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How to succeed in your HSC

Approach the HSC as a mission, not just to get an ATAR - but to uncover how you work. By understanding how you work, you will not only be able to improve your HSC results, you will also gain insight into how to best apply yourself during university and throughout your career. As you begin to recognise how your good grades are achieved, you will be able to identify which study methods helped you achieve success so you can repeat those actions.


To complete your mission you need the following supplies;

- Planning

- Space to think

- Consistency and change


1. Planning


A lot of planning is needed during year 12. At the beginning of each term, you need to assess how much additional study you will complete to achieve your desired ATAR. For example, if you would like to do extraordinarily well in English you need to plan out how many practice essays or paragraphs you will complete each week. You may decide that during term 1 you will work on one extra paragraph of writing each week, whereas in term 2 you want to hand in one 1 paragraph a fortnight due to the workload being heavy that term.


Planning homework and assignments every week is an essential element when understanding how much additional time you will have to complete any extra study. Read our planning assignments post for more information.


2. Space to think


When completing an assignment it can be easy to spend the majority of your time staring at a screen and rewriting the same opening sentences over and over again. This is partly because you're aiming to write the perfect essay, and partly because you have not completed your analysis or thoughts on the essay you are writing.


When scheduling your study time, differentiate thinking and writing time on your calendar. Sit or stand somewhere in your study space, and do not touch a pen or other writing device (it's best to close your laptop and notebook). Provide yourself with thinking time whether it be 10 minutes or 20 to plan your paragraph, argument or an entire essay. Then sit down and start writing - no backspacing, no eraser and no whiteout. Write for 5 -20 minutes without stopping. By scheduling thinking time and writing time you will have a better idea of how long it takes you to write (which is helpful for exams) and helps eliminate the time spent staring at a screen.


3. Consistency and change


Your schedule: Create a study schedule that you can follow for three or five weeks. If the study habit does not work, change it up and follow a new one for the same amount of time.


Specific techniques: Make a list of your different study methods, then make a list of study methods you have not yet included. For example, you may currently prepare for exams by reading your English quotes a couple of times to memorise them. Then apply one or more other methods in addition to your current one. Now in your exam preparations, you may read, write and listen to your quotes via a recording of yourself. Complete a practice test - did the new method help or hinder you? Consistently try new methods throughout your HSC year, as not only will this help you improve your grades but it can also add an element of enjoyment or interest to your study technique.

The aim is to discover the best learning methods for you. Every time you sit down to study it is a chance to understand how you function, how you consume knowledge, and how to improve or maintain your skill.


The HSC is an especially challenging year - a year with the expectation of a lot of motivation. If you're struggling to keep up with assignments, or need help achieving your goal ATAR we run Success Classes. HSC Success Classes have a maximum of 6 students and allows you to have up to 10 hours each week to study, learn, improve, stay motivated and receive positive encouragement and support from students who achieved top ATAR's in recent years. Located in Neutral Bay. More information can be found here.

Early bird prices end August 20th.


Set to Study, Neutral Bay & Bondi Tel: 0458 781 806 Email: enquiresettostudy@gmail.com

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