The break during the HSC STUVAC can easily go to one of two extremes; a non-stop study burn out or a Netflix binge with three days of panic-study tacked on the end.

Hint: Generally, neither end well.

However, with these top 5 HSC STUVAC tips, you can easily turn your pre-HSC month into four weeks of productivity, preparation and (relative) peace. 

Our Top Tips for the HSC STUVAC!

Tip #1: Give yourself structure

Planning out the month leading up to the HSC in advance is the first way to make the most of it.

Create a schedule that works for you to maximise your study time.

What tends to work best is sticking to a similar schedule as your school timetable and adjusting it to you.

If you’re a morning person, have a 9am – 3pm schedule, similar to school. However, if you’re more of a night person, have an 11am – 5pm plan to allow for a bit of a sleep in. 

Block out any trips or events during the time to make sure you plan around them. 

Don’t forget, it’s also import to give yourself one or two “free days” each week. This helps you get into a regular pattern of studying that makes the month before the HSC more manageable.

Tip #2: Make and stick to good habits

It’s said that habits only take 7 days to form – meaning that a positive study habit formed in the first week of the month can last all the way to the HSC!

Figure out what habits you want to get into. 

They can be simple, like stretching your hand every 30 minutes, or something more long-term, such as writing an English essay plan every other night.

Then it’s as simple as repetition to turn these study plans into habits that can boost your study productivity!

Protip: Use your phone to set reminders for the first week of establishing your study habits.You can find some awesome study apps here!

Tip #3: Work hard, play hard

Though the HSC is important, keeping your life balanced is too.

Use the “free days” you allocate yourself each week to spend time with friends and family or have a bit of ‘me time’!

You could plan a weekend trip with your parents, have a movie night with friends or take yourself shopping!

Whatever it is, give yourself a total break from studying! Not only does this keep you happy and your mental health good, it gives you time to be social after spending ages studying alone.

Tip #4: Relax

Taking time out to just de-stress is essential if you want to make it through STUVAC without burning out. We’ve already mentioned “free days” and non-study activity, but relaxing while you study is also key.

Protip: Research recommends 5 minutes of break to every 25 minutes spent studying.

Basically, this is a 20 minutes break after 2 hours study – but it’s also a good idea to give yourself a break between subjects or tasks.

Set aside a regular, specific relaxation time.

This will get you into a pattern of de-stressing; such as stopping study by 5pm each night and or giving yourself Monday mornings off. 

Tip #5: Prepare your mind and body

Just as study is important, so too is your physical, emotional and mental preparation for the HSC.

Physical preparation can be:
  • Writing with erasers taped to your pen throughout the year so you can strengthen your hand muscles
  • Remembering to eat well
  • Doing at least a little bit of regular physical activity
  • Getting enough sleep

Protip: Fruit like apples or bananas are some of the easiest study snacks, as they’re easy to eat, take no time to prepare and fill you up!

The mental and emotional side of things can be tougher to pin down and deal with.

So, the best way to keep your mental health good is to ensure you have a strong support network and maintain a positive frame of mind.

Talking regularly to friends and family about how you feel about upcoming exams gives you an outlet for any emotional stress and makes sure that they can look out for you. 

If your mental health takes a serious turn for the worst, however, seek professional help. The HSC is tough for everyone, but that doesn’t mean your mental health should suffer.

Sites like beyondblue give more information on dealing with depression and anxiety, whilst free services like the KYDS Youth Development Service and headspace can help you out if you need to speak to someone. 

Overall, these top 5 HSC STUVAC tips are absolutely critical for you to stay wired during the STUVAC period!

Looking for some extra help with your HSC studies?

We pride ourselves on our inspirational HSC coaches and mentors!

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!

To find out more and get started with an inspirational tutor and mentor get in touch today!

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


Maddison Leach completed her HSC in 2014, achieving an ATAR of 98.00 and Band 6 in all her subjects. Having tutored privately for two years before joining Art of Smart, she enjoys helping students through the academic and other aspects of school life, even though it sometimes makes her feel old. Maddison has had a passion for writing since her early teens, having had several short stories published before joining the world of blogging. She’s currently studying a Bachelor of Design at the University of Technology Sydney and spends most of her time trying not to get caught sketching people on trains.