Your high school years can be some of the most
important years of your life. It is important that
every student makes the most of every opportunity
they get during these years to ensure they finish
their school years successfully. The following page
will outline the basic steps students should undertake
during their studies both at home and at school,
as well as tips on exam preparation and techniques.
For any questions, tips or advice from other current
students, please visit our Community
(in general) top
WHEN SHOULD I START STUDYING
|Here's 6 steps to get you started...
|1. Decide that time-management is important
- it enables you to satisfy, efficiently and effectively
your needs and wants.
|2. Evaluate your study needs - requirements
for each subject in terms of assignments, difficult
of subject, etc....
|3. What are you doing now - analyse
your current time usage, where does your time go?
|4. Plan a new timetable. What is the
purpose of a timetable? EFFICIENCY, ORGANISATION,
|5. Revise that timetable - after 1
to 2 weeks.
|6. Set us a special pre-exam timetable.
|PREPARING TO STUDY
|Find a good place to study. This means
a desk with nothing on it except what you need for
the task you are going to work on. Move everything
out of the way. You want to concentrate on one thing:
STUDYING. Have a regular time and place for studying.
Make sure you have the following:
- Solid flat surface you can write on. - Clear
everything off your desk except what you are working
- Good lighting - Not too bright, not too dim
- Chair - A regular chair that is comfortable.
Avoid strain and fatigue
- Books - Have all necessary text books and reference
- Supplies - Pens, ruler, calculator, etc...
- Clock - Helps you manage time, or timing yourself
doing past papers
- Eliminate all distractions - Classical music
played softly may help
- Computer - If needed
|APPROACHES TO LEARNING FOR HSC STUDENTS
- The last few months of Year 12 are crucial and
experts recommend changes in study methods and
patterns to ensure the maximum amount of information
is absorbed during that period.
- Students must capitalise on the study methods
they have found most effective as well as looking
at different approaches to prevent boredom.
- Students need to develop their own individualised
study programs. Copying other students' routines
may not best suit your needs.
- In the case of studying texts, stand up and
read aloud - this will help you visualise what
- One senior lecturer stated that preventing boredom
in the final weeks is vital. It is suggested that
you should review what you know rather than try
to cram in more information.
- Be proud of your achievements. Knowing that
you have mastered a difficult concept should give
you something to draw pride, strength and confidence
|1. LISTEN ACTIVELY in class, using
four steps - TILE (tune-in, investigate, listen, estimate).
|2. Make active NOTES, in your own words,
in class, highlighting points by using headings, sub-headings,
underlining and diagrams (avoid sentences).
|3. Re-read your notes as soon as possible
and make a SUMMARY on the back of the page.
|4. A SUMMARY must be brief and must
act as a key to recalling other material.
|5. Make a further brief OUTLINE of
the summary, listing only key headings.
|6. REVISE the material several times,
well in advance of exam time.
|7. Make a REVISION STUDY TIMETABLE.
|8. When REVISION, use active methods
- questioning: looking at how the topic is organised;
pretending to explain it to someone else; imagining
the exam questions you might get; etc...
|9. PERSONALISE the material (give it
your frame of reference and your associations).
|10. Use memory tools for complex lists,
- Acrostics (eg - Every Good Boy Deserves Fruit)
- Acronyms (eg - ROYGBIV (colours of rainbow))
- Tree Diagrams
- Visual Associations and Humour
- First Letters of List of Points
|11. When READING (notes from textbook)
read with a purpose.
|12. Have your notes in clearly labelled
folders in a quiet, well-lit, comfortable, tidy and
|13. Practice a RELAXATION technique
daily and start revision sessions with it.
|14. Be aware of NEGATIVE thoughts.
Allow the thought to finish. Then repeat a positive
statement to yourself. If a negative thought persists,
then use your positive statement as a daily GOAL or
|15. Five weeks before EXAMS are due,
make a new revision timetable, allocating times to
cover various topics and subjects.
|16. Now REVISE by using tour notes,
summaries and outlines together.
|17. Avoid last minute CRAMMING as much
as possible. Keep your sleep, relaxation and recision
|18. ANTICIPATE the EXAM PAPER format
(using past papers)
|19. IN THE EXAM, read actively (underline
key words; allocate time to various parts of the paper;
write rough point outlines of essay answers)
|20. When writing ESSAYS, have a clear
INTRODUCTION, BODY and CONCLUSION. State how you will
answer the question and what points you intend to
make. (Don't just tell a story or list your information
without regular reference to the question.) Use your
information to SUPPORT your points.
|21. Keep and use your sense of humour.
|TIMETABLE / SCHEDULE
|With a timetable or schedule, you will
be able to keep track of work that needs to be done.
You may order the tasks which have more priority over
others and it will help you keep focus on what you
have to be doing. It is important you keep track of
every single task you have.
|You may have a very open timetable,
which just states the task given and the due date,
or you may have a very specific timetable which is
very detailed and tell you exactly what needs to be
done on what day during a certain time period.
|With a timetable you will be able to
manage time effectively, allowing you to have more
freedom while achieving your tasks.
|Example of an Open timetable:
| Work to be done
|Listening can sometimes be the hardest
skill of all to learn and to refine. Think about it.
