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Thread: How to excel in senior year studies (yr 11/12)-99+ ATAR graduate

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    Cool How to excel in senior year studies (yr 11/12)-99+ ATAR graduate

    Hi Everyone,
    My name is Mei and I am a 2013 HSC graduate. This thread is a collation of all my study tips for senior years and now it is all in one place for easier access rather than in miscellaneous different threads. I am fully aware of the fundamental fact that different study techniques will work for different individuals-after all, we are all UNIQUE, so this guide just serves as a summary of what I have learnt from my senior high school and what has helped me to be an HSC All Rounder.

    I would also like to say a big thank you to BOS user, HAWKRIDER. He encouraged me to start a guide like this-without his support, I would never have thought that collating all my advice in one thread would be so helpful to others and also would in turn, encourage other people to contribute. Thanks again!

    Please feel free to comment on this guide-whether you have personal study tips you could like to share, whether you found this guide to be helpful, whether you could like me to clarify or elaborate on anything I have said in this guide. Your replies will make sure that this guide will remain as relevant to current Preliminary students as possible

    What to do in the summer holidays before Year 11 starts
    In the summer holidays, you should focus on making sure you have a prepared psychological mindset for senior year studies and you need to make sure you have consistent performance in all your subjects-consistency is very important-both in your academic performance(I am talking about at optimal levels) as well as consistency in your study routine, learning methods and sleeping patterns

    Don't study 24/7 because you will wreck your body and by then your ATAR will become meaningless if you destroy your health-take care of yourself, do relax a bit in the holidays-you need enough relaxation to get you to keep working very hard for the next two years-and I think if you prepare your psychological mindset over the holidays, it will help you even more than pure attaining academic knowledge for year 11. This positive psychological preparation includes to be prepared for possible bad results-but retain a never-giving up attitude under this circumstance, when you get good results, don't be arrogant and just be optimistic no matter how adverse circumstances may be.

    I will be regularly updating this guide with more tips-so please check this on regular intervals or subscribe to this thread to make sure you don't miss out on my updates
    Last edited by strawberrye; 27 Oct 2015 at 7:09 PM.

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    Re: Advice from a graduated HSC student on how to excel in senior year studies(yr 11/

    Very solid advice as usual Mei. Any student who believes they are experiencing difficulties throughout especially Year 12 should thoroughly follow this guide.
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    Re: Advice from a graduated HSC student on how to excel in senior year studies(yr 11/

    My top tips on how NOT to burn out in Year 11 and Year 12:

    1)Establish goal(s) that are either based on individual subjects, week by week, term by term, ATAR, university goals, both short term and long term that you want to achieve during your senior years. Make sure those goals are goals you really want-not those that your parents or friends want you to have-establish personal goals will enable you to have meaningful reasons to keep studying and working hard for the entire year

    2)If following a study timetable is not working for you, then try a to do list day by day listing all the things you must do and other optional things you need to get done-school work and other commitments-avoid procrastination, for example,by using surfing the internet as a reward another a successful study session, keep the reward to 5-10 minutes for every 45-60 minutes of high concentration study.

    3)Enforce some self-discipline, perhaps group study might work for you-perhaps you need the occasional encouragement from your friends-but don't get distracted, whenever you want to give up, rehydrate your brain with some stretching and cold water, and visualise yourself at the end of the HSC year, achieving all the goals you want, and having no regrets. Smack your desired ATAR on the wall-and whenever you feel quickly tired, have a 5 minute break and look at that number-and think to yourself-if you want that ATAR, you will just have to keep working hard and keep studying

    When people burn out-it is usually because either they have irregular sleeping routines or they lack self-discipline that comes from lack of real motivations. Make sure you sleep and rest well so you are alert in your study, eat healthy food, exercise and find some genuine, intrinsic source of motivation and that way, with persistence, consistent optimistic attitude and determination, you will maximise your potential and improve your academic results in the senior years.
    Last edited by strawberrye; 3 Jan 2014 at 8:22 PM.
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    Re: Advice from a graduated HSC student on how to excel in senior year studies(yr 11/

    My top tips on how to STUDY during the school term:

