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Advice From A 99.70 ATAR Student (chem, phys, business, English, 2U, 3U) (1 Viewer)

jazz519

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So hi guys this is going to be a new thread on which I post helpful tips for the subjects I did during the HSC (listed in the title and my signature), as well as some general advice for the HSC.

I'll be trying to post a few times a week, so check back as I post to see the ways in which I achieved my high ATAR, as well as other achievements such as scholarships (got offered three, so feel free to also post below if you would like to know what types of things that they look for in an application).

If you have any questions about what I write just let me know.

So here's the first tip:
In chemistry, Make sure to include equations in all answers where possible (even if the question does not explicitly ask) as this shows your extended knowledge of the content and is crucial if you are aiming for a band 6 mark. Also, diagrams for molecules that you are describing should be drawn (allows you to show the marker how the intermolecular forces interact within that molecule for example and also this is really important in the polymer section - draw the structure of LDPE and HDPE, it will show the difference in chain branding as shown in the picture below):

1c330f608af11bbfb084be81af398e51.png
(HDPE)

b433faa6d3d4b0f0123e01f6fa4ac50d.png
(LDPE)

The reason why there is a disparity in physical properties even though they are made from ethene monomers, between these two structures is because of the chain branching. Just think of it as sticks from a tree, If I have a bunch of straight sticks obviously they are going to stack much more easily and into a small space compared to a bunch of sticks with lots of branches. this means there will more space between the electrons and this will reduce the amount of dispersion forces that can form in LDPE, and the same principle increases it in HDPE as you have to remember these are electric fields causing these forces which must obey the inverse square law. this property is called the stacking ability

this all leads to the difference in melting point, strength, flexibility etc
 
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jazz519

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English: So the HSC can often be really annoying for this subject with it sort of making students feel like they are an essay making machine, and teachers always telling you it should be your own interpretation, however the way I believe to achieve a good mark in this subject aside from the writing fast in the exam and adapting it to the exam question, is to come back to the root of the subject English - 'what's it about?' in my opinion it's an art form of interpreting a text (being music, a movie, novel or poem etc.).

I say it's an interpretation as there is no one 'correct interpretation' as seen in this example (a bit weird since its probably not a good idea to do a song as HSC related text, but you will get the point from this).

X-factor audition: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ra_iiSIn4OI

So in that video the original song written by Labrinth was about a break-up that he was jealous of, with the other person in the relationship being able to move on and he wasn't, portrayed in these lyrics:
''Cause I wished you the best of
All this world could give
And I told you when you left me
There's nothing to forgive
But I always thought you'd come back, tell me all you found was
Heartbreak and misery
It's hard for me to say, I'm jealous of the way
You're happy without me'

So as you can see there is one interpretation there, however, in that audition there is a complete reversal of the meaning behind the song (the tragic passing of his best friend to an illness) and thus this means that the interpretation of the lyrics will be different.

So you can sort of see here that just one piece of a text was able to interpreted in two completely different ways, however both are correct as the subject matter of the lyrics supports what the composer (being the song artists) are trying to convey i.e. labrinth ---> unrequited feelings and Josh Daniel ---> struggling to cope with the loss of his best friend.

This is what I feel is the beauty behind the English subject in so many interpretations, which is like that part where they talk about an appreciation of texts being gained, compared to like chemistry there is usually one answer (however lol this is also a beauty in terms of all these complex chemical principles such as Le Chatelier's principle and titration all coming back to the fundamental Laws of Nature such as Energy (for the Le Chateliers principle) and titration (energy and mass).

So from this example what I'm trying to say is that is what teachers mean when they say write your own interpretation and all interpretations are correct PROVIDED they are supported with relevant techniques and quotes/film scenes from the text.

So keeping that in my mind what I did was instead of going online and just trying to see what ideas other people wrote and just copying their techniques and ideas and changing it a bit. I first off analysed the text, figured out MY OWN ideas that I saw in the text that related to the rubric and analysed it based on techniques keeping in mind the concepts I was trying to speak about.

