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A Collection of HSC Advice (1 Viewer)

swagmeister

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*** Moved and stuck by Katsumi for the benefit of the 2017 cohort ***

Hey 2017ers

A year ago you were me, a young and ambitious student on your HSC journey, embarking on the path to *discover* your ATAR. I started of with a goal of 92, which ended up being 94, then 96 and now I am on track to getting 98+. Update: got 99.65, all-rounders and two state ranks

This wasn't through copious amounts of work, but rather working in the right way.

When the 2014ers finished, I reached out for advice and got heeapppps (over 70 people pitched in), so I decided to collate it for my benefit as well as to help the rest of the 2015ers.

Now that you guys are starting, I thought I would put it up here because many people have found it very useful (and it's probably my way of procrastinating with 2 HSC exams left to dominate...)

If I was to give my own biggest advice, take one day at a time (often you will get overwhelmed, break things down and keep moving forward) and manage your mindset - if you can plant a positive seed in your mind, it will significantly help in carrying you through this year :). And most importantly, consistency > intensity

All the best guys, you'll smash it!!!

Notes
  • use one main resource, but also refer to another resource which has other important stuff
  • for parts you don’t understand, use internet, others notes, Khan academy etc.
  • after each topic, skim through other textbooks/study guide/other people’s notes to check you have covered similar things
  • could use ‘base notes’ then compile own notes from resources and integrate into ‘base notes'
  • write notes in your own words, it helps facilitate understanding

Getting ahead
  • try to keep ahead of your class that way in class you are improving your knowledge of it and having discussions at a higher level

Past Papers
  • if you are unsure of a question, check your notes and try to work out an answer before looking at the actual answer
  • don’t ‘save' them till right before the HSC cause you won’t get time to do them - do them on stuff you are learning throughout the year
  • time yourself
  • make sure you have neat handwriting
  • take advantage of your teachers, get them to mark your PP's and give you feedback

Extra reading (English, Humanities)
  • to get an extra edge, read widely so that you grasp the writing style of academics
  • read novels to improve your English, but also read academic papers such as from academia.edu and jstor.org
  • research topics could be topics such as romanticism or even specific texts or authors

English
  • Rote it, make sure you keep improving the practice response though
  • Get the hang of flexible thinking with ideas and snippets of evidence before you walk in with a prepared essay you can’t even mould to the question
  • Don’t rote it for Module B as questions can be very very specific
  • State ranking essays have around 6 examples per paragraph
  • Memorise around 20-30 quotes per unit (incl related text)
  • You have to walk into the exam knowing pretty much exactly what you are going to talk about

Consistently, Study Routines, Time Management
  • Crucial that you are consistent throughout the year
  • Consistency is greater then intensity - you need to keep going for the whole year
  • general guideline for study - 2-3 hours a weekday incl. homework, 5 hours on Saturday and Sunday
  • plan when you are going to study and pre-plan breaks
  • have an outcomes focus, every time before you study write a to do list of the things you will do during the study period
  • REMOVE DISTRACTIONS
  • Have a focus of revision on the weekend and homework + note taking on weekdays
  • Prioritisation is key - if homework is not valuable don’t do it
  • Sleep, exercise, healthy eating key to avoiding burnout
  • Be disciplined, this is greater then motivation
  • Make a study schedule or use a daily to-do list
  • Go hard or go home - what are you doing to Advance your HSC journey today

Using a daily to-do list
  • If you are using a daily to-do list, on Sunday make a list of all the tasks you want to achieve on each day of the week and not mandatory tasks but things like essays, notes, PP’s etc.
  • Aim for 3-4 tasks per day - one for each subject you had during the day
  • do extra tasks before mandatory ones otherwise you won’t end up having time for the mandatory ones
  • anything you don’t compete finish on the weekend (so don’t originally allocate tasks for Sat and Sun)

Studying Techniques
  • Teachers others is the best way to study, can do 1 on 1 teaching with someone at the same level as you, someone who knows barely anything about the material to force you to know the basics well and be really clear
  • Practice papers and flash cards work well because you are practicing retrieving the information
    [*]Take advantage of spaced repetition to increase memory retention - e.g. spend 10 minutes review what you learnt in each class per night and review same content on the weekend
  • Past papers are everything, but don’t ‘save’ them until the HSC because you won’t get time to do them - do relevant questions as you learn stuff
  • Walk into your exam room with confidence, and not “fake it till you make it” confidence but confidence gathered from familiarising yourself with the styles of questions they can ask you, the style of answering questions (essential for sciences), an impregnable knowledge of the syllabus and skeleton responses for common types of question
  • It's essential to understand the mechanics of what is considered as a band 6 essay, short answer response and approaches to m/c. Learn from the best in order to be the best. Especially crucial for English and Humanities

