Now that your trial examinations are over, your final HSC exams are just a little over a month away. You may think that this is plenty of time to study and you may want to procrastinate, keeping your studying for later. But this is not the best approach for an examination that could determine the university you attend, one that would have a lasting impact in your life.
You have heard it many times, and that is because it’s true – nothing beats a well-timed preparation. Setting aside a few hours every day for the next six to seven weeks and studying consistently will yield better results than trying to mug up everything two days before your exams.
While stress is often viewed as something negative, it can be a good thing if it motivates you to take action. A little stress during your preparation and exam is unavoidable, but it doesn’t have to be nail-biting, caffeine-downing, sleepless stress. When you plan your HSC study well, you will see better results with as little stress as possible.
Here are a few tips to help you plan your studying better:
• Have a dedicated study space
Having a dedicated study space can make a huge difference in putting you in the right zone to learn. It is important that you have a quiet, clean, and organised space, where all the materials that you need are easily within reach.
If you study here every day, your brain will associate it with a space where learning happens. Even on days when you don’t feel like putting in the work, you may find that you are more motivated once you just sit in front of your table and your books.
• Make use of textbooks and other references to prepare notes
While your textbooks contain essential material, they do not always provide information in the same way that a syllabus does. Each subject in your HSC exam has a detailed syllabus, and this is a very useful guide for any student. You can use both your textbooks and syllabus as well as other materials to prepare your notes.
Note preparation is essential because just reading the material is not enough. Write down main points in bullet points, jot down your takeaways and questions from the topics and concepts you study. Revising topics you have already studied for your trials can help you gain new perspectives too.
• Create diagrams and flow charts
When studying and revising, it can be really helpful to create diagrams and flow charts in such a way that the information is better and more easily understood. Visual aids have a unique way of imprinting themselves in our brain. Diagrams and flow charts are a way of condensing the overwhelming amount of information in bite-sized forms so that even when you forget the rest of the information, remembering the main point will help you form your answers.
• Work out past exam papers in the set time limit
A great HSC study tip is to practise past exam papers and following a set time limit. Not only does this familiarise you to the format of the questions, but it can also help you find a way to figure out how much time you should spend on each section. This helps you ensure that you finish the exam on time and also spare enough time to check all your answers.
• Explain concepts and answers to other people
One of the best ways to test how well you understand what you have studied is by explaining it to other people. This is a wonderful technique that can help you get concepts and answers clearly in your head. If you can successfully explain everything to them and answer any question that they may have, it means that you have gained an in-depth understanding and likely not to forget it in the exam.
It is also a great way of figuring out which areas need more work and revision. If you have trouble explaining something, it means that you need to spend more time studying it.
• Have a study buddy or a study group
Having study sessions with your friends who are also preparing for their HSC final exams could be an excellent opportunity for learning. You get to explain topics that you understand to friends who may have trouble with that specific topic, and if you have any trouble understanding something, you can ask your friends to explain it to you too!
Make sure that you stay on the topic and spend time studying instead of chatting away the hours. Note that group studies may not work for everyone. It depends on your learning style.
• Follow a set time for studying every day
Instead of studying whenever you feel like, it is better to have a set time that you strictly stick to every single day. With six to seven weeks remaining for your HSC final examinations, you may want to set aside at least five hours of serious studying every day.
Some students find that they study best in the morning, while for some, night time is more productive. Instead of sitting down and studying for five hours straight, you may find that splitting it up and taking breaks in between work better for you. For example, study for two hours in the morning, one hour in the afternoon, and two hours in the evening.
Studying for your HSC final exams doesn’t have to be stressful if you manage your time well. Also, don’t forget to get plenty of sleep, drink lots of water and eat healthily!