR.
1. Avoid procrastination
To avoid procrastinating the start of your task, you need to push back thoughts such as, “I’ll do it later” and “Rewatching that video of a sloth wearing an onesie one more time won’t hurt…”
Instead, remind yourself that you can watch it guilt-free when you finish your work.
Also, I found that the best way to get started is by making a physical effort to study ie.
Don’t fret over whether or not you’re in the mood to study. You just need to physically prepare yourself for studying by pulling yourself away from distractions and having your notes/textbook in front of you because your brain/mood will naturally follow.
2. Be organised
Make neat notes and read them constantly throughout the term so you’ll have learnt most of the content by exam period and you’ll only have to refresh your memory when you re-study them for the exam.
3. Manage your time effectively
Make a balanced and realistic study timetable that accommodates for both your studies and your extra-curricular activities/hobbies.
This is the way I loosely organised my time before an exam block (I recommend making specific day-to-day schedules):
3 weeks out – Finish up on all notes/essays (or at least be up to date)
2 weeks out – Finish learning and memorising the content needed for the exam
1 week out – Do a lot of past papers and if you get something wrong, do a lot more of those types of questions or look over that topic again (the most important step!)
This being said, don’t forget that you are not a robot. Make sure you really do allocate time for breaks that are sufficient enough in length for you to finish doing something you like because hard work deserves to be rewarded (and you are a hard worker!)
Shahrin scored a 93/100 for HSC English Advances, and an ATAR of 97.00.
In her article, she goes through her process for studying English Advanced, as well as providing general study tips.
Here is a brief summary of some of Shahrin’s English tips:
1. Read the texts several times
From the very beginning, I made sure to read the texts several times throughout the year.
I sought out copies of all my prescribed texts at the end of Year 11 so that I could read them for the first time throughout the Christmas holidays.
This might be a slightly controversial approach but I prefer to do my initial reading of the texts without analysing at the same time. In doing this, I formed my own interpretations of the texts, and most importantly, I actually enjoyed it.
This meant I was more engaged when it came to analysing the texts later on.
My second reading of the text was when I was going through it in class. With the guidance of my teacher and classwork, this is when I did the bulk of my analysis, research and note-taking.
I think that it’s really important to be as proactive as possible during this stage because the more extensive your notes are, the easier it will be to write essays and paragraphs when it’s closer to exam time.
If you’re unsure of how you should style your notes for English, you should read this.
3. Draft practice essays
Two weeks before internal assessments, I was usually drafting my first practice essay and beginning to send them to my teacher, Matrix English teacher or tutor, or sometimes both.
I found feedback to be really essential in providing perspective and making sure my essays were focused on answering the given question, rather than just showcasing the fanciest language techniques I could find. You should read this guide on how to write an essay if you need to get started.
After the initial round of feedback, I would tweak my essays accordingly and, if I had the time, resend them for another review by my teachers.
It’s really important that you learn how to edit your own work. This guide on how to edit your essay will give you some guidance on how to do it.