Goals
  • Set clear goals as to why you want to achieve certain marks and ATAR, and make sure you know WHY you want to achieve these goals
  • Don’t tell people your goals, it’s proven to make you less likely to achieve them
  • You could mess up or misread one question in one exam and that could change your ATAR, marker could not like your essay, cutoff could increase etc. - set goals that are decently above the cutoff and what you can achieve, don't aim for 90 if your course requires that when you could get 97 if you pushed yourself
  • Success builds on success. Confidence builds on confidence. Start conquering your subjects early and you'll steamroll through the year. Get off to a shaky start and you put yourself in an uncomfortable position. The key is to push through until you reach another success. Smash your half yearlies and you'll be golden.
  • Never give up, it is completely normal to mess up at least one assessment just use it as motivation to work harder
  • You can stick up a goal on your wall, but what have you done to advance your HSC journey today?

Holidays (in particular the Summer Holidays)
  • Make as many notes as you can, at least up to the half yearlies
  • Spending time finding related texts, annotating texts, writing essays for English
  • Math - in the summer holidays because up to 35% of the content of the HSC exam can be from prelim make sure you have covered everything from prelim really well and understand it all and do some more prelim practice papers because you probably won’t have time to do this during the year as you want to focus more on the HSC content which is harder… in saying that definitely do some HSC maths stuff as well
  • Even if you spend 3 hours studying first thing in the morning 5 days a week, then you will still have the rest of the day free and you will have done a lot of work by the end of the holidays
  • You are not going to be out partying the whole holidays - in downtimes when you would just be gaming or on your computer for like 5 hours use this time wisely
  • You need to have a break as well so you don’t burn out, and relax and re-energise for the year ahead

Special credit to Immortality, emilios and Erique for their information
 
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Mr_Kap

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Also for maths: Like Osama Elias said ---> slave over questions even if you cant do them straight away. Don't ask for help or look at the answers. Just keep doin the question until you get the answer (or you have tried the question SO many different times). This will build up the problem solving skills necessary to answer the hard problems
 

chairs

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i once spent 6 hours on a projectile motion question. the satisfaction of getting the answer is good
 

TQuadded

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I did none of this but I hope procrastination is an effective technique.

But yeah whatever if you want 99.95 ATAR follow this guide. He's a good guy, or whatever. ;)
 

calamebe

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I did none of this but I hope procrastination is an effective technique.

But yeah whatever if you want 99.95 ATAR follow this guide. He's a good guy, or whatever. ;)
Yep procrastination is the technique anyone who has ever gotten 99.95 has used.
 

abc1234567890

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Don't spend too much time on 'productive procrastination'
I spent so much time finding and downloading papers since I thought that it would save time later on, but in the end I didn't do most of them. I think some people on BoS have links to folders with papers in their signatures (don't remember who, can somebody please enlighten us?) - download the whole folder (shouldn't take long) and this should suffice. If you reach a stage where you need more, that is when you go out and find extra.
Edit: Here's a link with a lot of papers
https://onedrive.live.com/?cid=34caf24f73803652&id=34CAF24F73803652!153&authkey=!AHRJRolSQWmYCAQ (credits to nerdasdasd)

Time management:
Try using Pomodoro technique (25 mins work, 5 mins break) or if you prefer longer time slots: 50 mins work, 10 mins break. You can do the above semi-productive tasks during these breaks. Be strict with this - perhaps use a real timer (since it's so easy to manipulate your phone). If you use your laptop for most of your work, you can use the app Pomello; it's a Pomodoro app that connects with Trello, a website with a great To-do list. Trello includes 3 boards: To-do, Doing, and Done which is great for keeping your tasks on track. When you complete a task, it feels so fulfilling to move each task to 'Done' too. I wish that I found out about this earlier in the year.

Organisation
- clean your desk as you go, e.g. if you take out a textbook, after you're done don't just leave it there but return it to the bookshelf. If you tend to lose track of library books, then you can try placing them in a pouch or bag near the door to remind you of them.
- I had a mid-year crisis as I realised there were sooo many sheets and I didn't know how to organise them. I bought a set of manilla folders from K-mart (so cheap) - there were 4 folders for each of the 5 colours, the ideal number for many subjects. I designated a colour for each subject and a role for each folder: past papers, notes, practicals (for science), tutoring sheets.