    1)I would assign at least 90 minutes of rest after school-so it is like 30 minutes for afternoon tea and 1 hour for dinner, I would make a to-do list of all the things I needed to do that day-preparation for assessment, homework and study(extra questions), it is usually on the subjects I do on school that day-and the list is always slightly longer than realistically what I can achieve-because I want to push myself to maximise my time efficiency

    2)I would take a 5-10 minute break for each hour of study, and during that time, I would either re-hydrate myself or procrastinate on the net to relax and refresh myself-time management and planning of each session-whether mentally or on paper is extremely crucial

    3)I would write down any questions I found hard or I didn't understand, and I kind of regret the fact I didn't ask these questions the very next day, but basically I would accumulate these questions, say over a period of several weeks, by which I would then ask the teacher in one go or I would try to solve the questions myself

    4)I would also try to do practice papers and past HSC exam questions on the topic I was studying for-whether it was chemistry, physics or maths as soon as possible(I.e. when I did my textbook questions as well as other extra ones)

    5)I would often set aside the weekend for more intensive studying/practice/reading ahead, but in general, you have to consider whether the homework will be beneficial to your understanding-because sometimes teachers set random homework that wastes time and doesn't add to your understanding, and under these very rare circumstances, I choose not to do it because of the often significant amount of exams/assessments tasks I had to study for-prioritising is everything

    But I think the most important element of studying efficiently is to listen in class to what the teacher have to say, because if you understand the content in class, you don't have to waste the time to re-learn the concepts yourself at home.

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    Re: Advice from a graduated HSC student on how to excel in senior year studies(yr 11/

    My top tips in having ENJOYABLE AND PRODUCTIVE school holidays in Year 11 and Year 12:

    You will be hearing this advice time and time again, and that is, it is not about the quantity of the hours you study, but the quality of your study time-so how much you have understand/learnt from each studying session. The number of hours you study in the upcoming summer holidays will depend on three main factors:

    1)whether you are going overseas/travel, and if so, for how long and any other possible tutoring/extracurricular/casual work you may be engaging in over the holidays

    2)The main goal of your study during the holidays-whether it is to catch up on content/to revise on content learnt/to learn content ahead of class-although you may well be doing more than one of these at once, just consider one which is your main purpose-and consider how much time you are willing to devote/think will need to be devoted to achieve that purpose-based on your own study efficiency and methods

    3)Whether you intend to focus on all of your subjects in the holidays or are intending to focus on only a few

    You should strive to achieve the following objectives in your holidays:

    1)RELAX:To truly relax after a tiring school term-you should go out with your friends-particularly over the summer holidays where you have a longer period of rest, leave 2-3 days a week to relaxation and fun-do things you enjoy, it is very important to re-energise and re-vitalise yourself so that you are highly motivated for next term, as well as following a consistent study routine because a healthy body will mean a higher capacity to cope with the stresses of senior years-(making sure you have good physical and psychological health is a vital key to achieving your PERSONAL BEST)

    2)EVALUATE:To evaluate over your previous term's performance and establish short term and long term goals and strategies on how you could improve, establish more efficient/effective study habits-experiment with new study methods and routine, organize your room/study file/study schedule if you haven't done so-and enforcing regular self-discipline and independent learning in your study.

    3)REVISE:To revise over all content learnt(because they will be examined in trials at the end of the year-not just in end of term assessment tasks, so more regular revision is better than revising the whole year's worth of content at the end of the year) and learn new content-preferably at least one term ahead of the school, but make sure you do questions/practice essays/creative to be able to utilise both past and new content effectively-highlight any parts you don't understand to ask the teacher during next term

    4)PREPARE:To finish exam preparations for assessments that are established early next term, i.e. perhaps your half-yearlies for English, and to finish assignments due early next term as well as any homework allocated by your teachers.
    Last edited by strawberrye; 30 Dec 2013 at 8:40 AM.

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    Re: Advice from a graduated HSC student on how to excel in senior year studies(yr 11/

    Great advice Mei ^_^

    Out of curiosity, did you ever burn out?
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    Re: Advice from a graduated HSC student on how to excel in senior year studies(yr 11/

    My top tips for maximising your English potential:

    1)write practice essays(but make sure you get a very harsh marker-whether it is your teacher, your tutor, or someone else)-there is no need to write excessively as quality exceed quantity in English and sometimes you need time to think over your ideas-to refine/extend them-so you don't waste so much time procrastinating when you write your essays

    2) never write a second essay without getting comments for your first one, and I don't advise you to prepare a generic essay because unless you know the essay question before hand, generic essay will often leave you restricted in your options and even if it will get you marks in your assessment task, it will definitely not get you far in your trials and HSC...

