You may be under the impression that one’s ATAR strictly coincides with their innate intelligence. However, each and every year this assumption is proven wrong by the ACTUAL common factor between the top students: hard work and effective study. So, in order to maximise your results, you will find that regardless of your intuition or talent, a combination of industrious application to study and an organised and effective study plan will help you fulfil your potential.
- This starts in the classroom. It seems somewhat of a no-brainer, but this is often overlooked; being attentive in class will free up more time after your lessons to hone the necessary skills and consolidate new information.
- Motivation or Discipline? Discipline is an acquired trait, only attained by making plans and sticking to them, and is paramount during your HSC year and beyond. In my own experience, it took 3 weeks of painfully following a set study plan before it became a habit. At this point, external motivation wasn’t necessary as I had found the necessary discipline.
- Getting out of a study slump: This is a problem many people face, and one that is not easily solvable. I have three strategies: change your workspace i.e. go from your room to a quiet living room, or to a quiet library – new environments can shock you out of your rut. Secondly, you can practice writing down that which worries you about your slump and how it might affect your overall academic year – putting into words your worries and anxieties can help you tackle them head on, rather than letting them subconsciously wreak havoc on you. Lastly, take a break. When holidays come around, afford yourself a few days off. In the long run, it does more good than harm.
- No phones during study. Simple, you’d think, but often not followed.
- Make a study plan. Refer to this link for some tips on how to do so.
- Attend tutorials and ask your teachers for advice. There was nothing more beneficial for my ATAR than attending weekly math and English tutorials, alongside regular conversations on my progress with my music teacher. The allotted classroom time is often not enough, so use your teachers more wisely and more often.
- Active recall. This is perhaps the most practical study tip I can give you; here is a link to a video explaining this study method – the most effective one I’ve tried.
So, with this combination of hard work and effective study, you will be able to tackle all that the HSC has to throw at you. Finally, one last tip: look after yourself – exercise every day, eat well, stay social, and take some time out of each day to relax and unwind. The HSC is a marathon, not a sprint, so treat it as such.