Five things I wished I could have told myself during the HSC

Exam tips from a uni student

The tips, tricks, and advice I wish I could’ve told myself during my exams.

While HSC exams can feel daunting, staying well organised can be a game-changer in helping to manage stress.  

Paying attention the finer details, maintaining a clean workspace, scheduling your time effectively, and establishing a solid routine, can have a significant impact when exam pressure is on. 

Here are five things I wish I could have told myself during the HSC:  

1. Maintain an organised and tidy working environment

I cannot stress enough the importance of having an organised and tidy workspace. Establishing a dedicated study area is an essential tool for telling your brain that it’s time to concentrate. It’s extremely important for students completing their final studies of high school to ensure that folders, papers, books, and stationary are properly stored away after each study session. This organisational habit  ensures you always return back to a clean desk, giving you a fresh canvas for a clear and focused mind ready for studying!  

2. Create a study schedule  

Develop a realistic and structured study schedule. Make sure to allocate specific time slots for each subject and be consistent with your study schedule. I highly recommend setting clear goals and prioritising the subjects  you find most challenging for  ultimate concentration. I also recommend creating a weekly study calendar, this allows an easier allocation of time slots and important dates.  

It’s also super important to take time off from studying and have study breaks. Taking regular study breaks helps prevent burnout by allowing you to recharge mentally and physically. Make sure to breathe, stretch, move around, and maintain better posture. You’ll feel much better when you go back to studying.    

Group of students sitting on the grass

Year 12 students sitting on the Duck Pond Lawn.

3. Make the most of your friendships

Aside from studying 24/7, your senior year of high school will truly challenge your friendships. It’s essential to create enduring memories to fully embrace your final year of high school or else you may regret it.  

Your friends will be your pillars of strength throughout the studying and pressure of year 12. They understand your struggles because they’re navigating the same path as you. Oddly enough, experiencing those mini breakdowns before exams together can be reassuring. It’s crucial to pause your study grind occasionally, make cherished memories, and appreciate your mates.  

4. Take all the naps you need

We tend to also feel more accomplished when we stay up all night cramming for that English paper but make sure to take time to recharge.  

Taking naps during studying can play a vital role in enhancing your learning and abilities, such as boosting your creativity and problem-solving skills. Your naps don’t have to be long, even short naps can allow your brain to process and organise information you’ve learnt from your subjects, making it easier to retain for your HSC exams!  

An image of graduates throwing their hats in the air Graduates throwing their hats. 

 5. HSC isn’t the last resort 

The pressure that accompanies HSC exams can be overwhelming, but it’s important to realise that the HSC and your final ATAR rank aren’t the be-all and end-all to reach your university or career aspirations. While maintaining your academic studies is important, always bear in mind that there are other pathways into your dream course.  These include UOW College and TAFE programs. 

Stay true to yourself, give it your all, and understand that your dedication and hard work hold the utmost significance in your journey of growth. Remember, the HSC is just one chapter of your life.