    3)never ever give up, use your holidays effectively to prepare-ask the teacher what text you will be studying in the coming year-and use the holidays to read over these texts-to reduce your stress during the year, for any modules requiring a related text, try to find it in the holidays, and try not to use a very popular text-it is much harder to stand out if you do used one.

    4)learn to listen in class-whether it is other people's opinions or your teacher's insights, it will help you formulate your own unique understanding-don't rely on study guides too much-because everyone will be doing the same thing-but check with your teacher that your understanding is not super obscure

    5) probably the most important is to use all resources available, your teacher, your tutor(if you have one), the internet, library, etc-and develop a personal passion and understanding into the subject-but don't excessively seek other people's opinion on your work-because you might develop a low self-esteem and start to doubt yourself-so always reflect on each piece of advice whether it is valid or not and keep faith-believe in yourself that you have the capacity to develop independent thinking-and just because it is different from other people-does not necessarily mean it is wrong-just be prepared to back it up with textual evidence

    6)read all your texts for a minimum of 3 times-no skimming over-you really need to develop a comprehensive understanding of the whole text-not just deconstruct a few scenes and forget about the rest of the book).

    7)For writing an excellent creative, you should decide what areas you want to explore, construct a 'perfect' story after various edit process, than try to adopt that story to as many creative writing question as possible-i.e. write plans and get someone to mark it for you, like your teacher, and when you come across questions that your story is difficult to mould to, then write another one to cover the rest of the questions, but to write good creative stories, you will need to practice and get feedback as well as read good examples.

    8)Regularly practice answering English essay/comprehension/creative questions under EXAM CONDTIONS, without notes, and get a teacher/tutor/experienced English personnel to mark it for you-and learn from the comments.

    Basically, to do well in English, it is just practice, feedback, practice, feedback-unfortunately there is no short cuts at all... this, coupled with perseverance, persistent optimism and consistent performance are the key ingredients to succeeding in English.
    Last edited by strawberrye; 3 Jan 2014 at 8:23 PM.

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    Re: Advice from a graduated HSC student on how to excel in senior year studies(yr 11/

    MY TOP FIVE TIPS ON HOW TO ACHIEVE A BAND 6 IN ENGLISH EXTENSION ONE:

    1)put in consistent effort throughout your course-and for the HSC course, put in 10 times the effort you have put for your preliminary-because it is going to be more demanding-to achieve this goal, you must study ahead, stay motivated, self learn-reread your text at least 3 times-understand them, do not give up writing practice essays and creative and getting a harsh marker to give you comments on how to improve

    2)make your own notes, read extensively-do not just read extra texts because they are your related, read beyond the requirements-i.e. read and view a range of possible related texts-this will help you grasp the module concept as well as give you ideas for your creative-you should also make the effort to go to the state library or another resource centre-and look up journal articles, study guides etc-to help you develop a unique understanding of the module, but don't copy other people's works

    3)ask teachers for resources, tips and any part of the module or requirement you don't understand-use them, they are your friend but more importantly, because English is quite subjective, they will be the ones marking your work-so build a strong relationship with them

    4)Don't prepare a generic essay and memorise ONLY quotes and technique-this will not get you anywhere for English extension one-in exam, answer the question and nothing but the question-deconstruct your syllabus/rubric that your school give you to make sure you are answering its criteria.

    5)Develop a sincere passion for the subject-perhaps you have already, but if you haven't, try to, because passion combined with continuous hard work will be what will get you a band 6-all the best of luck-any more questions, welcome to pm me

    just on a side note, don't get too reliant on your teacher if they are busy, in English extension one-you must take more responsibility for your own learning-you must develop the initiative to do extra work/readings-and it is mostly self-learning-so you must develop more self-discipline compared to other subjects
    Last edited by strawberrye; 3 Jan 2014 at 8:24 PM.

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    Re: Advice from a graduated HSC student on how to excel in senior year studies(yr 11/

    My top 3 tips for preparing for excelling in science subjects (e.g. Chemistry, Biology, Physics etc)which includes the main types of assessments you will encounter in your senior school science courses.

