1time4theppl’s HSC Tips and Tricks
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Part 1: Year 12 information round-up
“I want to go to Uni,” you cry as a student in Year 12. You obviously know that you’ll get into the course of your choice and will ace all your subjects because you attended in excess of fifty HSC preparation days, even for subjects you don’t do such as ‘Vikings and Wenches – 16th Century studies in feminism’. Sure, you’re ranked first in that prestigious Latin course at your school that only you do. Does this all guarantee you a high UAI? My answer is simply “No”.
What you do from now on counts. I don’t want to scare you into studying 24/7, especially if it means that your time spent watching Teletubbies will be minimised. The fact is, you don’t have to. What does matter, though, is how well you complete your assessments, how much you stay on top of your classes and how well you would do if the teacher randomly threw a 50% weighted quiz in one of your classes.
I’m not going to argue and say this: hey, there’s plenty of time in Year 12 to go out and have a kick-ass social life, accumulate at least 3 varieties of STD’s (one tropical) and pillage villages. Well, there is, especially in the early stages, but everyone’s different. Some people prefer to stay home and study; on occasions reading a book and watching a good film. So don’t have a go at someone on this forum just because they haven’t seen sunlight for the past six months (for all you know they may live in Scandinavia).
So let me paraphrase all that minus the comedy: ‘Year 12 is a time where you can continue to have fun in moderation, as long as you can stay on top of your studies and when it comes down to the clichéd ‘crunch time’, then you need to commit yourself 100% in order to obtain the maximum result.
What result am I aiming for?
Lie to yourself. If you need to get an 83 UAI, convince yourself that the cutoff will rise by more than 2 points in the following year. That way you set the bar a bit higher and allow yourself some valuable leeway for mistakes that can occur during the HSC. Obviously, I have to make references to myself. I made a lot of mistakes, which is why it is a great idea for the ‘05ers to learn of them. Mind you, I think I did a lot of things right as well. I needed to get about an 86uai for the Bachelor of Arts degree at Sydney Uni. However, I kept telling myself that the cutoff will rise to 89, and I’d need a 90 result for safety.
Whilst concrete goals can work (i.e. I wish to get a 91.25 UAI), they aren’t the best approach. You don’t know how much your career and degree aspirations will change throughout the year. With myself, I could never expect to do anything bar an Arts degree and after the HSC, I realised that Marketing/Advertising would be the perfect profession for me. Never, in setting my goals would I have included a 92+ UAI requirement for such a course. Luckily, I did get the UAI that I needed for it but it was extremely nerve-racking wishing that I tried harder whilst waiting for the results. ‘The skies the limit’ – sorry to use a cliché again but this is definitely true. Aim for the 100 mark. Believe me, anyone can do it. If someone like myself ranked in the bottom 20 out of 190 people in my grade for my school years in years 7-11 can pull of a ranking in the top 50 for his final year in most subjects, you can do it to (oh, and this is a selective school).
Every Assessment matters
Every assessment (no matter how little it's worth) will matter as it will greatly shape your ranking. In PDHPE, I could have potentially topped the state or come close to it, had I thought that a 10% weighted assessment was important at the beginning of the year. I only scored 5/10 on an assessment it was easy to get 10/10 in (in fact most of the class did). These 5 extra marks would have increased my internal ranking from 9th/11 to around 3rd-4th/11. This in turn would have shifted my 87 internal mark to something a lot closer to my 93 external mark, if not higher.
Make friends with a library (preferably the State Library as they have famous dictators patrolling the hallways, urging you not to talk). Perhaps the reason for why I didn’t do as well for my internal examinations, is because I had not familiarised myself with Libraries yet. Once, considered by me, to be scary places populated by the homeless and the craziest of nerds, they turned out to be great institutions for studying…and the homeless. The fact is, at home you have distractions: your computer, books, TV, movies, gay porn etc etc. In the library, you’re almost forced to study and there’s nothing else to do. The first 6-hour study day will be difficult, the second will go slightly faster and by the third it will just fly by.
The only way that I think I saved my HSC is by going to the library every day for 2 weeks and doing 6 hours of study each day. (I only wish that I started earlier than 2 weeks prior to the HSC).
Don’t type up your notes. Instead, manually write them down, summarising from your text book and cross-referencing them to the syllabus (this is for text book subjects). The syllabus is your greatest friend. Study it and remember it. Make sure you can answer each syllabus dot point.
For subjects such as English, memorise your practice essays. If need be, tape them on a tape recorder or record them in mp3 format and listen to them a lot – and I mean A LOT. Once you can quote easily from the texts you are doing, then you can safely say that you have prepared yourself enough.
Coming up Next:
Closer to the HSC, I will give you further study tips for individual exams. What you need to remember. What you need to put on forms etc etc.
After the HSC, I will type up info about UAC, preferences and how not to royally poop them up like many a mate had done in the past. Also about selecting the uni and course for you.
Then I will provide details on selecting subjects and starting your University life.
Finally, study and social life at uni will be discussed.
Hope this helps for now.
I will leave you guys with a parting thought:
"the future hangs over our heads
And it moves with each current event
Until it falls around like a cold, steady rain
Just stay in when it's looking this way"