Your HSC Physics Exam is tomorrow!

You’ve wasted all your time procrastinating but you know it’s time to knuckle down and have a solid study session.

Feeling screwed?

Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered with our top 5 HSC Physics tips to help you steady the ship the night before!

Tip #1: Write Answers to Each Syllabus Dot Point
Tip #2: Summarise the HSC Physics Course in 4 Pages 
Tip #3: Go Through Past HSC Physics Papers
Tip #4: Multiple Choice Blast
Tip #5: Make a Plan of Attack for the Exam

Tip #1: Write Answers to Each Syllabus Dot Point

But that will take forever!

No, it won’t! Here’s how to get the most out of writing notes, and have it done within an hour!

Write answers in dot points

Do not write complete sentence answers, that would be ideal but there’s no time!

This is just to reinforce the facts you remember in your memory, and help you find out where you need to study more.

Go through each dot point and write down in dot points, the key ideas you know about that particular syllabus point.

For example if the syllabus point is about projectile motion, my dot points might be something like this:

  • Galileo said vertical and horizontal motion are independent
  • Horizontal v is constant
  • Vertical a is constant (-g)

Write answers by hand!

But it’s so much faster to type!

Yes it is, but we have to make some important time sacrifices. When you write things by hand, you have a much better chance of remembering the idea, than if you typed it!

Researchers at Princeton University and the University of California at Los Angeles found students who took handwritten notes generally outperformed students who typed their notes via computer. People who write their notes learn better and retain more information!

If you don’t know the answer move on, no time to ponder!

If you get stuck for more than 30 seconds, and don’t have something meaningful to write down, just move on. It’s okay!

The goal of this task to is to help reinforce the things you already know, staring at something you’re unsure about, won’t help anyway.

Just move on and get through the entire syllabus as fast as you can!

Identify weaknesses

You know how I said it’s okay to skip the syllabus points you’re unsure about, I want you to highlight those dot-points, we’re going to go over those dot-points and learn them in tip 2!

Tip #2: Summarise the HSC Physics Course in 4 Pages

This is where you patch up all the holes you identified in the last step!

The goal here is to summarise the entire course in 4 pages, each double sided in 1.5 hours.

One each for Space, Motors and Generators, Ideas to Implementations and your Option Topic.

WHAT! How am I going to summarise the entire course in 1.5 hours?

Don’t re-write things you already know!

Here’s the trick! Since you wrote down dot points for the syllabus points you’re comfortable with already in Tip #1, you only need to summarise the parts you skipped!

A great resource for this is the Student’s guide to HSC Physics which you can find here!

Just find the syllabus dot point you had trouble with, and rewrite your dot point summary for that point. Since it’s digital you can search for your syllabus dot point!

Tip #3: Go Through Past HSC Physics Papers

This is important! This section will be the biggest use of our time, 2 hours! It’s incredibly important though.

We’re going to go through past papers. Doing so will give you a good taste of what to expect tomorrow, and the types of answers they’re looking for.

Don’t actually do the paper, just skim it

What you’re going to do is skim through the question, and in your head think of what answer you would give.

You should go through the entire paper in this way:

  1. Skim read question
  2. Think of what you might say
  3. Write a brief dot point on paper of what you would say
  4. Move on to next question, rinse and repeat, until you’re at the end of the paper!
Read the Answers!

Once you’ve gone through the papers, it’s time to read through the answers.

Compare your responses with what the markers are looking for! If you’re way off take a note of it!

Consider amending your written summaries with any new information you learn.

Looking for past papers?

Having to wade through the NESA site to find past papers, and the answers is probably the most arduous task you’ll face this evening!

There’s so many pages to click through, it’s an absolute pain. Don’t worry though!

We’ve put all the past papers you’ll need and their answers in one easy to find place.

You can find them here!

Tip #4: Multiple Choice Blast

In this last section, you’re going to go through 40 multiple choice questions! That should take you 30 minutes!

You don’t have to click through past papers, and mark them yourself.

NESA has a great online multiple choice quiz ready made. Just select what years you’d like to do, and how many questions you’d like. I suggest 40.

multiple choice the night before hsc physics exam

You can find the quiz here!

Tip #5: Make a Plan of Attack for the Exam

The final thing you need to decide, is what order you’re going to attack the exam in!

You don’t have to do the paper in the traditional order, and there are many pros and cons to choosing different orders.

We’ve summarised them here

Get some sleep!

Once you have a rough idea, of how you’re going to approach the exam, the best thing you can do is hit the sack.

Getting a good night’s rest is incredibly important. The worst thing you can do is walk into the exam tired!

If you haven’t learnt what you need to before bed time, just let it go, and go to bed anyway!

A well rested body is far more important! If you have time the next morning, then you have a chance to look at those last minute doubts! But you should definitely prioritise sleep!

And that rounds off our top 5 HSC Physics tips to help you study the night before your exam! Good luck!

Looking for some extra help with HSC Physics?

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We offer tutoring and mentoring for Years K-12 in a variety of subjects, with personalised lessons conducted one-on-one in your home or at our state of the art campus in Hornsby!

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Give us a ring on 1300 267 888, email us at info@artofsmart.com.au or check us out on Facebook!


Vamsi Srinivasan is looking to uncover the next hidden truth of the universe. He was fascinated by the beauty of Physics and Mathematics during his HSC. Now, he’s in his third year of a dual degree in Physics/Computer Science. Vamsi wanted to share his passion for Maths and Physics and has been an Art of Smart coach for the past 3 years. He coaches students in Physics as well as all ranges of HSC Maths from General to Extension 2. In his spare time you can find him watching Tennis or listening to his favourite podcast ‘Hello Internet’.