    1)PRACTICAL ASSESSMENTS:
    Make sure you know reliability, validity, accuracy, sources of error, possible areas for improvement, independent/dependent/controlled variables, risk assessment for all the experiments you have done in class, make sure you can master basic science skills such as drawing line of best fit, drawing experimental set up accurately, using numbered points in writing a logical procedure, understand the requirements of the exam(I.e. how much time, how many parts) and allocate your time accordingly, make sure you understand the chemical principle/theory behind why you did each experiment

    2)THEORY ASSESSMENT AND EXAMS:
    Make sure you PERSONALLY write a set of summarised notes according to each dot point of the syllabus in a concise but detailed manner-make sure you include appropriate diagrams as well, after you wrote the notes, make sure to start practising questions and CHECKING YOUR ANSWERS in textbooks-i.e. Roland Smith's Conquering Chemistry has an exam question section which is quite good, ask your teacher for practice questions and make links between dotpoints and across modules to reinforce your understanding. Throughout the year, you should be progressively cutting down your notes as you store more things into your long term memory-revise regularly. Before your final trial exam-you should try to get your hands on as many preliminary exams as possible to practice-and look at the marking guidelines, remember to practice under EXAM CONDITIONS. Make sure when you make notes you are at least referring to 3 different sources to synthesise your information. (colour-code and use mind-maps to make your notes engaging and easy to remember). In your notes, don't neglect to include all your experiments and second-hand investigations.

    3)OTHER:
    For other types of assessments such as group presentations, individual research assignments, second-hand investigations-you should strive to always include a comprehensive bibliography that indicates you have sourced your information not only from websites, but from journals/books as well, you should understand how to evaluate accuracy/reliability/validity in relation to the sources of information you are using, like other types of assessment, pay close attention to the marking criteria and make sure you fulfil it as much as possible, make sure your information is comprehensive, non-repetitive and answers the verb of the question: i.e. discuss, evaluate, compare, contrast, assess, examine (so for that matter, memorise what the main verbs used in your exam questions means).

    Essentially, to succeed in the science subjects(Biology, Chemistry, Physics etc), you need to understand, constantly apply your understanding through practising questions and adopting feedback from your assessments to do better in year 12-with repetition and consistent application you will achieve your desired marks.
    Last edited by strawberrye; 9 Mar 2014 at 1:13 AM.

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    Moderator strawberrye's Avatar
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    Re: Advice from a graduated HSC student on how to excel in senior year studies(yr 11/

    Quote Originally Posted by Leffife View Post
    Very solid advice as usual Mei. Any student who believes they are experiencing difficulties throughout especially Year 12 should thoroughly follow this guide.
    Thanks for your wonderful compliments-I am truly humbled by your kind words

    Quote Originally Posted by rumbleroar View Post
    Great advice Mei ^_^

    Out of curiosity, did you ever burn out?
    If I told you I never came near to burning out, then I would be lying because although my tips serves to minimise the difficulties individuals will encounter during their senior studies, no words will completely eliminate the anxiety and stress that comes with a greater amount of workload and higher expectations. I've never truly burnt out, but I have come quite close to it-and every time when I come close, I tell myself of the reason why I want to excel in my senior studies-to have no regrets at the end of the year that I haven't tried as hard as I possibly would and I just kept going (after doing some dancing and drawing to relax myself a bit of course). To excel in senior studies, it is like flinging a rubber band as far as possible-if you stretch the rubber band too much, you will break it and you will get nowhere. If you don't stretch it enough, you won't get far.

    You have to maintain a balance between your social, academic and extra-curricular/work/family commitments (if you have any) to truly excel in your senior studies and ensure you develop as an individual in a holistic manner. But I hope you will learn from my advice and I have little doubt you will succeed in everything you do

    I wish everyone good health and happiness-two important elements for ENJOYMENT and ENRICHMENT of knowledge gained from the senior years.
    Last edited by strawberrye; 30 Dec 2013 at 12:00 AM.

