If you have received an HSC timetable and it’s a double exam day… “ON THE SAME DAY SHGJALFGHEG”, I feel you.

However, as much as I have to say about this, maybe don’t consider calling the Board of Studies on grounds of “cruel and unnecessary treatment” because you have two exams within a few hours of each other.

Also, don’t try to rally up a group of students who are currently subject to the same anxiety as you to protest against the oppressive body that is the BOS, in the spirit of “viva la revolución”.


Because there is absolutely nothing you can do about it.

Also because you can actually use a double exam day to your advantage – so it’s best if you just read on whilst doing deep-breathing exercises.

However, you will survive! Why? Because…

It’s More of Your HSC is Over, Quicker!

By having two exams on one day, that’s a good thing because it means more of your HSC will be over quicker. Therefore, more study time for whatever exams you have after.

And if you don’t have exams afterwards and they are the last two – congratulations, you finish early!


No Last-Minute Cram Sesh’s

If you have Bio and PDHPE on the same day, that means you’ll cram for Bio, but only have two hours for last minute PDHPE study, right?


Nooooope! Those last minutes of cramming don’t mean anything.

Your study should be done weeks beforehand. Last minute cramming won’t serve to consolidate your knowledge properly. Therefore, the double exam day shouldn’t affect your study schedule, because actual study is being done in the days/weeks before the exams.

Isn’t it? 😉

You’ll Be More Motivated

As with the last point, study is not done last minute. And now that you know that you won’t be able to do proper last minute study for those two exams (or you’ve finally accepted that this is the fact), use that as motivation to plan out your study timetable for the weeks before your exams. Use any stress you feel as motivation to pre-prepare, and plan ahead. It will give you a reason to study that much more in the days before.

“But I have two hours to freak out in between!!”

A lot of people are concerned about what they’ll do in the gap between the two exams. Some say to study, some say to do nothing.

I think the most important thing to do is:

  • Take a break! You need at least 15 mins of relaxation, or else you’ll be too highly strung for your next exam.
  • Make sure you drink water, because you probably weren’t keeping too hydrated whilst writing frantically during your first exam.
  • Eat brainfood! These are things like a banana, some rice cakes, some almonds – don’t forget that food will give you energy.

I’m not going to tell you to not look over your notes for the next exam (you should!). But if you’ve got an hour/two hours, make sure you take at least half an hour to do the things I’ve listed above.


But I don’t know how I’ll actually feel on the day?!

Then Rehearse the Day with Practice!

Try to practice doing the exams in that fashion at least once in the weeks before your HSC.

So that would be doing a Biology past-paper under timed conditions, taking a two hour break, and then doing that PDHPE paper under timed conditions. This will give you a good idea of what to expect, and hopefully let you realise that it’s much more achievable than you thought previously.

If you don’t deal with it so well during the rehearsal, it’s time to practice until it’s perfect! You can read more about doing practice exams here!

You’d be surprised at how many people have double exams.

And you’ll probably have to face them later in life in uni. The only thing to do is use them to your advantage.

The most important thing is realising that a two hour gap rather than a day gap shouldn’t really affect how you perform in an exam.

Perhaps except for that numb hand.

Sophia Zou recently completed the HSC in 2013, so fortunately for AOS Community Blog-readers and perhaps less fortunately for her, the memories of Year 12 are still fresh in her head. Sophia considers it her mission here to help students make the most of their final years at high school. Her interests include political science, Simon and Garfunkel, and pretending to be a tea aficionado. Alongside tutoring at Art of Smart Education, she spends her time playing the piano and studying Government & IR and Languages at the University of Sydney.