When your teacher is bawling you out for something,
how often do you actually listen? Most of the time
your brain has gone off duty while your mouth is saying
'Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know'. How often, when you're
bored in class, have you drifted off into a daydream,
only to come back to consciousness and realise that
you haven't heard a thing?
Listen consciously, actively, to everything that's
said to you. Even though you won't like some of
it, you will remember it. Try listening for ten
minutes to a conversation on the bus, or perhaps
between your parents. Then sit down and write down
the major points of the conversation. This will
begin to fine tune your listening skills so that
even boring material delivered in class is recalled
- Make it a habit
- Concentrate on what the topic going on in class
is. No daydreaming
- You can not listen if you are talking
- Review what the main points covered in the last
- During class, relate what you have already learned
to the syllabus
- Take notes on the main points
- After class, review your notes and think about
what was covered in class
- Re-write your notes
- Highlight, underline important ideas and vocabulary
- If you have a choice, try to sit near the front
of the class, you can usually listen better if
you are in the front
- Good listening mean you are paying attention
- Listen carefully to what the teacher says about
an assignment and write it down in your assignment
notebook right away
|Especially when we're young, we think
we'll remember information just by listening. This
may be true to a certain extent, but it won't earn
you the highest HSC score you deserve. In class, while
you're reading, while you're studying, take notes
constantly. This doesn't mean writing down everything
you hear or read. It means taking down the most important
points in your own words. At the end of the day, read
through your notes and revise them. Mark key points
wind important facts with a highlighter. File the
notes in organised folders.
- use loose-leaf pages
- spread your notes out - don't skimp on paper
- write on one side only
- put a new point on each line
- notes come from asking questions - ask questions
for points in the syllabus that you don't understand
- indent points relating to main points
- keep notes brief - phrases rather than sentences
- use abbreviations
STUDYING (at home)
| HOW TO IMPROVE YOUR MEMORY
- Think about what aspect of your memory you hope
to advance. If you just want to recall somebody's
name or always forget to turn off the stove, don't
bother with mnemonic techniques. These teach you
elaborate methods of memorising mind-bogglingly
long lists that you will never use again. Use
pen and paper!
- If you're not listening, you won't remember
it later. Your state of mind, level of alertness
and, to a minor expert, you age affect your memory.
Being stressed, tired, unhealthy and distracted
means you concentrate less, as does chronic pain,
depression and altered hormone levels.
- To remember a piece of information, you need
to "mark it" by thinking about it differently
before you toss it into the filing cabinet of
our mind. For example, to remember the number
"08301974", you might think of it as a story that
starts at "08:30am in the year 1974".
- To remember somebody's name, listen to what
it is rather than getting distracted by the way
he combs his hair over his bald patch. Ask him
to say his name again, spell it of clarify its
pronunciation. Refer to his name in conversation.
The more times you hear or repeat his name, the
more likely you are to remember. Get a visual
link between the name and the face.
- A good night's rest will do wonders for your
- It is easier to recall information when you
are in the same state you learnt the information
in. If you find out a fact when you are drinking
tea at home, you will remember better doing the
|All year round >> Six weeks
before the exam >> Two weeks before >>
Just before >> In the exam room
|All Year Round
Six Weeks Before The Exam
- Revise well and test yourself as you go
- Precise revision timetable
- Work through past exam papers or questions in
- Keep physically fit. Eat and sleep regularly.
Take daily exercise. Learn how to relax. Cook.
- Anticipate the format of different exams
- Learn material differently for different subjects
and for different exam styles (short-answer, essay,
- Practice timing yourself in exams
Two Weeks Before
- A new revision timetable, aimed at covering
all topics in the time
- Look for gaps in knowledge
- Test yourself on topic summaries
- Concentrate on:
- vocabulary, technical terms, definitions
- summaries of points
- formulae, rules, diagrams, charts, maps
- ability to understand relationships
- Time yourself in writing essay-type answers
- Lengthen the revision periods slightly
- Nervousness is common. Use a relaxation strategy
to overcome it
- Devise another timetable, based on the order
and spacing of your exams
- Recite and test (don't just read). Use your
summaries actively, especially your "summaries
- Minimum of cramming because of prior preparation
| HOW TO RELAX ON EXAM DAY
- Don't listen to your friends - steer clear of
people who will stress you out and undermine your
confidence before and after the exams.
- Don't hang around after the exam, ring your
friends later - after you've had a swim or a jog.
- Flip through and read the paper. Start with
the easiest question and do it first as a confidence
- If you get a question that completely stumps
you, get a piece of paper and write down any words
that pop into your head which relate to the subject
- one word may lead to another which could jog
- If you are still stuck, move on and come back
to the question after finishing everything else.
- Do relaxation exercises before, during and after
the exam. Be still, notice what you can hear and
what you can smell, but let nothing disturb you.
Notice your breathing and draw in fresh air to
give your system more oxygen.
- As you deepen your breathing you will become
- "Succeed In Exams, Triumph In Tests" by
Jean Robb and Hilary Letts (Hodder Headline Australia)
- Sunday Life from The Sunday Telegraph, April 2
- "Focus on HSC: parents and student lecture"
by EdAssist, University of Sydney
- "Excel HSC Survival Guide" 2001 Edition