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    Moderator strawberrye's Avatar
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    Re: Advice from a graduated HSC student on how to excel in senior year studies(yr 11/

    HOW TO ORGANISE YOUR STUDY TIMETABLE:
    I think the best way to make a time table is to make it flexible, whether you have a to-do list by day or organise your day into relaxation and 1 hour long study sessions, do what works for you. There are a few things you should make sure to include in your timetable/to do list to make it effective

    1)Always be realistic-don't assign excessive amount of work that you cannot achieved in the designated amount of time you have set aside for yourself

    2)Make sure you are flexible-so you can make adjustments to your timetable when extra-curricular and any other unforseen circumstances comes up.

    3)Make sure you are studying at times optimal to your concentration and alertness level. Don't assign studying at night if you can't concentrate during that time

    4)Include social activities, work commitments, relaxation time into your timetable-a balanced lifestyle is essential for long term academic success

    5)Make sure you follow your timetable as closely as possible and try not to have too many carry over tasks to add onto tomorrow's workload. With lots of trial and error, you will find a way of organising time that you will feel comfortable with and which works for you
    Last edited by strawberrye; 6 Jan 2014 at 8:36 AM.
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    Moderator strawberrye's Avatar
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    Re: Advice from a graduated HSC student on how to excel in senior year studies(yr 11/

    If you have any questions about senior studies-don't hesitate to reply to this thread and ask-I will reply as soon as possible

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    Re: Advice from a graduated HSC student on how to excel in senior year studies(yr 11/

    Hi strawberrye thanks for the info.

    Should I use flash cards for french????

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    Re: Advice from a graduated HSC student on how to excel in senior year studies(yr 11/

    Quote Originally Posted by Futurmedstudent View Post
    Hi strawberrye thanks for the info.

    Should I use flash cards for french????
    No worries, if flash card works for you as a method of studying, then use it-there is no definitive way of should you use a particular study method for a particular subject. But I think with any language course, it is important that you immerse yourself in the language-reading, listening, talking as much as possible to excel in it Best wishes
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    Re: Advice from a graduated HSC student on how to excel in senior year studies(yr 11/

    Amazing thread, thank you for contributing so much
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    Re: Advice from a graduated HSC student on how to excel in senior year studies(yr 11/

    Awesome info, thanks so much.

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    Re: Advice from a graduated HSC student on how to excel in senior year studies(yr 11/

    Wow, the 2013 HSC cohort has certainly produced an exceptional number of instant experts.
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    Re: Advice from a graduated HSC student on how to excel in senior year studies(yr 11/

    Quote Originally Posted by Tryga View Post
    Wow, the 2013 HSC cohort has certainly produced an exceptional number of instant experts.
    Welcome to bored of studies What do you mean by instant experts?

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    Re: Advice from a graduated HSC student on how to excel in senior year studies(yr 11/

    Bump for some excellent tips!

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    Re: Advice from a graduated HSC student on how to excel in senior year studies(yr 11/

    MORE DETAILS ON HOW TO EXCEL IN HSC SCIENCE PRACTICALS (BIOLOGY/CHEMISTRY/PHYSICS/SENIOR SCIENCE etc..)

    1)You must understand and differentiate the terms accuracy, validity and reliability and for each prac you have done so far-you should know these three terms in relation to the experimental method and apparatus, as well as independent, dependent and controlled variables, areas for improvement and possible sources of error in experiments, you must understand ways in which accuracy/validity/reliability can be improved for each experiment, as well as being able to do risk assessments

    2)Think about what experiments in the syllabus will give you a result in the set time frame of your task-if you did an experiment that involves observation over several days, then it is logical that experiment is unlikely to be in your practical, ask a former student what they did last year for bio-it will give you some ideas of the kind of prac they are going to ask-although there may be variations, you can study those possible experiments in more detail than others

    3)If you are required to draw graphs or diagrams-make sure you use a pencil and bring a rubber, it is much easier to rub out mistakes-make sure you have a watch-and adhere strictly to the time frame, say for example, if you have two parts, don't spent too much time on part 1-because you will not have enough time to finish part 2-if any question or part is too hard, come back to it-just circle it and come back if you have time

    4)Don't panic, make sure your handwriting is legible, you have adopted the most appropriate form of recording your results-i.e. whether it be labelled diagrams or tables, make sure to have headings and sub-headings where appropriate to make it easier to read-allocate your time according to the marks of the question-read each question carefully-don't miss out any parts-and answer nothing but what the question asks-highly recommend you to read it several times and highlight key words to make sure you don't miss out any marks

