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How I got 99.95- Akhil (1 Viewer)

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Hello everyone! I hope the title caught your attention :)

My name is Akhil and I just graduated this year with an ATAR of 99.95. I did Mathematics Extension 1 and 2 (scored 98 in both), Physics and Chemistry (96 in both) and English Advanced (97). Since this forum has been so useful for me over my last few years of school, I thought I would just share some of the insight thaht that I gained during my HSC. Certainly, there are people who have scored higher than me in each of the subjects that I did, but nonetheless, I do feel like there are some general tips and strategies that helped me get my marks.

Often, on these forums, I see people post, with a cocktail of stress, motivation and arrogance, how much work they have been doing and/or their arduous study schedules. Unfortunately, this doesn't translate into results, most likely because the time that you are studying isn't being fully utilised

First of all, there is no ONE rule/plan that will get you the ATAR that you are striving for. I will share with you how I studied for each individual subject, since they are all different and require different approaches. Secondly, I know that there are people who will have scored higher than me who did everything completely different to me, but I just wanted to share what I found worked for me. Thirdly, I know that I only did 4 of the many subjects on offer, but hopefully the skills translate across into other subjects.

Science- Physics and Chemistry

1 (I know this will be disagreed with)- I don't think it is particularly useful to study a whole module ahead. I know that some people try and learn the whole syllabus as quickly as they can. I would say that you won't retain that knowledge since it won't be tested at school and hence it won't be consolidated. This means that you just learn the material on a superficial level, which will mean that you really lose any advantage you might hope to gain. My advice is to just stay a section or two ahead of class. This will mean that you will be ready and prepared to absorb information in class.

2. Making notes- I know that a lot of people spend a lot of time making beautiful notes, and whilst that is great, I think it is wasted time. I recommend that you find a set of notes which are good (like Ahmad's for chemistry), and use them as a base. THis just means that you use all his formatting and content, and just change or add information as you read/learn/do questions. This will help save you a bit of time

3. How to study- There are two things that I think you need to do concurrently to do well; make good notes, and answer questions. First up, you should learn the stuff in class, read textbooks to start building your notes from the 'base notes'. Throughout the year, continue answering questions and adding extra information/notes from those questions. If you are consistent, doing a few questions a week for each science that you do, you will consolidate your knowledge, and have a really comprehensive set of notes that you can read over closer to the exams

4. Doing past questions- There is very little point doing lots of questions if you are just going to answer them and then put them in a folder. I would suggest that first up, try and do questions which have answers. If they don't, then ask your teacher/tutor to mark them for you. The most frustrating part of science for me was the small details in the marking criteria which meant that, even if you understood the material, you might end up with 2/4. You MUST MUST MUST get all the questions that you do marked from a crib or someone else, otherwise you don't gain anything

Mathematics

I did both Mathematics Extension 1 and 2, and I found that if I was consistent with my work throughout the year, unlike science (where to a certain extent you have to just memorise some content before exams) you don't need to spend that much time just before exams on it.

With math, once you understand the basic concepts (whether that's from your teacher, textbook, or tutor--- make sure you understand the concepts before anything else) it is all about practice. Even if you are a maths genius, you should practice both easy and hard questions.

Be consistent with your maths- if you are doing 4U, it's very likely to be 40% of your HSC (I can do percentages), so make sure that you try and do a few questions every day or second day. Do the questions your teacher/tutor sets, and then a few more.

If you constantly are just doing a few problems a day, you will begin to recognise patterns in the questions, and the speed and accuracy with which you work will increase.

I also recommend that you, in a spare notebook, write down pointers/interesting questions/stuff you get wrong that you come across as you work. Having a look at these every few weeks or before exams will help you develop your skills and make sure you don't make the same mistakes.

Sorry if that was brief, but I feel like the main thing you can do for maths is just QUESTIONS QUESTIONS QUESTIONS.

English-- last but certainly not least

I think it is in English where there is the greatest tendency to waste time, and I am definitely guilty of this as well.

Instead of an unstructured rant as I have done above, I will just outline what I did/would have done in retrospect for each text that we studied (I am not going to try and give advice for creatives)

1. Read text once to get a feel for it
2. Read the rubric, and find what the main points of the module are/what the major themes are e.g. for Belonging, if you look at the rubric, you will find, amongst many more, the following themes/ideas

-identity
-place
-change in belonging over time
- choices to belong or not belong
- barriers to belonging
-perceptions of belonging and how they vary
- potential of the individual to enrich or challenge a community or group


3. Read essays on the text, both from other students, academic publications and books, and make notes on them
4. Read the text again, starting to make annotated notes, underlining important quotes and noting their techniques
5. Answer practice questions and start compiling a 'bank' or paragraphs

So a lot of people disagree on whether you should write a fully prepared essay, or just have quotes, and I think I lie somewhere in the middle. I think that you should write a number of paragraphs by theme/idea on the text, and on the day, depending on the question, pick a few of those paragraphs (maybe 2 get combined), and FRAME them under an argument that answers the question. So you are basically moulding those paragraphs to answer your argument, which should be a direct response to the question. That way, you make sure that you are writing with the fluency of something that you have partially written before, but whilst still making sure that you are answering the question and not just spouting themes and ideas which are irrelevant to the question.

