Ever studied for 4 hours straight and yet remember nothing at all?
Fear no more!!
In this article, we’ll take you through 4 simple tips to study effectively for the HSC whilst also reducing procrastination!
Tip #1: Quality beats quantity
If you want to study effectively, it is always important to remember that quality always outweighs quantity.
By that, I mean studying effectively is about HOW you use the time, not HOW MUCH time you take up.
Always make sure that you completely understand and nail a concept which you have studied before moving on.
Don’t skip to the next part of the content you are studying if you don’t understand what you have just finished studying.
There are 4 simple ways to check if you have grasped what you have just learnt:
- Try rewriting the notes you have been “studying” without looking at your notes. (Recommended ONLY for HSIE subjects)
- Condense your study notes into a new set where majority of summarised information are concepts you already know.
- Quiz yourself by making up questions based on the syllabus dot points which you have just covered.
- Explain the content/concept that you have just studied to a friend, or even to yourself!
These are great ways to ensure you have a strong understanding of all the contents in a topic.
Also, if you study this way regularly, it is easier to avoid last minute cramming. This is simply because once you have fully understood a particular concept, it is hard to forget the next time!
Tip #2: Take a scheduled break
Taking a scheduled break is very important if you want to study effectively.
If you study for 3-4 hours straight, I can guarantee you that everything you tried to cram in has now gone through one ear and out the other.
In your break, I WILL NOT advise you to go on social media or chat to your friends online.
Very likely, this short break will then become 45 minute, 1 hour or 2 hours….before you know it, 3 hours will have gone by – and you’ve done absolutely nothing.
I would suggest you to spend your break by grabbing a drink or snack, talk to a friend, or just walk pointlessly around your home.
These activities have scientifically been proven to reduce stress on your mind and give your brain an effective boost. Check it out here!
Tip #3: Make efficient study notes that you can understand
When you get to Year 11, you may already be into the habit of making study notes as you cover each syllabus dot point.
Making study notes is a great way to ensure you stay on track of your study and is vital if you want to study effectively for the HSC!
However, if you use them in an inefficient way, it can have detrimental impacts on your study.
So, here’s what you should do with your notes:
Make your notes easy to read
Make sure your notes are concise and succinct. Most importantly, you must understand what your notes are telling you.
If you spend more than 10 minutes trying to understand what you have written, you should either cut it down or use simpler language where you can process the information clearly.
Prioritise your notes
Once the date is close to the exam period, you should be in the process of making a second set of study notes.
At this stage, you should have a clear idea of what part of the syllabus you will be tested on. You should then only prioritise your time focusing on that specific part of notes only.
Shorten your notes for topics you know
When you are closer to the date of a final exam, it is always a pain to try remembering everything that is going to be tested.
As a result, it is important to create a simplified set that covers topics only which YOU DON’T KNOW too well.
Let’s take a look at these 3 sets of notes and see how their pros and cons compare.
- Very detailed and covers every single aspects of the syllabus
- Makes you feel secure as you have all the required information you can easily refer back to
- Boring to read which can reduce your motivation to study
- Hard to memorise big chunks of information
- Much shorter and easier to read
- Only contains the important parts of the information, with no unnecessary words
- Still a considerable amount of info
- Only contains complex part of the syllabus
- Easy for last minute review before the exam
- Easy to digest
Tip #4: Start early
Life is too short to wait too long. No more of that “I will leave it later”. Start NOW!!
My recommendation is to start at least 2 weeks before the assessment task is due.
Even starting to do your research or writing your notes are great ways of starting!
That way, what seems like a massive task to you will be easily broken down into a gradual task, which can be easily to keep a track on.
So these are my 4 pieces of advice that will hopefully help you to study effectively for the HSC!
My final advice is that it’s okay to procrastinate; it’s natural part of our life. Just make sure you don’t over do it to the point where procrastination beats you!
Looking for some extra help with your HSC studies?
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Yifan Shen completed his HSC in 2014 and is currently studying the Bachelor Of Economics/Advanced Mathematics. Apart from nutting out equations and helping out students with their academic pursuit, you will find him either reading thriller novels or introducing a range of new people to the intricate and mysterious world of mathematics as the marketing representative of UNSW MathSoc. When he is drained from all of these works, you may see him hiking, planking and water bending in his recovery mode.