Then this is where band six responses can come in handy, after you have done this initial analysis of the text, go online and have a read of the way people just structured their writing and try implement this into the ideas you have formulated in terms of a paragraph answering some question or the rubric in general, like for instance band six responses usually have the following:
- good ideas (this already made by yourself)
- topic sentence relating to the question (will depend on the exam day)
- use of good vocabulary (what this means is using like more complex and descriptive language compared to basic stuff like the common 'shown in', you could write 'portrayed, exemplified, displayed, mirrored etc'. However, be careful as the use of the thesaurus can be bad as sometimes they are words that have similar meanings however have to be used in different contexts)
- Connectives like furthermore, moreover etc.
- the ideas flow well from one to the next (this means like when you read it does it feel choppy like you are stopping every 2 sentences or it could be smooth it just sounds good, everything links and their is a logical progression from one idea to the next such as in discovery the initial reason for why the discovery occurs is a catalyst and then a initial event experienced by the character, followed by a process of understanding the magnitude and meaningful nature of it)
- A good length 900+ I'd recommend
- equal weighting of related and the prescribed (so like two paragraphs on each)

So what you can do with this is write your own interpretation to a text as this allows for more original based ideas which will probably improve your marks and if you're even more talented you can do what I did in my HSC for module B, by arguing against critics and using others to support your own argument.

As seen in this sample paragraph (I have in the English essays I'm selling for Yeats):
rsz_1screen_shot_2017-11-11_at_50327_pm.jpg


So as you can see I showed the interpretations of well known critics, however, also included my own interpretation of the poem, and this is why I believe I did so well in English :)

(Here's the link to the poem - have a read of it to get a context for the paragraph since its pretty short): https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/43288/the-wild-swans-at-coole

Anyway, if you questions about this let me know :)
 
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jazz519

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Physics: Very important in HSC exams that ask for calculations on formulas not on the sheet they provide, you MUST derive the formula, as this has been 1 of the marks in the marking guidelines in the past, which you don’t want to lose after studying for a year.

Some common equations that you must derive (i.e. you can’t simply just write the formula and then sub in values) are:

gravitational acceleration:
F=mg=GMm/r^2
g=GM/r^2

Radius of curvature for a charged particle in a magnetic field:
F=mv^2/r = qvB
r=mv/qB

Orbital velocity:
F=mv^2/r =GMm/r^2
V=sqrt(GM/r)

Escape velocity:
Screen Shot 2017-11-12 at 2.32.30 pm.png
 

jazz519

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2 unit and 3 unit math: Often in these subjects people complain that they know the content however keep making silly mistakes. These are some ways to reduce errors;
- use the quadratic formula instead of mentally factorising (only 1 source of error from you subbing in, while there is a potential for two errors in factorising as you need to make sure your factorised expression has the sum of the roots and product of roots.
- sub in the value when you solved an equation for example for in x^2=9 you get x=+3 or -3. So by subbing that value you found back into the original equation both sides of the equation should still hold true. A simple example but when you get to cubics and other bigger equations a helpful way to know you have got the correct anwser
- sub a random value into the starting expression and end expression when asked to simplify if the two aren’t equal you have made a mistake along the way, while if they are equal then you have correctly simplified. For example simplify y=(x^2-4)/(x-2) this becomes y=x+2 where x cannot equal -2. So sub in let’s say x=3 to them both for the first one you get 5 and for the second one also 5 so we know we have simplified it correctly
- for differentiation and integration doing the opposite to the answer you have found will give you the a original expression, another way to check you have performed the right calculus
- for graphs to check it’s right you can sub in values into a calculator on either side of the turning points to see which direction the graph continues in

These are just some of the techniques you can use to reduce errors, if anyone has any others they use comment below :)
 
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jazz519

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Chemistry: People often ask how to get full marks in a longer response, the way I recommend is, if possible include content from all three core topics of the syllabus. For example in this dot point I have done that:

Screen Shot 2017-11-13 at 3.18.02 pm.jpg

Production of Materials - in the combustion explanations and equations
Chemical monitoring and management - ozone production due to photochemical smog
Acidic Environment - acid rain and oxides of sulphur and nitrogen

By showing multiple topics in an answer like this (can also be applied to Physics you are showing the marker you have an understanding of the content far beyond a memorisation and basic understanding level)
 

jazz519

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Chemistry: When drawing chemical structures students often lose marks for even the smallest of things, here are some common mistakes I've noticed from my tutoring experience:

Hydrocarbons:

https://drive.google.com/open?id=1QkBjm3aVNM5HgSfS2DVD5u2lDowSTJYZ

Image on the left is wrong because hydrogen’s aren’t filled in

Same thing for the one just below it

The Ethene 2nd image is wrong because carbon atoms can only have 8 electrons (4 bonds around them) while these have 5

3rd row first image wrong as above we said carbon has to have 4 bonds around it

Ethanol:
https://drive.google.com/open?id=1BeFEAFAwZYwqntGl6ET33jbSY9NSxYY4

First one wrong because OH bond isn’t expanded you must write O-H as shown in the correct diagram

2nd and third diagrams are wrong as hydeogen shouldn’t be bonded to the carbon should be the oxygen as hydrogen only is able to have 2 electrons while here it has 2 bonds which equates to 4 electrons.