    5) might be a good idea to make sure you know verbs like evaluate, explain, assess, critically analyse, justify, contrast, compare, means-I don't think you will get a glossary of words and definition in your exam-not impossible, but unlikely

    Lastly, make sure you rest well, bring all the required equipment and follow my above advice-and you will have maximised your potential of achieving the highest mark
    Last edited by strawberrye; 8 Jan 2014 at 4:16 PM.
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    Re: Advice from a graduated HSC student on how to excel in senior year studies(yr 11/

    The real question is when does strawberrye get mod?

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    Re: Advice from a graduated HSC student on how to excel in senior year studies(yr 11/

    Great information!

    Quick question(s) - how did you study for maths?, and also how do you set out your maths homework? , i.e, do you write out the question, divide the page in half to save space, did you have an actual grid book, or was it a standard exercise book. I've often used standard exercise books because I'm usually too lazy to draw a margin lol :-)

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    Moderator strawberrye's Avatar
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    Re: Advice from a graduated HSC student on how to excel in senior year studies(yr 11/

    Quote Originally Posted by ivorybranches View Post
    Great information!

    Quick question(s) - how did you study for maths?, and also how do you set out your maths homework? , i.e, do you write out the question, divide the page in half to save space, did you have an actual grid book, or was it a standard exercise book. I've often used standard exercise books because I'm usually too lazy to draw a margin lol :-)
    The only way you can study for maths is essentially to understand mathematical concepts, apply your understanding by practice questions of increasing difficulty, and checking your answers and working out with those provided by the textbook or with your teacher/tutor. Before each maths exam, I would also do a summary of all the formulas that I would need and all the tips and tricks for each topic and revise over that before the exam.

    One very important tip is to avoid exposing yourself to new, difficult questions the day before the exam-you would often be panicked and this would worsen your exam performance because you are not entering the exam with a calm, clear mind.

    Well, I had a habit to try to do my maths homework before it was set-so that I had more time for other subjects like English. I used an actual grid book-I found it particularly useful when I am drawing trigonometry graphs, but it is up to you, it doesn't really matter what type of book you use as long as you set out your questions neatly and in a legible manner. I did divide my pages in half, not to save space, because it was the format I was accustomed to. I would write out the question, write my working out, and ticked or crossed my own work by marking my answers with those of the textbook. And if I got a question wrong, I would re-do it several times until I get it right or I could ask my teacher. When I understood the mathematical concepts, I would then do practice trial papers to consolidate my knowledge.

    One last important tip I can give you is that you need to ask questions the minute you don't understand something-don't leave any maths lessons without understanding everything about the maths concept conveyed-because maths is a sort of accumulative subject where if you don't understand something and don't clarify it, it can have a snowball effect. I have a habit of writing tips on the silly mistakes I've made or tips to do a certain type of question alongside questions I got wrong and I re-do these questions before the exam and remind myself to avoid making these mistakes.

    MATHS is a subject that needs to be practiced on a daily basis, you cannot get away with studying it the day before the actual exam. You need to understand the approach to achieve a solution to the problems, not just knowing how to answer a problem, but knowing the different types of problems you can encounter in any topic and the variation in the solution method to achieve them. Essentially, practice, practice, practice is the key to succeed in Maths.

    I hope your laziness is only in not bothering to draw margins, and not in not doing lots of maths problems) Anyways, glad that the information helped, if you have any more questions, feel free to reply to this thread All my best wishes for you to ace your senior year studies (You've got a pretty heavy workload by the sounds of your subjects)
    Last edited by strawberrye; 16 Jun 2015 at 5:04 PM.

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    Re: Advice from a graduated HSC student on how to excel in senior year studies(yr 11/

    Thanks for doing this, it's definitely going to help me out
    HSC 2015

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    Re: Advice from a graduated HSC student on how to excel in senior year studies(yr 11/

    Quote Originally Posted by spatula232 View Post
    Thanks for doing this, it's definitely going to help me out
    No worries-glad to know I am helping people out If you have any questions about senior year studies or any subject specific questions, feel free to reply to this thread and ask-you will get a response as soon as possible Best wishes for the next two years

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