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What it takes to make the HSC grade

The countdown has commenced, with NSW students set to receive their all-important HSC results this week.

On December 15, thousands of students across the state will know what their future holds after 12 years of schooling including two senior years of hard study, late nights and more than a little stress.

But as school leavers eagerly eye their inbox, let’s take a look at what it takes to make the grade in the HSC.

It’s a marathon, not a sprint

The HSC comprises a series of components leading up to the all-encompassing final exams. Some of which is course work, some of which is trials and a final element is THE exams.

That means the last two years of school are important, not just two week’s of exams at the end. Students entering years 11 and 12 should be using their time to get across the syllabus, asking questions when pertinent and gaining a full comprehension of the subject matter.

Compounded study that commences from the beginning of Year 11 is better and more productive than a final cram in study week. The key is to have a study plan and stick to it, revising and building upon your knowledge even in the holidays to review your notes in the final weeks.

It’s comprehension, not memory

Many students make the mistake of committing formulae, facts and concepts to memory, but fail to grasp the methodology behind the reciting.  True knowledge is about understanding, about working through an idea and comprehending how it applies.

Not only do you need to know your work to succeed come exam time, but you need to demonstrate he how behind the what and why you came to that conclusion. This requires thorough knowledge of the topic, which means clarifying long before exams or assessments, and seeking assistance when required.

It’s confidence, not adrenaline

Walking into final exams and sailing through assessments isn’t about riding the wave of anxiety, hopped up on coffee and primed with an all-nighter of cramming. It’s about taking a calm approach in the knowledge you know your content.

This not only helps you achieve the correct answers, but stills the anxiety that exams and assessments can quickly bring to the fore.

A great tip is to take practice exams prior to finals, working against the clock just as you would in the real thing, while being sure to study long before the tests, and get a good night’s rest the evening prior.

It’s balance, not intensity

You know what they say about all work, no play…well that’s true of the HSC too. Yes these results will in part determine your future but it’s important to balance study with relaxation, exercise and socialising. Those who take on a hefty study regime with little downtime run the risk of burnout or illness when it comes to crunch time.

In addition, studies indicate a healthy diet and exercise help you retain information, so balance your study time with some well-earned down time and exercise.

It’s a mark, not who you are

At the end of the day your mark is just a number. While it will help you get into the uni course of your choosing, TAFE course you’ve longed for or simply please your parents and boost your self esteem, it will not define who you are in one year, five years or 20 years time.

And for those who this week are greeted with results below their expectations, there are a host of options like further study, and alternative courses to get you where you aim to go.

About us

Chalkwall specialises in assisting senior students in preparation for the HSC. We understand that success in the final years of school goes beyond memorising and extends to confidence, mental wellbeing an a healthy study regime.

You can learn more about our innovative HSC program here

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