Have you ever tried to memorise Physics content, and then forgot it all just a few days after the test?

If you’ve been lucky enough to pull off that approach for the last few years at high school that’s fantastic, but it won’t work for your HSC.

Cramming is NOT an option!

You cannot leave your understanding of HSC Physics in short term memory.

The knowledge you learn for tests in each term, will be re-examined in your HSC.

If you reduce the amount of content you have to keep re-memorising it can make a gigantic difference come your HSC.

So, what can I do about it?

The best thing you can do is learn the content so that it falls in your long term memory.

In each term you will learn the content for a specific module thoroughly.

In Term 1 it will be Advanced Mechanics, in Term 2: Electromagnetism, Term 3: the Nature of Light, and in Term 4: From the Universe to the Atom.

The key is to learn that content once, and memorise that content once. 

Here are three tips to help you memorise Physics content!

Tip 1: Craft a Story or Outlandish Example
Tip 2: Mix Up Your Resources
Tip 3: Use Flashcards

Tip 1: Craft a Story or Outlandish Example

If you’ve ever been told a crazy story, you know how easy it is to remember.

Stories that are interesting or bizarre stay in our mind, without us even trying.

If you can do this with the facts in HSC Physics, it can make it a whole lot easier. Consider the following example.

We know from Einstein’s Theory of Special Relativity, that at relativistic speeds time will dilate. Now that sentence is pretty heavy and hard to remember.

For my story, I imagined I was on an Elon Musk spaceship travelling through hyperspace. To do so, I’d need to be going super fast (relativistic speeds). I left Earth in 2016 for just one year, but when I got back it was the year 3016, and Earth looked like Futurama.

Now that sounds crazy, but it’s really hard to get that picture out of your head. It allowed me to remember that the effects were only noticeable if travelling at relativistic speeds.

It also cemented the idea that time dilated, I had experienced one year on my spaceship, but it had been a thousand years for stationary observers on Earth!

This sort of thing is very similar to Einstein’s thought experiments or Gedanken. A good mental model can be very helpful.

Tip 2: Mix Up Your Resources

Perhaps, the most important change you can make is to not use the same textbook as that can make learning the content stale!

You need to mix things up with other resources.

We’re so lucky to live in the age of the internet. When you want to look up information, you literally just google it, that’s probably how you found this article!

There are so many great resources for HSC Physics on the internet, whether it be Wikipedia, random blogs or YouTube.

Things like the slingshot effecteddy current breaking, or hovering magnets, are great video material.

They’re super fascinating and once you’ve seen a video of a hovering magnet, you won’t be able to get that picture out of your mind.

We have video playlists for the HSC Physics Space module, and the Motors and Generators module. You can find them here:

  1. HSC Space Video Field Guide
  2. HSC Motors and Generators Video Field Guide

Tip 3: Use Flashcards

Flashcards are a great way to remember pieces of information. You could even designate a post it note colour to each of the four HSC Physics modules.

You can start creating a wall of post it notes with the specific facts you’re trying to memorise.

If you prefer a fully digital system, there’s a great app by the team who make the Duolingo app to learn languages, it’s called Tinycards. It allows you to create a fully digital set of post-it notes for each topic!

You might create a card called Slingshot Effect, and then on the back of the card you can have the definition.

The app will show you the front of the card, and you can try and remember what’s on the back!

It’s a great way to gamify your learning and boost retention, whilst also helping you memorise Physics content!

Looking for some extra help with HSC Physics?

We pride ourselves on our inspirational HSC Physics 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!


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’.