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Yvann’s Hacks: Surviving Year 12 | The Gamer’s Guide to the HSC

Do you wish you could find a walk-through guide for the HSC like you can for most games? Well, in this post Yvann gives you just that in his guest blog post "Surviving Year 12: The Gamer's Guide to the HSC."

In this article, Yvann Sinson offers a creative take on how surviving Year 12 with his gamer’s guide to acing the HSC.


Me, myself and I

Yvann Sinson

Marsden High School

University Course:
Bachelor of Data Science and Decisions at UNSW


My HSC subjects

  • Advanced English
  • Maths Extension 1
  • Maths Extension 2
  • Physics
  • Japanese Beginners

Ready, Player One!

Year 12, the last instalment to the role-playing game franchise “High School”. Most players who have completed the franchise say that it’s the “more difficult version of the previous game Year 11, and possibly the hardest out of the entire franchise”.

Worry not, I’m here to talk about my experiences and guide you through it to make your “playthrough” as easy as possible.


Term One – The Early Levels

Quick note, if you breezed through the previous game, Year 11, you may find yourself having a smooth transition into Year 12 as you’ve likely figured out what you’re supposed to be doing. However, a quick refresh of memory never hurt anybody.

To get organised in the early stage of the game, I would often read the future content I was going to learn and prepare questions to ask my teacher, to have an easier time understanding it. I also had a regular weekly checklist to further organise my time efficiently.


Image: My weekly checklist

Matrix courses were great (I was enrolled for Maths Ext 1 & 2 and Physics) as they would give you the material for the term/holiday and you could easily work ahead.

During this stage of the game, you will have tiny tasks to finish, the most common one being homework.

Players often choose to ignore the importance of these tasks as they are relatively easy to complete and takes zero to no time.

This leads me to my first tips.


Tip 1: Create a study planner

Set yourself daily goals ensuring that you stay on track and manage your workload efficiently. It feels great whenever you cross out your list after finishing each goal.

I would take into consideration the subjects/tasks I know I struggle with and prioritise them. That is, putting it earlier and more frequently in the study planner. After this I would ensure that the study planner covers all my subjects, meaning not overlooking ‘easy’ subjects and still include them for light revision.


Image: My study planner


Tip 2: Deal with the small tasks as soon as you get a chance to avoid it accumulating to a bigger problem

Don’t let work pile up!

If left to become a bigger problem, you may find yourself in a predicament. Especially later into the game, where you will receive much more difficult tasks to complete.

Dealing with these small tasks will avoid burdening you with a large quantity of workload.

Completing these tasks rewards your character with experience, which you can then use to upgrade your character to become the best possible version of yourself.


Tip 3: Handwritten notes level up your XP faster

I found writing things out by hand really useful for consolidating my understanding of the content. It also meant I’d produced a set of notes that had all the information I needed.

I used binders and loose-leaf paper for notes, exercise books for homework.


Image: My handwritten Japanese notes


Image: my handwritten English notes



Want to ace your “playthrough” like Yvann did?

Studying shouldn’t stop because you’re at home! With Matrix+, we provide you with clear and structured online lesson videos, quality resources, and forums to ask your Matrix teachers questions and for feedback.

Learn more about our Matrix+ Online Physics course now.



Mid Game – Terms 2 and 3

By now you should’ve gained an adequate amount of experience and upgraded your character. During this phase, you will receive more challenging tasks like assessments and mid-yearly exams. In order to compensate for the increase in difficulty, you must put in more effort.


I struggled the most with Physics.

To overcome this I enrolled in the Matrix holiday course, stayed back after classes and would ask for more guidance. After finishing the lesson, I would summarise the content I learned and research more on the parts I wasn’t fully confident in.


What should players do?

Have a set idea on what you’re meant to be doing every week. That is, knowing what kind of workload you’re working with, and knowing how to manage time efficiently. As well as starting to considerate your weaknesses and how to overcome them, that is, the subjects you need help with.


Tip 3: Use a journal to monitor your workload

Be smart and organised and keep track of what you’ve studied and need to study.

Once I had learnt all the content for my subjects, I moved on to applying this knowledge by doing past papers. There are heaps online available to download, and I did the relevant ones for each exam. Once I’d finished them, I’d go through and mark them against the solutions I could find.

For the HSC, I made a checklist to keep track of which ones I’d finished or needed to mark.

I highlighted any long response questions that I couldn’t mark (lack of marking guidelines) and gave these to my school and Matrix teachers for feedback and help. I’d keep track of all this on a journal in my phone.

Image: Screenshot of my phone journal.



Tip 4: Take the initiative

Approach these difficult tasks and challenges with a can-do attitude. Don’t be afraid to stay back after classes and ask your teacher for guidance – you can also book workshops if need be. However, ensure that you are reasonable to yourself and have a balanced lifestyle.

During the early part of Year 12, I was anxious that I wouldn’t be able to maintain to stay in Advanced English and move down to Standard, as English isn’t my first language. As a result, I regularly stayed back with my English teacher. I would stay back for around 2 hours almost every day for three weeks straight, asking questions and working on writing materials (e.g. essays and creative writing).


Image: My English Practice


Tip 5: Make summary notes

Taking into consideration that you will have to sit your first set of exams, it’s important to be prepared. The most effective strategy I found was making summary notes for each subject.


Image: My Maths notes


Doing this ensures that you have understood your study materials adequately. Make sure that you are looking at short dot points instead of an intimidating wall of text.


Boss Levels – The Trial HSC and The HSC

You’re almost finished with the game, you must now battle the final boss of the game, the inseparable duo Trials & HSC. Now is DEFINITELY NOT the time to slack off, you must work hard as ever!

By the end game, the player’s notes should be finished, if not being finalised. And they should have a set idea on what to focus on, that is their weaknesses and strengths – topics that you need more guidance with, and topics you are confident in answering.

From my own experience, all my notes were finished and I was working on cutting them shorter to make it easier to study. I’ve also had numerous guidance from tutors and teachers with topics I struggled with, so it was mostly independent work during the end game for me.


Tip 6: Complete past HSC and Trial Papers

Skip questions that you are 100% comfortable in answering, and instead focus on the harder ones. Keep a collection of the challenging questions you struggled with, be sure to revisit them ensuring that you are confident with the topic.


Image: My maths topics I struggled with

Tip 7: Develop a growth mindset

You should never perceive bad results as signifying total failure. It’s not Game Over, it’s an opportunity to respawn, consolidate, and level-up the skills you need.

Instead, focus on developing a growth mindset – constantly try to learn and grow to better yourself. Write down your mistakes, and improve upon it.

After my half-yearly exam, When I got an exam result much lower than what I was expecting for Extension 2, I took it upon myself and booked two hour workshops every Sunday (with the permission from my workshop tutor: John Shin) and ensured to cover topics that I was struggling with, as well as ask for more resources and do more practice questions.


Yvann’s advice to future players

If you’re collecting a copy of “Year 12 – The RPG”, here are my final bits of advice to you:

Three things you MUST do

  1. Focus on doing the best you can do
  2. Be flexible, expect for things to not stick to plan, learn to adapt to situations
  3. Have a balanced lifestyle, that is, don’t over study but also don’t over procrastinate!

Three things you MUST NOT do

  1. Compare yourself to others around you
  2. Stress over bad results
  3. Waste time, especially during the early stage when you have a lot of time in your hands



Good luck, Player 1!


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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