In terms of how many paragraphs you should have in your bank, that depends entirely on the module. What I did was start with 3 or 4, and as I answered some past questions, I added paragraphs. By the end, I had 8 or so paragraphs for belonging and Module C (4 on core text, 2 on each related) and 6 for Module A (3 on each comparative text).

Obviously, everyone, this is just what I did and found worked for me. I am sure that there are people who scored higher than me who did everything completely the opposite way. I invite you to share your different study methods, and tell me what you think might have been lacking in mine

Thanks and good luck to everyone. Make the HSC your bitch!:lol::lol::lol::lol::lol:
 

cadd1ct

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Awesome xD I agree with most of these points.

Aside from having a notes base you should also have a question base
i.e you have a stack of questions on soft copy that you have written answers to, and over time you add to it/refine it.

I found that I could remember things more effectively if I had answers to questions instead of just random slabs of information. Whilst people might think that it'll lead me to just regurgitate, I found that it just helps me remember things, and I end up using parts of answers from multiple questions in my database.

Also, I found that reading the responses the night before helps me remember lots of fine details with regards to a particular dotpoint.

This works for most subjects (probably doesn't work for maths though) including Japanese Extension xD

Sent from my HTC Desire HD
 

pHyRe

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lol wish i'd done all this a year ago.

any good uni guides out there? haha

btw, akhil watcha doing at uni if you dont mind me asking?
 
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Awesome xD I agree with most of these points.

Aside from having a notes base you should also have a question base
i.e you have a stack of questions on soft copy that you have written answers to, and over time you add to it/refine it.

I found that I could remember things more effectively if I had answers to questions instead of just random slabs of information. Whilst people might think that it'll lead me to just regurgitate, I found that it just helps me remember things, and I end up using parts of answers from multiple questions in my database.

Also, I found that reading the responses the night before helps me remember lots of fine details with regards to a particular dotpoint.

This works for most subjects (probably doesn't work for maths though) including Japanese Extension xD

Sent from my HTC Desire HD
completely agree. you can just add the answers for interesting/important questions into your notes.
 

Meromaths

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completely agree. you can just add the answers for interesting/important questions into your notes.
How long should your notes be in terms of page no. and word count by the end of the course? I ask because I've finished my notes for almost the entire year in one of my subjects and it's pushing about 70 pages (15,000 words) which seems quite excessive. Would this length be fine if I consistently study with them throughout the year or should I summarise them further (they're already summarized as far as I can manage from what I can see, only including the main points in a concise manner)?
 
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How long should your notes be in terms of page no. and word count by the end of the course? I ask because I've finished my notes for almost the entire year in one of my subjects and it's pushing about 70 pages (15,000 words) which seems quite excessive. Would this length be fine if I consistently study with them throughout the year or should I summarise them further (they're already summarized as far as I can manage from what I can see, only including the main points in a concise manner)?
I think 70 pages is fine. Although it is nice to have short notes, the most important thing is that you cover every outcome with sufficient detail

For science, I had around 25 pages for each topic. Granted some of those pages were only half full, but I don't think there is any problem with having notes of that length or significantly more
 

Kiraken

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This is actually fantastic advice, especially about getting a teacher or someone to mark your responses, often your own opinion of how many marks you reckon you deserve is gonna be inaccurate as to what you would actually get
 

kiwi703

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How long should your notes be in terms of page no. and word count by the end of the course? I ask because I've finished my notes for almost the entire year in one of my subjects and it's pushing about 70 pages (15,000 words) which seems quite excessive. Would this length be fine if I consistently study with them throughout the year or should I summarise them further (they're already summarized as far as I can manage from what I can see, only including the main points in a concise manner)?
I know it's a trite expression, but everyone has different ways of studying and that applies to making notes. My eco notes were 64 thousand words, my friend's were 20k and we got similar marks in the end. Never feel that your notes should conform to any particular standard, especially if you know your notes are 100% relevant.
 

cadd1ct

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How long should your notes be in terms of page no. and word count by the end of the course? I ask because I've finished my notes for almost the entire year in one of my subjects and it's pushing about 70 pages (15,000 words) which seems quite excessive. Would this length be fine if I consistently study with them throughout the year or should I summarise them further (they're already summarized as far as I can manage from what I can see, only including the main points in a concise manner)?
I agree with the other posts that there is no standard, but my friend, who got a state ranking for chemistry, had only 30(!) pages of chemistry notes (all 4 modules).... he told me that those notes were there to stimulant his mind to remember more detail than what was written.

The advice I got from a popular chem tutor was to make many drafts of your notes and to make them more concise each time. That's probably what my friend did. XD good luck with making notes, try to do soft copy, don't make my mistake lol I had to scribble a lot of random stuff in different coloured pens when I want to ad more information.

Sent from my HTC Desire HD
 

CaptainPrice

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Akhil, overall for the HSC how many hours did your consistently study daily?
Oh, and how much time did you allow yourself for gaming/socialising/BOS'ing? (I'm assuming you're human)
 

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