We all know time is tight in the lead up to exams so you have to make every second of study count, all through the year. That’s why we’ve got the 4 Simple Steps for HSC Chemistry Revision that you’ll need to make the most of your study time!

If you’re not too clear on what goes into making an epic year of studying, we’ve developed the 10 Point Study Plan based entirely on what NSW State Rankers have done in their Year 12 Year.


Step 1 – Write out a strong note set

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Strong notes are the core of a good study regime – they establish all the content you need to know, and where it comes from. 

A good set of notes should always have reference of the HSC Syllabus, and address all areas – not just what you’ve done in class!

Click here for our 6 Step Tutorial on writing Epic HSC Chemistry Notes!

Step 2 – Do standalone practice questions as often as possible

This is to polish your knowledge and technique for each topic area, as you’re learning it (and then to keep it fresh once you have!). 

Where can I find freely practice questions?

  • From past HSC or Trial papers;
  • Your textbooks or exercise books;
  • Experiment with writing your own!

There’s also plenty of great question collections on the market, with a special shout out to the Dot Point series from SciencePress for doing the hard work of syllabus targeting for us!

Once you’ve done the question mark it yourself, then get a mate to mark it, or get a teacher to mark it – the more feedback you get the more you’ll improve! Also make sure to experiment with your answer format – use tables and diagrams and anything else you can come up with to convey information effectively.

Find a full list of Past HSC Chemistry Papers here.


Click here to learn how to write a Band 6 HSC Chemistry Extended Response.

Step 3 – Whenever a major test is coming up, do entire practice papers relevant to it

Again, mark it yourself, get a mate to mark it, or get a teacher to mark it. Why? Feedback makes all the difference

It helps if you get together a group of friends and make a day of it – go to a library, do the paper, get lunch or catch a movie (or both), head back to library, swap papers and mark them.

Studies from the University of Pittsburgh indicate that team learning increases retention and motivation, and reduces the possibility of mistakes – so if your teacher tells you you won’t get anything done in a group, drop that one on them!

That said, make sure you do actually get the work done instead watching two movies or getting two lunches.

Here’s what your day could possibly look like!

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Why have we broken it up into half hour blocks of 25 minutes working + 5 minutes break? Because it’s proven to be the most optimum working time period.


Step 4 – Independently research anything you don’t understand

Sometimes, you just need another point of view in order to properly understand something. Teaching yourself forces you to explain concepts to yourself in the way that you understand them.

In order to develop a fuller picture, use as many sources as you can and then get your teacher to clarify your understanding

Top sources include WolframAlpha (it’s definitely the easiest to use) and the High School Chemistry Handbook

Wikipedia is always a good first step to understand a concept, but the references on the page will prove much more valuable!

Google Scholar is an excellent resource, however as most of them are college papers, they’re a bit beyond what is expected of HSC level Chemistry. 

Why Constantly Revise?

We know that NSW’s State Rankers typically study (meaning both homework and revision) for no more than 2 hours of one subject a day.

If you dedicate at least half an hour every two days to doing the above in revising HSC Chemistry, you will retain much more due to constant exposure to your topics than if you decided to cram it all the night before.

Good luck!

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Matt Saunders is a huge nerd who first got into writing through fanfiction. He’d known science was the path for him since a young age, and after discovering a particular love of bad chemistry jokes (and chemistry too), he’s gone onto to study Forensic Chemistry at UTS. His HSC in 2014 was defined in equal parts by schoolwork and stagecraft, which left him, weirdly enough, with a love of Maths strong enough to inspire him to tutor any level, along with 7-10 Science and HSC Chemistry.