Useful apps for removing/limiting distractions on Google Chrome:
- StayFocusd or WasteNoTime - can block websites or limit your usage
- Newsfeed eradicator - replaces newsfeed on Facebook with a motivational quote, great if you don't want to deactivate FB
- Momentum - each tab that you open reminds you of the goal and time. Also includes a checklist on the side for your to-do list

Other tips: practice is so, so important - I cannot stress this enough. Do not spend too much time on notes, practice questions are more important. Throughout the year, consistently do questions relevant to the topic you are studying. If you need chemistry and/or biology questions sorted by module, PM me! For phys: http://www.fathomingphysics.com.au/student_resources.php (credits to iStudent for referring it)

Regarding past papers before trials - should you do HSC papers before trials or save them up for HSC?
I'm not too sure about this but for the sciences, I suggest prioritising past trials from your own school (to see how they mark) and past HSC papers. It depends on each school, but I think that schools tend to base their questions off HSC papers - in my chemistry trial paper I found at least 3 questions that were exactly like a past HSC paper and in my bio one I found at least 1. I didn't do HSC papers before trials as I was saving them up for pre-HSC but this disadvantaged me in the trials. Before the HSC you can review past HSC papers to familiarise with the marking guidelines, and do the questions for the topic that wasn't covered in trials
 
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leehuan

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This ain't bad. Recommend a sticky.

Of course, I wasn't as intensive with my study as the guidelines on here dictated though
 

Kolmias

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Thanks for the tips. This is going to help me get my 0.05 ATAR and get into the Time Lord Academy.
 

leehuan

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Thanks for the tips. This is going to help me get my 0.05 ATAR and get into the Time Lord Academy.
Chill out your Yr 10, pay enough attention to learn in Yr 11, and kill Yr 12. Nuff said.
 

dan964

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Don't spend too much time on 'productive procrastination'
I spent so much time finding and downloading papers since I thought that it would save time later on, but in the end I didn't do most of them. I think some people on BoS have links to folders with papers in their signatures (don't remember who, can somebody please enlighten us?) - download the whole folder (shouldn't take long) and this should suffice. If you reach a stage where you need more, that is when you go out and find extra.
Edit: Here's a link with a lot of papers
https://onedrive.live.com/?cid=34caf24f73803652&id=34CAF24F73803652!153&authkey=!AHRJRolSQWmYCAQ (credits to nerdasdasd)

Time management:
Try using Pomodoro technique (25 mins work, 5 mins break) or if you prefer longer time slots: 50 mins work, 10 mins break. You can do the above semi-productive tasks during these breaks. Be strict with this - perhaps use a real timer (since it's so easy to manipulate your phone). If you use your laptop for most of your work, you can use the app Pomello; it's a Pomodoro app that connects with Trello, a website with a great To-do list. Trello includes 3 boards: To-do, Doing, and Done which is great for keeping your tasks on track. When you complete a task, it feels so fulfilling to move each task to 'Done' too. I wish that I found out about this earlier in the year.

Organisation
- clean your desk as you go, e.g. if you take out a textbook, after you're done don't just leave it there but return it to the bookshelf. If you tend to lose track of library books, then you can try placing them in a pouch or bag near the door to remind you of them.
- I had a mid-year crisis as I realised there were sooo many sheets and I didn't know how to organise them. I bought a set of manilla folders from K-mart (so cheap) - there were 4 folders for each of the 5 colours, the ideal number for many subjects. I designated a colour for each subject and a role for each folder: past papers, notes, practicals (for science), tutoring sheets.

Useful apps for removing/limiting distractions on Google Chrome:
- StayFocusd or WasteNoTime - can block websites or limit your usage
- Newsfeed eradicator - replaces newsfeed on Facebook with a motivational quote, great if you don't want to deactivate FB
- Momentum - each tab that you open reminds you of the goal and time. Also includes a checklist on the side for your to-do list

Other tips: practice is so, so important - I cannot stress this enough. Do not spend too much time on notes, practice questions are more important. Throughout the year, consistently do questions relevant to the topic you are studying. If you need chemistry and/or biology questions sorted by module, PM me! For phys: http://www.fathomingphysics.com.au/student_resources.php (credits to iStudent for referring it)

Regarding past papers before trials - should you do HSC papers before trials or save them up for HSC?
I'm not too sure about this but for the sciences, I suggest prioritising past trials from your own school (to see how they mark) and past HSC papers. It depends on each school, but I think that schools tend to base their questions off HSC papers - in my chemistry trial paper I found at least 3 questions that were exactly like a past HSC paper and in my bio one I found at least 1. I didn't do HSC papers before trials as I was saving them up for pre-HSC but this disadvantaged me in the trials. Before the HSC you can review past HSC papers to familiarise with the marking guidelines, and do the questions for the topic that wasn't covered in trials
"I think some people on BoS have links to folders with papers in their signatures "
yes. Its not clearly labelled anymore in my sig.
edit: not present anymore in sig
 
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