Alkanoic acids:
https://drive.google.com/open?id=1lPcsuZtV3mSXNahSaXChyc959ivxAzLv

Combines the above rules stated
 

jazz519

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English what length should my essays be?

Personally I had 800 creative, 1150 discovery, mod A 1200, Mod B 1100, Mod C 1020

In my opinion to get a band six have to write at least 900 words for the essays and 800 for the creative.

After that its all about the quality. I practiced writing fast since start of year 11 practically everyday so in exams I was able to sometimes push these essays up 100 words more for each (From the above), to make sure I answered the question
 

jazz519

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Chemistry: What are the states during combustion?
At room temperature the hydrocarbon: C1-C5 (amount of carbon atoms) are gases. While anything above in the HSC is a liquid (since in HSC we are only required to know up to octane).

Water is a liquid

What are the states during cracking?
Regardless of that C1-C5 rules, all the stuff is a gas since the temperatures there are at like 500-800C (well above the boiling points of any hydrocarbons you will encounter in the HSC)
 

jazz519

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Physics: Including diagrams?

Diagrams are really important they can elevate a band five answer to a band six answer if you're English writing abilities are not that strong. Some dot points it's really important to include a diagram are:
- Loudspeaker
- Galvanometer
- EM braking
- EM stove
- Hertz's Experiments
- Einstein's thought experiments
- Quanta to quarks: Brothe, Beker, Chadwick experiments
- there are a lot more but these are some common examples

Diagrams should be well labelled, drawn with a ruler and drawn in pen (draw in pencil first then trace over in pen)
 
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jazz519

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General: How much do you have to study for a 99 ATAR?

All depends on the person I probably did less than most with 99 ATARs (memes and youtube lol contributed to this) (I just worked consistently throughout the year rather than doing weeks of going full out). In the Christmas holidays I spent about three hrs a day (broken into like morning, afternoon, night), and just wrote up a set of notes for all subjects.

During the term this gave me more time to just focus on improving these notes and being able to past paper questions (mainly science and maths), didn't really do much for Business or English (no past papers in the whole year).

Aside from HW I did about three - five hrs a week (in total during the weekdays so about an hour a night of past paper revision). On the weekends apart from tutoring maybe around like two hrs a day (apart from the HW).

During holidays these were packed for me since I did the holiday course for chemistry and physics and matrix (only recommend this if you are a band six student already, as they go really fast in these two weeks), so that was like my time of doing a lot of study and then during the term and lead up to assessments I could focus just on making sure I was prepared to answer exam based questions.

It's all about efficiency in studying and focusing on things only relevant to the HSC and not wasting time on useless pieces of information.
 

jazz519

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Chemistry:

For addition polymerisation and condemnation polymerisation definitions, you CANNOT write there is no loss of atoms and a loss of atoms respectively. As this sort of implies we are losing atoms in the reaction and this violates the Law of Conservation of Mass.

You must write 'elimination' instead of 'loss'
 

Jai2019

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I have a question.
I play basketball and would like to get a basketball scholarship overseas or even in Australia.
For me to achieve this goal I must achieve good marks(too get a scholarship) and at the same time I must train and practice for basketball.
If I were to sleep 6-7 hours a day what would be an appropriate timetable/schedule for me considering that my subjects are standard English and math, biology, legal and business studies and sor(studies of religion: which i will drop at the end of year 11).
Thank you in advance.
 

jazz519

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I have a question.
I play basketball and would like to get a basketball scholarship overseas or even in Australia.
For me to achieve this goal I must achieve good marks(too get a scholarship) and at the same time I must train and practice for basketball.
If I were to sleep 6-7 hours a day what would be an appropriate timetable/schedule for me considering that my subjects are standard English and math, biology, legal and business studies and sor(studies of religion: which i will drop at the end of year 11).
Thank you in advance.
This almost impossible to answer because everyone differs. There is no real schedule or timetable that can just be plainly followed to ensure you get the best marks possible. The reason for this is things like people study differently (for example I didn't do past papers for English and just memorised essays that I adapted on the spot, while for maths and chemistry I did a lot of past papers 50+), you will need to spend different amount of time on each subject because some might be harder than others or you might just have more assignments. Best thing I would recommend is to not like limit yourself into a timetable or schedule that early on in year 11. Just do the work you are being told to do at school and try to do some extra revision with practice exams or papers aside from school work because this is where people lose marks. They do well in take home tasks and group things because you have a lot of time and can access resources that you wouldn't be able to normally, but then when it comes to the business end of the year in exams they don't do as well because they haven't been making notes throughout the year or practicing exam based questions
 

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