The 4 Costly Mistakes You Must Avoid When Studying for HSC Maths

Student writing notes in HSC Maths class

This blog was written by Ayah, one of Beyond's Maths tutors.

Year 12 is no doubt a very stressful time for students, especially with the HSC exams approaching! Stress levels are drastically increasing, which often results in mistakes students don’t even realise they are doing. With just 2 months left to go before the HSC exams it’s important that students begin planning out their study schedules ahead of time to ensure they prioritise their weakest subjects – which for a lot of people is Maths. 

When it comes to preparing for the HSC Maths exam, many students forget maths is all about efficiency – the more you do, the better you become! You need to have increased concentration and be able to answer questions in a timely manner.

Now how can YOU achieve this? 

students listening attentively in HSC maths class
At Beyond, our HSC Maths classes focus on breaking down new concepts and building up students’ understanding, before employing constant repetition to help adapt to HSC-style questions!

1. Review your papers

Reviewing is a lot more than just marking the paper and looking at the answers to see how ‘they’ did it. Rather, it is a long process of seeing where you went wrong and work out the best way to learn from your mistakes. While it can be timely, it’s worthwhile when completed.

Well, how do I review my paper effectively? 

Once you are done marking and you’ve calculated your score, it’s time to REVIEW. 

  • Before referring to the detailed answer sheet, try attempting the questions once more, however this time use external sources to help guide your thinking. This will allow you to refresh your memory with the rulings surrounding the question and hopefully answer correctly.

  • Still struggling to figure out the question? Look at the first line of solution ONLY. Use this as a guide/hint. Continue to the next line if you still can’t solve it and so on. 

  • By following these steps you are actively engaging your brain in its knowledge of certain skills, which will be beneficial when sitting the actual HSC maths exam. 

By reviewing your paper THOROUGHLY, you allow yourself to become familiar with your weaknesses, mistakes and strengthen your basic foundations skills in mathematics, consequently assisting in the outcome of your HSC Maths exam. Sometimes, reviewing the paper can take longer than actually doing the paper… however, the overall benefits outweigh the extra time spent. 

Students can get confused and overwhelmed when cramming for the HSC maths exam, which is why revision and planning is vital.

2. Avoid completing past math HSC papers with no restrictions

HSC Maths exams are one of the few subjects that require you to complete almost any past paper you can get your hands on. You learn with practice, and with practice comes the skills to excel in the subject. Therefore, when studying with past papers, they must be done under exam conditions to stimulate how you’ll be on the day of the HSC maths exam. Familiarise yourself with all the rules of HSC exams and stick to them, this includes:

  • No talking (with friends or family members) 

  • Stay OFF your phone. Either switch it off or place it in another room if you are easily distracted.

  • Find the formula sheets that will be provided during the exam on the NESA website or from your teachers and have them with you. DO NOT include extra formulas on the sheet as they will not be there on the day of the exam. 

  • Time yourself. By doing this you can see which sections take you the longest time to complete and overall if you finish with enough time to go over the exam, or if you are short on time. This will help you prioritise certain sections when sitting the HSC maths exam and will give you a good understanding of when you expect to finish your exam. 

  • Don’t listen to music, it distracts your brain greatly and will increase your chances of making silly mistakes. 

3. Don’t be too lenient in marking your HSC Maths papers

We know you know your stuff. We also know, that you know that the 5 questions you got wrong are all just ‘silly mistakes’ and in the real exam you probably wouldn’t have made that mistake, because well, it’s the HSC, so just for this mock paper, I’m going to give myself those 5 marks.

There is no shame in saying you have done it, however, you must stop it immediately. Being too lenient with yourself and rewarding yourself with marks when you don’t deserve it leaves you making the same mistakes over and over again. It also creates false hope and levels of expectations you can’t meet because the HSC marker doesn’t know you and so they don’t reward marks for your silly mistakes. 

It’s a harsh reality, but it’s the only way you will succeed. 

4. Have an aim/goal

There is nothing worse than working so hard all year for nothing. This is why it’s very important to set goal(s) throughout the year as you study, to help you progress and keep your morale high on days that don’t always go to plan. By setting simple and realistic goals when studying you give yourself the opportunity to not only meet them, but grow and learn from them. You may have started the year with an aim to reach 70 in maths, however by the end you might be working toward a 90+, or the complete opposite might happen.

Nonetheless it’s important to know yourself and your limits, never aim for more than you can achieve as it will result in nothing but demotivation and you really can’t afford to be demotivated in year 12. 

Slow and steady wins the race. Stay consistent and work hard!

Need extra help for HSC Maths?

For many students, the stress of HSC can be overwhelming, particularly without the right approach to studying. With a growing number of students in high school classrooms, it becomes difficult for students to get the attention that they need.

At Beyond Tutoring, we employ young, dynamic high-achievers who will help you boost your marks and spark passion for all of your subjects!

Our HSC classes focus on dissecting key concepts, so students have a deep understanding, rather than simply memorising notes

Contact us today so we can help you transform your life!

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