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Get Ahead Kids - Vol. 5, No. 5 - September/October 2013

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Preparing Students for HSC Success

By Greg Pritchard

In a few short weeks thousands of Year 12 students across the state will sit for the Higher School Certificate.

Knowing how to prepare for an exam is an essential skill for academic study. Students should try early on in their academic life to put good studying techniques into practice. In order to help with exam preparation here are 10 tips designed to help students get the most out of their HSC exams:

  1. Start exam preparation early! Exams are only an indicator of understanding of the subject material in class. Attend all classes & review all content after class until you feel confident you understand it.
  2. Seek explanation. If there are parts of the subject material you don't fully understand, seek understanding by; asking your teacher, asking classmates, going to the library or online & reading about the topic more thoroughly.
  3. Create a study space. Take time out to make your study area clean, organised & comfortable. Keep notes in order. Make study time more productive by removing distractions; make an effort to study at a desk rather than in front of the TV or in bed.
  4. Use time wisely. Take a few minutes to figure out the time you have to study & what course material you need to revise. Break down your study plan into something that is manageable & realistic week by week. Make more time available for study by cancelling non-critical activities.
  5. Be active in class. Knowledge is recalled more easily (at the time of exams) if it had meaning when it was learnt. Look for ways to make the information meaningful to you & develop techniques to recall it.
  6. Put it in your own words. When writing up notes make sure material is paraphrased so it's understandable. Simply regurgitating information from a text book is not enough to succeed in the HSC.
  7. Teaching is the best way of learning. Try explaining an idea or concept to someone else; it will help you understand what you are talking about.
  8. Study past papers. If you have access to past papers, studying under (self-imposed) exam conditions is a great way to get ready for the actual exam. It allows you to test your knowledge & find out what areas you need to improve.
  9. Take care of yourself. Get plenty of sleep & avoid excessive consumption of caffeine before the exam. Caffeine may keep you more awake but it won't make you more focused.
  10. Avoid stress. The day before an exam, ensure you plan the next day so there is plenty of time to wake up properly, eat, travel and arrive at the correct room with time to spare. Avoid people who cause you stress. You will be in a much better frame of mind going into exams if you are relaxed & not overly stressed.

While a little bit of pressure might provide the right motivation to begin studying, it's important that students remember to stay calm and plan ahead to get the best results.

About Greg Pritchard

Greg Pritchard is the Education Manager at UTS:INSEARCH. Greg currently sits on a number of Academic Boards in Sydney and has been nominated for numerous learning and teaching awards. At UTS:INSEARCH, Greg is Chair of the Quality and Curriculum Committee, the English Board of Studies, and the ELT Quality Working Party.

More Information

Ground Floor, 187 Thomas St
Haymarket, NSW 2000 Australia
P: 02 9218 8666


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